Valve and AMD are working together to develop a better CPU performance scaling driver for Linux, targeting the Steam Deck gaming console.
It is reported that AMD is working with Valve, which develops the game sales platform Steam, to improve the CPU driver with the aim of improving performance on Linux. It is expected that this initiative will improve the performance of Valve’s handheld game console Steam Deck announced last month.
This type of close collaboration with Valve will be required if the Steam Deck is to compete with other devices. The main reason for this development effort is that the current ACPI CPUFreq driver is “not very performance/power efficient for modern AMD platforms.” In other words, the new driver will allow the processor in the Steam Deck to quickly ramp up to a higher performance state when needed and achieve better performance per watt.
It’s not a big surprise to see work being done in this direction, considering that Steam Deck will be based on a custom AMD Zen 2 design with 8 RDNA 2 CUs for the graphics. Valve hopes to nail down 30 fps gaming with the Steam Deck, and with the limited GPU power available onboard, it will need to make sure the operating system and drivers are as streamlined as possible to deliver.
As you may be aware, the device will sport a stunning SteamOS 3.0 operating system based on Arch Linux distribution and will make full use of the ever-expanding support for Linux gaming providing via Proton. Proton is a tool released by Valve Software that allows Windows games to run on Linux-based operating systems.
Steam Deck is available to reserve now and will begin shipping in December 2021.
AMD has advertised jobs for more Linux engineers earlier this summer, so the company is clearly putting more effort behind the operating system. In conclusion, the cooperation between these two companies with certainty will also be of benefit to gamers using modern AMD platforms running Linux on their PCs.