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Valve Enables Experimental Nvidia DLSS Support For DirectX 12 in Proton

Steam Deck Hardware Analysis
(Image credit: Valve)

Valve, the company behind the highly-anticipated Steam Deck handheld console, has posted an update (via Phoronix) for both the standard and experimental Proton compatibility layers that allow Windows games to run on Linux. The experimental version supports Nvidia Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) in DirectX 12 games, while the regular version broadens support to more game titles.

Valve's Steam Deck console runs Arch Linux. It uses the Proton compatibility layer to translate Windows-specific API calls to Linux API calls, thus allowing Windows games to work in Linux. This latest experimental update will benefit Linux gamers in general, but it will also benefit the Steam Deck tremendously.

Valve also pushed changes to the Proton Experimental branch that supports Nvidia's DLSS technology in DirectX 12 games. Previously, Valve only used the DLSS function in games that ran on the Vulkan API. However, Valve's experimental support now allows DirectX 12 games to run DLSS without a problem, and it will arrive in the stable Proton branch after further testing.

To get this to run, you'll need to compile the latest version of the Proton Experimental branch, install the latest Nvidia drivers, and set the "PROTON_ENABLE_NVAPI=1" environment variable.

Valve updated the DXVK part of Proton's stable branch to version 1.9.2. Game support has also expanded to additional titles like Life is Strange: True Colors, Quake Champions and eFootball 2022, to name a few.

All of this work hints at better Proton compatibility and a smooth user experience when Valve starts shipping its Steam Deck gaming console to the masses in December. Updated Proton software will allow both the Steam Deck and Steam on Linux to support many more games.

  • hushnecampus
    How would DLSS benefit Deck users? DLSS is Nvidia only. Unless it translates DLSS into FSR?
    Reply
  • Krotow
    hushnecampus said:
    How would DLSS benefit Deck users? DLSS is Nvidia only. Unless it translates DLSS into FSR?

    What is good here - DLSS and similar technology support for Proton in general. Which give DLSS support for DLSS capable games in Linux without extra crutches for developers.
    Reply
  • AlexWolfheart
    I see absolutely no connection between Nvidia's proprietary DLSS and the full Amd setup of the SteamDeck, but sure, it is nice in the way that it helps Linux users get access to Dlss.

    On the other hand, it could be a sign Valve might release an Nvidia-based Steamdeck in the near, perhaps?
    Reply
  • Ppur226
    Assuming they are somehow translating the calls properly, dlss could work in proton, hardware regardless, but it would be much slower than current versions on rtx hardware with tensor cores, and probably slower than the earlier cuda core dlss also due to having to handle the calls properly. Dlss running on tensor cores is completed in just 1-2 ms due to tensor cores sacrificing color accuracy for speed. There's no hardware specific tricks, just low latency and a rtx card lock. Dlss can run on cuda cores/shader cores, and Nvidia's first release of 2.0 ran on cuda cores, but subsequent releases went to tensor cores, which meant instead of 6-10ms latency, you only had 2ms added dlss upscale latency at worst. In a handheld like the steam deck, I don't think dlss would be worth the added latency of translating the calls properly for the amd soc.

    More likely, this is something for third party hardware developers who want to make steam decks with Nvidia discrete graphics, like a low wattage 3050/ti mobile gpu.
    Reply
  • aetolouee
    hushnecampus said:
    How would DLSS benefit Deck users? DLSS is Nvidia only. Unless it translates DLSS into FSR?
    It doesnt. But the technology is there and most steam users have nvidia so why not.
    Reply
  • gardotd426
    aetolouee said:
    It doesnt. But the technology is there and most steam users have nvidia so why not.
    He's referring to where the article blatantly says that this new update will tremendously help the Steam Deck. Which was a pretty stupid statement on Tom's Hardware's part.
    Reply
  • gardotd426
    hushnecampus said:
    How would DLSS benefit Deck users? DLSS is Nvidia only. Unless it translates DLSS into FSR?
    It doesn't translate DLSS to FSR. That's not even a thing, the entire concept of "translating" DLSS to FSR is nonsensical. DLSS and FSR are upscaling technologies and they work completely differently, there's nothing that could be translated. DLSS uses AI and FSR uses set algorithms with no AI, and I mean there would be nothing to translate. Once the image is upscaled then it would just be ready to be painted on the screen, what would there be to "translate?"

    Not to mention the fact that an AMD GPU trying to run DLSS would have to run it on the stream processors (cuda core equivalents) which would incur a massive performance penalty, and that would be completely pointless especially considering the fact that, you know, FSR can be used for any game run in Wine/Proton. So why would you translate DLSS into FSR instead of just using FSR, even if it were possible?

    But yes, whoever wrote the article seems to have had a massive derp moment when they said this would benefit Steam Deck users. I'm honestly kind of shocked that this got all the way through the writing process without anyone realizing how ridiculous a statement that was.
    Reply
  • joesaiditstrue
    How does a Toms Hardware editor not know that DLSS doesn't and will never work on the Steam Deck? like how do you write this stuff and one of your colleagues doesn't pull you aside and say, "Uhhh look buddy, DLSS is proprietary Nvidia tech. Steam Deck is running AMD hardware, you need to edit this article." 😬😒
    Reply
  • Nolonar
    gardotd426 said:
    It doesn't translate DLSS to FSR. That's not even a thing, the entire concept of "translating" DLSS to FSR is nonsensical. DLSS and FSR are upscaling technologies and they work completely differently, there's nothing that could be translated. DLSS uses AI and FSR uses set algorithms with no AI, and I mean there would be nothing to translate. Once the image is upscaled then it would just be ready to be painted on the screen, what would there be to "translate?"
    It's true that translating DLSS to FSR is impossible and nonsensical.

    What is possible, however, is translating calls to DLSS into calls to FSR. In other words, instead of sending the rendered frame to a DLSS API that doesn't exist, it would instead be forwarded to FSR for upscaling.
    Reply
  • Ppur226
    Nolonar said:
    It's true that translating DLSS to FSR is impossible and nonsensical.

    What is possible, however, is translating calls to DLSS into calls to FSR. In other words, instead of sending the rendered frame to a DLSS API that doesn't exist, it would instead be forwarded to FSR for upscaling.

    It's not impossible at all. It's been shown that only versions after 2.0 use tensor cores, an Nvidia specific feature. 2.0 and earlier versions are running on cuda cores (which have been successfully emulated on amd shader/compute units before, and there's various existing libraries to run cuda code on amd) However the cost of running it on amd, especially in a low wattage chip like the steam deck, doesn't seem worth it. Any latency lost via dlss would be gained back and potentially even increased. While you could just swap out dlss for fsr, I doubt that's why this is being added. Numerous third party OEMs have shown interest in making their own steam deck hardware. Supporting dedicated rtx 3050/3050 ti feature sets makes sense as with a bit more weight/bulk and a lot less battery, you could put a dedicated low wattage rtx entry mobile gpu in this device.
    Reply