Arm tweaks AMD’s FSR to bring battery-saving GPU upscaling to phones and tablets

situation: there are 14 competing standards —

Arm "Accuracy Super Resolution" is optimized for power use and integrated GPUs.

An Arm sample image meant to show off its new "Accuracy Super Resolution" upscaling tech.

Enlarge / An Arm sample image meant to show off its new "Accuracy Super Resolution" upscaling tech.


Some of the best Arm processors come from companies like Apple and Qualcomm, which license Arm's processor instruction set but create their own custom or semi-custom CPU designs. But Arm continues to plug away on its own CPU and GPU architectures and related technologies, and the company has announced that it's getting into the crowded field of graphics upscaling technology.

Arm's Accuracy Super Resolution (ASR) is a temporal upscaler that is based on AMD's open source FidelityFX Super Resolution 2, which Arm says allows developers to "benefit from the familiar API and configuration options." (This AMD presentation from GDC 2023 gets into some of the differences between different kinds of upscalers.)

AMD's FSR and Nvidia's DLSS on gaming PCs are mostly sold as a way to boost graphical fidelity—increasing frame rates beyond 60 fps or rendering "4K" images on graphics cards that are too slow to do those things natively, for example. But since Arm devices are still (mostly, for now) phones and tablets, Arm is leaning into the potential power savings that are possible with lower GPU use. A less-busy GPU also runs cooler, reducing the likelihood of thermal throttling; Arm mentions reduced throttling as a benefit of ASR, though it doesn't say how much of ASR's performance advantage over FSR is attributable to reduced throttling.

"Using [ASR] rendered high-quality results at a stable, low temperature," writes Arm Director for Ecosystem Strategy Peter Hodges. "Rendering at a native resolution inevitably led to undesirable thermal throttling, which in games can ruin the user experience and shorten engagement."

Why not just use FSR2 without modification? Arm claims that the ASR upscaling tech has been tuned to reduce GPU usage and to run well on devices without a ton of memory bandwidth—think low-power mobile GPUs with integrated graphics rather than desktop-class graphics cards. ASR's GPU use is as little as one-third of FSR2's at the same target resolutions and scaling factors. Arm also claims that ASR delivers roughly 20 to 40 percent better frame rates than FSR2 on Arm devices, depending on the settings you're using.

  • Arm also says that reduced GPU usage when using ASR can lead to lower heat and improved battery life.


  • Arm says that ASR runs faster and uses less power than FSR on the same mobile hardware.


Arm says it used "a commercial mobile device that features an Arm Immortalis-G720 GPU" for its performance testing and that it worked with MediaTek to corroborate its power consumption numbers "using a Dimensity 9300 handset."

When the ASR spec is released, it will be up to OS makers and game developers to implement it. Apple will likely stick with its own MetalFX upscaling technology—also derived from AMD's FSR, for what that's worth. Microsoft is pushing "Automatic Super Resolution" on Arm devices while also attempting to develop a vendor-agnostic upscaling API in "DirectSR." Qualcomm announced Snapdragon Game Super Resolution a little over a year ago.

Arm's upscaler has the benefit of being hardware-agnostic and also open-source (Arm says it "want[s] to share [ASR] with the developer community under an MIT open-source license") so that other upscalers can benefit from its improvements. Qualcomm's upscaler is also a simpler spatial upscaler a la AMD's first-generation FSR algorithm, so Arm's upscaler could also end up producing superior image quality on the same GPUs.

We're undeniably getting into that one xkcd comic about the proliferation of standards territory here, but it's at least interesting to see different companies using graphics upscaling technology to solve problems other than "make games look nicer."

Listing image by Arm


Related stories
1 week ago - Qualcomm’s Snapdragon X CPUs make Windows on Arm a viable platform  The VergeIf Intel can't come up with a Qualcomm-killer soon, it's game over for x86 PCs  ZDNet7 vital details to know before buying a Windows Copilot+ laptop |...
1 day ago - Linux Kernel 6.10 introduces Rust language support for the RISC-V architecture, as well as initial support for AMD Zen 5 processors and Intel's Battlemage GPUs.Read Entire Article
1 week ago - Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 review: Success at last  EngadgetHere's how the M3 Pro compares to Snapdragon X Elite on battery life [Video]  9to5MacSurface Laptop review: Microsoft's best MacBook Air competitor yet  The VergeSurface Laptop 7...
1 week ago - Powered by Qualcomm's Arm-based Snapdragon X processor, the Windows-based laptop is exceptionally well made and long-running.
6 days ago - Qualcomm spends millions on marketing as it is found better battery life, not AI features, is driving Copilot+ PC sales  Tom's HardwareThe Rise Of AI PCs: A New Era For Computer Sales  ForbesQualcomm, Microsoft Lean on AI Hype to Spur PC...
Other stories
5 minutes ago - Blender's next generation EEVEE engine has been completely rewritten, allowing for global illumination, displacement, better SSS, viewport motion blur, and more. Blender 4.2 LTS also includes support for GPU-accelerated compositing.Read...
5 minutes ago - This mug warmer was already a great deal. Now at 35% off, it's an absolute steal.
5 minutes ago - Shokz headphones are perfect for outdoor activities -- and they could even save your life.
5 minutes ago - If feels like at least once a week I'm pulling down my immersion hand blender. This was one of the best things I ever bought for the kitchen, and it's on sale for Amazon Prime Day right now.
5 minutes ago - Why You Can Trust CNET Our expert deal-hunting staff showcases the best price drops and discounts from reputable sellers daily. If you make a...