Steam Deck ray tracing support is here and the results are impressive

You can now play Doom Eternal on your Steam Deck with ray tracing enabled, for a prettier but understandably less performant experience.

A Steam Deck featuring a screenshot from Doom Eternal with ray tracing enabled

The Steam Deck packs a surprising amount of power for a handheld device, capable of running demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 and Dead Space Remake. Now, the portable PC is flexing its muscles in a way I never thought it would, as it now boasts support for ray tracing.

You’d be forgiven for thinking we’d need to wait for the Steam Deck 2 before we saw ray tracing support on a Valve handheld, but the current system has packed the necessary hardware since day one. However, there’s been no software support for the feature until now, following the recent release of SteamOS 3.4.6 Preview.

Shortly after the publication of the official patch notes, Valve coder Pierre-Loup Griffais took to Twitter to share a screenshot of Doom Eternal ray tracing running on Steam Deck. They were even kind enough to share performance metrics, showing the game running at 35fps while showcasing some RT reflections.

A screenshot from Doom Eternal with ray tracing enabled

Trying out the game for myself with ray tracing enabled, I’m not so sure it’s the way I’d prefer to play. Even turning settings down to ‘Low’ and dropping the game’s resolution didn’t massively help my frame rate. That said, I strongly suspect Valve will work to optimise and improve performance where it can, and I remain thoroughly impressed that it’s pulled this off on the Steam Deck in the first place.

Check this video of ray tracing in action…

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Currently, Doom Eternal is the only game to support ray tracing, but it likely won’t be the last. If you want to know what kind of PC can play 2020 PC game, then check the Doom Eternal system requirements for the recommended specs and minimum requirements.

Give it a few months, possibly even weeks, and we could see even more of the best Steam Deck games packing fancy RT effects.

Image credits: Pierre-Loup Griffais