One of the most compelling features of Nvidia’s new RTX 40-series GPUs is its third-generation Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS). It’s supposed to be exclusive to the 40-series and is responsible for a lot of the big improvements in frame rates, according to Nvidia’s benchmarks. The company says it can more than double the frame rate in supported titles. Nvidia says if you want the absolute best performance in compatible games, you’ll need a 40-series GPU and DLSS 3.
At least, that’s the marketing line from Nvidia. It’s been previously stated that DLSS 3 might work on older GPUs but not well, but that may not be the case. An enterprising Redditor has enabled AI Frame Generation in Cyberpunk 2077 using an RTX 2070. They did it by simply adding a config file to the game that “unlocked” the feature. Surprisingly, they said it doubled their frame rate.
As a quick refresher, DLSS 3 differs from the previous version in that it can generate entire frames instead of just pixels. That activity is dubbed AI Frame Generation, and Nvidia says it’s made possible by hardware in the RTX 40-series. Specifically, that refers to its Optical Flow Accelerator and 4th generation Tensor Cores. Nvidia has included an optical flow accelerator in its GPUs since Turing, but it says the latest one is more than twice as fast as previous versions. This lends credence to the “it could work, just not very well” theory about running DLSS 3 on older GPUs.
DLSS 3 support is being added to Cyberpunk 2077 soon, thus allowing new graphics settings for RTX 4090 owners to enable. The Redditor wrote that the file just removed the “VRAM overhead” in the game. That sounds like the game is being told to ignore the VRAM requirements, as the RTX 2070 is an 8GB GPU. That or the game just looks at the amount of VRAM available as a software lock. This Redditor must have an early build of the update, however, as this RTX 30-series owner doesn’t see these new options in the game’s menu. When asked in the thread how he was able to gain access to the build, they just wrote “connections” with a winky emoji.
The Redditor wrote it is currently suffering from “instability and frame drops.” Despite those issues, their frame rate went from 35-40fps to ~80fps. That’s quite an achievement for a Turing GPU. I say that as someone who tried to run the game with ray tracing on an RTX 2080 and found it unplayable. It would be interesting to see a video of what the gameplay looks like, to see if the frame rate is acceptable or choppy.
Still, it’s an intriguing find for a feature that is supposedly locked to Nvidia’s newest hardware. Previously, Bryan Catanzaro, who is a VP of Applied Deep Learning Research at Nvidia opined on this topic on Twitter. When asked why not just let Ampere or Turing owners use it, he stated “Because then customers would feel that DLSS3 is laggy, has bad image quality, and doesn’t boost FPS.” He also said “the current version (of DLSS) only works on 4000-series cards.” With this latest revelation, these statements seem questionable. However, without seeing video evidence, it’s hard to say if it’s a viable option for older GPUs.
More testing is required to see if it can be unlocked for a wider array of GPUs. But now that Pandora’s box has been opened, people will be trying to hack DLSS 3 to work on Ampere GPUs. It’s reminiscent of RTX Voice, which was billed as a feature only supported on RTX GPUs. It was later patched by Nvidia to work on older GTX cards too. This begs the question of whether Nvidia will ever allow DLSS 3 to work on older GPUs. That won’t happen any time soon as it’s using 40-series exclusivity to motivate people to upgrade. Nvidia’s VP did leave the door open to it in his previous Twitter missive, though. “It’s theoretically possible that with additional research and engineering that we could get this technology working on other cards, although it wouldn’t provide as much benefit,” he said.
Source by www.extremetech.com