SteamOS gets support for AMD, Intel graphics

When Valve released the first SteamOS beta to the public last month, folks with AMD GPUs and Intel integrated graphics were left out in the cold. The beta supported only Nvidia graphics.

Well, that's now changed. The freshly released "alchemist" update to SteamOS adds support for both AMD and Intel graphics solutions. Only Optimus graphics setups (i.e. Nvidia discrete plus Intel integrated graphics with dynamic switching) remain unsupported, but those are pretty much only found in notebooks—not in the home-theater PCs and couch gaming rigs that Valve is targeting with SteamOS.

How do you install the alchemist update? You don't. "Existing SteamOS installs should update themselves automatically," says Valve. Folks who haven't downloaded SteamOS yet can do so through this page. Do note, however, that the operating system still has certain hardware requirements. A 64-bit processor, 4GB of RAM, 500GB of hard-drive space, and support for UEFI booting are all needed.

The SteamOS "alchemist" update includes AMD's Catalyst 13.11 Beta 9.9 graphics drivers for Linux, which are also available as a separate download here. AMD's release notes for those drivers mention a couple of "open issues:" some games suffer from screen tearing even with v-sync on, and the SteamOS overlay can respond sluggishly if opened over a game. Those don't sound like deal breakers, though, especially considering that SteamOS still isn't ready for prime time.

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