The beta patch appears to have significantly reduced fan whine, however temps have risen.
If you’ve been missing all the buzz about noisy fans, there have been a few reports from Steam Deck owners who aren’t happy with a high-pitched whine coming from one of the fans (with some folks even resorting to odd measures like opening their device and sticking electrical tape inside as a kind of fudged fix).
The good news is that a new Steam Deck update has a genuine software fix, but it is still in beta.
The patch notes don’t particularly mention fan whine, but Valve does say that it has “added an OS-controlled fan curve to improve the experience in low usage conditions, and modifying how the fan responds to varied scenarios and temperature” as one of the changes.
“Fixed an issue where OS fan control would not automatically resume after waking up the device from sleep,” says another fan-related measure.
These are technical efforts, as PC Gamer points out, that appear to be tied to the fan noise issue, as there are a lot of reports online from Deck owners claiming that applying this patch fixes the whine (or the worst of it).
Indeed, a post-patch “change was visible almost immediately” in terms of the pitch of the fan noise being significantly lower, and it sounded a lot quieter when playing Euro Truck Simulator 2 as a test, according to our sister site.
What’s the drawback? According to PC Gamer, the game went from pushing temperatures of 63-68°C (on high graphics settings) to roughly 75-79°C, which is a significant improvement a significant leap (closing on 20 percent higher).
Analysis: Let’s not rush to judgement on this one
On the surface, fixing a problem like the reported fan noise while also causing the Deck’s CPU to run at a considerably greater temperature may appear to be a questionable trade-off. And, while it’s not ideal, temperatures in the 70s are still acceptable for the Steam Deck, and aren’t particularly alarming in absolute terms. (PC Gamer also tried Elden Ring, which only reached 80°C at maximum, so it’s not a significant issue.)
Another thing to keep in mind is that this is still a beta update, which means it’s there to be tested, and some issues or flaws are to be expected, but hopefully they’ll be ironed out soon. As a result Any temperature increase may be far less obvious, or even non-existent, by the time this update is released.
In summary, a little wonkiness is to be expected with a beta release, which is why you shouldn’t run patches that are still in preview or testing on your device if you don’t want to be surprised.
What this proves is that Valve appears to have a handle on the fan situation, and Steam Deck users won’t have to go to any larger and more complex lengths to replace the problematic fan using iFixit’s repair scheme.