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Nvidia and Steam are making Linux gaming great again

Nvidia RTX 2080 Super fan
(Image credit: Future)

Remember SteamOS? Possibly not, but it was born in a time that Valve, the maker and operator of Steam, thought that it could take PC gaming in a direction that didn't involve running Microsoft's Windows. It didn't work out, but it was also based on Linux, and Valve has continued supporting Linux to this very day. 

In fact, Steam makes PC gaming on Linux fun and incredibly easy, and now, it's taking the next step in making Linux gaming a big hitter with some news coming out of Computex 2021.

In partnership with the Linux community and Nvidia, DLSS will be coming to Linux, with initial support for Vulkan coming in June, with DirectX being added later in 2021.  

DLSS and Steam Proton

Proton on Steam for Linux

(Image credit: TechRadar)

DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) is Nvidia's tech that works like magic to make PC games perform better. It isn't actually magic, of course, rather a clever machine learning system that enables games to render at a lower resolution and be up-scaled intelligently using dedicated cores on an RTX graphics card. 

The result is higher resolutions and higher frame rates, with only a minor drop in quality. Paired with RTX ray tracing it makes some of today's hottest games look and play exceptionally well. 

Proton is the software that Valve implements into Steam that allows non-Linux native games to play on Linux gaming machines. Steam has an officially supported whitelist, but many games not on there work just fine. 

The latest news is that Nvidia and Valve will be bringing DLSS to Proton, which will enable the system in Windows games played on Linux. This has a number of benefits, not least that it should enable better performance in supported titles. 

Initial support will be added for Vulkan titles and that is expected to roll out sometime in June. DirectX Windows titles will be supported from later on in 2021.

  • This year, Computex is going virtual, but we'll still be bringing you all the breaking computing news and launches as they happen, so make sure you check out all of TechRadar's Computex 2021 coverage.