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Nvidia and Valve are bringing DLSS to Linux gaming… sort of

Enlarge / Tux looks a lot more comfortable sitting on that logo than he probably should—Nvidia’s drivers are still proprietary, and DLSS support isn’t available for native Linux apps—only Windows apps running under Proton.
Aurich Lawson / Jim Salter / Larry Ewing / Nvidia

Linux gamers, rejoice—we’re getting Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling on our favorite platform! But don’t rejoice too hard; the new support only comes on a few games, and it’s only on Windows versions of those games played via Proton.

At Computex 2021, Nvidia announced a collaboration with Valve to bring DLSS support to Windows games played on Linux systems. This is good news, since DLSS can radically improve frame rates without perceptibly altering graphics quality. Unfortunately, as of this month, fewer than 60 games support DLSS in the first place; of those, roughly half work reasonably well in Proton, with or without DLSS.

What’s a DLSS, anyway?

Metro Exodus. Most third-party benchmarks "only" show an improvement of 50 to 75 percent. Note the DLSS image actually looks sharper and cleaner than the non-DLSS in this case!”>
Enlarge / AMD’s benchmarks show FSR tripling Godfall frame rates on this RX 6800 XT-powered system.

At Computex 2021, AMD announced its own version of AI-powered upsampling—which it’s calling FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR). We don’t know much about how FSR works, other than the company hinting at AI under the hood—and letting us know that it’s open source.

Interestingly, FSR can also run on Nvidia GPUs—even the ones which don’t support Nvidia’s own DLSS. AMD claims that FSR took Godfall on a GTX 1060-powered system from 27 fps to 38 fps—a 41 percent improvement.

Unfortunately, FSR is still just a promise for now—it doesn’t launch until June 22, and there’s no word whether it will be immediately available for Linux on launch day. We also don’t have as many samples of before-and-after image quality as we’d like—if FSR can’t hang with DLSS in terms of quality, it won’t much matter if FSR meets or even beats its boost in raw frame rate.

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