[TRACKING] Using Valve Index on Framework 13?

I found some experiments on YT and X (twitter) where people would drive a Quest 2 or Quest Pro using an ROG Ally. Since the Z1 Extreme and the 7840U are more or less the same chip, I wondered if I could use my Framework 13 AMD to drive the Index as a sort of jank puck-driven headset.

I use Nobara (modified Fedora 38) GNOME X11 edition and connected my Framework DP expansion card. The Index does not show up on my Framework with xrandr or drm_info, yet SteamVR detects it perfectly fine on my desktop running the same distro (with an Nvidia card).

I wasn’t sure what was going on. I thought maybe the DP expansion might be the issue (seen some complains on the forum) and bought this connector and it actually works. SteamVR detects the headset.

Not sure if this is a Linux or an expansion card issue. Does anyone happen to have both an Index and a Windows install and check if SteamVR detects the headset?

Hi, still waiting for my Framework 13, but it should arrive the next days. I don’t have a Valve Index, but I can test it with a HTC Vive on Windows. I will give feedback as soon as I have tested it.

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Would love to hear your successes guys, on your VR ventures with the Framework laptop. Tracking. :slight_smile:

Do try it with fedora 39 when you get hold of the VR hardware.

@Loell_Framework wow thanks! Didn’t expect to get attention from Framework folks.

Do you happen to know what spec the DP 2nd Gen expansion card supports? Admittedly I use a TV as a monitor so I can’t check with anything I own. The Index uses DP 1.2 IIRC

Do you happen to know what causes the DP expansion card to not work on the Index? Could it be firmware related? There are some people in the Collabora discord that preordered the FW 16 as development laptops to drive headsets for testing.

An update:

Installed Windows and all of the drivers in my Framework (yuck) to test. Found out that the DP expansion card invokes an error in Windows where it warms me that the DP connector won’t work well, despite not yet plugging in a display.

Plugged in the Index to the DP expansion card and got an error saying that Laptops need extra work to make VR work

Plugged in the Thunderbolt to DP adapter and SteamVR detects and starts driving the headset.

Really does seem that the DP expansion card is bugging out. I have a friend with a Vive Pro 2 and I’ll try their headset which uses an HDMI cable and see how that goes with the HDMI expansion card.

So far it doesn’t seem like a Linux specific issue which is good, but there are still issues on Linux I’ve yet to document.

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Nice to see that the headset is detected. Can’t wait to test mine. Laptop will arrive on Friday, so I know what I will do during the weekend. :laughing:

The HTC Vive does also have an HDMI cable, so I can’t really test with DP.

Did you run any games with the Thunderbolt to DP adapter?

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This thing is a power horse!! I received the laptop today and got managed to set it up and install everything I need. System configuration:

  • Crucial 2 x 16GB (32GB) RAM DDR5 5600MHz
  • WD Black SN850X 2TB SSD
  • Windows 11 Pro

Plugged in my HTC Vive in the HDMI adapter and start up Pistol Whip in VR. No jittering or stuttering. I had a smooth VR experience with my HTC Vive and Pistol Whip.

Before playing I have set the GPU to gaming mode and also activate the HYPR-RX mode in the AMD Control Center.

Sure the fan speeds up to cool the system down, but with the VR headset on my head I didn’t hear it :joy: I don’t know if a longer gaming session will be good for the laptop because of heat and high fan speed but that’s something I have to found out. In the meantime the download of Half Life: Alyx is making progress and I will have a look how good the laptop will perform after the download has finished. :wink:

Half Life: Alyx runs smooth, too. Graphic settings were on medium inside Alyx. Even it was automatically set to Low because of “bad” graphic card according to Alyx, everything was fine in medium mode! :+1:


Installed Windows on my laptop and installed the AMD Adrenaline software on it. I did not have the same experience. System Configuration:

  • AMD 7840U configuration
  • Framework 2 x 8 GB (16GB) RAM DDR5 5600MHz
  • WD BLack SN850X 1TB SSD
  • Windows 10 Home

Plugged in my Valve Index using the DP expansion card and it did not work. Then I tried the USB-C Thunderbolt to DP cable I bought and it does work. Seems that the issue is the DP expansion card. I have seen some people mention that the DP expansion card has issues all around, so this confirms a pattern w/ the expansion card.

Admitedly I did not try HYPR-RX mode in the AMD Control Center, but I did set the GPU to gaming mode, plugged the laptop into a 100W power brick, and set Windows to performance setting.

Booted up SteamVR home and immediately started having problems. I was missing frames BADLY. My performance graph was mostly red (IIRC means it renders every third frame) and had lots of purple lines (IIRC means I’m missing the frame time outright). I could only get SteamVR home to look smooth cranking the render resolution to it’s lowest setting. That cleared up the graphics issues but now everything looked like it was on a Quest 2 and not an Index.

I ran Half Life: Alyx and continued having issues. I could tell that there were still performance issues because I could see the reprojection occur every few frames which was disorientating. Another big issue is that pose data for the headset and (especially) the controllers were not being processed in time b/c my hands and head would “rubber band” on quick movements.

I have never been motion sick in VR before but this experience gave me a headache.

From what I’ve seen on YouTube, the ROG Ally seems to drive the Quest 2 pretty well with respectable performance:

The ROG Ally looks promising with a Quest Pro too:

I’d really like to debug what the issue is on my end. Unfortunately I’ve prematurely wiped Windows off of my machine so I don’t know how to enable different power profiles on my GPU other than corectl, but SteamVR beta still works for Linux.

I also have a build of Monado working so I can try that. I heard the Monado compositor is more efficient than the SteamVR compositor :joy:

@Surafel_Assefa It could be that your memory is too low. If I play Half Life: Alyx the RAM consumption increases to 90%.

I played about 5 minutes and took the screenshot with the overlay to show some specs during playing Half Life: Alyx. Looking nice and the game runs smooth. The graphics are set to medium in Half Life, the computer was set to highest performance, gaming mode for the GPU and HYPR-RX mode.

@Daniel_Isenmann can you take a picture of your SteamVR video and HL: Alyx graphics settings? Also can you post a screenshot of your AMD Adrenaline graphics settings?

Will compare results to Arch Linux and Fedora 39. Possibly Windows again as well

@Surafel_Assefa Here are the screenshots. The graphic settings in Alyx are the medium ones, doesn’t changed them in detail. Also the settings of the AMD HYPR-RX mode are default. The video settings in SteamVR are the defaults, no changes done there.

Here are the english translations for the Alyx settings:

  • Textures: Low
  • Shadows: Medium
  • Characters: Medium
  • Fog: Medium
  • Dynamic lights: On
  • Particles: Medium
  • Audio: Medium
  • Dynamic clothes: On
  • Number of Ragdolls: Medium
  • Holograms with high quality: On

It could also be that the higher resolution of the Valve Index causes the problems.

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Okay this is REALLY interesting.

I have yet to test on my machine, but I did not have HYPER-X enabled and therefore had to reduce SteamVR and HL: Alyx graphics settings to the lowest possible.

I will set up SteamVR on my laptop now that my Arch install for Monado (FOSS OpenXR runtime) is up. I plan to compile a similar list of data as you have provided for Arch, Fedora 39, and Windows 11.

The Index does have about 80% higher resolution and much higher refresh rates than the HTC Vive. It’s possible it’s just too high of a target, but I want to replicate your software as much as I can before buying new 32 GB of memory.

Admittedly I didn’t document my setup as well so that’s on me. Appreciate the patience.

So it’s been a minute but I have updates.

I could not get SteamVR working on my Arch install or a fresh Fedora 39 install. SteamVR would take control of the Index and show the loading scene, but it would NOT load into SteamVR Home or go into HL: Alyx.

I switched to using Monado and it the performance is respectable. The performance logging feature in Monado is bugged so i wasn’t able to write out any logs for the performance visualizer, but the logs mentioned I’m missing the rendering target by about 6 ms. This corroborates the performance I was seeing on Windows.

Will take some time before I install Windows again and try to replicate your performance @Daniel_Isenmann

To chime in here, i tried this yesterday for a hot minute with a Valve Index. On first start SteamVR instantly got to talk with the headset and i could see the Home Place, then i wanted to set it up right but Steam did things and it stopped working after killing Steam the hard way and then i had other things to do. From what i could see the few seconds it did work was a lot of redrawn frames with the 7640U but my System is on Kernel 6.2 so there might some improvements. If it could run Beatsaber in some fashion it would be a big win. For now i only have this datapoint:

  • yes it works, performance is horrible, you will vomit. (i was actually feeling 3d motion sick for 10 minutes which is astonishing as i have quite strong VR legs)

I was putting installed Fedora 39 and Windows off for now b/c I had put a lot of work in getting my setup running and didn’t just want to reinstall everything.

I do want to point out several things I’ve learned after joining the Monado and Linux VR adventures discord server. Apparently SteamVR will render out a resolution higher than the resolution of the headset displays to combat fidelity loss in optics systems for older headsets like the Index, which puts extra strain on an already limiting system.

Another issue on Linux specifically is that there is no hardware pre-emption which doesn’t even let SteamVR or Monado add any time+space warps that would smooth out the experience:

The latter has no general fix but there is a specific fix for RDNA2+ on RADV.

Want to reiterate that I didn’t have a chance to test SteamVR very well on my current setup (EndeavorOS 6.6.4 on RADV) b/c it would crash. I did try to run it on GNOME+X11. Downloading Fedora 39 KDE edition as we speak and have another flash drive with a Windows 10 install. Hopefully SteamVR will work on Fedora.

EDIT: A change was just merged that fixes some performance issues in Monado. @BrunoDeVries if you’re curious you could try running BeatSaber with Monado