Whether you own a Steam Deck or you’re still waiting, the pace of updates from Valve is impressive. Following the release of the so-called “Lock Screen Update” just a few days ago, the beta channel has an early chance to look at Steam OS 3.2. With this next version, it looks like some exciting quality of life changes are heading our way. Not least the recently promised refresh rate switching feature.
The built-in display on the Steam Deck is 60 Hz, regardless of the recent addition of an uncapped frame rate. Whether you limit the FPS to 30 or even 15 in a game, the display is always 60 Hz. With Steam OS 3.2, however, it looks like the previously discussed refresh rate switcher is on the way.
This new feature allows you to actually change the refresh rate of the Steam Deck display. Just in the same way you can on an external monitor. In the right-hand quick access menu, there is a new option to change the refresh rate to a value between 40 Hz and 60 Hz. A previous demonstration by YouTuber, The Phawx, showed remarkable results to battery life by limiting the refresh rate to 40 Hz. This was done on Windows, but it’s already a thing now on Steam OS.
When the refresh rate has been changed the FPS limiting feature on the Steam Deck will automatically update to provide 1:1, 1:2, 1:4, and uncapped options.
The other big feature already in testing is a new fan curve. Much has been said about the fans on the Steam Deck — I haven’t personally thought they were too bad — and Valve is already working on that:
- Added an OS-controlled fan curve to improve the experience in low usage scenarios, and adjusting how the fan responds to different scenarios and temperatures.
Anyone with a Steam Deck can change to the beta channel in settings if they wish and try this out. To see what else is included in Steam OS 3.2 right now check out the full patch notes.
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