Does DLSS Increase Latency? 

Does DLSS Increase Latency

Ever felt that slight delay between your button press and the action happening on screen? That, my friend, is latency, and in the fast-paced world of gaming, it can make all the difference between dominating the battlefield or getting utterly destroyed.

Now, NVIDIA’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) has been a game-changer, boosting frame rates and image quality. Sounds like a win-win, right? Well, there’s been some chatter about DLSS potentially increasing latency, introducing a bit of a controversy.

So, does DLSS increase latency? Let’s dive in and explore the truth behind this debate.

How Does DLSS Work Its Magic?

Imagine this: you’re rendering a game at a lower resolution, saving precious processing power. But wouldn’t that result in a blurry mess? DLSS steps in with its AI superpowers. It takes that lower-resolution image and uses a complex neural network to reconstruct a sharp, high-resolution image that rivals (or even surpasses) native rendering. Pretty slick, huh?

Here’s the kicker: DLSS comes in different flavors. You’ve got Quality mode, which prioritizes stunning visuals; Balanced mode, striking a sweet spot between performance and image fidelity; and Performance mode, all about maximizing frame rates for those silky-smooth visuals.

Does DLSS Increase Latency? 

So, does DLSS mess with my reaction time? Hold your horses, because things get a little more nuanced here. We need to differentiate between DLSS 2.x (the versions you’ve likely encountered before) and the brand new DLSS 3.

DLSS 2.x: This version primarily focuses on image reconstruction. The impact on latency is minimal, and in some cases, it might even decrease slightly thanks to the higher frame rates it delivers. Think of it like clearing traffic jams on your virtual highway, allowing information to flow faster.

DLSS 3: Buckle up, because this iteration introduces a new technique called “Frame Generation.” This fancy term essentially means DLSS 3 predicts what the next frame will look like and creates an entirely new frame in between the ones rendered by your graphics card. It’s like having a super-powered teammate filling in the gaps for you. However, this prediction process can introduce a slight delay, potentially increasing latency.

How Much Lag Are We Talking About?

Does DLSS Increase Latency
Aiming for super-high frame rates (think 240 FPS) might amplify the perceived latency compared to targeting a more balanced 60 FPS

Here’s the good news: the latency increase with DLSS 3 varies depending on several factors.

  • Game Genre: Fast-paced shooters like Counter-Strike: Global Offensive might be more sensitive to latency increases compared to slower-paced RPGs.
  • Frame Rate Target: Aiming for super-high frame rates (think 240 FPS) might amplify the perceived latency compared to targeting a more balanced 60 FPS.
  • Your Perception: Some gamers are incredibly sensitive to latency, while others might not even notice a slight increase.

Benchmarks comparing DLSS 2.x and DLSS 3 latency show a small increase with Frame Generation enabled, typically ranging from a few milliseconds to potentially more depending on the specific scenario.

The Verdict: Is DLSS Worth the Risk?

So, does DLSS automatically make you a laggy mess? Not necessarily.

DLSS 2.x offers a fantastic way to boost frame rates without sacrificing image quality, keeping latency in check.

DLSS 3 introduces a potential trade-off. You get incredible performance gains, but there’s a chance of slightly higher latency with Frame Generation. Here’s how to decide:

  • Competitive Gamers: If every millisecond counts, sticking with DLSS 2.x or even turning off DLSS altogether might be the safer option.
  • Casual Gamers: If you prioritize smooth visuals and high frame rates, and aren’t super competitive, DLSS 3 with Frame Generation could be a fantastic choice. Consider experimenting with different modes to find the sweet spot between performance and perceived latency.


Q. Will DLSS 3 always increase my latency?
A. Not necessarily. The impact can vary depending on the factors mentioned earlier.

Q. Can I adjust the latency with DLSS 3?
A. Unfortunately, there’s no direct setting to control latency with DLSS 3. However, you can try disabling Frame Generation or adjusting your frame rate target to see if it helps.

Q. Should I use DLSS if I have a high refresh rate monitor?
A. Absolutely! High refresh rate monitors benefit greatly from the increased frame rates that DLSS can provide.

Q. Is FSR or XeSS a better alternative for latency-sensitive gamers?
A. Both FSR and XeSS offer upscaling with minimal latency impact. However, their image quality might not always match DLSS, especially with older versions. It’s worth trying all three technologies to see which one offers the best balance of performance, image quality, and latency for your specific needs.

Q. Will future updates to DLSS improve latency with Frame Generation?
A. It’s very likely. NVIDIA is constantly refining its DLSS technology, and future updates could potentially mitigate the latency increase associated with Frame Generation.