Steam Deck gets smarter and quieter fan with SteamOS 3.2 update

Steam Deck Right Joystick
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Valve just released an update that brings SteamOS to version 3.2.
  • The update allows players to adjust refresh rate on demand, improves fan behavior, and adds more options for screen resolution.
  • SteamOS 3.2 should make the Steam Deck quieter by intelligently reducing fan usage.

The Steam Deck should be significantly quieter following the handheld's most recent update. Valve just shipped SteamOS 3.2, which includes several improvements to the portable gaming device. The Steam Deck is now smarter and more responsive when it comes to using its fans, thanks to an "all-new OS-controlled fan curve" in its latest update," according to Valve.

SteamOS 3.2 also adds an option to adjust the in-game screen refresh rate on demand. Players can now slide a game to anywhere between the default of 60 FPS and 40 FPS.

Here's what's new in the update (emphasis from Valve):

"Refresh Rate
Players now have the option to adjust the in-game screen refresh rate on the fly. The default is 60Hz (which can be frame-limited to 60, 30, and 15fps), but you can now slide it down to 40Hz (with frame limits at 40, 20, and 10fps). Or any number (integer) between those two settings. This feature is great for finding that perfect balance between framerate, game quality, and battery life. Pro-tip, we have found that 40Hz tends to be a sweet spot for responsiveness, consistency, and smoothness. And of course, you can save this setting on a per-game basis.

Fan Behavior
The team has been hard at work on Steam Deck's fan behavior, and this update has an all-new OS-controlled fan curve. This means that overall it's smarter, more responsive to what's happening on and inside Steam Deck, and quieter - especially in low usage situations. This has been tested extensively, and we're continuing to work on improvements - so please let us know what you think. If you prefer the way the fan used to work, you can always switch back to the old (BIOS-controlled) fan behavior in System > Settings.

Other bits and bobs
SteamOS 3.2 also includes more internal screen resolution options for games to choose from, quick formats for microSD cards, and audio improvements - max speaker volume now goes even higher!"

While it isn't part of the SteamOS 3.2 update, Valve also shipped Remote Play Together to the Steam Deck this week. The feature allows gamers to join others remotely as if they were sitting side-by-side.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).