May 19's Steam OS 3.2 Beta Patch notes (opens in new tab) for the Steam Deck speak of a much improved fan curve, among other practical updates to the device's HUD, audio, and other game specific fixes. It comes alongside yet more updates to Valve's Proton Experimental, which is slowly increasing compatibility with a boatload of games for the Linux-based handheld gaming device.
Previously we'd reported that the Deck's fan wasn't necessarily loud, but the pitch is unbearable. So much so that we'd even seen people sending theirs back to Valve for RMA because of it, until Valve finally managed to get it under wraps.
Rather than iFixit having to resort to selling replacement fans for the Deck (opens in new tab), Valve devs went through the code, and implemented a software-based fix instead, adding an "OS-controlled fan curve to improve the experience in low usage scenarios, and adjusting how the fan responds to different scenarios and temperatures."
When we tested their last fix, we found it had not only improved the Deck's fan whine (opens in new tab) tenfold, but also kept the temperatures down to a reasonable level, even under full load.
As of yesterday's update to Steam OS 3.2, Valve has made further improvements to the fan curve, which the company says is now "smarter, more stable, and quieter overall." We'll keep this post updated once we get a chance to test out exactly how much, not that we have a specific test for 'smarter.'
This all comes along with improvements to the HUD, which now shows a more accurate VRAM reading. We're also seeing some great improvements to the Deck's audio, such as fixed gain staging which should help minimize noise and distortion. That's going to be a great help now that you can crank the volume up even louder than before, and for anyone who's been experiencing white noise when connecting certain headsets through a 3.5mm jack, that should all be cleared up now.
Gaming On Linux (opens in new tab) also outlines a recent improvement to the Proton Experimental software, which includes five new games being added to the list of playable games; improvements to FFXIV (opens in new tab)'s online launcher, Street Fighter V (opens in new tab)'s fps in online matches, and controller support for Mini Ninjas; among other improvements.
So far, Valve is keeping its promise of ensuring the Steam Deck is seeing constant improvements, and hopefully it will keep up the good work. At least, if they can fit it in while they're working on Half Life 3...
Sorry, please don't get your hopes up.
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