NVIDIA’s DLSS 3 promises higher frame rates for CPU-intensive games

NVIDIA’s GeForce RTX 40 series GPUs won’t just rely on brute force to deliver high-performance visuals. The company has unveiled Deep Learning Super Sampling 3 (aka DLSS 3), a new version of its AI-based rendering accelerator. Rather than generating ‘only’ pixels, the third-gen technology can create entire new frames independently. It’s a bit like the frame interpolation you see (and sometimes despise) with TVs, although this is clearly more sophisticated — NVIDIA is improving performance, not just smoothing out video.

The technique relies on both fourth-gen Tensor Cores and an “Optical Flow Accelerator” that predicts movement in a scene by comparing two high-resolution frames and generating intermediate frames. As it doesn’t involve a computer’s main processor, the approach is particularly helpful for Microsoft Flight Simulator and other games that are typically CPU-limited. A new detail setting in Cyberpunk 2077 runs at 62FPS in 4K resolution using DLSS2 in NVIDIA’s tests, but jumps beyond 100FPS with DLSS 3.

Roughly 35 apps and games will offer DLSS 3 support early on. This includes Portal RTX, older titles like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and releases based on Unreal Engine 4 and 5.

It’s too soon to say how well DLSS 3 works in practice. NVIDIA is choosing games that make the most of DLSS, and the technology might not help as much with less constrained titles. Nonetheless, this might be useful for ensuring that more of your games are consistently smooth. Provided, of course, that you’re willing to spend the $899-plus GPU makers are currently asking for RTX 40-based video cards.

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‘Pokémon Go’ can now run on iOS at higher frame rates

Niantic has just rolled out updates for the Pokémon Go app, and one of the new features for iOS will let you run the game at higher frame rates. The Verge has discovered a new option that allows you “unlock your device’s native refresh rate for higher FPS.” It’s not explicitly stated in the app’s change log and probably falls under the “various quality-of-life improvements” the developer has listed. Also, the option is off by default, so you’ll have to find it in settings if you want to take advantage of your phone’s capabilities.

As the publication notes, Pokémon Go was previously capped at 30fps on iOS — players have had to employ workarounds to get their games to run at 60fps — but newer phones are capable of more frames per second than that. The iPhone 13 Pro, for instance, has a 120fps screen. The Verge says switching the feature on made a huge difference and made the game a lot more responsive. While Niantic may have been trying to cater to owners of the new iPhone, the option can also be accessed on its predecessors. It just may not work as well on hardware powered by older chips.

You can find the the feature in the game’s advanced settings, which will show “native refresh rate unlocked” when it’s switched on.

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Nvidia Intentionally Caps Frame Rates in GeForce Now Games

Nvidia’s cloud-streaming gaming service GeForce Now has recently added a new plan called RTX 3080. At twice the price of the tier that used to be the best (dubbed Priority), the new plan is said to deliver the performance of a high-end gaming computer.

While Nvidia is busy promoting the RTX 3080 plan, existing GeForce Now Priority members noticed that their games are not being rendered at 60 frames per second (fps) as promised. After this discovery, Nvidia affirmed that while no games in the RTX 3080 plan are limited, the company admits to intentionally capping the fps in certain games for players who use the Priority tier. We tested several games to check out how they perform when using Nvidia GeForce Now.

The Priority tier costs $50 per month and promises gaming performance equal to using a premium gaming rig, priority access to gaming servers, up to six hours of gaming at a time, and most importantly, up to 1080p gaming at 60 fps. However, it appears that not all of the 1,100 supported games are able to deliver this kind of performance, although this is in no way indicated by Nvidia on the membership page.

The situation was made public when a Reddit user contacted Nvidia’s customer service, noting that Guardians of the Galaxy caps out at 50 frames per second. This cannot be changed in the game menu. This prompted Nvidia’s confirmation that certain titles are blocked from going above a certain fps threshold.

Testing shows varying results

We’ve done some of our own testing to verify whether Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as some other AAA titles, are capped on GeForce Now. Guardians of the Galaxy is a DLSS game and has a render resolution of 50% regardless of whether the setting is on or off. Tweaking the setting doesn’t seem to affect the image quality or performance.

Our in-game benchmark produced an average of 80 frames per second, which is much higher than the 50 fps experienced by the Reddit user mentioned above. Regardless, Nvidia confirmed that the game is capped at 50 fps.

Someone playing on GeForce Now.

“Some games on GFN are capped at certain fps such as Cyberpunk (at 45 fps) and others. For Guardians of Galaxy, it’s capped at 50 fps, so it’s not a bug,” said Nvidia’s representative in an email.

Nvidia has published a full list of GeForce Now games that have capped frame rates for Priority users. According to Nvidia, the premium systems used for Priority members were unable to sustain a steady 60 frames per second in these titles.

The company chose to limit the frame rates by adding a new setting as opposed to improving the performance of these rigs for Priority users. This setting is called Optimal Playable Settings (OSP) and can be overridden in most, but not all of the games provided by Nvidia GeForce Now. Nvidia claims that limiting fps in some games will ensure a consistent, high-quality experience to all Priority members, but Nvidia also assures that the games are still being streamed at 60 fps.

We tested several other games from Nvidia’s list to verify the fps capabilities provided to Priority members. Assassin’s Creed Odyssey is supposed to be capped at 45 fps, but the cap is turned off and the game produces an average of 59 fps. It’s interesting that Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is not on the list alongside Odyssey, as both the games run on the same engine.

Cyberpunk 2077, meanwhile, is supposedly capped at 45 fps, though I captured 60 fps on the video stream with a local frame rate tool. It appears that GeForce Now does indeed still stream at 60 frames per second, even if the game itself doesn’t render that many frames.

Valheim and Path of Exile are also found on Nvidia’s list, and that’s another surprising example of Nvidia’s strange fps capping pattern. Both of these titles are not very demanding when it comes to system requirements, so it’s curious why Nvidia chose to cap them at 50 fps each — the same as the famously resource-heavy Cyberpunk 2077.

GeForce Now on a MacBook Air.

DLSS turned on

We have also discovered that Nvidia DLSS is on in most supported games. As a Founder, you generally cannot change the settings, but DLSS is an exception. Turning it off results in a massive improvement in image quality.

It’s difficult to say whether all of these frame rate limitations affect every single user. As proven by our testing, some games achieve higher fps than what Nvidia intended. In addition, it’s likely that members of the $100-per-month ‘RTX 3080’ tier don’t suffer from these restrictions, although Nvidia hasn’t disclosed if any games are fps capped in that tier.

Despite the discrepancies that Nvidia failed to disclose, GeForce Now remains a solid alternative in times of the ongoing graphics card shortage. However, it would certainly be preferable if Nvidia let future members know about possible fps caps ahead of time.

Editors’ Choice

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This Crucial Windows 10 Update Fixes Gaming Frame Rates

Microsoft has released a long-awaited performance fix related to the Game Mode in Windows 10. The update is meant to solve several gaming-related problems that some people have been experiencing since March.

We now know everything that this Windows update includes, and how to install it on your computer.

How to install the new Windows 10 gaming update

Updating Windows to receive the game performance fix is simple. Simply click the Windows logo in the bottom left corner of your screen or tap the Windows key on your keyboard. Next, type in Update in the search bar and head to the section titled Check for updates.

Windows 10 will search for updates that are available to you. When that’s done, click on the View optional updates link, and then navigate to the update called KB5004296. Lastly, simply Download and install the patch. You’ll have to restart your computer for the changes to come into effect.

While the changes Microsoft introduced aren’t massive and the performance gains aren’t all too impressive, this patch could be the fix that some users have been waiting for. It may be worth trying if you are not happy with how your PC has been faring in games.

The issues that started in March of this year included game stuttering, frame rate drops, and overall frames per second (fps) that were lower than expected. Microsoft has admitted that the performance drop was related to problems with Windows 10, namely the power plans and the Game Mode itself. Game Mode is a feature that was introduced back in April 2017.

What does the Game Mode patch do?

According to Microsoft, Game Mode is meant to “help achieve a more stable frame rate depending on the specific game and system.” What it really does is detect the games present on the computer and prioritize them when distributing the computer’s resources, such as processor and graphics card power.

The company has tried to address the issue with Game Mode by releasing an emergency fix in April. However, the poor performance persisted even through that update. Since then, Microsoft was able to isolate the source of the matter and find a solution, resulting in this month’s quick patch. The update was originally meant to be released with a larger patch later in August, but it’s being pushed as a standalone ahead of time.

Some of the things fixed by this patch include:

  • An issue with power plans and the Game Mode itself
  • Sound problems in certain games when pressing the trigger button on a game controller
  • Virtual private network (VPN) problems, such as Windows not detecting the internet connection when connecting to a VPN
  • A problem that prevents gaming services from launching some games for desktop users

Windows also released a full list of updates found in this release. This is an optional update, meaning that it will not be automatically installed on every device.

Editors’ Choice

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Steam Deck can limit frame rates to give you longer battery life

Valve may boast that the Steam Deck will run games well, but you won’t have to worry about the handheld PC running games too quickly. As The Verge notes, Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais has revealed that the Steam Deck will include a “built-in” frame rate limiter option that caps performance in return for longer battery life. If you’re playing a title that doesn’t demand highly responsive visuals, you can trade some unnecessary frames for extra game time.

Not that games will necessarily drag the system down. After Valve told IGN it was aiming for a 30FPS target, Griffais added that the frame rate was the “floor” for playable performance. Every game the company has tested so far has “consistently met and exceeded” that threshold, the developer said. While you probably won’t run cutting-edge games at 30FPS with maximum detail (this is a $399 handheld, after all), you might not have to worry that a favorite game will be too choppy to play.

The company already expects Portal 2 to last for six hours at 30FPS versus four with no frame rate restrictions. We wouldn’t be surprised if the effect is reduced for newer or more intensive games that are less likely to reach high frame rates.

The Steam Deck might not offer a completely seamless experience even with the limiter. Digital Foundry warned that you might get a less-than-ideal experience with V-Sync active. And of course, the 30FPS target generally applies only to existing games — don’t count on a cutting-edge 2023 game running at playable frame rates, at least not without significantly reduced detail. This is more about ensuring that your existing game library is usable on launch.

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Latest Edelman survey rates trust in tech at a 21-year low

The technology sector plummeted from being the most trusted industry sector in 2020 to 9th place in 2021, according to the 21st annual analysis from communications firm Edelman. Lack of accountability and unwillingness to self-govern is eroding the public’s trust in technology.

Trust in technology reached all-time lows in 17 of 27 countries over the past year, Edelman said in its recent 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer: Trust In Technology report. The report is based on a survey of more than 33,000 people from 28 countries, including both general population respondents and what the firm calls “informed public respondents” for a well-rounded picture.

Trust and fear have a reciprocal relationship: The faster one rises, the faster the other drops. Traditionally, the technology sector was something of an expert at managing the two, but that is no longer the case. Edelman found that fear of technology is growing at a faster rate than trust in technology. It will take years for the technology industry to bounce back and regain the public trust.

Tech broke trust

Edelman’s survey results show respondents feel both betrayed by, and fearful of, technology. Job loss is the single greatest driver of societal fears, followed by the loss of civil liberties. There is a 6% drop in the number of people who are willing to share their personal information online. Social media, traditional media, and search engines are also at record low levels of trust.

Social media is not a trusted source of information.

Above: Respondents did not view many information sources favorably when asked to rate each one on how trustworthy they were for general news and information. Source: 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer: Trust in Technology.

Image Credit: Edelman

While the technology industry is full of entrepreneurs who believe in unleashing creativity and innovation and pursuing moonshot ideas, there are also those who monitor customers and invade privacy. The tendency to use technology as an authoritarian tool to monitor dissent is a concern, which explains China’s 16% drop in trust. The sheer drop is ironic, because China is also a global leader in tech R&D, innovation, and tech manufacturing.

Pandemic amplified fears

Edelman recorded one of the steepest declines in trust in the eight months between May 2020 and January 2021, when the public’s trust in technology dropped from 74% to 67%. People were increasingly concerned about AI and robots, and 53% of the respondents in Edelman’s survey worried the pandemic would accelerate the rate at which their employers would replace human workers with AI and robots. Cyberattackers capitalizing on the pandemic didn’t help matters, as 35% of respondents reported being fearful of attackers and breaches.

Edelman’s Trust in Technology study presents a paradox between tech employees and their employers. Employer trust is highest among tech sector employees, with 83% saying they trust their employers, and 62% believing they have the power to make corporations change. Yet the public’s trust in those employers is plummeting. The disconnect comes from the public perception that humans are not controlling technology, but that technology is trying to control them. There is a growing perception that technology — especially social media — is more capable at manipulating people than previously believed.

One way for the industry sector to regain some trust is to re-evaluate how they handle customer data and to be transparent about what they do with the information.

Gain trust by guarding information quality

Businesses as a whole are still trusted in most of the countries surveyed, with 61% of all respondents trusting companies above nonprofit organizations, government, and media. The most effective step businesses can take to increase trust is to guard the quality of information. Additional factors include embracing sustainable practices, implementing a robust COVID-19 health and safety response, driving economic prosperity, and emphasizing long-term thinking over short-term profits.

However, just saying they will protect information isn’t enough. Businesses need to take a data-centric security approach to achieve greater resiliency and cybersecurity. Businesses should also address the concerns employees have over job loss and automation. They should be transparent and honest with their employees if robotics and automation are part of the business plan. Investing in re-skilling employees for new jobs is a great way to transform a business digitally.

In short, senior management teams should remember that lasting transformation starts with employees.


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