Nvidia brings 4K quality to 1080p gaming thanks to DLDSR, launching January 14th

Written by Chad Norton on Wed, Jan 12, 2022 3:55 PM
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Nvidia’s DLSS technology has taken the gaming industry by storm, so much so that other competitors are starting to make their own upscaling tech. But in a world where GPUs are marketed for ray tracing and higher resolution gaming, 4K is still not as widely adopted as 1080p. But that doesn’t mean 1080p players lose out on enhanced image quality.

Enter Nvidia’s DLDSR (Deep Learning Dynamic Super Resolution). It’s basically a reversed version of DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling), where instead of upscaling an image from a lower quality for better performance, DSR instead downscales from a higher resolution for better image quality. DLDSR is then an improved version of that once again using AI to improve the performance and quality.

Essentially, it allows for gamers using a 1080p monitor to play with better image sharpness and clarity, and best of all the new DLDSR tech actually doesn’t cost too much performance. In their comparison image, Nvidia used Arkane’s Prey to show off the performance and enhanced image clarity of using DLDSR compared to native 1080p and the standard DSR feature.

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As you can see, DSR provides a sharper image than native 1080p, but with a cost to performance (a drop of 37 frames from 145fps to 108fps). DLDSR not only improves that performance so there is only a 2fps differences between it and native, but you can see that the image is even better than DSR in terms of sharpness and clarity.

DLDSR launches on January 14th with the new game ready driver (just in time for God of War on PC’s release!). You will be able to enable it in the Nvidia Control Panel under “Manage 3D settings”.

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But that’s not all that’s coming with the new driver on January 14th, as Nvidia has also teamed up with the modding community to bring new Freestyle filters with the help of Pascal Gilcher, the creator of the popular “Ray Tracing ReShade Filter”. With this, you will be able to play games with a new coat of paint, including SSAO, Dynamic Depth of Field, and SSRTGI.

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Prey DLDSR and Ray Tracing Filter comparison

That means you can add a basic form of a ray tracing reshade to older games, essentially remastering them. Combined with DLDSR and it’s pretty much a win-win scenario, though the Freestyle filter is only available on supported games (but there apparently ways to get around that).

What do you think? Are you interested in using DLDSR? Have you already used DSR before? Do you think it is worth it? What resolution do you normally play at anyway? And how do you feel about the new Freestyle filters coming? Let us know!

What resolution do you game at mostly?

What do you think of DLDSR image quality and performance compared to Native 1080p?

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09:57 Jan-13-2022

Can my current GPU and setup on my current resolution 1600*900 benefit from DLDSR or not ?

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12:28 Jan-13-2022

I could use DSR back when I played on GTX 780M cards, so you should be fine in terms of support - DSR should allow you to go up to 3200x1800 res. That being said - you'll only really be able to use it in old(er) and light games, since your 2GB of VRAM will pose problems with increased resolutions. Definitely try it, though - I've ran Quake 1 at 5K and it was great :D

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15:36 Jan-13-2022

Wait, isn't DLDSR restricted to RTX GPUs since it has the 'DL' in it?

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16:39 Jan-13-2022

DLDSR - yes. DSR - no, it came out back in Kepler days.


Good catch, though! I think I replied to the wrong question here lol... Just shows how confusing these abbreviations start getting!

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23:27 Jan-12-2022

Its features like this that makes me wanna buy an Nvidia GPU, because this is nice. Plus DLSS as well.


But well you know, outside of the amazing engineers, Nvidia is kinda sh!tty and you know, the prices are through the roof

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17:04 Jan-15-2022

They launch their cards at affordable prices compared to what you're getting.. I mean sure, the top cards are very expensive, but are you expecting to get a 3080 for $500? There are so many costs associated with just the R&D alone... They only shoot for a 15-25% profit off their hardware...


They produce the best cards on the market for a reason lol

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22:12 Jan-15-2022

Mindshare. No I don't expect a a 3080 to cost $500 at MSRP. But I also don't expect it to just have 10GB of vram either. MSRP is fine if it had 16


right now the prices are triple oif msrp so right now, its pointless to talk about msrp price

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17:07 Jan-17-2022

Considering you can game at 4k with just 8GB of VRAM, yeah I think 10GB is still ok.. I mean they make upgraded ones, if you have the money to spend on 4k gaming monitors then I would venture to say you have enough to afford an upgraded GPU with more VRAM as well.


Also prices are triple MSRP because of the shortage and scalpers, not really Nvidias fault either... I'm sure they like making money, so if they could they would flood the market with cards.

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22:38 Jan-12-2022

Ya so I dont really get it. For the layman like me, its no different than dlss, which can be used in conjunction with dsr to get better image quality and performance out of a display that’s native 1080p.


Only use would be if this was available where dlss isnt. Or if it does the job better than dlss.

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22:40 Jan-12-2022

Well the test here is done with Prey, which doesn't have DLSS support. This must mean that this might finally be the DLSS version that works on older/unsupported games.

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22:46 Jan-12-2022

For example, I’m on a 1070. This would be good for me if I can actually use this tech.


Although from the article, not sure how that works. Because I game on 4k tv, but for a vast majority of games, will game at 1440p. So I never use DSR. Can I tell my card to upscale my 1440p game into 4k quality and take advantage of limited performance impact?

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00:57 Jan-13-2022

Nvm! On another article, it says it needs the tensor cores for AI, and is therefore only for RTX cards (really sounds exactly like DLSS to me!)


Oh well, will stick with AMD FSR where it’s available :)

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12:31 Jan-13-2022

Yeah, DLSS is "RTX" only as you need the Tensor cores to do the job. You can still use DSR, though, but I'm not sure how useful it would be to you as it's mainly meant for rendering above native res when you have GPU power to spare (so it's more useful for older games and/or if you have a high-end GPU)

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16:15 Jan-12-2022

Lol, I've been using "DLDSR" for ages then. I've been using DSR in general since it first came out as I really enjoy putting the hardware resources to work for better AA and when DLSS came out - I started using DLSS to upscale, then DSR to downscale again. For example - my GPU renders MH:World at 5K (5120x2880) through DLSS and then DSR scales that back down to my 1440p display - this way I get a nice bump in visual smoothness/clarity, but without sacrificing the performance to run at 5K native. I still get the benefit of 5K screenshots, by the way! MH:W is only one example, of course, as I generally do this with nearly all DLSS games, like Metro Exodus PCEE, Ghostrunner, etc.


That being said - I absolutely welcome any and all driver-level DLSS features! It's something I've wanted for a while (especially since DLSS 2.xx quality improvements) and I'll test the crap out of it when it's out :)


As a side note - I don't think the above image comparing DSR to DLDSR is fair. DSR is not inherently blurry - you have control over downsampling filter in the DSR settings, but for some reason the default is 33% on the smoothing, which is waaaay too much (I personally use 18-25% depending on the native res of my screen at the time and how I judged the sharpness vs smoothness) - I bet that was either used at its default or cranked up for more blur, because as a big DSR fan I can definitely say that I wouldn't accept that amount of blur in my gameplay.


SSRTGI is great news! I wonder which games will get support for it, though. From my testing with RTGI shaders I've had mixed results. In some games it works amazingly when dialed-in just right, but in most cases I just couldn't get past some visual glitches, like the shader picking up white/off-white things and/or UI elements as light sources, alpha textures getting messed up and pixelating the RT output (looks like shimmering noise in bushes), etc. I'd guess that Nvidia would have to make sure the filter looks good for a particular game before giving it support, so it'll probably be limited to a handful of titles while they work through it, but I'm excited nonetheless :)

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19:00 Jan-12-2022

Hey, how does that work? How do you tell your gfx to render for example at 4k on a 1080p monitor with DLSS? I've only seen options to render at native resolution from smaller ones. For example use DLSS to upscale base 480p to 1080p (my native) resolution.


Does DSR trick your PC into thinking it's native resolution is 4k and then uses DLSS to upscale from 1080p to (pseudo-native) 4k? And then do the standard DSR scaling back to 1080p?

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19:42 Jan-12-2022

TL;DR: Yes, DSR enables the games to render higher than native and then you use DLSS to lessen the GPU workload required to render that high-res frame, which DSR then downscales back to your screen. More info and tips below!


Right, I'll try to explain:


When you turn on DSR - it allows (most) games and Windows see the resolutions you have defined there, up to 4x your native screen res. This caps out at 1440p for 720p displays, 4K for 1080p displays, 5K for 1440p displays, 8K for 4K displays and so on. (I also have a little tool that enables me to push this even further, so instead of 5K on my 1440p display - I can drive up to 10K.) After you enable and apply DSR settings, your games should be able to see beyond your screen's native. Some games won't see it, which is where I figured out that setting your desktop resolution to the one you want before launching the game will usually allow the game to see it. And some VERY stubborn games only DSR when the desktop is set to that res AND your game is in borderless/windowed (some games I found have a weird cap on the max resolution in fullscreen). So once that's done - your game is basically rendering a high-res image (I'll use 4K as an example going forward) and downscales it to your monitor (I'll use 1080p from here). You get the full performance penalty of running the game at 4K, but you get superior anti-aliasing that this can offer. What you're essentially doing here with DSR is supersampling/downscaling (both mean the same thing in this context) - rendering (sampling) higher than native to improve detail.


My advice for DSR settings: Enable all resolutions in "DSR factors" (this allows you more granular choice when balancing resolutions/framerates) and use 18-25% for "smoothing" to start and adjust from there. Some people will want things sharper (lower smoothing value), some will want them smoother (higher value) - you pick what's comfortable for you.


Now for DLSS. What that does I'm sure you already know - it takes a lower res image, say 1080p, and turns it into a 4K output through AI magic to give you more performance at the expense of some visual quality (though it's pretty damn good!). This way you're rendering a 1080p image, using a bit of overhead to upscale that image (this is why DLSS framerates will always be lower than the base res you're upscaling from) and then outputting a 4K frame. A lot of people, myself included, actually also like to use DLSS quality presets to smooth out the game image, gaining a form of AA (because the AI is damn good), with the extra benefit of not tanking the performance as much as with rendering native 4K+...


This is where they both come together! DSR enables you to render above native. DLSS makes it easier to run those high resolutions.


You enable DSR and use DLSS in-game as you would. For example: you have a 1080p display and you enable DSR to output 4K. You then go into the game, set your render res to 4K and enable DLSS as you normally would, let's say Quality preset (1440p base). What is happening now is the game renders a 1440p frame > DLSS upscales it to 4K > DSR downscales it back to 1080p. The result? A smooth image on your screen for not that much of a performance loss. If you pick a balanced preset (1080p base) - you get a small DLSS performance penalty, but that's about it. Simple!


As an example, I am using a 4.5K output res with DLSS Quality in RDR2 and get a super smooth image at like 90+fps (tweaked in-game settings a bit as well). The 10K DOOM Eternal screenshot I linked earlier was taken at 10K with DLSS enabled (I think it was the quality preset).


Now with the addition of DLDSR it's likely to be much more universal and easier to enable, though I'm curious to see how the screenshot/video front will fare. As you saw in the link above - I can actually save those native 10K, 5K whatever screenshots (and video!) - I don't know if DLDSR will allow that, I have a feeling the screenshots will be at native screen res...but we'll see.


I don't think DSR will be completely replaced by DLDSR anyway (which is why both options will be available) as both bring something unique to the table.


Hopefully this explains how the technologies work, how to tune them and how they can used together.

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19:10 Jan-12-2022

I also have the same question as the guy above me

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19:42 Jan-12-2022

Hey! I've replied above - hope it helps 👍


Feel free to ask anything else if I've missed something.

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17:54 Jan-13-2022

You did a good job at explaining. Thanks!

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18:05 Jan-13-2022

Super, I hope it's been helpful - enjoy any gameplay/experimentation you do with DSR! 😁

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22:11 Jan-12-2022

I have one concern tho, as i noticed i cant use NIS and DSR at the same time hopefully this feature can be used instead

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22:39 Jan-12-2022

Oh, I wouldn't have known, I never actually tried image scaling

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23:00 Jan-12-2022

you havent tried NIS? it is really good i us it in all my games, aplies only sharpening on games i canplay at 4k 60 and on those where i cant i play at 1440p scaled to 4k and works really well it looks closer to 4k than to 1440p and the sharpening in it works, paired with DLSS and it is a really interesting feature.

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23:16 Jan-12-2022

I've tried Nvidia filters sharpening here and there, but not the NVCP one. If it works well to sharpen the image without introducing artifacts - I might use it, but I certainly don't need it to "upscale" as it would defeat the purpose of me rendering higher than native to begin with :D

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