Holy cow, that FSR 2.1 article has proven to be quite a hit. It’s already my third most-viewed article on the entire site. As such I wanted to follow up and actually put FSR 2.1 to the test on Steam Deck, to see whether or not it could live up to the claims I previously brought out.

I’m again using Kena: Bridge of Spirits as the test sample. The only other game I have in my library that I can test FSR 2.1 with the DLSS unlocker mod is Horizon Zero Dawn, which I will probably save for another day. The video comparison between FSR 1.0 and 2.1 is available to view on YouTube. Kena was tested with GE-Proton7-37, Medium graphics settings, FSR 2.1 set to “Balanced,” and resolution set to the lowest available (1024 x 768). Some notes I wanted to extract from the comparison:

  • FSR 2.1 performs much better – 10, sometimes even 15 FPS higher (getting 40-45 FPS on average!)
  • VRAM and RAM usage is about the same, unlike with my NVIDIA GPU
  • about two watts more of CPU is used on FSR 2.1, but uses about one watt less of GPU
  • battery usage on both versions is about 25 watts
  • it’s a bit hard to notice, but the graphics quality on FSR 2.1 is slightly better

I’ll have to do some more extensive testing to see if 2.1 actually provides a longer battery life (I’ll also need to observe fan speed between the two versions). In the meantime, for those of who were reporting poor framerates for Kena on Deck, now you’ve got your answer! You’ve got smoother gameplay and better sharpening detail. You can even get away with the High graphics preset at around 30 FPS.

Refer to my guide if you want to get this up and running yourself. I can verify that the steps used on desktop are identical when applying them to the Steam Deck.