Steam Deck started shipping two months ago today, and it’s gotten a little better since then, but this week might be the best one yet, because we’re finally tackling the biggest problem with the $400 laptop. Yeah, I’m talking about the fan. .
When the Deck launched, it shipped with an extremely loud fan to cool its AMD Zen 2 and RDNA 2 silicon, and owners like me have been dealing with its constant volume and whining since day one. Ran constantlyeven when i wasn’t doing anything with the system and i was always getting better even in relatively light games like Vampire survivors.
Even worse, moans. Or at least some Steam Decks have that problem: the reddit community discovered that Valve actually ships the Deck with one of two different fans, one from Delta and another from Huaying. I have the Delta, and so do most of the others who complain about the buzz from what I’ve seen. Valve won’t comment on fan selection, and iFixit can’t say if it will be able to upgrade when replacement parts become available.
We are aware of the noise issue and are trying to get the ones without noise but it will depend on what is available to us.— iFixit (@iFixit) April 18, 2022
But this week, Valve took a big step to improve it with a beta software update — and I can confirm that it is a completely new experience. The fan no longer comes on when the system is sitting there; it’s now silent when idle, until or unless you warm up the chip by downloading some content or opening large game folders at the very least.
It doesn’t ramp up as fast anymore, as mine usually waits until the system crosses 65 degrees celsius before ramping the fan speed up to a new level, though I did notice it was getting quite warm before reaching full fan speed, and I even saw some stutters. in elden ring when I got to about 87 degrees celsius on the GPU.
One problem: none of Valve’s tweaks fixed the problem. My Delta fan may not rev as fast, but it still has that little jet engine scream.
Do you know what fixed it? Electric tape.
u/OligarchyAmbulance on Reddit discovered that simply pressing on the back of the Steam Deck case, near the Valve logo, was enough to muffle the groan. So they opened their Steam Deck and stacked four small strips of electrical tape on top of the same spot inside the shell, just behind the fan. here are some prior to Y later videos they created.
I did the same thing: first I pressed on the back to see if it worked, then I opened Steam Deck and added the tape. The moan was almost erased. Don’t get me wrong, the fan is still going full blast! But now it’s mostly a gust of air, not a squeak.
Should you try this at home? Not necessarily, because we don’t know why it works or if there may be harmful side effects, such as heat or wear. “We don’t recommend changing the airflow path as we don’t know how that would affect thermals,” Valve’s Lawrence Yang tells me.
u/OligarchyAmbulance and I aren’t seeing any noticeable difference in temperature yet, but between Valve’s warning and the fact that opening the Deck is a bit more difficult than some think, I don’t know if I would. recommend it to anyone.
But it seems pretty clear that this fan issue is hardware, not just software, and if Valve doesn’t have a plan or recommendation for sound muffling, I’m guessing more than one gamer will take matters into their own hands.
By the way, the fan curve isn’t the only interesting addition in this week’s beta update for Deck. also add an experimental way to change the screen refresh rate between 40 and 60Hz, which could improve battery life and smoothness when the game is running at more than 30fps, but cannot reach 60fps.