Intel’s first Arc GPUs are launching today, but one of the biggest features for the new discrete graphics cards will be absent when the first Arc-powered laptops arrive: the company’s XeSS AI-powered upscaling technology, which Intel says won’t be available until sometime in “early summer.”
XeSS is meant to compete with other AI-based upscaling techniques, like Nvidia’s own Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), and promises to offer players better framerates without compromising on quality. (AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution aims to offer similar results, too, but doesn’t use the same super sampling methods as Intel and Nvidia.)
The goal of XeSS is similar to other upscaling techniques, offering players 4K-quality visuals without having to deal with the far more demanding hardware and power requirements for running actual 4K gameplay in real time (something that only the most powerful and pricey graphics cards like the RTX 3090 or the RX 6800 can really achieve right now).
Intel shows off its answer to Nvidia’s DLSS, coming to Arc GPUs in 2022
Like Nvidia’s DLSS, games have to be specifically optimized to work with XeSS, with Intel touting a list of titles that includes Death Stranding: Directors Cut, Legend of the Tomb Raider, Ghostwire Tokyo, Chorus, Hitman 3, and more. And while all those games are already out, the fact that XeSS won’t arrive until the summer means that you won’t get Intel’s upscaling benefits on them even if you do pick up an Arc-powered laptop now.
The silver lining is that the bulk of Intel’s Arc products — including its more powerful laptop GPUs and its long-awaited desktop cards — also won’t be arriving until later on in the year. Intel’s launch today is just for the company’s least powerful Arc 3 discrete graphics for laptops. But hopefully, by the time XeSS does arrive in early summer, Intel will have some more powerful GPUs waiting for it.