Upscaling isn't only for buffing frame rates, it also 'reduces latency'

Nvidia DLSS
(Image credit: Nvidia)

Latency is the enemy of the competitive gamer. Those fractions of a second between spotting an enemy and landing a potentially game-winning shot can mean the difference between disgrace and adulation. So much so that those at the top of their game are willing to drop serious money on kit to make sure they're not being held back by normal hardware. I'm talking low-latency ultra-lightweight mice, high-refresh monitors, and obviously, the best graphics cards (opens in new tab) money can buy.

That latter element certainly didn't escape Nvidia's eye. Not in a cynical, there's-money-to-be-made-here sense, which obviously there is, but more in what it can do to measure latency and combat it. If it manages to offer something for competitive gamers over its AMD and Intel competitors, then I'm sure it doesn't mind that either.

Nvidia has been working with game developers and released its Reflex SDK (opens in new tab) to help developers implement just-in-time rendering to help reduce latency. There are currently 35 games that support Reflex (opens in new tab), with all the major competitive shooters already signed up. For most of these games, Reflex exists in the game settings as a toggle to help shave a few milliseconds off the overall latency experienced. 

There is another way of improving your lot though, and that's using upscaling technology. As Seth Schneider, Senior Product Manager at Nvidia, pointed out to us, “One of the lesser-known benefits of DLSS is that it reduces latency and increases responsiveness! By reducing the render resolution, the GPU can work on frames faster—ultimately increasing responsiveness by decreasing the frametime.”

So if you want to slash your latency, try turning on DLSS or FSR and see if it affects your K/D ratio. You could always just play at a lower resolution, but then you've got less information to work from, which isn't always ideal.

In other news, a soon-to-be-released version of Nvidia Frameview will support measuring PC latency, so you'll be able to get hard numbers on what a difference this can make. The games themselves need to support it, but Nvidia has already got a good selection of games signed up—being the major graphics card supplier has its perks, clearly.

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Alan Dexter

Alan has been writing about PC tech since before 3D graphics cards existed, and still vividly recalls having to fight with MS-DOS just to get games to load. He fondly remembers the killer combo of a Matrox Millenium and 3dfx Voodoo, and seeing Lara Croft in 3D for the first time. He's very glad hardware has advanced as much as it has though, and is particularly happy when putting the latest M.2 NVMe SSDs, AMD processors, and laptops through their paces. He has a long-lasting Magic: The Gathering obsession but limits this to MTG Arena these days.