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Valve has updated the Steam Deck Preview update branch to bring with it Steam Deck OS 3.4.6 Beta and it's quite an exciting one. It brings an update to the open source Mesa graphics drivers with Mesa 23.1, mainly focused on the Vulkan side of things but DXR Ray Tracing is coming too but not quite ready yet.

Here's what it changes:

  • Fixed graphical corruption issues with Wo Long: Fallen Dynasty.
  • Ray-Tracing is now available in DOOM Eternal.
  • Fixed graphical corruption issues and GPU crashes in several upcoming titles.

A video going over the changes and a quick look at DOOM Eternal with Ray Tracing on Steam Deck:

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Fantastic work from Valve and Mesa developers working on this. Amazing to see it actually working in a game on Steam Deck like this.

ICYMI: there's some issues with Apex Legends bans on Linux. Plus over 8,000 games now rated Playable or Verified for Steam Deck.

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8 comments

Eike Mar 3, 2023
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Do I really want Ray-Tracing on such a medium powered device?!?
iWeaker4You Mar 3, 2023
Quoting: EikeDo I really want Ray-Tracing on such a medium powered device?!?


I tried it, and I'm not completely convinced, I prefer to have it disabled and gain some fps
Eike Mar 3, 2023
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Quoting: iWeaker4You
Quoting: EikeDo I really want Ray-Tracing on such a medium powered device?!?

I tried it, and I'm not completely convinced, I prefer to have it disabled and gain some fps

What speed do you get with and without it?
kuhpunkt Mar 3, 2023
Quoting: EikeDo I really want Ray-Tracing on such a medium powered device?!?

Maybe not, but having the software ready for a future device or being able to use it while docked (so that it doesn't drain too much battery)... I think that's great.
sarmad Mar 3, 2023
Very impressive. Although the end result didn't seem much different to my eye from this video, it's still great to see ray tracing work in the first place. Seeing it working and still hitting over 30fps is even greater. The next step is to make Portal RTX work, and with Portal the visual difference is huge and is totally worth it.
Jeeves-2 Mar 3, 2023
This is crazy considering how the switch port is locked at 30 fps with drops and much lower detail, and isn't running through a compatibility layer. as for a steam deck 2 to run RT effects at a locked 60 FPS, my bet is for now valve may release an incremental upgrade focusing on smaller things, similar to the switch OLED, while waiting for AMD to further mature their APUs at the low power levels the deck operates at. I don't think RDNA 3 and Zen 4 would give enough of a performance boost while limited to 15 watts to make a convincing upgrade, so I'd bet on a true successor being based on RDNA 4 and either Zen 4 or 5, as that would probably give a large enough performance uplift without needing to sacrifice battery life or dramatically change the cooling to allow higher power levels. So I'd bet on a minor revision releasing late this year, aimed at customers who don't already have a deck, with a true successor coming with RDNA 4, as with AMD focused on performance per watt and delivering around 50% gains each generation, RDNA 4 could more than double the steam decks current gpu with a similar power profile, and with the CPU already based on the older Zen 2 cores, any upgrade on that side would be a huge performance boost. There's a good chance valve is waiting for a certain performance level at 15 watts, instead of trying to accommodate a higher wattage APU that would require a better cooling solution and larger battery, making the deck even heavier and larger than it is now. overall for now I think it's clear the steam deck will be able to handle hybrid rt/rasterized games with things like fsr 2 and 40 fps once the mesa drivers get fully optimized for RDNA 2's RT acceleration, and I'm more than happy with that for the next couple of years. not to mention the io potential of a new APU, with USB 4 being possible with zen 4 and above, and the announcement of USB 4 2.0 doubling the bandwidth of PCIe tunneling, the dock for a deck 2 could be an absolute unit with either an egpu to boost performance on external displays with higher resolution, or a nvme slot for storing games you only play while plugged in. or given how valve is so open to modding, they might just give it a empty PCIe slot to let people go crazy with whatever they want.
benstor214 Mar 4, 2023
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Quoting: Jeeves-2with USB 4 being possible with zen 4 and above, and the announcement of USB 4 2.0 doubling the bandwidth of PCIe tunneling, the dock for a deck 2 could be an absolute unit with either an egpu to boost performance on external displays with higher resolution, or a nvme slot for storing games you only play while plugged in
I like this concept/idea of fitting a successor with a really high-speed port and a docking station with an eGPU (or eGPU support) and a really fast nvme drive. As a handheld the Steam Deck already offers a near perfect experience, the possibility to beef it (storage space + graphics power) up while docked puts it in a place to potentially replace a desktop machine.
TheRiddick Mar 6, 2023
Well its good to have it for testing and optimization purposes and maybe with FSR3.0 magic can be done.

But obviously in this current state it wouldn't make sense in most cases to use ray tracing.

Also I don't think RT is really that useful in games that have you whizzing through the levels at lighting speed. Would be great for slower play style games.
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