Steam Deck update adds per-game performance settings

Daniel Sims

Posts: 758   +29
In context: Valve's Steam Deck resembles a portable game console, but it's still a PC. As such, customization is one of its core features. Valve's latest update for the device gives users even more control over how they customize it for each game.

This week, Valve released a new update for the Steam Deck's OS with several new features and fixes. Most notably, players can now create profiles telling the system to perform differently with each game. This should help users optimize the balance between a smooth experience and acceptable battery life, which won't be identical for all games.

Steam Deck owners would obviously expect to manage graphics settings in games. However, the device also lets players change some system-wide settings like resolution, framerate, brightness, processor clock speed, and TDP (Thermal Design Power), as the video above shows. A YouTuber made significant battery life savings by capping the screen's refresh rate at 40Hz.

With the latest update, the Steam Deck remembers when players make such changes for individual games. 2D pixel art games like Rogue Legacy 2 or Stardew Valley probably don't need to draw as many watts as AAA titles like Elden Ring or God of War. Setting limits on the system when playing the lower-end games could drastically decrease battery drain without sacrificing performance. Users can find the new feature under Quick Access Menu > Performance > Advanced View.

The update also makes the Steam Deck switch between online and offline modes more smoothly. It includes keyboard improvements and lets users participate in the Steam hardware survey. The latter should let Valve's monthly survey results give us an idea of the Deck's popularity.

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Posts: 2,257   +4,397
With Holoiso now officially testing and apparently quite successfully given the right hardware (So no Nvidia gpus for now, but keep reading) and also yesterday Nvidia releasing an open source gpu driver it actually looks like Gabe might actually get closer to his vision of PC gaming bypassing it's dependency on Microsoft.

Mind you before folks gets critical, it's still *very strictly* PC gaming because people assume that not using windows would make things simpler and actually it makes them more complicated just because Linux involves a lot more fine control out of the user as most Steam Deck owners can probably tell you when it doesn't "Just works" there's a good chance it will still work if you actually go read forum threads, try many different settings, etc.

I can definitively see personal rigs for people 2 to 3 years from now, likely in time for Steam Deck 2, to become a lot more popular for gamers once many of the caveats get addressed: Nvidia open drivers need to mature, some hardware compatibility still remains a point of contention for folks like streamers and of course, The wayland transition needs to happen but it will be a rough state of affairs for at least 1 more year if not more (This also ties back mostly to Nvidia not playing nice with wayland so far but with an open source driver this will eventually be addressed) Steam OS and it's derivatives will need time to mature and compete with the established distros so Steam OS can have like an Ubuntu effect: People assume Ubuntu it's better and more stable than other distros but this is not true, it's just popular enough that you're far more likely to get assistance and fixes than you are on smaller distros when the dominant voices are often the stereotypical Linux nerds berating you much more than actually supporting you with the issues at hand.
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Posts: 2,074   +1,654
The steam deck is cool, im glad Valve made it but the reality is that its a poor mobile gaming solution. Its just a fun toy for rich people who can waste $500 on a toy to tinker with. If I had $500 spare and it could arrive tomorrow or within the week at least id buy one. Id enjoy playing around with it too. But would I actually pack it if I were going on a holiday or a long trip etc? I really dont think so.