Why NVIDIA's old RTX GPUs won't be getting the new DLSS 3.0 feature

Working mechanics of NVIDIA DLSS3 (image via NVIDIA)
Working mechanics of NVIDIA DLSS3 (image via NVIDIA)

GPUs are an important part of any PC, and choosing the right one can be a tough decision. If you're looking at NVIDIA GPUs, you're probably wondering whether DLSS 3.0 is an available feature. DLSS 3.0 is the latest version of the technology, and it's only available on GPUs from the RTX 4000 series. So, if you have an older NVIDIA GPU, luck isn't really on your side.

DLSS is a technology that uses the Tensor Cores found in NVIDIA GPUs to improve game performance while maintaining image quality. It is an AI-based technology that upscales in-game images, allowing games to run at higher resolutions and framerates.


NVIDIA's Ada GPUs will offer significant improvements over the company's previous generation of GPUs, including new architecture and support for NVIDIA's Deep Learning Super Sampling 3.0 technology. However, NVIDIA has no plans to offer support for its older generation of RTX GPUs.

What is DLSS 3?

A ground-breaking advancement in AI-powered graphics, DLSS 3 dramatically increases game fluidity while preserving excellent visual quality and responsiveness. Building on Super Resolution, DLSS incorporates NVIDIA Reflex low latency technology for the best responsiveness and Optical Multi Frame Generation to produce completely new frames. The fourth-generation NVIDIA Ada Lovelace architecture, which also powers the GeForce RTX 40 Series graphics cards, is a source of power for super sampling.

The Frame Generation Convolutional Autoencoder uses two consecutive in-game frames and Ada's Optical Flow Accelerator. The optical flow field records the direction and rate of movement of pixels between frames 1 and 2. Particles, reflections, shadows, lighting, and other pixel-level details that are not taken into account by motion vector computations in game engines may be seen by the optical flow Accelerator. Optical flow fields are calculated using two consecutive frames. The current and previous game frames and engine data such as motion vectors and depth are the four inputs.

The DLSS Frame Generation AI network selects how to use data from sequential game frames, optical flow fields, and game engine data like motion vectors to construct intermediate frames for each pixel. DLSS 3 additionally makes use of a game engine motion vector to accurately follow the movement of geometry in the scene, in contrast to the Optical Flow Accelerator, which records pixel-level effects such as reflections. Frame generation can precisely rebuild geometry and effects by employing both engine motion vectors and optical flow to track motion.

Why won't DLSS 3 be supported in the previous generation RTX GPUs?

Since DLSS Frame Generation runs as a post-process on the GPU, DLSS3 does not function on prior generation cards. The upgraded optical flow analyzers on the RTX 4000 series cards are light years ahead of the prior generation's models. Although older generation cards support OFA, they're not as quick or effective as Ada.


Although last-generation RTX cards could support DLSS 3, NVIDIA has chosen to discontinue support for them because they believe the DLSS they can achieve will be laggy and have a lower overall quality than what could be achieved on RTX4000. This decision may have contributed to a general lack of interest in DLSS.

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Edited by Dinesh Renthlei
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