Image: NVIDIA

Enthusiasts who want to check out the latest version of NVIDIA’s AI-based upscaling sampling technology, DLSS 3, will definitely need to upgrade to the company’s new GeForce RTX 40 Series graphics cards, as the modern iteration relies on improvements enabled by the exciting new architecture powering their GPUs, Ada Lovelace.

The confirmation comes from NVIDIA’s VP of Applied Deep Learning Research, Bryan Catanzaro, who explained on Twitter that the optical flow accelerator, a key ingredient of DLSS, is “significantly faster and higher quality” in large part thanks to advancements enabled by the Ada Lovelace architecture.

Catanzaro noted that while it’s “theoretically possible” for DLSS 3 to come to older cards, NVIDIA has opted not to do this for the time being because “customers would feel that DLSS3 is laggy, has bad image quality, and doesn’t boost FPS.”

From NVIDIA:

DLSS 3 is a revolutionary breakthrough in AI-powered graphics that massively boosts performance, while maintaining great image quality and responsiveness. Building upon DLSS Super Resolution, DLSS 3 adds Optical Multi Frame Generation to generate entirely new frames, and integrates NVIDIA Reflex low latency technology for optimal responsiveness. DLSS 3 is powered by the new fourth-generation Tensor Cores and Optical Flow Accelerator of the NVIDIA Ada Lovelace architecture, which powers GeForce RTX 40 Series graphics cards.

Ada’s Optical Flow Accelerator analyzes two sequential in-game frames and calculates an optical flow field. The optical flow field captures the direction and speed at which pixels are moving from frame 1 to frame 2. The Optical Flow Accelerator is able to capture pixel-level information such as particles, reflections, shadows, and lighting, which are not included in game engine motion vector calculations. In the motorcycle example below, the motion flow of the motorcyclist accurately represents that the shadow stays in roughly the same place on the screen with respect to their bike.

Those who do decide to upgrade to NVIDIA’s new GeForce RTX 40 Series graphics cards, which thus far comprise the flagship GeForce RTX 4090 and two GeForce RTX 4080 models (16 GB, 12 GB), can look forward to testing DLSS 3 in over 35 games and apps in the near future.

These include Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered, Portal with RTX (a mod for Valve’s original classic), and Cyberpunk 2077, which is getting a new “Ray Tracing: Overdrive Mode” that should notably improve lighting and other visuals in CD PROJEKT RED’s game.

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