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What is Intel XeSS Technology?


Recently, AI Upscaling technologies have spread, we have seen DLSS from Nvidia, Fidelity Super Resolution and Radeon Super Sampling from AMD, and Intel joined a few months ago with XeSS technology. What is this technique? How does it work? What is the difference between it and DLSS? This is what we will learn about in our article.

What is Intel XeSS Technology?


XeSS is an acronym for Xe Super Sampling. As for Xe, it is the brand name for the latest graphics cores from Intel. Simply put, XeSS technology “Renders” the game at a lower resolution (1080p, for example) to boost the frame rate, and then raises the resolution of the game’s graphics with artificial intelligence to run the game at its original resolution - or better - (4K, for example), but at a higher frame rate! XeSS also acts as an anti-aliasing like DLSS technology.


It seems that XeSS does not differ in functionality from DLSS or FSR, but the difference is that XeSS supports five performance modes - instead of just three - that differ according to quality and frame rate. Ultra Performance, Performance, Balanced, Quality, Ultra Quality. XeSS technology is also open source and is not exclusive to Intel Arc Alchemist graphics cards! I will explain to you next what I mean.

How exactly does XeSS work?


Let's say you're running a game at 4K and you're only getting 40 frames per second. If you want to increase the frame rate, you have one of two solutions. Either reduce the graphics resolution or some of the graphical settings, or activate one of the frame rate boosting technologies, in our example, XeSS technology.


When the technology is activated, the graphics processor will reduce the game resolution to 1080p, for example - according to one of the five performance modes - so that the frame rate rises to 60 frames per second, then the resolution is raised to 4K again, but with artificial intelligence. What just happened? Graphics increased by 50% without sacrificing the original resolution, if not better!


How does this happen? XeSS takes a sample graphic from the game with data on depth, motion, colors and lights, then downscales the graphics and passes them through the XeSS Upscaling Engine to be upscaled again by AI. The result is stored within a dedicated module to be used for post frame prediction and anti-aliasing activation in order to achieve the best possible graphical result.

Machine Learning Secret Recipe XeSS Meal!


Machine learning or artificial intelligence has a pivotal role for XeSS technology, because Arc Alchemist graphics cards contain Xe Matrix Extension or XMX cores, and these cores are responsible for the artificial intelligence model that raises graphics accuracy. The XME cores of Arc Alchemist graphics cards are similar to the Tensor cores of the RTX 3000 processor.


Remember when I told you that XeSS isn't exclusive to Intel Arc Alchemist graphics cards? XeSS technology does not require XMX cores to activate it, but it is sufficient to support instructions for four-element directional points “DP4a” - necessary for artificial intelligence - and therefore it is a multi-platform technology “Cross-Platforming”, and the graphics cards that support it:


     Intel Arc Alchemist graphics cards.

     Intel Xe-LP graphics cards integrated with the eleventh generation processors for laptops.

     AMD RX 6000 graphics cards.

     RTX 3000 graphics cards.

     RTX 2000 graphics cards.

     GTX 1000 graphics cards.


Intel provides an open source “Package” for developers for free, and XeSS technology will be available as a “Plugin” through the Unreal Engine so that developers can easily support it with their games. Therefore, Intel wants to spread XeSS technology and provide it with all graphics cards up to RX 6000, although FSR technology is not supported by Arc Alchemist graphics cards, and this does not necessarily mean that XeSS is available for home platforms such as FSR.

So what is the difference between XeSS and similar technologies like DLSS?


First, let's talk a little bit about the similarities between the two technologies and then the differences. In terms of similarities, they both use artificial intelligence to raise the resolution, allowing the graphics card to focus on raising the frame rate, and both work as anti-aliasing by smoothing the edges of the graphics after raising their resolution, and this is what FSR technology does as well.


As for the differences, XeSS technology requires XMX cores with Arc Alchemist graphics cards or DP4a instructions with other graphics cards such as RTX 3000 and others, while DLSS technology requires Tensor cores with RTX 3000 or RTX 2000 graphics cards. Also, XeSS technology is still new and is only supported In a few games, unlike the DLSS technology that most games currently support.

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