AMD Finally Reveal FidelityFX Super Resolution & Consumer Desktop APU Plans

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅01.06.2021 14:04:04

Computex 2021 began in earnest last night with the big guns of AMD and NVIDIA showing off their silicon developments in the year to date and discussing their plans for the very near future. NVIDIA focussed on the GeForce RTX 3070 Ti and RTX 3080 Ti, two new GPUs that will absolutely make their way to at least dozens of gamers in the coming weeks. AMD meanwhile took a broader view in their keynote, with major announcements on desktop APUs, mobile graphics and software but without the big headliners that might have seen it clearly take the lions share of plaudits. Demand and supply being what they are in 2021 it's possible that these keynotes effectively represent a holding pattern for the next 6 months, but there's still plenty to address going forward.

Perhaps the most exciting overnight reveal was FidelityFX Super Resolution, known as 'FSR' forever more. The new tech algorithmically upscales rendered frames to a higher resolution in a manner that is hopefully near loss-less in terms of overall image quality. It's the red team's response to DLSS as an upscaling technique for games, but holds some key implementation advantages over the alternative.

FSR will arrive with four different quality presets - Ultra Quality, Quality, Balanced and Performance - that AMD believe will offer between 50% and 100% better in-game frame rates with variable dips in image quality. That's important throughout the product stack if the end-user is pushing the limits of a GPU at a given native resolution, particularly 4k, but also has implications for competitive gaming at 1080p and making the most of mobile hardware capabilities.

Just as importantly, AMD aren't setting out their stall by demanding specialised hardware to exploit the technique. No tensor cores or $400+ segmented hardware, just relatively modern GPUs from recent years.

More detail including a set of launch titles will be announced on June 22nd. Two aspects revealed today are relevant however:

1) Implementation is at the engine rather than driver level. This means that each game will need non-trivial developer time to integrate to the game beyond just adding a few menu options, and could be be a major factor stifling adoption.

2) FSR will be compatible with a huge selection of GPUs in the hands of gamers right now. Including hardware from the competition, as well as AMD's own Mobile Processors with Radeon Graphics.

Yes, you read that right. AMD are continuing with an ethos of platform agnostic standards to help spur FSR adoption and the technique will even be compatible with GeForce hardware such as the GTX 1060, the most popular discrete GPU in homes today.

Interested parties are encouraged to sign up at and recommend the games they want to have the feature. Hopefully AMD will be able to use that as a stick to beat publishers with to encourage adoption.

Software announcements are all well and good but hardware is where a lot of interest will lay.

For two years AMD have resisted releasing new consumer APU hardware into the desktop market, and it shows. The most up to date variant officially available is the Ryzen 5 3400G, based on two generations old Zen+ CPU architecture and Vega graphics, and even that is sold out across the board for fairly obvious reasons. Ryzen 4000G PRO models were released to commercial and enterprise markets but never hit consumer channels in realistic quantities.

There was a very real concern that the red team might be abandoning this segment in favour of those with higher margins, but that thankfully doesn't seem to be the case. Today they announced the Ryzen 5 5600G and Ryzen 7 5700G, 6-core and 8-core APUs respectively that will start at $259.

The new processors will leverage a monolithic die that incorporates Zen 3 CPU core architecture and Vega graphics technology, with a few tweaks that make both more amenable to a single die package. Full details haven't been released beyond core counts and operating frequencies but it's unlikely that they'll support PCIe 4.0, however they should be compatible with 500-series and potentially 400-series motherboards.

Both models will be available starting August 5th, but stock levels are completely opaque for now. Demand will no doubt be high from DIY customers and system integrators, potentially spurred on continuing shortages in the discrete GPU market. These are also not new affordable chips - they're priced to move under the current climate but not necessarily make gaming more affordable. Nonetheless, the 5600G appears to be the far more attractive of the two at $259 rather than $359.

We'll have more on the new desktop APUs closer to launch.

And finally, AMD also took the time to launch their new mobile GPUs, the Radeon RX 6000M series. These processors will go toe-to-toe with NVIDIA's RTX 30-series GPUs in notebook platforms based on GPU configurations that favour clock speeds over raw shader count. Unlike NVIDIA, AMD have chosen to slim down the mobile chip compared to their desktop counterpart (for example the Radeon RX 6800M is 40CUs compared to the RX 6800's 60CUs), but compensating for that is a greater emphasis on operating frequency. AMD feel that this is a more balanced approach overall that will benefit frame rates without breaking power budgets.

In-house laptop benchmarks are notorious for hiding the devil in the detail, but their published claims are that the RX 6800M is up there with the RTX 3080 8GB in a wide selection of titles, and easily surpasses the 2 year old RTX 2070 for laptops (which is the minimum upgrade cycle for these new laptop designs).

Designs with the RX 6600M are shipping now, while the RX 6800M's release is scheduled for later this month. The Radeon RX 6700M is listed as coming soon.

The full AMD livestream event can be found here for your perusal. Those looking way ahead in the future may want to tune in to the section on 3D Die Stacking from 32:51, which details a core technical innovation that may be coming to consumer processors in 2022.

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