NVIDIA's DLSS 3 promises higher frame rates for CPU-intensive games

RTX 40 series GPUs will take a cue from TVs to improve performance.

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NVIDIA DLSS 3 for Lovelace (RTX 40) GPUs
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NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 40 series GPUs won't just rely on brute force to deliver high-performance visuals. The company has unveiled Deep Learning Super Sampling 3 (aka DLSS 3), a new version of its AI-based rendering accelerator. Rather than generating 'only' pixels, the third-gen technology can create entire new frames independently. It's a bit like the frame interpolation you see (and sometimes despise) with TVs, although this is clearly more sophisticated — NVIDIA is improving performance, not just smoothing out video.

The technique relies on both fourth-gen Tensor Cores and an "Optical Flow Accelerator" that predicts movement in a scene by comparing two high-resolution frames and generating intermediate frames. As it doesn't involve a computer's main processor, the approach is particularly helpful for Microsoft Flight Simulator and other games that are typically CPU-limited. A new detail setting in Cyberpunk 2077 runs at 62FPS in 4K resolution using DLSS2 in NVIDIA's tests, but jumps beyond 100FPS with DLSS 3.

Roughly 35 apps and games will offer DLSS 3 support early on. This includes Portal RTX, older titles like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and releases based on Unreal Engine 4 and 5.

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It's too soon to say how well DLSS 3 works in practice. NVIDIA is choosing games that make the most of DLSS, and the technology might not help as much with less constrained titles. Nonetheless, this might be useful for ensuring that more of your games are consistently smooth. Provided, of course, that you're willing to spend the $899-plus GPU makers are currently asking for RTX 40-based video cards.

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NVIDIA's DLSS 3 promises higher frame rates for CPU-intensive games