Intel recently confirmed that they are working on their own version of an upscaling technique much like DLSS or FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), known as Intel XeSS. Like DLSS, the technology will be using AI for upscaling, and like FSR it will be compatible on most hardware including from other brands.
But does that mean it will work on every GPU available? Unfortunately not, the limitation does apply to certain generations of hardware due to compatibility. In short, Intel uses their own XMX acceleration within their upcoming Alchemist GPUs (based on the Xe-HPG architecture) specifically for upscaling, much like Nvidia’s Tensor Cores.
However, for any non-Intel Xe-HPG graphics cards, they will be using the DP4A instructions in order to use Intel XeSS. It’s not quite as efficient as XMX, so you’ll get the best performance and quality out of XeSS on Intel Alchemist GPUs when they launch in Q1 2021, but at least it works on other brands of hardware.
Most modern graphics cards support DP4A, but older hardware will struggle a bit more. Nvidia seems to have more support for older hardware, as XeSS will be supported on RTX 30, RTX 20, GTX 16, and GTX 10 series cards. Whereas on AMD’s side, only the recent RX 6000 series GPUs will officially support it.
And, of course, Intel Xe-HPG-based graphics cards will support XeSS, and as mentioned previously will also offer the best performance for the upscaling tech due to the dedicated XMX acceleration. Intel Xe-LP GPUs will also support the tech, but only through the DP4A instructions like Nvidia and AMD, and older Intel generations will not support it at all.
So then, which cards will actually support Intel XeSS when it launches? Here’s a quick breakdown:
|Intel XeSS expected compatibility||Intel||Nvidia||AMD|
|XMX||Intel Xe-HPG (Alchemist or higher)||None||None|
|DP4A||Intel Xe-LP||Nvidia Ampere (RTX 30) / Nvidia Turing (RTX 20 + GTX 16) / Nvidia Pascal (GTX 10)||RDNA2 (RX 6000 series)|
|Not supported||Older architectures (Gen 11 or older)||Older architectures (GTX 900 series or older)||Older architectures (RDNA or older)|
*Be advised: this is not officially confirmed by Intel, but instead deduced by what Intel has said so far. It's possible the list of compatible GPUs may grow at launch, but so far this is what we can expect.
What do you think? Are you interested in Intel XeSS? Do you think it will be better, worse, or the same as Nvidia’s DLSS or AMD’s FSR? Let us know your thoughts!