Skip to main content

Nvidia’s ‘infinite resolution’ patent could change gaming forever

In a patent filing released on Thursday, June 7, Nvidia describes a technology that could fundamentally alter the way games look, feel, and perform. Nvidia calls it “infinite resolution,” and it’s effectively a clever way of using vector graphics to replace static textures in games. Let’s dive into what that means and why it could be a big deal.

Today, most games use textures that are created for a set of fairly standard resolutions, 720p, 1080p, 1440p, 4K — and some in-between. These textures cover just about every surface in modern PC games, from character models, to weapons, to environments, every 3D model is effectively “wrapped” with a 2D texture. Nvidia filed a patent to change how these textures are rendered.

Currently, developers package games with a series of these textures, one for each resolution the game runs at, and one for each detail setting at each resolution. This requires a lot of storage space, and it means that today’s games have a ceiling or a maximum resolution.

To see what we mean, try opening up Diablo 2 on a modern computer. Your resolution in that game is going to max out somewhere around 1024 x 768, way below what current monitors are capable of. As a result, it’s not going to look its best. The game is going to stretch those old under-sized textures across your whole display, like when you zoom in really far on a small picture.

Nvidia’s solution would fix these issues. Instead of packaging games with a massive set of static textures, games built using Nvidia’s technology would include only a single set of texture information, not the actual textures themselves. Effectively, each in-game texture would be drawn in real time from instructions the developers include in the game. Your computer would use its processing and graphics rendering horsepower to do the heavy lifting here.

Because your computer would be drawing each texture in real time, your games would be future-proofed to some extent. If a game like Diablo 2 was built using this technology, that would mean playing the game on a massive 8K monitor would look just as tack-sharp and detailed as it would on an old 800 x 600 CRT monitor.

This technology isn’t actually anything new, it’s just a novel application of an existing technology: Vector graphics. If you’re unfamiliar, vector graphics are used for a variety of purposes, but most notably they’re used in graphic design. When a designer creates a logo or design with vector art, that logo or design can be blown up or shrunk down to any size without losing detail. Nvidia’s patent filing here simply applies these principles to textures in PC games.

It’s unclear what potential speed bumps this technology might encounter, how it might bog down a typical gaming PC, or whether it would only be useful for certain types of games, but it’s an interesting concept and we’re excited to see where it could lead. To be clear, Nvidia has been working on this for quite a while, but this latest patent filing suggests the company could be close to bringing it to market.

Editors' Recommendations

Jayce Wagner
Former Digital Trends Contributor
A staff writer for the Computing section, Jayce covers a little bit of everything -- hardware, gaming, and occasionally VR.
All RTX GPUs now come with a local AI chatbot. Is it any good?
A window showing Nvidia's Chat with RTX.

It's been difficult to justify packing dedicated AI hardware in a PC. Nvidia is trying to change that with Chat with RTX, which is a local AI chatbot that leverages the hardware on your Nvidia GPU to run an AI model.

It provides a few unique advantages over something like ChatGPT, but the tool still has some strange problems. There are the typical quirks you get with any AI chatbot here, but also larger issues that prove Chat with RTX needs some work.
Meet Chat with RTX
Here's the most obvious question about Chat with RTX: How is this different from ChatGPT? Chat with RTX is a local large language model (LLM). It's using TensorRT-LLM compatible models -- Mistral and Llama 2 are included by default -- and applying them to your local data. In addition, the actual computation is happening locally on your graphics card, rather than in the cloud. Chat with RTX requires an Nvidia RTX 30-series or 40-series GPU and at least 8GB of VRAM.

Read more
Why I’m feeling hopeful about Nvidia’s RTX 50-series GPUs
The RTX 4070 Super on a pink background.

I won't lie -- I was pretty scared of Nvidia's RTX 50-series, and I stand by the opinion that those fears were valid. They didn't come out of thin air; they were fueled by Nvidia's approach to GPU pricing and value for the money.

However, the RTX 40 Super refresh is a step in the right direction, and it's one I never expected to happen. Nvidia's most recent choices show that it may have learned an important lesson, and that's good news for future generations of graphics cards.
The price of performance
Nvidia really didn't hold back in the RTX 40 series. It introduced some of the best graphics cards we've seen in a while, but raw performance isn't the only thing to consider when estimating the value of a GPU. The price is the second major factor and weighing it against performance can often tip the scales from "great" to "disappointing." That was the case with several GPUs in the Ada generation.

Read more
CableMod’s adapters damaged up to $74K worth of Nvidia GPUs
Melted 12VHPWR connector made by CableMod for the RTX 4090.

CableMod's adapters were meant to fix the problem of melting connectors on Nvidia's top GPU, the RTX 4090, but it appears that things didn't go as planned. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has posted a notice that the CableMod 12VHPWR angled adapters are being recalled due to fire and burn hazards. More than 25,300 adapters are to be returned, and the affected customers are eligible for a full refund.

The connectors on the RTX 4090 have been melting ever since the GPU hit the shelves in late 2022, and so far, the only fix seems to lie in careful installation and picking the right PC case that can accommodate this monstrous card. CableMod's angled adapters showed a lot of promise, at least initially. Seeing as bending the cable can contribute to the overheating, an angled adapter should have been just the fix -- but unfortunately, the melting continued, even with the use of CableMod's solution.

Read more