AMD is introducing new AI texture compression for gaming to reduce download and install sizes

AMD's new AI-powered 'Neural Texture Block Compression' will free up VRAM and reduce the massive install sizes for modern blockbuster games.

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At Siggraph 2023, NVIDIA announced its new AI-powered Neural Texture Compression (NTC) to reduce texture sizes without sacrificing detail. This would mean download and install sizes for games like Call of Duty or cinematic titles with optional 4K texture packs would decrease for PC gamers. This is excellent news in the age of games taking up 150 GB of storage space.

This week, we've learned that AMD is developing something similar, and it will be AI-powered. It's called Neural Texture Block Compression, and AMD will present its solution at the Eurographics Symposium on Rendering (EGSR) in London on July 2.

"Nobody likes downloading huge game packages," AMD's GPUOpen team writes in the announcement. "Our method compresses the texture using a neural network, reducing data size. Unchanged runtime execution allows easy game integration."

Alongside this announcement and image, there's not much to go on. However, AMD explicitly states that the technology will be used for games - reducing the size of textures. This will have a net positive effect on GPU performance, as the increased install sizes for games have also led to a requirement for more VRAM capacity. In 2024, having 8 GB of VRAM on a GPU is pushing it, with many enthusiasts and gamers opting for 12 GB or 16 GB cards.

It is interesting that the technology works without changing the runtime. This could be a driver-level implementation of the technology that works on a range of Radeon GPUs with AI capabilities - without the need for per-game implementation. Having tech that reduces the amount of VRAM required or used when gaming sounds great, so here's hoping its eventual release is sooner rather than later. It would be great if AMD could have it ready for the RDNA 4 launch.

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Kosta is a veteran gaming journalist that cut his teeth on well-respected Aussie publications like PC PowerPlay and HYPER back when articles were printed on paper. A lifelong gamer since the 8-bit Nintendo era, it was the CD-ROM-powered 90s that cemented his love for all things games and technology. From point-and-click adventure games to RTS games with full-motion video cut-scenes and FPS titles referred to as Doom clones. Genres he still loves to this day. Kosta is also a musician, releasing dreamy electronic jams under the name Kbit.

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