– Windows 11 is expected to introduce a system-wide upscaling feature for PC games similar to Nvidia DLSS or AMD FSR.
– The feature, called Automatic Super Resolution, aims to improve frame rates by upscaling the game’s resolution using AI.
– The option is currently hidden in test builds of Windows 11, with a system-wide toggle and per-app settings.
– It is speculated that the feature will be included in the Windows 11 24H2 update, confirmed by Microsoft as the major update for the year.
– Automatic Super Resolution may be applicable not only to games but also to videos and possibly other apps.
– Microsoft’s approach appears to focus on providing a more widely supported alternative to Nvidia DLSS and AMD FSR, rather than attempting to outdo them.
– The feature is expected to complement other OS-wide technologies for PC gamers, such as Auto HDR.
– The abundance of performance-enhancing technologies suggests a trend towards simplifying and automating these features for users.
The idea would be to get smoother frame rates by upscaling the game’s resolution. In other words, running at a lower resolution, and artificially ramping it up to a higher level of detail, but with a greater level of fluidity than running natively, all of which would be driven by AI.
The ‘Automatic Super Resolution’ option is currently hidden in test builds of Windows 11 (version 26052 to be precise). Leaker PhantomOfEarth enabled the feature and shared some screenshots of what it looks like in the Graphics panel in the Settings app.
Version 24H2 will have an AI “Super Resolution” feature, as previous reports mentioned. Here are some settings for it in Graphics settings – a default toggle and per-app options. (26052) pic.twitter.com/fI9t4ksTWHFebruary 10, 2024
There’s a system-wide toggle for Microsoft’s own take on AI upscaling, and per-app settings if you wish to be a bit more judicious about how the tech is applied.
In theory, this will be ushered in with Windows 11 24H2 – which is now confirmed by Microsoft as the major update for its desktop OS this year. (There’ll be no Windows 12 in 2024, as older rumors had suggested was a possibility).
We don’t know that Automatic Super Resolution will be in 24H2 for sure, though, as it could be intended for a later release, or indeed it might be a concept that’s scrapped during the testing process.
Analysis: Microsoft’s angle
This is still in its very early stages, of course – and not even officially in testing yet – so there are a lot of questions about how it will work.
In theory, it should be a widely applicable upscaling feature for games that leverages the power of AI, either via a Neural Processing Unit – the NPUs now included in Intel’s new Meteor Lake CPUs, or AMD’s Ryzen 8000 silicon – or the GPU itself (employing Nvidia’s Tensor cores, for example, which are used to drive its own DLSS).
As noted, though, we can’t be sure exactly how this will be applied, though it’s certainly a game-targeted feature – the text accompanying it tells us that much – likely to be used for older PC games, or those not supported by Nvidia DLSS, AMD FSR, or Intel XeSS for that matter.
We don’t expect Microsoft will try and butt heads with Nvidia in terms of attempting to outdo Team Green’s own upscaling, but rather supply a more broadly supported alternative, one which won’t be as good. The trade-off is that wider level of support, much as already seen with AMD’s Radeon Super Resolution (RSR), which is, in all likelihood, what this Windows 11 feature will resemble the most.
Outside of gaming, Automatic Super Resolution may also be applicable to videos, and perhaps other apps – video chatting, maybe, at a guess – to provide some AI supercharging for the provided footage.
Again, there are already features from Nvidia and AMD (the latter is still incoming) that do video upscaling, but again Microsoft would offer broader coverage (as the name suggests, Nvidia’s RTX Video Super Resolution is only supported by RTX graphics cards, so other GPUs are left out in the cold).
We expect Automatic Super Resolution is something Microsoft will certainly be looking to implement, more likely than not, to complement other OS-wide technologies for PC gamers. That includes Auto HDR, which brings HDR (or an approximation of it) to SDR games. (And funnily enough, it looks like Nvidia is working on its own take on that ability, building on RTX Video HDR which is already here for video playback).
As you may have noticed at this point, there are a lot of this kind of performance-enhancing technologies around these days, which is telling in itself. Perhaps part of Microsoft’s angle is a simple system-level switch that confused users can just turn on for upscaling trickery across the board, and ‘it just works’ to quote another famous tech giant.
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AI Eclipse TLDR:
Microsoft’s upcoming major update for Windows 11, known as version 24H2, may include an operating system-wide upscaling feature for PC games. This feature, called “Automatic Super Resolution,” aims to improve frame rates by upscaling a game’s resolution using AI. It allows games to be run at a lower resolution and then artificially ramped up to a higher level of detail, resulting in smoother gameplay. The feature is currently hidden in test builds of Windows 11, and leaker PhantomOfEarth has shared screenshots of its settings in the Graphics panel of the Settings app.
The Automatic Super Resolution feature will likely be accompanied by a system-wide toggle and per-app settings to give users more control over how the upscaling technology is applied. While it is not yet confirmed if the feature will be included in version 24H2, it is expected to be part of a future Windows 11 release or could be scrapped during testing.
Microsoft’s angle with this feature appears to be providing a more widely supported alternative to upscaling technologies like Nvidia DLSS, AMD FSR, or Intel XeSS. Rather than trying to outperform these existing solutions, Microsoft aims to offer a broader level of support for older PC games or those not supported by other upscaling technologies. The Automatic Super Resolution feature may also be applicable to videos and other apps, potentially enhancing video quality during video chats.
Overall, Microsoft’s focus seems to be on implementing performance-enhancing technologies like Automatic Super Resolution and Auto HDR (which brings HDR to SDR games) to enhance the gaming experience for Windows 11 users. This aligns with the growing trend of AI-driven upscaling features in the gaming industry.