AMD’s Virtual Super Resolution Explained

Virtual Super Resolution (abbreviated VSR) is an AMD feature available since the Catalyst 15.7 update that you can enable for video games to easily and quickly improve the image quality with the tick of a box.

Virtual Super Resolution allows the game to be rendered at higher “virtual” resolutions (up to 4K) than your monitor’s native resolution allows. It then rescales them down to your display’s native resolution.

The great thing is that when you enable Virtual Super Resolution you can get an image quality that is close to 4K even on a 1080p monitor without having to sink a bunch of money into a 4k monitor.

You can see in the video below a comparison in Witcher 3 between 1080p and 4K resolution using VSR. The increase in quality is very noticeable.

Does virtual super resolution affect performance?

There is definitely some performance impact with Virtual Super Resolution enabled. 

With higher resolutions you can always expect a lower frame rate since you’re processing more pixels

You should decide for yourself whether the increase in quality is worth the loss in framerate.

Should you turn it on or off?

As we’ve said, since the tech makes you play the game at a higher resolution you will obviously take some sort of performance hit.

If you have a supported graphics card and think your PC that can handle the increase in processed pixels you should enable VSR and see just how much it specifically affects performance for you.

Luckily this is made easy using Radeon’s built-in framerate statistics feature. You can check this by simply enabling Radeon overlay by pressing Alt + R.

The best way to test the impact is straightforward.

Run a game, preferably the one you play most often, while VSR is turned off and the game is on native resolution and jot down you average FPS.

Then turn it on and run the same game again at 4k.

Compare the two.

How do you enable it?

If you don’t know how to enable VSR you can do so by going to your Radeon settings and clicking the Display tab.

Here you will find the toggle to turn it on or off.

Virtual Super Resolution On

Which resolutions are supported

How high you can choose to go with your “virtual” resolution depends on your monitor’s native resolution.

Native Monitor ResolutionSupported Virtual Super Resolutions
1366 x 768 @ 60Hz1600 x 900
1920 x 1080
1600 x 900 @ 60Hz1920 x 1080
1920 x 1080 @ 60Hz2560 x 1440
3200 x 1800
3840 x 2160*
1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz2048 x 1536
2560 x 1600
3840 x 2400*
2560 x 1440 @ 60Hz3200 x 1800
1920 x 1080 @ 120Hz​1920 x 1200 @ 120Hz
2048 x 1536 @ 120Hz
*only on Radeon R9 285, Radeon R9 380, and Radeon R9 Fury series

Graphic cards capable of virtual super resolution

The following Radeon series support Virtual Super Resolution. If your card isn’t on this list then you won’t be able to take advantage of this feature.

Supported AMD Graphics Cards
Radeon RX 5700 SeriesRadeon R9 270 Series
Radeon VIIRadeon R7 370 Series 
Radeon RX Vega SeriesRadeon R7 360 Series
Radeon RX 500 SeriesRadeon R7 260 Series
Radeon RX 400 SeriesRadeon Pro Duo
Radeon R9 390 Series Radeon R9 Fury Series
Radeon R9 380 Series Radeon R9 Nano
Radeon R9 295X2Radeon HD 7900 Series
Radeon R9 290 SeriesRadeon HD 7800 Series
Radeon R9 280 SeriesRadeon HD 7790 Series
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Dan Alder
Dan Alder
Dan's logged far too many hours in CS 1.6 and reminisces about LAN parties back in the good ol' days. He's also an engineer that's interested in anything to do with tech.

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