AMD’s big compromise to gamers just isn’t working

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AMD presenting FSR 3 astatine Gamescom.AMD

AMD made a discuss pinch FSR 3. The frame-generation tech was announced successful November 2022, and it took astir a twelvemonth for it to show up successful a game. Even now, months aft release, FSR 3 is only disposable successful 12 games, nan lion’s stock of which are bequest titles and single-player games that are past their prime. Adoption wasn’t working, hence nan request for a compromise.

The discuss is AMD Fluid Motion Frames, aliases AFMF — 1 of nan slightest catchy acronyms, but I digress. This is driver-based framework generation. FSR 3 isn’t disposable successful a ton of games, but AFMF sidesteps that hurdle, truthful agelong arsenic you person an AMD graphics card. You tin usage framework procreation done nan driver successful fundamentally immoderate DirectX 11 aliases DirectX 12 game. Sounds beautiful sweet.

The problem is that AFMF isn’t very good. The acquisition ranges from somewhat amended than playing nan crippled natively to downright worse. As nan only measurement guardant for AMD’s frame-generation tech, it’s a troubling sign.

AFMF is not FSR 3

A travel floor plan explaining AMD's FSR 3 information flow.AMD

AMD is adamant that AFMF is not FSR 3. That’s a connection I work together with, but it’s easy to spot why AFMF and FSR 3 ever travel up successful nan aforesaid conversation. Both supply framework generation, aliases much accurately, framework interpolation. They activity successful nan aforesaid way; your graphics paper renders 2 frames and compares them, and past it calculates a framework successful betwixt based connected nan quality betwixt them. The captious quality is that FSR 3 does this successful nan crippled motor arsenic portion of nan rendering pipeline while AFMF does it aft nan rendering is already done. That quality is why AFMF tin beryllium installed arsenic a driver aft nan fact.

The crippled motor advantage is simply a large woody for image quality. As portion of nan rendering pipeline, FSR 3 tin entree specifications for illustration mobility vectors from nan game, allowing it to much accurately make a frame. It tin besides carve retired elements for illustration nan UI and menus, which are peculiar symptom points for frame-generation tech. AFMF can’t do that. It takes nan last framework you see, UI and all. AFMF has shockingly bully value considering really it works, but you tin still spot immoderate artifacts that aren’t coming pinch FSR 3.

AMD recognizes that AFMF isn’t perfect, truthful alternatively of conscionable letting it run, AFMF automatically turns disconnected whenever there’s excessively large of a quality betwixt 2 frames, peculiarly successful accelerated motion. There are immoderate artifacts connected menus and nan like, but nan existent slayer for AFMF is nan move measurement successful which it works.

AFMF had a somewhat jittery consequence during astir gameplay.

I tested 4 games, and retired of that batch, AFMF provided a worse acquisition successful 3 of them. The only objection is Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth, and that’s chiefly owed to nan truth that it’s a turn-based game. For nan different three, I would alternatively play these games natively pinch little smoothness than move AFMF on.

The logic why is simple: The peaks and valleys of AFMF are excessively noticeable. In astir of nan games I tested, I was hovering betwixt 70 frames per 2nd (fps) and 90 fps pinch upscaling turned connected astatine 4K. The pacing betwixt each framework was comparatively consistent, and erstwhile it roseate and fell, location was a soft thrust down aliases up. That’s wasn’t nan lawsuit pinch AFMF.

Any clip location was excessively overmuch of a quality betwixt 2 frames, AFMF turned off, starring to a jarring acquisition wherever it ne'er felt for illustration nan crippled is smooth. If you locomotion successful a consecutive statement slowly, it looks smooth. But during immoderate benignant of existent gameplay, you’re oscillating betwixt a precocious framework complaint and a debased one. A consistent, comparatively debased framework complaint will consciousness smoother than 1 that’s jumping from precocious to debased constantly.

That was surely my experience, pinch a somewhat jittery consequence during astir gameplay. Even pinch nan framework complaint antagonistic showing a higher number, nan crippled didn’t consciousness arsenic smooth.

 Infinite Wealth.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

The champion measurement to show that is simply a framework clip graph, which you tin spot supra in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. These tests were tally pinch a Ryzen 9 7950X and an RX 7800 XT. I person a fistful of these charts, truthful it’s worthy explaining what they show. This is nan clip betwixt each frame, pinch a sample taken each 4th of a 2nd complete nan people of a fewer minutes. Higher framework clip intends little framework rate, but that’s not what’s important pinch these charts. We’re looking astatine consistency. Ideally, you want your framework clip to beryllium arsenic adjacent to a level statement arsenic possible. That leads to a smoother experience, arsenic nan clip betwixt each framework is similar.

That’s not what you spot in Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. With AFMF off, location was immoderate variety arsenic I ran astir nan streets of Hawaii and tussled pinch a fewer baddies, but everything is successful adjacent proximity. AFMF, connected nan different hand, spiked each clip I moved nan camera. Finally, FSR 3 managed to little nan framework clip (and amended nan framework rate), showing a akin level of consistency arsenic nan results pinch AFMF turned off. There’s your impervious — AFMF is surely not FSR 3.

AFMF is not a discuss for lacking FSR 3 support

I didn’t do thing typical for these tests. I played 3 to 5 minutes of nan game, loading nan aforesaid prevention record and moving astir nan aforesaid area. It’s worthy noting that this is specifically not a benchmark run. It’s expected to mimic existent gameplay, truthful you tin forgive immoderate level of variation. For example, you tin spot a mates of spikes successful some nan AFMF disconnected and FSR 3 results wherever nan framework complaint concisely dipped successful Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth. We’re looking astatine nan wide trend, not immoderate individual spike.

A framework clip floor plan for Starfield.I admit really crazy this floor plan looks, but I ran these aforesaid tests 3 abstracted times (on 2 PCs) pinch likewise chaotic results. Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

I request to found that earlier showing you the Starfield chart you tin spot above. There are a batch of squiggly lines here, truthful let’s return them 1 by one. With some FSR 3 and AFMF turned off, you tin spot immoderate variation. Those little spikes you spot — wherever nan framework clip shoots consecutive up — is caused by a stutter. There are besides immoderate rounder peaks and valleys, arsenic this floor plan represents a information of combat wherever nan framework complaint wasn’t wholly stable.

With AFMF on, you spot akin problems. There are ample spikes indicating a stutter, arsenic good arsenic peaks and valleys successful framework time, but it’s nan wide inclination that’s a problem here. The framework clip is each complete nan spot successful a move combat scene, jerking backmost and distant betwixt a precocious and debased framework clip relentlessly.

As mentioned, these aren’t 100% identical benchmark runs, truthful you spot immoderate areas wherever AFMF connected has a higher framework clip than AFMF off. That’s not an rumor pinch nan tech, but alternatively immoderate variance successful each of these runs. The constituent isn’t to azygous retired a information of this floor plan and comparison nan 3 results — nan extremity present is show nan wide inclination of framework time.

Starfield and Like a Dragon: Infinite Wealth both support FSR 3, truthful you tin (and should) conscionable usage that characteristic alternatively than AFMF. The driver-based framework procreation is location for everything else, but unfortunately, different games show nan aforesaid problems that we tin spot successful FSR 3 games.

 Survivor.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

Star Wars Jedi: Survivor is a bully illustration of really that hurts nan experience. In stark contrast to Starfield, I didn’t get into immoderate combat successful this run, but chose a short, linear platforming conception done nan Shattered Moon. With AFMF off, nan framework clip is reasonably stable, but pinch it on, you tin spot immoderate clear spikes passim nan two-minute run.

It’s a batch amended than Starfield, but nan mostly of this trial was conscionable my characteristic moving successful a consecutive statement pinch an occasional jump aliases zipline. It’s a awesome illustration of really moreover nether perfect circumstances for AFMF, nan characteristic still has limitations.

A framework clip floor plan for Returnal.Jacob Roach / Digital Trends

For a much realistic gameplay experience, look at Returnal. This crippled has a comparatively wide camera successful combat, truthful it’s not arsenic jittery as Starfield pinch its first-person perspective. Still, there’s a ton of variety pinch AFMF turned on. For each of these runs, I wasn’t conscionable opinionated still and whipping nan camera astir — I was playing nan game, reacting arsenic anyone would erstwhile playing it.

Proper FSR 3 support is nan only measurement forward

Frank Azor presenting AMD's FSR 3 astatine Gamescom.AMD

This batch of testing exposed really awesome FSR 3 really is. It’s not rather arsenic precocious value arsenic Nvidia’s DLSS 3, but it’s adjacent enough. Add connected apical nan truth that you tin usage FSR 3 pinch virtually immoderate GPU — and devices for illustration nan Steam Deck and ROG Ally — and there’s an statement that it’s moreover amended than DLSS 3 successful definite aspects. It’s conscionable not disposable successful capable games.

Since October of past year, FSR 3 has only made its measurement into 12 games. Only 3 of those games are dense hitters — Call of Duty Modern Warfare III, Farming Simulator 22, and arsenic of a fewer days ago, Starfield. I wrote astir this nonstop issue 4 months ago, and nan business has hardly improved since then. For context, successful nan aforesaid four-month play from release, DLSS 3 showed up successful 25 games, nan bulk of which were caller titles like Atomic Heart, Warhammer 40K: Darktide, Need for Speed Unbound, and Spider-Man: Miles Morales. There’s nary uncertainty Nvidia has a large caput commencement for DLSS 3 support, but FSR 3 is still lagging acold down successful take rate.

AFMF isn’t bully capable to capable those gaps. In penning this article, I’ve seen half a twelve small tips and tricks users person recovered successful utilizing AFMF, specified arsenic adding a framework complaint cap to destruct tearing, and that’s great. I for illustration that nan characteristic exists and that users tin messiness astir pinch it to spot if it improves their gameplay experience, because successful immoderate cases, it really does. It’s conscionable not a solution for games lacking FSR 3 support.

AFMF needs immoderate large improvements earlier it tin unrecorded up to its promise.

To AMD’s credit, it’s not shouting from nan rooftops astir AFMF, and it’s surely not saying AFMF is simply a replacement for FSR 3. It’s easy to spot wherever you could make that assumption, though. AFMF and FSR 3 are ever successful nan aforesaid conversation, and headlines talking astir boosting capacity successful “most PC games” person already made nan rounds. Even pinch seemingly bully intentions, AFMF looks for illustration a solution for games that deficiency FSR 3 support erstwhile it’s intelligibly not.

AFMF needs immoderate large improvements earlier it tin genuinely capable successful nan games that FSR 3 misses, but fixed nan driver-based attack of nan tech, I’m not judge really overmuch further it tin go. It’s a very absorbing characteristic that I’d emotion to spot mature, theoretically providing a capacity boost successful conscionable astir immoderate crippled you tin propulsion astatine it. I conscionable wish it came aft we already had a wide swath of games that support FSR 3 because AFMF is intelligibly overmuch worse correct now.

As it stands now, FSR 3 is only disposable successful a mini number of titles, nan mostly of which person very debased subordinate counts. And successful spot of due FSR 3 support is AFMF, which does very small successful astir games to amended nan experience. If AMD tin hole up AFMF, I’ll beryllium nan first to cheer them on. But arsenic of now, it has a agelong measurement to go.

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