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Starfield doesn’t support Nvidia DLSS, and that’s fine by me

FSR 2 is fine, and there's nothing anti-competitive about using a resolution scaling tech that works on every GPU, whether it's made by AMD, Nvidia, or Intel.

As many people have guessed, Starfield doesn’t support DLSS, at least not yet. I’ve now heard from multiple sources that there is no option for Nvidia DLSS in the Starfield graphics settings, and one Twitter user has even checked the Starfield preload files and found no mention of DLSS in any of them. Instead, Starfield supports AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR), and you know what? I’m absolutely fine with that.

Nvidia GPU owners won’t get their slightly better resolution scaling tech using Tensor cores on this epic, hotly-anticipated game. Well, boohoo. When you’re dealing with proprietary tech, support for it is a privilege, not a right.

AMD is the exclusive Starfield PC partner, so this isn’t entirely surprising, but this move isn’t hugely anti-competitive either, despite all the raging online. ‘Starfield to screw over 88% of PC players,’ is the header of a Reddit thread that sums up a lot of the discourse I’ve seen, and I can’t understand the vitriol about one graphics setting. Nobody is getting screwed over here.

In an ideal world, of course, Starfield would support both DLSS and FSR, with Nvidia’s latest DLSS 3 AI frame generation tech in particular providing an excellent way to massively improve frame rates on its GPUs that use the Ada architecture, such as the GeForce RTX 4070. But DLSS 3 only supports a handful of GPUs, and if you’re only going to support one resolution scaling tech to improve performance, I’d much rather it was FSR than DLSS.

FSR doesn’t lock you out because you can’t afford to splash out on the latest GPU from just one manufacturer – it works on practically any graphics card, including Nvidia ones. If a game only supports FSR, that doesn’t deny resolution scaling tech to owners of Nvidia GPUs – they can run FSR just like owners of AMD GPUs. That’s the complete opposite of what happens when a game only supports DLSS. I’d call that sharing the love, rather than being anti-competitive.

Starfield doesn't support DLSS: FSR vs DLSS screenshot

Now, I know FSR isn’t perfect. The first version, in particular, was basically just a spatial scaling system, but FSR 2 introduced temporal comparison, enabling it to base its scaling on information from previous frames, much like DLSS 2 (now called DLSS Super Resolution).

FSR also does its processing work on standard shader cores, rather than the Tensor matrix cores found in Nvidia GPUs. This may be less efficient than Nvidia’s system, but FSR still works surprisingly well in practice. For more information about how these technologies work, read our full DLSS 2 and FSR 2 feature.

I’ve done a lot of testing with FSR 2 and DLSS Super Resolution in my graphics card reviews, and DLSS does look better than FSR, but not by the huge amount implied by the raging discourse at the moment. When you do a side-by-side DLSS vs FSR comparison (as shown by Hardware Unboxed in the video below), DLSS 2 looks better than FSR 2, especially when you zoom in, but the differences aren’t as stark as you might imagine, and you’d be hard to pushed to notice a massive difference when you’re actually playing a game.

YouTube Thumbnail

Crucially, both DLSS and FSR look much better than simply enabling resolution scaling in a game, and they both significantly improve frame rates. Plus, let’s be honest, both technologies look pretty awful and blurry at 1,920 x 1,080 when you get below the quality settings.

Despite all the online shouting, I’d wager that most players won’t care once they’re in the game. Owners of Nvidia GPUs will be quite happy running the game with FSR, just like owners of any AMD GPUs. They’d be much angrier if FSR only worked on AMD GPUs, but that’s not the case.

Despite arguing that AMD should drop the Radeon brand, I’ve been using a Radeon RX 6950 XT for the last year, and I’m looking forward to having a blast on Starfield – I’ve used FSR a fair bit in a number of games at 4K, and it works well enough for me. Owners of Nvidia GPUs will have the same graphical experience as me in Starfield, and I bet they’ll cope just fine.

If you can’t wait to start playing Starfield, make sure you check out Starfield Database, which is packed with information about every aspect of the game. Our sister site PCGamesN also has plenty of information about the Starfield background, as well as Starfield weapons and Starfield companions.

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