Nvidia Image Scaling (NIS) is Now Open-Source And Better Than AMD FSR

NIS goes open-source.

Nvidia is known to harbor some of the best PC tech around, from its leading-edge graphic cards to software wizardry such as DLSS, the company is no stranger to innovating the market. However, as much as Nvidia is an leader in this field, they like to keep it all to themselves. Unlike AMD, the green team rarely ever open-sources its tech and instead likes to make it proprietary to only its hardware/services. Now, that’s only fair since Nvidia is the one who’s made the tech after all, but recent pressure from competitors has made it rethink its decisions.

Just announced today, Nvidia is making its image scaling tech, Nvidia NIS, open-source. Nvidia Image Upscaling has come built-in on the driver level inside Game Ready Drivers for over 4 years at this point. However, it was not open-source and not given much attention, but that’s all about to change. Nvidia NIS is going open-source to compete with AMD‘s FSR, and Intel’s recent XeSS buzz is likely the catalyst behind this change.

Nvidia Image Scaling SDK | Nvidia

The company will release the SDK on November 16th which will allow any and all games on the market to take advantage of NIS. The SDK will go live on GitHub and launch with cross-platform GPU support. That means NIS will potentially be able to work on non-Nvidia GPUs as well, which will massively increase its use case. Nvidia has also mentioned that they’ve massively improved both the upscaling and sharpening elements of NIS and now the tech is better than ever.

NVIDIA NIS vs. AMD FSR and NVIDIA DLSS

It’s important to note that NIS is just a simple image scaling tech that uses spatial upscaling, similar to what AMD used in FidelityFX Super Resolution. Even though FSR is supposed to be AMD’s answer to DLSS, they both work in drastically different ways under the hood and, thus, produce discernable results. Nvidia NIS is actually the correct comparison to AMD FSR as they both are technically the same thing.

DLSS uses temporal data generated from motion vectors to calculate movement frame by frame so that it doesn’t miss a single moving pixel which would become blurry otherwise. Spatial upscaling does not account for this and is just essentially just a glorified image upscaler with sharpening effects to make the image look better. This is how both AMD FSR and Nvidia NIS operate.

Native vs NIS vs DLSS | Nvidia

Similar to how AMD’s FSR is an open-source technology capable of working on even competitor GPUs, Nvidia NIS is also now open-source and possibly GPU-agnostic. It’s almost a given that Nvidia made NIS open-source in response to AMD making FSR open-source, and it just so happens to be that FSR can’t really compete with DLSS, and that its real competition is NIS anyways.

Speaking of which, Nvidia didn’t release comparison numbers just yet but they will be out soon. However, Videocardz did get an early notification for this announcement and they have a performance comparison between AMD FSR, Nvidia NIS, and Nvidia DLSS inside the game “Necromunda: Hired Gun“. Here’s what the numbers are looking like:

  • Native 4K: ~31 FPS
  • AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR): ~43 FPS
  • Nvidia Image Scaler (NIS): ~46 FPS
  • Nvidia Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS): ~69 FPS

Update: Nvidia has released the performance comparison slides on its website, the slide for the abovementioned comparison looks like this:

Necromunda Hired Gun performance comparison | Nvidia, Videocardz

As you can tell, it’s not looking too good for AMD’s FSR. Not only is it significantly inferior to DLSS but, now it’s loosing to even Nvidia’s Image Upscaling. If this comparison is indicative of general performance across all games then it would be quite embarrassing for AMD as it will lose the one thing that has kept FSR relevant, that being the open-source nature and GPU-agnostic behavior.

Nvidia Image Scaling is set to launch alongside the latest 496.76 GeForce Game Ready Driver today and it will be accessible through either the Nvidia Control Panel or the GeForce Experience app. If you want to see how to access it yourself, you can check out Nvidia’s detailed article here. NIS will already be supported by 1000+ games at launch, so you don’t have to wait for your favorite game to support it. Now, what’re you waiting for? Go update your drivers and give NIS a go!

Huzaifa Haroon
Born and raised around computers, Huzaifa is an avid gamer and a Windows enthusiast. When he's not solving the mysteries of technology, you can find him writing about operating systems, striving to inform the curious.