Apparently, Nvidia is working on a future update that will convert SDR games into HDR on the fly with the help of its Tensor Cores. The new feature was discovered by a user on NexusMods who published a mod with it, allowing everyone to test drive Nvidia's upcoming HDR gaming conversion tool.
The modder discovered the new gaming-specific HDR conversion feature in several hidden "TrueHDR" profile settings inside of Nvidia's 511.23 graphics drivers (and newer). Apparently, Nvidia's HDR conversion tool is a derivative of its outgoing HDR conversion tool found in its RTX Video technology. But instead of converting SDR videos into HDR, it converts SDR frames in video games into HDR frames.
Having a reliable SDR-to-HDR conversion tool for gaming would be invaluable to the HDR community. Many games to this day don't offer HDR capability, and of those that do, many don't come with great HDR capabilities. Just look at "Starfield," which arrived with no HDR calibration tools, despite being one of Microsoft's largest game releases to date.
According to Digital Trends, this problem is compounded by the fact that developers don't have much incentive to put a lot of development time into HDR. Creating both an SDR and an HDR version of a single game doubles the amount of work that needs to be done color grading, and that extra work is only beneficial for the relatively few people who can and do take advantage of true HDR right now. Many HDR monitors are certified as "HDR capable" but in reality don't offer the level of brightness required to give you a true HDR experience.
Nvidia's HDR gaming conversion tool could solve many of these issues. If its tech is as good as DLSS, it could change the way gamers experience HDR in games. Developers would no longer need to spend so much time creating custom versions of PC games with HDR support, instead it could leave much of that work to Nvidia's tensor cores which — in the best-case scenario, could provide an HDR experience that is equivalent or close to proper traditional HDR implementations.
But of course, we don't know yet how good this new Nvidia conversion tool is. The modder did not provide any screenshots of the HDR mod in action. And given that Nvidia hasn't purposefully exposed the feature yet, it may not be fully functionally ready. But since it seems to be based on Nvidia's outgoing RTX technology for video, we can hope that its HDR gaming adaptation will provide a similar viewing experience.
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Aaron Klotz is a freelance writer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering news topics related to computer hardware such as CPUs, and graphics cards.
I'm curious how this will compare to Auto HDR in W11. Auto HDR is ok, but it's fake HDR and pales in comparison to a true HDR implementation. A better SDR to HDR implementation would be welcome - not just contrast and brightness but color gradients as well.Reply
I think HDR isn't as uncommon as the author states. Sure, it's uncommon on standard and cheap PC monitors, but it's quite common for TVs from the last 5 or 6 years. I game primarily on my TV with my PC, as do most console gamers.
I'm surprised this is a thing given how well windows 11 autoHDR works. also "Developers would no longer need to spend so much time creating custom versions of PC games with HDR support" makes me think this author has no idea how HDR works.Reply
I'm looking forward to this - I've never really been impressed with Window's own version.Reply