For all the Valve’s next SteamOS upgrade is a significant one. Even while playing light games, the Steam Deck fan whining may be loud and high-pitched, which is a common complaint. Some others, like my colleague Sean Hollister, have tried a DIY approach to cure the whining, and despite being on sale for less than a week, iFixit’s new Steam Deck fans are already sold out.
Valve added a new OS-controlled fan curve with SteamOS 3.2, which is supposed to improve matters. Valve made a statement that this means it’s smarter, more sensitive to what’s going on on and inside Steam Deck, and quieter – especially in low-use conditions. Valve has made some significant changes based on my limited and unscientific testing.
The three dots menu button in SteamOS 3.2 now allows you to alter in-game refresh rates on the fly. “The default is 60Hz (which may be frame-limited to 60, 30, and 15 frames per second), but you can now change it to 40Hz (with frame limits of 40, 20, and 10 frames per second),” Valve explains. If you wish to extend the life of your battery, you can reduce the refresh rate.