I've been testing out SteamVR on Linux with the HTC Vive the past few days. From my time spent and trying out various graphics cards with Destinations, Dota 2, and Serious Sam VR: The First Encounter, my impressions is that for this Linux VR beta at least a GeForce GTX 1070 or GTX 1080 is really needed for good performance.
I haven't done any Radeon tests yet of SteamVR as there are reports of performance issues so I figured I'd wait a few days for that to be sorted out plus David Airlie has now posted the source changes to RADV for SteamVR and will be working towards mainlining that work.
All of my tests so far have been with the high-power Intel Core i7 7700K Kabylake system and even there it feels like the GTX 1070/1080 is really needed for good performance right now. The GeForce GTX 1060 wasn't running well for VR without missing frames and some latency factors. Even the GeForce GTX 980 too wasn't feeling as fluid as the GTX 1070/1080 from my initial hands-on tests with the currently limited selection of Linux VR titles. But even then, the GTX 1080 isn't perfect and there were times when the quality and performance still suffered.
Further making a GeForce GTX 1000 Pascal card as more sense for VR than the GTX 900 series is some of Vulkan's new extensions are only implemented for Pascal: VK_NV_clip_space_w_scaling and VK_NVX_multiview_per_view_attributes. Thus we're beginning to see Vulkan extensions arriving just for Pascal and newer.
While I previously wrote how SteamVR on Linux feels more like alpha than beta, hopefully the performance will improve with time. Even with yesterday's new NVIDIA Vulkan beta driver release, it ended up breaking the SteamVR support, further reflecting the early stage of VR support on Linux.