During its recent Architecture Day event, Intel revealed that its upcoming lineup of graphics cards, called Intel Arc Alchemist, will come with a new technology they call Xe Super Sampling, or XeSS for short. They say that with XeSS, gamers will be able to get up to twice the performance when gaming at 4K compared to 4K native.
Intel had already shown off its Arc GPU branding earlier in the week, and we now know more about the software that’ll come with it. XeSS uses AI image upscaling technology with neural networks to upscale image quality into something that’s at a much higher resolution. You might already have heard of such technology, with NVIDIA’s own Deep Learning Super Sampling using a similar method to achieve better image quality in games while getting more frames.
We even saw a demo of XeSS at work, with footage using the Unreal Engine running at 1080p being upscaled to 4K via XeSS. You can check it out below, with Intel also showing comparisons between 1080p, 4K native and XeSS 4K in game.
Furthermore, Intel also has plans on eventually making XeSS open source. While Intel’s upcoming graphics cards will have dedicated ‘XMX matrix math’ units to handle neural network-based image upscaling, they’ve also developed another version of XeSS that can run on older graphics cards as well as integrated graphics that doesn’t have this dedicated hardware.
XeSS will then instead use something called the 4-element vector dot product instruction (DP4a). DP4a is already in Intel’s Xe-LP integrated graphics and in older GPUs, so in theory it can be used on other GPUs as well, not just Intel’s Arc cards. According to Intel, XeSS via DP4a will have a minor performance dip compared to XeSS with XMX, but it should still render 4K images much faster than native 4K.
While we wait for XeSS to make its debut alongside Intel’s Arc graphics cards, game developers will already be able to get their hands on it. Intel will be sending out the XeSS software development kits to developers later this month.
Hopefully, with XeSS being available to other GPUs when it launches, it could mean that gamers will be able to play at higher resolutions and higher frame rates even without a new graphics card. It’s certainly an exciting time at Intel, as they finally look to distort the GPU market after years of lagging behind.