AMD’s new FSR 3.1 loses first round fight to Nvidia DLSS in battle of the frame rate boosters

A PC gamer in a racing-style gaming chair
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Gorodenkoff)

AMD's FSR 3.1 only launched last week, on June 27, with support for a handful of games to begin with, but already some fresh testing has revealed that DLSS 3.7, the latest take on Nvidia's rival upscaling solution, is still miles ahead with its image quality.

Digital Foundry's testing also showed off how FSR 3.1's frame generation can be used with any form of AI upscaling (such as DLSS). While the hardware team only had access to FSR 3.1 briefly, it ran comparisons using PC ports of PlayStation titles (the only games supported currently), including Horizon Forbidden West, where the latest revision of FSR still fell behind DLSS 3.7. 

The improvements AMD has made are noticeable when comparing and contrasting FSR 3.1 'Balanced' in 1440p resolution against the older FSR 2.2. The newer image is less pixelated, with less shimmering reported, but that said, Intel's XeSS and DLSS 3.7's more sophisticated anti-aliasing on moving pixels appears to be more in line with the native rendering.

The Digital Foundry team observed: "When objects move with FSR in general, they get a pixelated look to them and they lack anti-aliasing". 

A First Look At FSR 3.1 Upscaling Improvements: Better But Not A Gamechanger - YouTube A First Look At FSR 3.1 Upscaling Improvements: Better But Not A Gamechanger - YouTube
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This is said to happen in the PC port for Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart, which looks "crunchy" and "pixelated" whether running in Balanced mode at 1440p or 4K when compared to DLSS 3.7.

Still early days

FSR 3.1 has been described as an "iterative improvement" over the previous version of the upscaling solution, rather than a sweeping revision.

However, we must remember that given it's so early for the rollout, it's unknown whether the issues highlighted here could pertain more to these PC ports from Nixxes, or if they're going to be a broader problem for all games that get the benefit of FSR 3.1. Also, we may see updates for the software that iron out these issues, perhaps in short order even.

There are some major positives for AMD FSR 3.1, of course: its open source nature for starters, and also the big shift in decoupling the upscaling and frame generation elements, so the latter can be used with any graphics card (not just AMD's). In other words, Nvidia RTX 3000 and 2000 GPU owners can have AMD's frame generation (which isn't supported with DLSS, outside of RTX 4000 cards) layered on top of DLSS.

If you're using FSR 3.1 and experience a pixelated image when in motion, then you may want to manually tweak the settings as best you can, instead of relying on the Balanced preset with its level of sharpening. 

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Aleksha McLoughlin

Aleksha McLoughlin is an experienced hardware writer. She was previously the Hardware Editor for TechRadar Gaming until September 2023. During this time, she looked after buying guides and wrote hardware reviews, news, and features. She has also contributed hardware content to the likes of PC Gamer, Trusted Reviews, Dexerto, Expert Reviews, and Android Central. When she isn't working, you'll often find her in mosh pits at metal gigs and festivals or listening to whatever new black and death metal has debuted that week.