Today, Nvidia finally unveiled the new RTX 4090 and RTX 4080 video cards, based on the Ada Lovelace architecture. We’ve been hands-on with the RTX 4090 for the past few days and have been hard at work on content that focuses on the company’s latest AI-based frame generation technology – DLSS 3.
First impressions of the RTX 4090 itself? It’s easily one of the biggest gen-on-gen performance increases we’ve seen, even based on limited testing. 4K gaming for higher refresh rate monitors and TVs isn’t a problem with most modern titles – and by extension, 8K at 60fps is now viable if you’re one of the crazy few (like me) who actually owns an 8K TV. Combine this performance boost with the new DLSS 3 – with its AI-based frame generation – and suddenly the most intensive PC gaming workloads run with flawless fluidity.
We were hoping to get our full video ready for today, but having already spent a full weekend on it, we’re still not done and need some extra time – so in this case we’ve created a teaser video showing some of the work which I have already done.
DLSS 3 is essentially composed of three components: the existing AI upscaling techniques from DLSS 2 working in combination with brand new AI frame generation technology using the new optical flow generator found in the new Ada Lovelace architecture. Essentially, two frames are generated using existing rendering techniques, then a third “interpolated” frame is inserted between them using the new frame generation technology. Buffering two frames in this way will obviously have latency implications, meaning that Nvidia’s input lag reduction technology – Reflex – is a mandatory third addition to the DLSS 3 suite. The idea is to mitigate the extra lag introduced by interpolating frames using Reflex.
So the key questions facing new technologies are simple: what is the quality level of the interpolated frames, and how much does the input delay increase or decrease based on frame buffering in combination with whatever attenuation Reflex provides. It’s important to understand the limitations as well as the strengths: for example, esports players rely on higher frame rates to reduce lag significantly – the applications here will likely be limited. However, at the same time, seeing the most demanding triple-A content run smoothly on the LG OLED CX at a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz was quite an experience.
We’ll look to cover these topics and more broadly in our content coming later this week, but for now at least, the trailer above should give you an idea of the quality level of DLSS 3 and some of the tests i have been to. running. Of course, a 4K 120fps video delivery system isn’t currently available, so we ran our captures at half speed so you can see every frame.
This was a very challenging project (not least because 4K 120fps capture didn’t really exist when we started), but the content we’re working on is shaping up nicely. Expect to see the final track air later this week.