How Linux Gamers Can Boost FPS With Steam + AMD FSR

If you’re a Linux gamer, using AMD’s FSR technology is like getting a GPU upgrade. Here’s what it is, and how to get it working on Steam!

Would you like a free performance upgrade for your Steam games without having to scratch and claw your way to a new graphics card? If the answer is even a tentative “yes,” do me a quick favor: try to identify any major visual differences between these screenshots I captured of Resident Evil Village. If you’re squinting at your screen and struggling to do so, then imagine how difficult it would be to pick them out with the game in motion

I showed you those screens (see the video below for several other examples) to illustrate a point. One of those screenshots is running somewhere between 40 FPS and 55 FPS, while the other is kicking out 115 FPS to 140 FPS. 

At 4K resolution.

No Hardware Upgrade Required

Of course, Resident Evil: Village boasts official support for AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution, as do about 18 other Windows games. That’s no secret. But did you know that thanks to some clever people at Valve and Red Hat, you can play literally thousands of games in the Steam library with AMD FSR?

FSR has been blowing my mind and we need to talk about this. Because AMD’s newest open-source tech is a literal game-changer for Linux gamers, on everything from integrated Intel and Ryzen graphics to high-end gaming powerhouses like the Radeon RX 6800 XT or Nvidia RTX 3080. 

But how do you enable FSR and use it with Linux? How do you confirm it’s running? What are its limitations? Let me answer those questions for you, and show you FSR in action.

Watch FSR in action in the video companion to this guide.

AMD FSR: A Brief Overview

Let’s start with a brief overview of AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution. In a nutshell, FSR is an open-source solution that uses upscaling technologies to give you higher framerates and higher resolutions than your hardware is capable of delivering natively. 

It’s the perfect tool to have during a GPU shortage! 

Here are two awesome facts about FSR:

1) FSR doesn’t just work on newer AMD graphics cards. It works on GPUs as old as the Radeon 460, 470, and 480. It’s compatible with AMD Ryzen and Intel CPUs that have integrated graphics (APUs). It even works on Nvidia’s latest RTX graphics cards, and their 10 Series lineup. 

2) FSR can be used for almost every non-native game in your Steam library! As long as it’s using Proton to play — meaning it’s using the Vulkan API — you can enjoy FSR.

Linux Guide: How To Use FSR With Your Steam Library 

To use AMD FSR with your Steam library, you’ll need the custom version of Proton from Glorious Eggroll.

Fortunately, we have a video showing you how to easily install it and update it. (The tl;dr is this: install an app called ProtonUP or ProtonUP-Qt, and make sure you’re using Proton version 6.13-GE-1 or newer. Because those have FSR baked right in! Follow that and the first step is accomplished!)

The next step is to add this launch command to any Steam Play game you want to use FSR with. So just right-click the game title or cover art, select properties, and in the launch options box, type: 

The command that makes the magic happen for 1000s of Steam games!

However, if it’s a game that has official FSR support on Windows, like Terminator Resistance or Resident Evil Village, just use the in-game options! Both games run really well on Linux.

Now go down to the Compatibility tab and tell Steam to use the custom Proton-GE version. At things stand now, you’ll need to execute those steps for each game. There are also two caveats to be aware of: 

1) You have to be running the game in fullscreen for FSR to work properly. 

2) Since FSR is an upscaler, you need to set your in-game resolution lower than your monitor’s in-game resolution. So, if you want to see FSR in action on your 1080p monitor, set your in-game resolution to 720p. If you’re on a 4K monitor, set your in-game resolution to 1440p. 

How To Tell AMD FSR Is Really Working

During my testing, I saw improved framerates across the board, but sometimes I wondered “is it actually working or is simply stuck on this lower resolution and not upscaling?” 

If you want to be sure, compare your in-game resolution to your monitor’s currently running resolution. You can normally find that on your monitor’s OSD (onscreen display) by poking at the menu or input button.

I’ve been really impressed with FSR on Linux, especially after testing it on just a Ryzen 7 4800H. It elevates a game like Borderlands 3 from a stuttery mess at 1080p to perfectly playable.

UPDATE: Valve and AMD have announced that FSR will be baked into SteamOS 3.0 on the operating system level. That’s terrific news for Steam Deck users, and by the time Deck launches, perhaps this guide will be obsolete. I’d welcome that!

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