When AMD officially debuted it's FidelityFX Super Resolution 2.0 technology last week in Deathloop, we were rather impressed. It's more demanding than FSR 1.0, but image quality was worlds better, comparable even to DLSS — at least in this one game. We even tested it on some older graphics cards and found it could still boost performance by 20–25 percent. That's potentially enough to make a game "playable" on hardware that otherwise would come up short. But what about on laptops running Intel integrated graphics?
Officially, AMD provides loose recommendations for what sort of GPU you should have in order to get the best results from FSR 2.0. For 4K upscaling, AMD recommends a Radeon RX 6000-series GPU. For 1440p, RX 5000-series and RX Vega cards should suffice. Finally, for 1080p upscaling, AMD suggests having at least a Radeon RX 590 or similar. Again, we've tested with lower tier GPUs already and found FSR 2.0 still worked and provided some fps gains. Now we're going for minimum level hardware to see how it goes.
We pulled out a couple of laptops using Intel integrated graphics to find out. One is a Tiger Lake laptop from 2020, so not exactly old but also not brand new. It has a Core i7-1165G7 processor with Iris Xe Graphics — 96 EUs to be precise. Short of Intel's new Arc Alchemist GPUs, this is basically as fast as Intel graphics get for the time being. It also has 16GB of LPDDR4x-4267 memory, which also matters.
The second laptop steps back one more generation, to a Core i7-1065G7 with Gen11 graphics. It still has 16GB of memory, but this time it's LPDDR4x-3200. Not that it matters much with Ice Lake, which in theory is about half as fast as Xe-LP graphics. Even with 96 EUs, Gen11 isn't going to do much with Deathloop.
First, some disclaimers are in order. Deathloop itself warns that Intel graphics solutions are currently unsupported and may not work properly. We pressed onward, heedless of such trivial matters. Science must have answers!
Loading the game took several minutes, just to get to the main menu. Loading into a level felt like it too forever, even at very low settings and a 1280x720 resolution. (It was actually about 4.5 minutes.) At one point, I thought the game had simply crashed, but then I was greeted with actual working graphics. Yes, the game was working!
I proceeded to run some benchmarks, first at native 720p and very low settings, then with native but with temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) and FidelityFX CAS (Contrast Aware Sharpening) enabled, and finally with FidelityFX Super Resolution 1.0 as well as FSR 2.0, both using the "Performance" upscaling mode in order to provide maximum framerates. Screenshots are below, and FSR 1.0 looked quite awful, with a very blurry appearance plus sort of a "static" interference error that kept showing up, possibly from the falling snow. FSR 2.0 on the other hand was still quite serviceable.
Now granted, playing at 720p with 100% upscaling isn't going to be ideal, but was it workable? Almost! I'd even go so far as to say FSR 2.0 looked better than native, at least using the default very low settings that disable temporal AA. But how did Deathloop perform?
So yeah, that's actually not too bad! The starting point of 28 fps for Iris Xe was almost high enough to be playable, though with TAA+CAS that dropped to 26 fps. FSR 1.0 gave 22% more performance, averaging 34 fps — at the cost of image quality. FSR 2.0 helped a bit in framerates as well, to the tune of 16%, just clearing 30 fps. That's the minimum we shoot for in order to deem a game "playable."
Note that if we enable TAA and FidelityFX CAS, which was our baseline on dedicated GPU testing, FSR 2.0 provided a 22% bump in performance while FSR 1.0 provided a 28% improvement. Considering FSR 2.0 takes care of anti-aliasing as well as sharpening, that's perhaps a better comparison point.
On the older Gen11 graphics, things weren't quite so rosy. Baseline performance at 720p and very low settings was only 13 fps, and that was without TAA. With TAA+CAS, performance dropped to just 11 fps. FSR 1.0 Performance mode bumped that to nearly 15 fps, while FSR 2.0 Performance mode managed 14 fps. That's a 28% improvement for FSR 2.0 (and 35% for FSR 1.0), though it's a pretty meaningless gain as Intel's Gen11 GPU is nowhere near playable still.
The good news is at least FSR 2.0 worked. Sort of. See, the first time I ran Deathloop, on each of the laptops, everything rendered basically basically okay — very sluggish in some cases, but working. Most of my subsequent attempts to run the game resulted in a variety of rendering errors. Sometimes a few textures would look corrupted, sometimes everything except for the GUI overlay would be missing, and once in a blue moon the level would load and render more or less properly.
To be clear, none of these errors have anything to do with FSR — 1.0 or 2.0. In fact, FSR will happily try to upscale the rendering errors, giving larger purple speckles in some cases. The problem stems from Intel's GPUs as far as I can tell.
These are probably driver issues that could be fixed, as we've seen issues like this with Intel GPUs before. I also found D3D12 error messages in the Intel log files. Repeatedly exiting to the main menu and reloading the last save would sometimes improve the situation, but outside of the first run on each laptop, I only managed to get "clean" rendering again one time, out of literally dozens of attempts. Exiting the level and proceeding to a new area "resets" things, meaning what was fine could end up broken or vice versa. Thankfully, load times are only horrific on the first load — reloads when I didn't fully exit the game only took around 20 seconds.
The above gallery shows how the game looked when things were rendering properly. Aliasing is quite prevalent at native without TAA, but TAA on itself looks pretty blurry. Combine TAA and FidelityFX CAS and you get better image quality, but performance dropped almost 20% on Gen11 graphics, while it cause the more typical 5% drop on Gen12 (Tiger Lake Iris Xe).
With FSR 1.0 in Performance mode, things looked quite bad, and they're even worse in motion. FSR 2.0 on the other had looked pretty decent. Native 720p with TAA and CAS looks a bit better, but performance was 20–30% faster with FSR 2.0.
It's a shame the game wouldn't consistently "work" properly, but that was a separate issue from FSR 2.0 support. When the game did load a level and render properly, Tiger Lake's Iris Xe GPU actually managed a pretty tolerable experience. Getting a "free" 20% more performance on a low-end graphics solution was better than nothing, and hopefully FSR 2.0 will prove more beneficial on Intel's Arc GPUs, once the drivers are up to snuff.
Now we just need a lot more games to support FSR 2.0 upscaling.