In addition to announcing the GeForce RTX 40-series (Ada Lovelace) graphics cards, Nvidia also revealed the company's latest DLSS 3 technology. With the chipmaker claiming up to a 4X performance boost, DLSS 3 obviously received a lot of attention.
The million-dollar question is whether DLSS 3 will come to older GeForce graphics cards — and Bryan Catanzaro, Vice President of Applied Deep Learning Research at Nvidia, has answered the question on Twitter (opens in new tab).
Catanzaro confirmed that DLSS 3, in its current state, only works on the GeForce RTX 40-series graphics cards. The Nvidia engineer did leave the door open for backwards compatibility, stating that it's theoretically possible to get DLSS 3 working on previous generation GeForce graphics cards, such as the RTX 30-series (Ampere) or RTX 20-series (Turing) offerings. However, Catanzaro believes that DLSS 3 won't offer much benefit for owners of legacy GeForce graphics cards.
Nvidia's DLSS 3 technology relies on the Ada's fourth generation Tensor cores and the new Optical Flow Accelerator (OFA) to work. OFA isn't some new invention that Nvidia recently cooked up with Ada. OFA has been present since the Turing days. The difference is that Nvidia has tremendously improved it in Ada versus Ampere, and it now delivers higher performance and better quality. The OFA in Ada is reportedly 2 to 2.5 times faster than on Ampere. Nvidia has seemingly made some algorithmic changes as well.
Ampere and Turing can theoretically leverage DLSS 3, but they won't yield the same benefits. Catanzaro said that DLSS 3 likely won't boost frame rates on Ampere or Turing — on the contrary, owners would probably experience laggy gameplay and bad image fidelity.
DLSS is known to add some degree of latency. This is the main reason why DLSS 3 integrates Nvidia Reflex with the aim to deliver higher frame rates at the same system latency. Nvidia claims that DLSS 3 is able to reduce latency by as much as 2X when compared to the native latency. In a demo (opens in new tab) of Ray tracing: overdrive mode in Cyberpunk 2077, DLSS 3 in conjunction with DLSS Super Resolution, DLSS Frame Generation, and NVIDIA Reflex showed 4X higher performance and 2X improved responsiveness.
DLSS 3 has proven to be beneficial in CPU-intensive games such as Microsoft Flight Simulator. Nvidia's demo (opens in new tab) showed DLSS 3 doubling the frame rates in Microsoft's title, which heavily taxes the processor.
DLSS 3 will debut on October 12 alongside the flagship GeForce RTX 4090. Nvidia expects over 35 games and applications to support DLSS 3 at launch. More importantly, DLSS 3 builds upon the foundations of DLSS 2 so game developers can easily enable DLSS 3 on current games that already embrace DLSS 2 or Nvidia Streamline.