Valve’s Steam Deck offers OS-level support for AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution technology for upscaling, even on games that don’t officially support it. A YouTube user demonstrated this and shared initial test results.
Valve recently wrote in a Steam Deck blog post that SteamOS would receive an update that would add AMD FSR support ‘systemwide’, even for games without this upscaling technique. “FSR support will be included as part of a future OS release. Once that happens, games may be able to use FSR even if the games don’t support it,” the company wrote.
This is done via Valve’s Gamescope composer, which is used in SteamOS on top of the Wayland display server protocol for Linux. That compositor is aimed at gaming and has recently gained support for AMD FSR, Phoronix noted. In practice, this means that the upscaling technique can be applied everywhere, even in games that do not actually support it. This is therefore different from AMD’s upcoming Radeon Super Resolution technology, which is based on FSR, but works at the driver level and can therefore also handle games without FSR support.
FSR demonstration on the Steam Deck
YouTube user The Phawx has his hands on a review copy of the Steam Deck and tested this FSR implementation in a video. The user shows, among other things, Control and Devil May Cry 5 with FSR, two games that do not support FSR by default. He also publishes comparison images for both games. The YouTube user notes that the image quality of 540p with FSR is slightly less than native 720p, but that the use of FSR does benefit the battery life. This is because the GPU consumes less power.
The Phawx further reports that systemwide FSR only works if users have to manually lower the game’s resolution; FSR does not do that automatically. The youtuber also notes that it’s better to enable official FSR support on games that support it, as systemwide FSR also affects the quality of UI elements, such as health bars.
The Valve Steam Deck will be released on February 25 and the first copies will ship three days later. The handheld console features an AMD semi-custom apu with four Zen 2 cores and an RDNA 2 GPU with eight compute units. The company started accepting Steam Deck reservations last summer. The expected delivery time quickly increased; new reservations are not expected to be delivered until ‘after the second quarter of 2022’.
The Steam Deck has been shown several times in recent days. Several reviewers were allowed to publish a preview of the handheld, which included testing certain Valve-approved games and battery life. The Steam Deck has also already been taken apart and iFixit announced this week that it will partner with Valve to offer separate parts for the handheld.