Today, Valve has released a highly anticipated update to his portable PC. SteamOS 3.2 brings a lot of fun changes for both the operating system and the Steam client itself, enables Remote Play Together, tweaks some visual and UI elements, and the ability to change the screen refresh rate. are inevitably (sorry) hotly debated around corners of the internet.
Essentially an ongoing problem with the Steam deck was that the fan is normally on to prevent this pocket pc from bursting into flames. And by normally I mean everyone. Of. That. Time. And it’s loud! It easily blows past my heavy metal-induced tinnitus to produce enough sound to actually pitch an audible pitch. I got used to it (I also have hearing impairment) but others weren’t so lucky.
The noise inspires iFixit sells new fans which, if you’re the DIY spirit, are fairly easy to replace and offer a quieter solution. But for those of us who’d rather not crack the device open, SteamOS 3.2 allows the fan curve to be adjusted and lowered so the device doesn’t start singing in its mezzo-soprano range.
It’s probably (again, sorry) getting hot online here. Decreasing the fan speed will make the device hotter. how much hotter Spring, PC gamer measured the change as high as 10°C (that’s 50° in units of freedom) 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 Steam deck lifespan.
Digital Foundry had a slightly more nuanced take; Essentially, fan speed, temperature, and load all mix to produce different results. So you will probably see a temperature increase of 4° or 5° up to 10°C. It was their opinion (as well as mine, to be honest) that this is still within expected operating temperatures. You probably won’t have any problems with the device.
This isn’t too dissimilar to debates about whether you should keep 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 take the device to temperatures it’s not rated for, why should we have a problem?
I don’t want to end this debate too quickly. According to old military manual 10°C can affect the expected service life of the electronics cut in half the expected lifetime of a device. Of course, there are so many factors to consider that this will likely be a debate we’ll continue to have on Twitter and Reddit.
I think the only real way to find out is to buy a dozen or so steam decks and run them the same scene in something like Cyberpunk 2077 put half on the lower fan curve for four or five years while the other half uses the original settings. We will then see which die first. Until such science can be achieved, it might be best to leave the legacy fan curve settings on if sound isn’t such a big deal to you. You will most likely come across a plethora of opinions and facts filled with anecdotes and internet math about this one detail. Until we’re a few years into the life of the Steam Deck and we start seeing actual results, we just won’t know, one way or the other.
I’ll leave it to the comments section to, respectfully I assume, discuss further.
https://kotaku.com/steam-deck-os-update-3-2-valve-fan-noise-lifespan-1848986918 The Steam Deck update lowers fan noise – but at a price