Nvidia has been promoting the advantages of its Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) software for graphics improvement since the RTX 20-series launched back in 2018. The GPUs are some of the best graphics cards and the latest Ampere models rank at the top of our GPU benchmarks hierarchy. DLSS uses the embedded Tensor Cores available in Nvidia RTX graphics cards to run artificial intelligence algorithms that upscale and enhance frames from support games, providing better image quality and higher performance. Today, Nvidia announced the next iteration of the technology, which it's calling DLAA (Deep Learning Anti-Aliasing), first supported in The Elder Scrolls Online.
Back in the early days of DLSS 1.0 when the GeForce RTX 20-series GPU made its debut, Nvidia talked about a technology called "DLSS 2x" that was supposed to use the same DLSS algorithm. It would take the same underlying image enhancement technology, but skip the image upscaling. But DLSS 2x never showed up and instead we got DLSS 2.0, which improved the quality and scaling options and boosted performance. Now, three years later, we're finally getting DLSS 2x, built off of DLSS 2.x and with new branding.
DLAA technology operates at native resolution, using the AI-enhancement algorithms to add extra smoothness to edges as well as temporal reconstruction to recover lost detail. It's basically DLSS Ultra Quality mode, using 1x scaling where the regular Quality mode uses 2x upscaling. As with DLSS, the dedicated Tensor cores embedded in Nvidia RTX graphics cards are required for the heavy lifting, and the framerate shouldn't suffer too much.
According to the creative director at The Elder Scrolls Online, Rich Lambert, he noted in Twitch's Livestream that "You won't get a performance boost out of this, but what you will get is absolutely incredible anti-aliasing. [...] You need the RTX 2000 or RTX 3000 series cards in order to take advantage of it."
That makes perfect sense, as DLAA has to do all the work of native rendering, plus an extra pass to remove anti-aliasing and apply the image enhancements. It will be most beneficial on games that either already run at high framerates, or in games that tend to be more CPU limited — the latter tends to be true of The Elder Scrolls Online.
DLAA will first show up in The Elder Scrolls Online, and it's slated to go live with the upcoming Deadlands DLC. Deadlands currently has a nebulous "Fall 2021" release date, but if you want to check out DLAA, you can give it a shot on the public test beta server right now.
We're looking forward to testing DLAA in other games and seeing how it stacks up against other anti-aliasing solutions. While there are plenty of demanding games where rendering at native resolution already proves to be too much for even the fastest of graphics cards, especially with ray tracing effects enabled, there are many more lightweight titles that already run at high fps and could benefit from a better anti-aliasing solution.