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Intel’s take on Nvidia DLSS will benefit PCs more than its Arc GPUs

Graphics cards are hard to come by right now, but Intel XeSS could help to bridge the gap for those waiting to upgrade their gaming PC

Intel XeSS visualised in three images, each increasingly clearer than the next

Intel doesn’t have much of a presence in the discrete graphics card market just yet, but its Arc Alchemist lineup is just around the corner and should give AMD and Nvidia a run for their money in 2022. Just how competitive these GPUs will be is anyone’s guess, but I’m willing to bet that gaming PCs will benefit more from Intel XeSS (Xe Super Sampling) than its first generation physical GPUs.

XeSS will be Intel’s answer to Nvidia DLSS, using artificial intelligence to upscale your game from a lower, less demanding resolution to a higher one. This means 4K resolution – or possibly even 8K for that matter – won’t tank your performance because your PC only has to churn out 1080p or lower before it hits your screen. And if pixel count isn’t your thing, you’ll be able to stick with your normal resolution and use XeSS to boost fps instead.

Currently, AI upscaling is only possible with Nvidia DLSS, which is exclusive to RTX GPUs. However, Intel is optimising XeSS for its own Alchemist graphics cards, but says it will open the technology up to other hardware manufacturers in the future.

AMD already takes this approach, since FidelityFX Super Resolution doesn’t care whether you’re running Radeon, GeForce, or even playing on an Xbox Series console. FSR is also cropping up in PC games ten time faster than DLSS. That said, its lack of AI enhancement means it’s restricted to the information in the on-screen image, limiting how much FSR can actually improve the image quality. XeSS doesn’t have this trouble, and instead marries the theoretical quality of Nvidia’s solution with AMD’s cross-compatibility.

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It’s this parity that could make XeSS so much more beneficial for PC gamers than any graphics card Intel will produce in 2022 and beyond. Naturally, this feature will reportedly perform best when running on team blue silicon, but you won’t need to upgrade or change cards in order to enjoy it, even if you can find a GPU with the ongoing chip shortage.

So, while we patiently wait for all this to blow over – hopefully in time for RDNA 3, RTX 4000, or Arc Battlemage – XeSS could help with potential performance woes both now and into the future. It probably won’t feel quite the same as slotting a new piece of hardware into your rig, but it should hopefully be hugely satisfying to switch it on and watch your resolution and fps shoot up to record highs.