Coming with the latest Beta update for the Steam Deck, Valve's made some changes to the fan curve, and it looks like all our prayers have been answered.
We, like many of you, noticed how loud the Steam Deck is straight off the bat. But it's really the pitch that has been getting to people, it seems. We measured it whirring up to around 1,000Hz which is a pretty unbearable note to have to endure if you're trying to concentrate.
A recent beta update gave us hope that Valve was on the case, and that we wouldn't have to resort to sticking electrical tape up in our Decks. Although the fan whine was noticably quieter with the update, it also meant the Deck couldn't quite handle the temperatures being thrown out under full load.
Now, Valve appears to have found a balance.
Not only does the recent Steam Deck beta update seem to have negated the fan's high pitch whine, it also manages to keep the GPU temps at a reasonable level.
Our previous testing saw the Deck's custom AMD GPU pushing 79°C in Euro Truck Simulator 2. Those are the kinds of temps you'd expect from even the best gaming laptops, but are less likely to get away with for a handheld gaming device. You want to squeeze every last ounce of longevity from the Deck, and sustaining temperatures like that wouldn't have done it any favours.
Hello! We’ve just shipped an update to SteamOS for Steam Deck in the beta channel. This update includes a new OS-controlled fan curve, support for changing in-game screen refresh rate, and more. https://t.co/iukgqSfAcx pic.twitter.com/vLdwFzwF0XApril 28, 2022
Thankfully, since the update the fan curve issue seems to have been addressed tenfold, and now Valve has those wild temperatures tamed. The Steam Deck now tops out at around 64°C under full load—much more like it.
Our Wes said he was happy with the 10°C tradeoff in the previous update, and I would have been too honestly, but we're over the moon to see that Valve's diligent devs have struck again with their wizardry. Good form.