upgrade to reduce fan noise

Valve has released the SteamOS update 3.2 with an important addition for Steam Deck gamers looking to reduce fan noise, which is sometimes loud even if the game isn’t too demanding. Among the novelties of the update we also have the option to adjust the refresh rate of the screen on the fly. Also, the refresh rate can now be set to 40Hz by default.

According to Valve, this update improves the behavior of the fan thanks to the introduction of a completely new curve controlled by the operating system. “This means it’s generally smarter, more responsive to what’s going on inside and outside the Steam Deck, and quieter, especially when usage is low,” the company says. Valve claims that this new functionality has been “extensively tested”, but the team is still making improvements, so everyone feedback it’s welcome.

TheVerge has done a first test and says that in games like Rogue Legacy 2 it shows that the fan is “much quieter.” With Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, a title with a higher graphic load, the fan is heard, but less than before. Gamers who prefer the old fan behavior can revert to the old BIOS-controlled behavior in System > System Settings.

As for the in-game display refresh rate, with SteamOS update 3.2 Steam Deck users have the option to adjust it on the fly. The default setting is still 60Hz (with possible limits of 60, 30 and 15 FPS), but as a novelty we have the option to reduce it to 40Hz (with limits of 40, 20 and 10 FPS). Valve says that this feature “is great for striking the right balance between frame rate, game quality, and battery life.”

Valve reminds that 30Hz is 33.33ms/frame, 40Hz is 25ms/frame, and 60Hz is 16.66ms/frame, so when it comes to refresh rate, 40FPS is the midpoint between 30FPS and 60fps. Consequently, if the game is running at a stable 40 FPS with a screen refresh rate of 40 Hz, each frame is a new frame and the result is smoother than with an unstable frame rate and a higher screen refresh rate. .

SteamOS 3.2 also includes more internal display resolution options, faster microSD card formats, and audio enhancements like maximum speaker volume. Finally, Valve reminds that the Steam client has been updated so that Remote Play Together works correctly on the Steam Deck.