You Can Now Game On Your Work Laptop?! – Lossless Scaling Test

In the video game industry there is an ever increasing need for calculation power to support the ever improving graphics quality. If a new game get released and your PC hardware is simply not powerful enough anymore you have the option of either looking at a stop motion film on your screen or spend tons of money to get the newest graphics card, right?! Don’t you worry, Lossless Scaling is a software tool that claims to fix exactly this problem! Lets take a look and verify if these claims are actually true.

How does it work?

Lossess scaling Dashboard

Lossless scaling offers to main aspects. On one side it allows you to upscale a non full screen video game to full frame through various methods including AMDs FSR and Nvidias Image Upscaler. This is not only useful for some emulators that don’t support full screen natively but also allows you to render ANY game at a lower resolution and then upscale it to your screen resolution regardless of what GPU you have. This essentially is the same thing as Nvidias DLSS but now usable in any game.

The second feature is the build in frame generator which uses an AI algorithm to generate frames in between the normally rendered frames to offer a smoother gaming experience with the end result of higher FPS. For the frame generation Lossless Scaling uses its own models called LSFG from which the developer now just released the 2.0 version. Should you be running on extremely low end hardware there is now also an additional Performance button enabling the most power optimized version of LSFG.

It should be noted that Lossless scaling is meant to improve the performance on devices that already have a decent graphics card so please view the results of this test as an extreme case for which the program most likely isn’t optimized for.

Testing run

To check if Lossless scaling might actually be the future of low power hardware gaming we will run a few FPS tests in the valve game Portal. You might now rightfully proclaim that Portal is not the most graphically demanding game to have ever reached the home computer and you are absolutely right with that. But because this test is aimed at even some of the least powerful hardware out there like old Lenovo Thinkpads we need to lower the bar quite a bit to even get close to a reasonable experience.

Speaking of which, the following tests are run on a Lenovo Thinkpad X270 which only relies on its Intel integrated 620 HD graphics card for rendering. It has a 1920×1080 display. The graphics settings in Portal are turned all the way down.

Baseline 1 – NO LSFG // NO SCALING // Rendering 1920×1080

To create a performance baseline running at the native resolution of the screen the integrated graphics manages to render at 25 to 35 FPS while mainly staying at 30. While this is not a particular luxurious experience, it does work.

Baseline 2 – NO LSFG // NO SCALING // Rendering 1080×720

At 1080×720 the 620 graphics unit is much more happy and is easily reaching 60 FPS and peaking at above 70. This is now as smooth as it gets on such a laptop only limited by the 60 Hz refresh rate of the screen.

Test 1 – NO LSFG // LS1 Scaling // Rendering 1080×720

Please note that taking screenshots is not working as such with scaling turned on therefore the quality of the pictures here is worse than what you would see on the screen. But rendering at 1080×720 and scaling it up through Lossless scalings own LS1 algorithm on performance mode does make a difference in the achieved FPS. Instead of around 30 FPS you can expect up to 50 FPS with an average increase of 15 FPS. This results in a very pleasant gaming experience with few stutters and a noticeable difference in smoothness.

Test 2 – NO LSFG // AMD FSR Scaling // Rendering 1080×720

This time trying it with the AMD FSR upscaling algorithm also on optimized mode, the performance is a bit worse FPS wise. In average you can expect up to 10 FPS more than rendering at native resolution. I would say though that especially in fine details it looks a bit more refined and sharper than LS1.

Test 3 – NO LSFG // NVIDIA Image Scaling // Rendering 1080×720

Surprisingly the NVIDIA image upscaling did work great even on so little power. Averaging a plus of 20 FPS and resulting in peaks above 70 FPS this was seriously impressive. There was also no apparent loss of quality. This is so far my favorite although sometimes there were rare irregular stutters with FPS crashing to 25.

Test 4/5 – LSFG 2.0 // NVIDIA Image Scaling // Rendering 1080×720

With frame generation turned on i was not able to get decent performance from the tiny integrated GPU. I got an average FPS of around 20 with dips going down to 10. Not great. Sadly i was not able to fix this. LSFG 1.1 didnt make much of a difference either. I assume the frame generation simply needs a dedicated GPU with appropriate power to work in a reasonable environment. I will later retest this on more powerful hardware but so far it seems you have to stick to only using upscaling for a better performance.

Test Results

Baseline: native rendering at 1920×1080 resulted in average FPS of 30 FPS.

Test RunUpscalingLSFGaverage FPS / difference to native
1LS1N/A45 FPS / increase of 15 FPS
2AMD FSRN/A40 FPS / increase of 10 FPS
3NVIDIA Img.Scal.N/A55 FPS / increase of min 20 FPS
4NVIDIA Img.Scal.LSFG 2.018 FPS / loss of min 10 FPS
5NVIDIA Img.Scal.LSFG 1.1.22 FPS / loss of 8 FPS
Test results

Result and Impression

The upscaling through Lossless Scaling works good and has a easy to use interface to choose between the different modes and algorithms. It clearly has potential and can give you a more playable and enjoyable experience even on very low end hardware. Especially the NVIDIA Image Scaling algorithm impressed me through its great performance.

The frame generation does need more raw calculation power though and is not suitable for low power systems without graphics cards. I am deeply impressed that a single developer managed to get something up and running that works this great and I hope that the development of this project is going to continue for the good of non high end gaming.

Ceck out Lossless Scaling here:

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