Nvidia's DLSS stands for Deep Learning Super Sampling (our analysis here), and is a technique that was introduced together with the RTX 2000-series graphics cards in September 2018. Now, Nvidia is introducing DLSS 2.0, which ups the ante further, promising improved performance, customizability, and compatibility.
Deep Learning Super Sampling is a deep-learning-based rendering technique that uses the Nvidia Tensor cores on RTX graphics cards to increase game performance. In essence, it uses deep learning algorithms to render a game at a lower resolution than is displayed, upscaling it to the monitor's resolution. The result is that you'll get a game that looks almost as sharp or good as if it were rendered at the native resolution, but with the improved performance of rendering at a lower resolution.
Technically, DLSS 2.0 has already been out in the wild, but Nvidia didn't make a big deal about the changes or provide any details until now. Nvidia claims that DLSS 2.0 uses a new AI model that runs twice as fast as the model of the original DLSS, which is a rather significant performance boost. Nvidia also promises improved image quality thanks to new temporal feedback techniques, offering sharper and more detailed frames.
One of the biggest changes is that DLSS 2.0 is a general network, and no longer game-specific. This means that whereas DLSS 1.0 had to be implemented by the developer and trained specific to each game, DLSS 2.0 will work without additional training across a much wider range of games. It will still need to be implemented by the developers (which is supposedly relatively simple to do), but as a general AI network, it is much less work to integrate into each individual title.
Nvidia has also addressed one of the primary complaints surrounding DLSS: too much of a sacrifice in image quality versus running the game at its native resolution. In response to this, Nvidia added three modes for DLSS 2.0: Quality, Balanced, and Performance. The performance mode allows for up to a 4x resolution super-sample, which per Nvidia's example, would upscale 1080p gaming all the way to 4K. For comparison, the original DLSS topped out roughly at a 2x-resolution super-sample.
With the image-quality improvements and customization, there now ought to be a setting that works for all gamers. DLSS 2.0 is currently implemented in Control, MechWarrior 5: Mercenaries, Deliver Us The Moon and Wolfenstein: Youngblood, with more titles likely coming soon. Nvidia also made DLSS 2.0 available to Unreal Engine 4 developers.
Paired with the new DirectX 12 Ultimate and DXR raytracing, 2020 is an exciting time for graphics APIs and rendering techniques. With hopefully some new hardware around the corner, 4K gaming is becoming ever-more feasible for the every-day consumer.