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Ray tracing on a portable Steam Deck is possible. But there are a number of nuances

Numerous tests have long proven that the Steam Deck is the highest performing portable console on the market, and nothing close to it yet.


The performance of the hybrid processor is enough to run any modern game in native HD resolution for the console. What about ray tracing?

Recall that the console has an APU with a GPU based on the RDNA 2 architecture, that is, technically Steam Deck supports ray tracing. But we know that RDNA 2 provides far from the best performance in this mode, and the set-top box has only 512 stream processors.

However, tests show that this may be enough, albeit with reservations. First caveat: you need to install Windows. The fact is that SteamOS does not support ray tracing, but there is no such limitation in Windows. The second caveat: you have to reduce the resolution.

For example, in Metro Exodus, the console produces 30 fps, but only at 504p resolution. At the same time, you need to remember that the native screen resolution of the set-top box is 720p, that is, the difference is not huge.

Quake 2 RTX can be played at excellent 60fps, but only at 216p. At the same time, the graphics in the game itself are not at all modern, so this cannot be called a huge problem. But Control, which is very demanding in itself, unfortunately, shows constant drops in performance and friezes, which makes it uncomfortable to play.

Also impressive is the console’s ability to handle Microsoft Flight Simulator, the most demanding game of the moment. Of course, without any tracing and only in 612p resolution, but at 30 fps.

All this is more of an experiment to demonstrate the capabilities of the console. Still, sacrificing performance and resolution for the sake of ray tracing effects that are not particularly noticeable on a small screen hardly makes sense. But still, the capabilities of the Steam Deck, given its form factor, are impressive.

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