Latest GeForce Drivers Unlock DLSS & Ray Tracing In BFV & Metro Exodus

👤by Tim Harmer Comments 📅13.02.2019 18:23:52



NVIDIA's GeForce 418.91 - WHQL driver update has just arrived, and its headline feature is one that owners of GeForce RTX 20-series videocards have been eagerly awaiting. Yes, DLSS is now available in a fully-fledged Triple-A videogame in the form of Battlefield V, which itself was updated only yesterday to support the technology in-game.



In fact, that's not all. Metro Exodus is scheduled for launch this coming Friday, and these driver also serve as the optimal Game Ready option that will unlock support for both DLSS and RTX Ray-tracing in that game too. It's less of a red-letter day than a red-letter week for NVIDIA fans sporting the latest hardware.

In addition, NVIDIA continue to report open issues that are due to be rectified in the future release. Unsurprisingly many of these relate to the operation of 'G-SYNC Compatible' Monitors and the newly released Apex Legends.

As always, the driver can be downloaded via the GeForce Experience desktop app or directly from Geforce.com/drivers. Be aware that only 64-bit versions of Windows 7 and 10 and GPUs from the 600-series and onwards are supported. Furthermore, DLSS and RTX Ray-tracing features are only available with GeForce RTX 20-series GPUs.

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Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) is a technology currently exclusive to GeForce RTX-20 series graphics cards, and alongside RTX Ray-tracing is part of a suite of new features that exploit NVIDIA's Turing GPU architecture. DLSS exploits the power of machine learning as a tool for anti-aliasing by processing low-resolution frames through a pre-trained game-specific neural network, outputting frames which appear to be a higher resolution and better aliased. As the rendering takes place at lower resolutions than the final output frame, overall frame rates are improved significantly.

A few caveats apply to running NVIDIA DLSS. As well as an RTX 20-series GPU, only the following resolutions are supported:

3840x2160 on all RTX GPUs
2560x1440 on RTX 2060, 2070, and 2080
1920x1080 on RTX 2060 and 2070


It's not clear why higher performing GPUs cannot utilise lower resolutions, but these are the stipulations that NVIDIA lays out. Furthermore, ultrawide resolutions such as the now not-uncommon 3440x1440 and 2560x1080 are not officially supported. This check isn't made in-game however; running at unsupported resolutions won't throw up any error messages, but will generate frames with significant blur.


Battlefield 5 At 3440x1440, DLSS Off

Battlefield 5 At 3440x1440, DLSS On


Battlefield 5 offers three anti-aliasing options: TAA Low, TAA High and DLSS; there is no clear setting to turn anti-aliasing off entirely and compare DLSS-on against unadulterated performance. Nonetheless utilising DLSS offers huge performance improvements over TAA; NVIDIA claims as much as 40% frame rate improvements when combining DLSS and RTX, and we cannot disagree with that assessment after some 'first look' tests.

As with every anti-aliasing technique, image clarity differences with DLSS ON and OFF are somewhat subjective. Static images exhibit a small amount of blur when DLSS is on compared with off, which may be an issue for those who liberally employ the screenshot button (or NVIDIA Ansel). However when in motion the difference is largely unnoticeable, and outweighed by higher and more stable frame rates. Limited testing on a system powered by an RTX 2080 at 1440p with DXR on High showed an increase in frame rates from 57fps to 91fps, a huge margin.


Battlefield 5 At 2560x1440, DLSS Off

Battlefield 5 At 2560x1440, DLSS On


It's very early days for DLSS, but NVIDIA's revolutionary technology shows immense promise. RTX Ray-tracing for consumer-class GPUs begins to make sense when paired with the technology, pushing framerates out of the 30fps doldrums to comfortably past the 60fps sweet-spot. The jury is still out on clarity benefits, and consumer testing hasn't been nearly in-depth enough to wrinkle-out any serious idiosyncrasies in the process, but for now it gets a cautious thumbs-up.

As well as wider support across games - Metro Exodus will support the technology when it's launched later this week, and it will be implemented in EA's Anthem at some point - we would like to see ultra-wide monitor compatibility as soon as possible. While only ~1.5% of Steam Hardware Survey respondents indicate they own an ultrawide display, it is growing in adoption and includes official G-SYNC Panels. That more than warrants support in our view. Also NVIDIA need to ensure developers implement warning messages when the output resolution isn't supported, something that's not currently the case in Battlefield V.

More information is available at https://www.nvidia.com/en-us/geforce/news/battlefield-v-metro-exodus-ray-tracing-dlss/?nvid=nv-int-ms-75332


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