AMD FSR vs. RSR: What’s the difference?

AMD offers two similar image upscaling solutions.

Image via AMD

AMD, like its main competitor Nvidia, has been making active strides in the world of image upscaling technology.

Image upscaling technology is aimed at getting gamers better performance from their games without being too taxing on the hardware. Image upscaling essentially works by rendering the image in a lower resolution before scaling it back up using algorithms in the case of AMD.

Team Red’s versions of image upscaling technologies are FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) and Radeon Super Resolution (RSR), and while FSR’s algorithm is the foundation for RSR, the two have some clear-cut differences.

Image via AMD

In-game vs. In-driver

AMD’s open-source FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) launched in June 2021 and must be implemented by game developers, making it an in-game image upscaling solution. Conversely, Radeon Super Resolution is an in-driver solution that can be toggled on and off via Adrenalin 22.3.1 or newer. This key difference means that, while FSR is implemented in many hit games, RSR is compatible with thousands of games that do not have FSR baked in.

Settings and presets

Because RSR is not baked into games, users will have to manually toggle RSR on in the Adrenalin software before going into their game to set the resolution below native. With FSR, developers implement several presets to choose from, which can make grasping image upscaling a bit more beginner-friendly.

GPU compatibility

The flipside to RSR supporting so many games out of the gate is that its GPU compatibility is limited when compared to FSR’s wide scope. RSR is only compatible with AMD Radeon RX 5000 Series GPUs or newer, while FSR can be used with competitor hardware from Intel, AMD, Nvidia, and even works on consoles.

Fully-rendered frame requirement

Despite using the same algorithm, RSR functions differently than FSR. RSR can only take effect only a fully rendered frame following the completion of other processing and post-processing. On the other hand, because FSR is implemented by developers, FSR can fit in wherever is required by the developer. This can have an effect on the quality of the rendered frame.

In-game elements

FSR does not render in-game elements like the user interface, whereas RSR applies the algorithm to the entire frame. FSR’s exclusion of elements like the HUD and both post-processing effects can lead to better quality. Some HUD elements can also be negatively affected by RSR, as seen in Gamers Nexus’ breakdown.

Quality

This one is pretty simple. AMD admittedly places FSR above RSR in terms of quality. If FSR is unavailable, then RSR is still a worthy option.