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Steam Deck update reduces fan noise — but for a cost

The fire comes out of the exhaust fan in the Steam Deck.

picture: valve / kotaku

today, Valve has released a highly anticipated update for your laptop. SteamOS 3.2 brings a lot of fun changes to both the operating system and the Steam client itself, allowing both remote play, tweaking some visuals and user interface, and the ability to change the screen refresh rate. You must be hotly debated (sorry) about the cornerstones of the internet.

Basically, a persistent issue with Steam Deck has been that in order to prevent this Pocket PC from igniting, the fan would normally run. And usually I mean: all. to. The. time. And out loud! It easily bypasses heavy metal tinnitus to sound just enough to actually hit an audible tone. I’m used to it (I also have hearing damage), but the others weren’t happy.

Noise inspired iFixit to sell new fans Namely, if you are a DIY soul, they are easy to replace and offer a much quieter solution. But for those of us who don’t like to have the device open, SteamOS 3.2 allows the fan’s curve to be tweaked, lowering it so the device doesn’t start singing in its mezzo-soprano range.

Here’s where things are likely to heat up (again, sorry) online. By lowering the fan speed, the device will overheat. How hot is it? we will, computer games change measure up to 10 degrees Celsius (that is 18change ° in Freedom Units) a few weeks ago in just one example. It was enough for them to consider this update as not worth it given the potential impact on the lifespan of Steam Deck.

The Steam Deck setup menu displays the new fan control option.

picture: Kotaku

digital foundry It was a little bit more accurate أخذ; Essentially, fan speed, temperature, and usage all mix to deliver different results. So you are likely to see temperature increases from 4° or 5° C to as much as 10° C. It was their opinion (and mine, to be honest), since this is still within the expected operating temperatures for the device, it probably won’t encounter any problems.

This isn’t much different from discussions about whether you should leave your computer on all the time or turn it off when you’re not using it. As a science professor once told me, “Heat is real,” so yes, running the device at high temperatures isn’t nothing. But technically, unless we’re pushing the device to temperatures it wasn’t designed to run, why should we have a problem?

I don’t want to dismiss this discussion too quickly. according to old military brochure On the expected life of electronics, 10 ° C can half Life expectancy of the device. Of course, there are many factors to consider which will likely be a discussion we will continue to have on Twitter and Reddit.

I guess the only real way to find out is to buy about a dozen Steam platforms, and have them run the same scene in something like Cyberpunk 2077 movie For four or five years, set half to the lower fan curve, and the other half to use the original settings. We’ll then see which one dies first. Until this science is realized, it’s probably best to leave the old fan curve settings on if sound isn’t that important to you. You are more likely to come across a well of opinions and facts, full of anecdotes and internet mathematicians about these details. Until we get two years into the life of Steam Deck and start seeing actual results, we won’t know one way or the other.

I leave it to the comments section to respectfully assume further discussion.

Correction 05/27/2022 1:45 PM ET: Fix an account error.

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