3DMark releases XeSS benchmark update

3DMark Port Royal
(Image credit: UL)
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UL solutions, the company that develops the 3DMark benchmark, has released a new feature test (opens in new tab) for Intel's XeSS AI-enhanced upscaling technology. It's available as a free download to owners of the Advanced and Professional editions, though only if your edition includes the Port Royal upgrade.

The release of the test coincides with that of Intel's Arc graphics cards. Do check out our Arc A770 review (opens in new tab), though XeSS also works on newer Nvidia and AMD GPUs too. The test is based on the Port Royal benchmark. It's a very intensive sequence with lots of ray traced effects and reflective surfaces to show off XeSS' capabilities.

The benchmark runs twice, once with XeSS disabled, and then with it enabled. Both FPS readings are displayed along with the percentage gain. The second test option is called XeSS Frame Inspector, and it shows 15 frames in total. Then the user can zoom into any part of the image to judge XeSS's image quality.

I ran the test on an RTX 3080 Ti system that included a Ryzen 9 7950X CPU (opens in new tab). Without XeSS it returned 59.44 FPS, while with XeSS on, the result was 76.23. That's a nice 28.2% performance improvement with no discernible image quality penalty. However, running the DLSS 2.0 Feature Test results in a better than 100% improvement, jumping from 62.18 FPS to 134.65.

To run the Intel XeSS feature test, you need to have a GPU that supports Shader Model 6.4 and Microsoft DirectX Raytracing Tier 1.1. XeSS-compatible GPUs include Intel Arc GPUs, as well as AMD Radeon and NVIDIA GeForce GPUs supporting the above tech. You also need Windows 11 or Windows 10 64-bit 20H2 or newer.

If you plan to buy an Arc GPU, it's definitely worth playing around with XeSS to get better performance or higher image quality (or both). It's also nice to see Intel open the XeSS standard, though with each maker focusing on optimizing its own upscaling implementation for its specific architecture, sticking to your brands' tech seems like the safest bet. For now, anyway.

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Chris Szewczyk
Hardware Writer

Chris' gaming experiences go back to the mid-nineties when he conned his parents into buying an 'educational PC' that was conveniently overpowered to play Doom and Tie Fighter. He developed a love of extreme overclocking that destroyed his savings despite the cheaper hardware on offer via his job at a PC store. To afford more LN2 he began moonlighting as a reviewer for VR-Zone before jumping the fence to work for MSI Australia. Since then, he's gone back to journalism, enthusiastically reviewing the latest and greatest components for PC & Tech Authority, PC Powerplay and currently Australian Personal Computer magazine and PC Gamer. Chris still puts far too many hours into Borderlands 3, always striving to become a more efficient killer.