The Steamdeck recently celebrated its one year anniversary and as a present there is a new update from Valve. This makes it possible for the first time to use the handheld PC ray tracing can use.
The graphics feature is usually considered to be quite a performance killer: If you want to push your Nvidia or AMD card to the limit, you can play games like Cyberpunk 2077 or hit man 3 Enable extensive ray tracing options. This was previously unthinkable on the Steam Deck, but thanks to a beta update it is now possible – albeit only for one game for the time being.
Steam Deck: Doom Eternal with ray tracing option
It has long been known that the Steam Deck supports ray tracing, at least in theory. If you dug deep into the settings, you could already activate the graphics feature in existing games, but the option was not officially offered until now. The 3.4.6 beta update for the Steam OS now takes exactly this step and enables official ray tracing support for the first time.
— Pierre-Loup Griffais (@Plagman2) March 3, 2023
However, the option is limited to only Doom Eternalas the patch notes reveal. Players who choose to download the beta update via Steam Deck settings can now enable ray tracing in id Software’s shooter and enjoy snazzy reflections.
However, this is of course at the expense of performance, as shown by Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais via Twitter. There he presents a screenshot of Doom Eternal with activated ray tracing and 35 FPS. The English-language YouTube channel GameTechPlanet also looked at the ray tracing support and shows in a video the still impressive performance.
More ray tracing games to come?
It is expected that Valve will continue to work on ray tracing support and try to improve performance with future updates on the Steam Deck. However, it remains questionable whether other games will follow that will officially be able to run on the Steam Deck with raytracing in the future.
In Doom Eternal, ray tracing is limited to reflections and doesn’t offer the full package of modern graphics features. Unlike Cyberpunk 2077, for example, in which light and shadow can also be made possible via ray tracing. But that also costs a lot of performance, which makes even high-end graphics cards sweat.
Whether the Steam Deck can do something like this remains to be seen. After all Cyberpunk 2077 has recently been officially verified for the Steam Deck – but of course still without the possibilities of the ray tracing options.
Latest updated video: Introducing Deck Verified