AMD's new tech can reduce Call of Duty's massive 150GB install size by up to 70%

AMD's 'Neural Texture Block Compression' will decrease game texture sizes by up to 70%, reducing install sizes and freeing up VRAM in the process.

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AMD has revealed detailed information on its new technology, designed to decrease the storage space that games require. AMD Neural Texture Block Compression, or NTBC for short, compresses high-quality textures without impacting overall performance and maintaining 'reasonable quality.' AMD claims that NTBC can reduce a game's storage footprint by up to 70%, which would shrink the installation size of Call of Duty from 150GB to just 45 GB.

A Call of Duty game that only takes up 45GB of SSD space? Sign me up, image credit: Activision Blizzard

A Call of Duty game that only takes up 45GB of SSD space? Sign me up, image credit: Activision Blizzard

Game sizes are increasing as fidelity increases, and even though 'block compression' is used to reduce the overall size of textures, the fixed compression ratio can only do so much when dealing with hundreds or even thousands of high-quality 4K textures. As the name suggests, AMD Neural Texture Block Compression adds neural network-based image compression into the mix.

AMD's Shin Fujieda and Takahiro Harada have released the full technical paper on Neural Texture Block Compression and how it works.

The big takeaway is that it works with existing 'block compression' or BC formats and is designed to be a simple 'drop-in' replacement for existing texture compression methods employed by game developers.

"It has been designed to be compatible with existing BC formats, especially BC1 and BC4, with the reduced size of storage, and can be used as a drop-in replacement for existing graphics pipelines," AMD writes, adding that like FSR or DLSS supports different quality modes that will affect the resulting image.

"We have shown that NTBC can achieve better compression ratios than the standard BC for both approaches while generating reasonable-quality textures. However, there is a trade-off between quality and compression ratio for the aggressive and conservative approaches, with the aggressive approach achieving better compression ratios at the cost of small quality degradation. Therefore, we leave it to users to decide which approach, including the standard BC, to use depending on their requirements. We think this flexibility is one of the strengths of NTBC thanks to its compatibility with the existing BC."

With game install sizes for AAA releases regularly pushing 100 to 150+ GB, there's a definite need for technology like AMD's Neural Texture Block Compression. As a bonus, the tech will free up VRAM with smaller texture sizes. Unfortunately, there's no word on when it might become available to developers, but we hope it's soon.

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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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