Nvidia (re)invents linear scaling

Back to the future with classic imagine-processing

Jon Peddie


Even though there are almost a dozen great new games, most with ray tracing, the pixel pushers at Nvidia decided what gamers really want is better looking 30-year old games that can be played at 4K. 

As part of Nvidia’s latest driver release (436.02) the company is including GPU integer scaling, a new sharpening filter for its freestyling system. Presumably, this is a feature gamers have requested for a while. At Siggraph, Intel said that they were adding that feature in their Gen 11 GPUs that will show up in the Ice Lake processors.

Nonblurry upscaling at integer ratios. 

With the advent of 4K and 5K displays, gamers have expressed the need (desire) for an integer scaling option to adjust desktop size and position within Nvidia’s control panel. That would be in addition to the aspect ratio, full-screen, and no scaling options. What that would do is scale the input to the largest integer multiple of one’s display supports.

If one is using a 4K display, they could display a 1920 ×1080 input at exactly 2× by using nearest neighbor resampling for a sharper image, instead of using bilinear scaling which can look softer or blurry in some cases. So if one had an old game with a fixed resolution of say 1280 × 720, it could be scaled up 3× and look sharp on a 4K screen. When 5K screens and higher start to be used other scales can be developed. 


Nvidia’s sharpening filter (Source: Nvidia)



We haven’t tried the feature yet, it would involve loading some really old game, and who knows where that 5.25 floppy drive is.