Video games: New Proton version brings DLSS for Linux

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The new version of the Linux compatibility layer Proton for Steam supports Nvidia’s DLSS. According to the wine fork’s patch notes, the new version has been available for a few days. This means that PC games played via Proton can be operated under Linux with DLSS, provided that these titles are capable of this function.

DLSS stands for Deep Learning Super Sampling. Current Nvidia graphics cards can thus render video games in lower resolutions and scale them to higher resolutions with as little loss as possible. This should protect the frame rate because computers only have to render the lower resolutions without affecting the perceived resolution too much. Nvidia’s algorithm grabs the existing image information and calculates the additional pixels required.

Thanks to the new Proton version, Linux gamers can now also use this practical function, which is supported by numerous titles from “Call of Duty: Vanguard” to “Cyberpunk 2077” and the Bedrock edition of “Minecraft”. A test by heise plus showed that DLSS delivers significantly more FPS for most titles without too much optical loss. To activate DLSS, the options “PROTON_ENABLE_NVAPI = 1” and “dxgi.nvapiHack = False” must be set in Proton, it says in the Github release.

A prerequisite for DLSS is a current Nvidia graphics card of the RTX generation, GTX models lack the necessary tensor cores. In addition, Nvidia does not make RTX technology available on AMD graphics cards. This means that the upcoming Valve mobile console Steam Deck cannot use DLSS either: Inside there is an Aerith SoC that only supports AMD’s less proven DLSS alternative FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR).

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The fact that upscaling on the Steam Deck makes sense has to be questioned anyway, at least in handheld mode: With a resolution of 1280 × 800 pixels, Valve’s mobile PC is far removed from current 4K displays. Upscaling methods such as DLSS work much better if the underlying render resolution is as high as possible, because it then already contains more image information.

Upscaling from 1440p to 4K promises significantly better results than, for example, upscaling based on resolutions even lower than 1280 × 800 pixels. FSR would only come into play if the Steam Deck is connected to a monitor or the television.

Valve recently postponed the Steam Deck by two months: First orders are not expected to be delivered until February 2022. Valve had previously targeted December of this year.


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