Intel XeSS 1.3 accelerates into the next generation of AI upscaling

by Zachary Hill |

Intel Xe Super Sampling is getting an update with new presets and scaling factors for more FPS, and an updated model for better detail with less ghosting. What’s not to love?

Intel XeSS is growing alongside Intel Arc GPUs in a labor of love to restore balance to the graphics market. Intel XeSS adds AI-powered upscaling to over 100 supported titles so you can game with better image quality without sacrificing FPS.

XeSS 1.3 by the numbers

Speaking of FPS values, what we’re most excited to share about Intel XeSS 1.3 are the expected performance increases, so let’s dig in. Before showing you performance data, we have to make clear none of the games below include XeSS 1.3. For these Intel-only tests of the upcoming version of our AI upscaler, Intel engineering labs used a modified build of XeSS and popular games to validate improvements. This gives us an idea of how XeSS 1.3 may be able to improve performance further with future enabled games.

We’ve compared the previous version of XeSS against our all new XeSS 1.3 across seven different popular games, and tested on both an Intel Arc A750 powered desktop and a laptop powered by the Intel Core Ultra 7 155H processor with built-in Intel Arc GPU. These modern game titles pack in some of the most impressive visuals ever, which means achieving high framerates is no easy feat. Running the previous XeSS 1.1 or 1.2 versions on in these games already makes them smooth and playable — even with ray tracing on. But we can go even faster and smoother with XeSS 1.3!

Let’s start with the Intel Arc A750 system, tested at 1440p High with ray tracing effects where supported.

Across the board we see an average 10% expected increase in FPS from a previous version of XeSS to XeSS 1.3 on the Intel Arc A750, with some cases like Diablo IV* jumping a massive 28% in performance.

On the available built-in Arc GPU of the Intel Core Ultra processor, we tested the same seven games at 1080p Medium:

Playing cinematic games on-the-go can be a challenge, but not with XeSS enabled. The newest version of our AI upscaler is expected to provide 8% more FPS on average and to help the built-in Arc GPU double framerates in The Witcher 3* over native rendering.

What’s happening under the hood

The key improvements with XeSS 1.3 are our updated AI models. Through model optimizations, additional training, and in particular on difficult visual elements, the new XeSS version delivers more detailed reconstruction, better anti-aliasing, less ghosting, and more temporal stability. All great technical terms, but seeing the new model in action does more than words ever will:

It’s no secret that some fine details in games can be challenging for upscalers which can lead to distracting and annoying artifacts such as ghosting, flickering, and moiré. This scene from Like a Dragon: Ishin!* is a good illustration of the progress before and after training the model with more challenging content. The narrow lines of the bamboo curtain in the background completely break immersion when upscaled with the old XeSS model, as they intensely flicker instead of blending smoothly together. Now with improved training data set, stronger AI model muscles give better results for an immersive gaming experience. The ability to teach and improve our models is why we made the decision early on to make XeSS an AI-based upscaler!

More choices to play your way

In addition to improving temporal stability, XeSS 1.3 brings general quality improvements with greater detail reconstruction. For gamers, we made the decision to translate that in terms of more performance with updated quality presets and more choices. New image quality presets are now included with XeSS 1.3, which adds Ultra Performance, Ultra Quality Plus, and an all-new Native Anti-Aliasing setting.

PresetResolution scaling in
previous XeSS versions
Resolution scaling
in XeSS 1.3
Native Anti-AliasingN/A1.0x (Native resolution)
Ultra Quality PlusN/A1.3x
Ultra Quality1.3x1.5x
Ultra PerformanceN/A3.0x

The first step in the XeSS pipeline is rendering faster at a lower resolution, and each preset changes how much the image is scaled up. One new exception is the Native Anti-Aliasing preset, which feeds a native resolution render through the new XeSS model to deliver the highest level of details with intelligent anti-aliasing.

With even more choices than before, we tested Cyberpunk 2077’s* expected performance with the new XeSS 1.3 upscaling presets:

Ready for developers

The new XeSS 1.3 SDK is available today on GitHub and we’re working closely with game developers on both upgrades and new integrations of XeSS 1.3. We can’t wait to see these advances implemented in your favorite games to deliver an even better gaming experience. When XeSS is included in games, it gives gamers more quality and performant options than ever before, making jaw-dropping AI-powered visuals widely accessible.

Notices and Disclaimers

Performance varies by use, configuration, and other factors. Learn more on the Performance Index site.

Performance results are based on testing as of dates shown in configurations and may not reflect all publicly available updates. See backup for configuration details. No product or component can be absolutely secure.

Intel® Arc™ graphics only available on select MTL H-series processor-powered systems with dual-channel memory. OEM enablement required; check with OEM or retailer for system configuration details.

Results that are based on pre-production systems and components as well as results that have been estimated or simulated using an Intel Reference Platform (an internal example new system), internal Intel analysis or architecture simulation or modeling are provided to you for informational purposes only. Results may vary based on future changes to any systems, components, specifications or configurations.

Your costs and results may vary.

Intel technologies may require enabled hardware, software or service activation.

© Intel Corporation. Intel, the Intel logo, Arc, and other Intel marks are trademarks of Intel Corporation or its subsidiaries.

*Other names and brands may be claimed as the property of others.

System configuration and workload