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Nvidia and Valve bring DLSS to Linux

Linux gamers who use Valve’s Proton compatibility tool to run Windows games will receive a performance upgrade in the future: Nvidia has announced that they are working with Valve to provide FPS boost with the DLSS technology featured on RTX cards. That’s almost enough to make me look back on Linux games.

DLSS, or Deep Learning Super Sampling, is a technology that allows players to get more performance without having to give up too much image quality. It does this by running the game at a lower resolution than native (say, rendering the game at 1080p when the screen is 4K), but then upscaling the image to its original resolution using some impressive algorithms.

The technology will of course be exciting for people with Linux gaming computers, but it is also interesting considering the rumors about Valve making a handheld gaming device. We argued that DLSS could hit the next generation switch far above the weight class, and the same would be true for a handheld PC without a ton of graphics horsepower, which would probably run Linux.

While Nvidia has not released a list of which Proton-powered games get DLSS, there are actually a surprising number of candidates. Running Nvidia̵

7;s list of games that support DLSS through ProtonDB, a site that allows users to report how well games work when using Proton, shows that a good portion of DLSS-enabled games are already working on Linux. There are around 30 matches out of just over 50.

However, there is an interesting question raised by Nvidia’s DLSS list – some of the games on it actually have native Linux ports, and it’s unclear if they will get the sampling technology, or if it will be exclusive to games running through Proton. Players could potentially get better performance by running the Windows version through an emulation layer, instead of the original version, would be a bit strange, but whether that ends up being the case remains to be seen. Nvidia did not immediately respond to a request for clarification of the issue.

Nvidia has also not mentioned a time frame for DLSS support coming to Proton (although it mentioned that support for Vulkan came this month, and that DirectX support would come in the fall), but it’s nice to see that it is still pushing for get Linux games on par with the Windows experience. As someone who tried to be a Linux player a long time ago, using vanilla wine and later CrossOver, the work Nvidia and Valve did with Proton has made me consider setting up a Linux gaming rig again. Now if I could just get a graphics card.

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