Back in July, Intel made the announcement that it would be bringing integer scaling to its graphics driver, and late last week, the first supporting driver was released. This release comes soon after NVIDIA itself introduced integer scaling in its graphics drivers. We’re sure AMD can’t be far behind.
With as much demand as IS has had, it’s great to see that two companies have finally introduced the feature, but it’s unfortunate that it’s not coming without some serious caveats. On the Intel side, only the company’s Ice Lake GPUs are able to run with IS. The support simply doesn’t exist for the older hardware, as Intel says it couldn’t deliver the performance needed. Similarly, NVIDIA’s IS solution only supports the latest Turing-based GPUs.
Go figure – to take advantage of this “retro” scaling, you need brand-new hardware.
The bottom of the two screenshots above comes from NVIDIA, but the same mechanics apply, as the top shot from Intel shows. Integer scaling will accurately scale content up without any sort of color bleeding or blurring. It’s as accurate an interpretation of fixed-resolution games that won’t impact the fidelity. If you don’t play a lot of retro games, or games that are designed with fixed resolutions or aspect ratios (such as FTL: Faster Than Light, seen above), you can safely ignore the feature.
Integer scaling is an old concept, so it’s almost strange that it’s taken this long for companies to take it into account, especially given the demand over the years. If you do not have current hardware to take advantage of the feature, there are other solutions that exist to help you brute force things, such as the Lossless Scaling – Integer Scaling for Games at Steam, which is one I’ve seen recommended lately. It’s a solution that might not guarantee great performance, but if you have a high-end PC, you may not have to worry about it. Fortunately, that tool includes a demo, so if you are curious enough to try it, you don’t have to plunk down the $5 it costs up front to see if it works for you.