AMD has previously talked about working on an open cross-platform alternative to NVIDIA DLSS smart scaling technology that will run on PCs and consoles. AMD Corporate Vice President Scott Herkelman noted that the company is working on this issue in partnership with Intel and NVIDIA: the new technology will work on PCs and consoles, as opposed to proprietary DLSS.
He also stated that the ray tracing technology performance of the current Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards will improve over time. And AMD’s lead gaming architect, Frank Azor, added that the company will consider enabling smart memory access for non-500 chipsets as well.
AMD’s new Radeon RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT performed well against their NVIDIA counterparts in most games using traditional rasterization methods. And while Navi 21 ray tracing is also good for a first try, AMD has no answer yet to NVIDIA DLSS, which is quite useful for super-heavy modes, especially when actively using ray tracing. DLSS allows a video card to render a picture at a relatively low resolution and then “recover” it using machine learning algorithms.
Talking to Dave Altavilla and Marco Chiappetta of HotHardware, Frank Azor said that RDNA 2 is primarily focused on games. For non-gaming workloads, AMD has a separate CDNA architecture used in accelerators like the Instinct MI100. While RDNA2 cards are sometimes good at general-purpose computing, they prioritize gaming, Azor said.
Regarding smart scaling (around the 30:01 mark in the above video), Scott Herkelman said AMD’s goal is the opposite of NVIDIA’s when it comes to implementation. Without going into particular details, he only said that AMD’s partners in developing games on PC and consoles are begging the company not to create an API for any particular platform, manufacturer or game, in order to minimize the complexity of developing cross-platform projects.
AMD is committed to working with Intel and NVIDIA to create an open, intelligent scaling approach that works for both PC games and consoles with no extra effort. However, it will take time to develop, so AMD is not going into details right now, noting only that it is investing a lot of resources in this, and that in the near future the technology will definitely appear on the latest Radeon cards and, possibly, even on other platforms. In the meantime, NVIDIA remains ahead in this regard – for example, in Cyberpunk 2077, at first, there will be no “rays” on AMD cards – perhaps due to the lack of the notorious DLSS alternative.
Herkelman also believes the ray tracing performance of the RX 6000 cards is “Pretty good”and while the vast majority of games currently available are still not taking advantage of this feature, he confirmed that ray tracing performance will improve over time as more next generation cross-platform games are released.
By the way, AMD introduced Smart Access Memory (SAM) technology during the announcement of Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards. While usually processors on a PC can access only a portion of graphics memory (VRAM) at a time, this technology can expand the data channel, which will allow the processor to use the entire video memory array at once and eliminate potential bottlenecks. This will lead to better performance. So far, the technology works only on RDNA 2 video cards in conjunction with Ryzen 5000 processors and X570 chipsets.
NVIDIA promised to implement an analogue that works on Ampere video cards with AMD and Intel processors, even when using the PCIe 3.0 bus. AMD then confirmed that the technology is open source and support is only temporarily limited to flagship platforms. Frank Azor confirmed in an interview with HotHardware that the technology is currently certified to work only with motherboards based on 500 series chipsets and Ryzen 5000 processors. In the future, SAM may work with other chipsets.
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