Battlefield V: DLSS PC Performance Update

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Battlefield V - PC graphics performance review
DLSS Update

EA and DICE have added DLSS support, we check out the benefits and disadvantages of AI AA in this small update with Battlefield V. It's been a rough ride for NVIDIA, launching GeForce RTX cards offering Raytracing, which everybody likes aside from the price premium. An added benefit of GeForce RTX cards is that they have Tensor cores, look at it as a co-processor designed for specific AI workloads. NVIDIA is able to utilize these AI cores for a Supersampled Anti Aliasing technology called DLSS. Most of you know about it, some will just have heard of it. Getting RTX (DX-Raytracing) and DLSS supported in games has been a challenge. Yesterday you've been able to see Metro: Redux, where Raytracing is applied, but 9 out of 10 times very hard to spot. In Battlefield V it is way more visually apparent, but at the cost of your preciously rendered framerates. DLSS is working in the game, but the output is a bit blurry. Basically, DLSS is supersampling from a lower resolution upwards in a more intelligent way. Yesterday both NVIDIA and DICE updated their driver and patched the game to bring DLSS support. In this first update, we'll have a quick peek at what is going on, something I only can describe as a bit of a mess.


DLSS ON means RTX needs to be ON

Yesterday when the game update was patched we immediately wanted to try out DLSS. It promised higher framerates, as TAA gets disabled, and the DLSS AA is running over the Tensor cores, offloading the shader engine. That 'trick' would boost Raytraced game performance as you are no longer running traditional AA over the shader engine. Once I popped in the RTX 2080 Ti I immediately got confused, the DLSS settings where greyed out:


With that happening I decided to move towards the new graphics test platform based on a Core i9 9900K / Windows 10 all updated and the latest NVIDIA drivers. We logged into the game, set 2560x1440 to do some baseline benchmarking, and again ... DLSS is not active. We then moved to Full HD, again no DLSS. In the last try, I enabled Ultra HD as a resolution, and boom DLSS became active.

Different Geforce RTX cards differ in DLSS OFF/ON per resolution.

So after swapping out a few cards, we noticed more weirdness. In some resolutions, DLSS could be enabled, in others not. And it will get even weirder ... the option of DLSS enablement will differ per RTX graphics card. Example:

  • RTX 2080 Ti - Only  3840x2160 will be compatible with DLSS, other resolutions not.
  • RTX 2080 - Only 1920x1080 and 2560x1440 would enable DLSS, Ultra HD not. 
We then started testing cards and resolutions with the risk of getting kicked out of the game (DRM 5 change limitation), and noticed a complete mess of resolutions, cards and their ability to enable DLSS. Our colleagues from TPU noticed the exact same thing, we concur the findings:
Full HD (1920x1080) WQHD (2560x1440) Ultra HD (3840x2160)
GeForce RTX 2080 Ti No No Yes
GeForce RTX 2080 No Yes Yes
GeForce RTX 2070 Yes Yes Yes
GeForce RTX 2060 Yes Yes to be validated

So the most expensive GeForce RTX card, the GeForce RTX 2080 Ti is only DLSS enabled at Ultra HD, but a GeForce RTX 2070 can be activated in all resolutions. Yeah, something tells us there is still work left to be done. There is no reason for the RTX 2080 or 2080 Ti to be DLSS limited in certain resolutions (unless it is something we don't know about. 

With these parameters in mind, we inserted the RTX 2080 Ti again and started testing. As stated we are moving into a new test platform:

Moving to the new platform and swapping out cards however resulted into us being locked out of Battlefield V for 24 hours so in this first benchmark update just some GeForce RTX 2080 Ti results and DLSS image comparisons.
Once EA's fantastic DRM allows us back in the game, we'll add the other card results as well.



Look at the red spot, that's RTX (Ultra) on+DLSS On. So to explain a little, the card at Ultra HD pushes 79 FPS in DX12 without RTX and DLSS enabled. With RTX enabled that is 38 FPS. Once we enabled DLSS and TAA gets disabled, the performance increases significantly towards 55 FPS (the red dot). These are good results but would be nicer if all resolutions would support it eh?


So here we spread out the 3840x2160 resolution versus the render options. You can see a 40% performance uplift from DXR towards DXR+DLSS. That's pretty significant really and that means that DLSS certainly is a viable alternative for AA, or at least a method to boost your Raytracing performance. Mind you if you want to enable DLSS, it is mandatory to enable the RTX modus in game. 

What about DLSS image quality?

It's going to be a massive topic of discussion for a long time. In yesterday's Metro Exodus article we already mentioned that DLSS works well for performance, but we did notice more blurry and unsharp scenery. Will that be the same for Battlefield V? Let's have a peek.

And there you have it. The first impressions of DLSS are simple, it works .. but it does not 'just work', pardon the pun. NVIDIA heavily markets DLSS as free AA for your games, of course, it isn't as you are paying a substantial price premium any GeForce RTX based card.  It is a little baffling to see just one resolution supporting DLSS on the most expensive GeForce RTX 2080 Ti and then the GeForce RTX 2070 gets a full spread of DLSS resolution support. We assume it'll be fixed with future patches and updates. On DLSS Quality, I can only leave that opinion to you guys. DLSS certainly adds a notch of blur into the scene, but the AA overall seems nice and whether or not you feel the lack of that crisp image is bothersome, is something for you to decide. 

We'll keep monitoring anything RTX and DLSS.

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