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Windows 11 may be coming for DLSS and FSR with its own AI upscaler

The upcoming 24H2 update for Windows 11 looks to contain a competitor of sorts to DLSS and FSR, dubbed 'Automatic Super Resolution'.

The Windows 11 'Bloom' logo, pixelated, with a non-pixelated portion highlighted by a magnifying glass

It didn’t take long for upscaling technologies like DLSS and FSR to become a core part of PC gaming as we know it today, with the potential for sizeable performance boosts proving too much to pass up. Now, it appears that Microsoft is planning to release its own upscaler built right into Windows 11.

Upscaling solutions from both AMD and Nvidia differ dramatically in many respects, be it compatibility, fidelity, or performance increases, making them an important discussion points in separating the best graphics cards from lesser stock. While AMD has so far been the only company to offer a solution of sorts that requires zero developer input (Radeon Super Resolution), this looks set to change with Microsoft now entering the ring.

A screenshot from a Windows 11 preview build, detailing Auto SR

X (formerly Twitter) user PhantomOfEarth appears to have uncovered a new feature in a Windows 11 preview build, likely set for the operating system’s 24H2 update, dubbed ‘Automatic Super Resolution’ (Auto SR).

Auto SR allows a user to “use AI to make supported games play more smoothly with enhanced details”, as described by Microsoft in the accompanying Windows 11 tooltip for the feature. This would make it closer to DLSS and XeSS than FSR, as AMD’s solution doesn’t include any form of deep learning in its pipeline.

A screenshot from a Windows 11 preview build, detailing Auto SR

However, unlike other upscalers, Auto SR looks as if it can be deployed outside of games too. A screenshot taken by PhantomofEarth shows that it can be used in the Windows 11 camera app. This particular use case doesn’t stir much excitement in me, personally, but the possibility of using Auto SR to upscale video content in a media player certainly does.

PhantomofEarth stipulates that Auto SR runs on an NPU (Neural Processing Unit), rather than a GPU. This presents some problems for wider adoption, as laptop processors are currently the only chips armed with an NPU, such as on the newly launched Intel Core Ultra CPUs. NPUs will undoubtedly make their way to desktops in time, but there’s no certainty of when exactly.

A screenshot from a Windows 11 preview build, detailing Auto SR

It’s also unclear what data that Auto SR uses to accomplish its upscaling, with variables such as motion vectors playing a key role in providing greater fidelity (as we saw in the jump between AMD FSR 1.0 and 2.0) in other upscalers. Given that this feature is expected in Windows 11 24H2, which could in fact be Windows 12, we’ll only have to wait a few more months to find out more.