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Qualcomm Snapdragon Game Super Resolution: Better Graphics and Power Savings

The News: Qualcomm recently announced its Snapdragon Game Super Resolution (GSR). Designed to maximize the mobile gaming experience by improving upscaling and improved battery life and leveraging its single-pass spatial aware technique, helps it achieve super scaling quality at the best performance and power savings. See the Qualcomm blog for more details.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Game Super Resolution: Better Graphics and Power Savings

Analyst Take: Qualcomm’s recent announcement of its Snapdragon Game Super Resolution (GSR) shows the company’s commitment to continuing to innovate toward making the smartphone experience for its users richer —whether they are gaming, collaborating, or listening to music.

As people gravitate toward mobile gaming, users want that experience to mimic the desktop-level experience as much as possible. Fundamentally, as more independent software vendors (ISVs) continue to walk popular gaming titles onto handset devices, the consumer expectation is having a similar experience to what they experience on the desktop and the ISVs are clamoring for their hardware partner ecosystem to help overcome impediments to customer delight.

The newly announced Snapdragon Game Super Resolution (GSR) is designed to enhance the mobile gaming experience, leveraging its single-pass spatial technique that is designed to achieve optimal super scaling quality at the best performance and power savings. According to Qualcomm, many common upscaling techniques today involve upscaling based on bilinear interpolation, which has a tendency to be power efficient, but which can compromise graphics quality by blurring the edges and details, which can impair the gaming experience. Qualcomm also mentions that other temporal techniques in the current market increase the quality but require inputs that are not common in mobile rendering pipelines today.

Game Super Resolution: Better Graphics and Power Savings

To help its OEM and ISV partner ecosystem overcome some of these challenges, the technique that Qualcomm Studios is using with its Snapdragon Game Super Resolution (GSR) is a single-pass spatial upscaling technique optimized for Snapdragon Adreno GPUs.

The process involves using range-aware dynamic scaling that includes myriad customizations for the Adreno GPU pipeline that manifests in delivering superior graphics quality, coupled with excellent power savings.

Qualcomm claims that the Snapdragon GSR has twice the performance improvement compared to other mobile upscaling solutions, along with excellent visual quality and graphics that are perceptually close to natively rending to the game.

There are many reasons why the Snapdragon Game Super Resolution is much faster on Snapdragon hardware. To be sure, it uses fewer registers and arithmetic logic unit (ALU) instructions as possible on Adreno hardware, which is in contrast to other upscaling techniques that use at least two passes over the input image.

Other upscaling techniques involve using at least two passes over the input image, which can increase the bandwidth used by the upscaling process, thus slowing it down. The Snapdragon Game Super Resolution process integrates upscaling and edge sharpening into one pass, ultimately reducing latency and memory buss usage, resulting in less power consumption coupled with increasing speed. Another benefit of the single pass is that it can be fused into other post-processing passes, such as tone mapping.

The Snapdragon Game Super Resolution also processes uses beyond a single pass as it uses fewer arithmetic logic instructions and texture samples, resulting in a more optimal shader process utilization that translates into more efficient frame times coupled with better power consumption. It also gains efficiencies because it uses a 12-kernel window where the luminance calculation is only done with the green channel since the human eye is the most sensitive to the color.

With the Snapdragon Game Super Resolution processes, it improves the gaming experience by increasing resolutions while maintaining the quality of the graphics, increases the frame rate for a much smoother game play experience, increases the battery life by lowering power consumption, and increases visual fidelity while maintaining frame rate.

Ultimately, with the Snapdragon Game Super Resolution Process, 1080p games can become sharper 4k games, and games that were only 30 frames per second can be played at 60 plus frames per second.

Wrapping it up, the market for mobile gaming and extended reality (XR) continues to gain global adoption and consumers want similar experiences on their mobile devices as they do on their desk-based systems. To help its ISV and OEM partners delight their customers, Qualcomm’s (first-to-market) Snapdragon Game Super Resolution process will undoubtedly help upscale content (e.g., 540p to 1080p, etc.) leveraging its single-pass spatial aware technique that will optimize performance and power savings for its users, which already has its gaming ISVs (e.g., Activision, etc.) partner base leveraging the process for some of their more notable product offerings.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole.

Other insights from The Futurum Group:

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