In the weeks since the release of Wolverine SteamTech, fans and critics have been exploring the possibilities of the device, which has been somewhat hampered by daily software and OS updates. I have previously stated in my review that SteamTech is “not finished” and although the device has become quite stable, its full potential is not clear.
Perhaps that’s why the latest SteamTech analysis of hardware geniuses in the digital foundry has hit gold. On Tuesday, site founder Richard Leadbetter discovered something that the community seems to have missed so far: the portable, capable of detecting 15 W-maximum steam deck rays.
(R) The DNA was in the steam deck the whole time
The source, seen in a video on DF’s YouTube channel, requires an over-the-top test display. Leadbetter wiped the default OS of the system, installed Windows 10, and re-tested the Ray tracing-compatible software before wiping the system again to get SteamOS back there. This awkward process was required during LeadPeter’s testing because SteamTech did not officially support the dual-boot option for many OS installations, although fans have recently come up with ways to do just that.
Four games in question (Earthquake II RTX, Control, Updated version of Metro Exodus, Destruction is eternity) Gray Out changes when their ray-tracing menu is loaded via the default SteamOS implementation, which translates the Windows versions of the games to Linux via the Proton compatibility layer. The same four games, using official Windows 10 drivers from Valve and AMD, identify RDNA 2 cores built into Steam Deck’s custom APU and open each ray-tracing option — just as PC gamers use GPUs from AMD’s latest RX 6000 series.
Their radiation-tracking processes include a variety of dazzling effects that take into account light reflection and material properties, resulting in generally more realistic and basic lighting and shadows. Surprisingly, all the games tested had visual downgrades to get almost constant 30 fps with ray-tracing features, and these often come in the form of pixel resolution downgrade at 540p.
In terms of pixel count, it is on par with dimmer switch boards Disaster (2016) or The Witcher3. But Leadbetter points out Metro ExodusTemporal Anti-Aliasing Abscaling (TAAU) implementation that makes the pixel resolution of 504p at the full 800p resolution of the deck look even smoother – and it looks even better on the Steam deck’s 7-inch screen than in a web browser. Earthquake II RTX Thanks to its reliance on a particular stunner Full Path-tracking model, against any pre-fired lights. Reduce the full ray tracing enabled to 252p resolution in the late 1990s, and the steam deck can run the game at speeds approaching 60 fps. Wow. (This is partly fun because the questionable radiation-tracking mode was developed by Nvidia, even though it is not “RTX” hardware exclusive.)
TAAU has made significant strides in video games over the past few years, with high quality options such as Nvidia’s proprietary DLSS and AMD’s open source Fidelity FX Super Resolution (FSR). The latter already works on the deck with its 1.0 processing, but FSR 2.0 will take the best ideas from existing TAAU implementations and supercharge them when they are introduced later this year on various GPUs. AMD has not yet announced specific SteamTech plans for FSR 2.0, but it is hard to imagine that the Valve-AMD partnership will not be used properly here.
This week’s tests suggest that the SteamTech Xbox Series may match the S ‘ray-tracing results.
All in all, based on LeadPeter’s tests, lower-base resolutions, smarter upscaling and RDNA2 silicon could make portable, ray-traded gaming a legitimate option on SteamTech in the future. As LeadPeter reminds viewers, if you do not feel trapped in the “last-gen” 3D gaming universe, buying SteamTech is an easy idea.
On AMD-powered consoles such as the Xbox Series X / S and PlayStation 5 we can see many games that emphasize the RTNA2-based radiation-tracking effects in more important ways to the gameplay than the cool lighting changes. If the games included scalded-down ray-tracing effects on the weaker Series S console, this week’s tests suggest they might match SteamTech results — which is already somewhat the case. Metro Exodus.