The Steam Deck’s best feature — bar none, in my opinion — is how it allows you to get the most out of its AMD RDNA 2 graphics and 40 watt-hour battery. Since launch, you’ve been able to throttle the CPU, GPU, and frame limiter, and you can reduce the screen’s refresh rate to boost your effective framerate and lower latency. The caveat is that even if you found a perfect combination that provided you the battery life and/or performance you desire, the Steam Deck will not save those settings per game.
Every time you moved to a new game, you’d have to learn them and flip the relevant toggles. That is changing now.
Per-game performance options are now available in Wednesday’s update, allowing you to define a specific performance profile for each of your games with a simple switch in the Quick Access menu.
If you turn it off, you’ll be taken back to your global system settings, where you can choose between “generally I like my games running at 30fps” and “Elden Ring should run at 40fps with a 40Hz refresh rate” and “Vampire Survivors should run at 10fps and 5 watts because I want to play it for the entire car ride.”
This has been one of the most-requested Steam Deck features since the beginning, and I’m hoping for more — because it doesn’t let you set multiple profiles (like one when you’re plugged in and another for the longest battery life you can manage), or save and share profiles with the larger community so that we Power Users can help the less-tweak-happy among us get their games running better.
I imagine Valve is fully aware of this, and that today’s release provides the framework for it. Because, although the Steam Deck may not be ready for everyone who wants to buy a Nintendo Switch, Valve has proved via update after update that it is paying close attention to power user feedback.
The last update’s configurable refresh rate and fan curve allowed you to get more out of the Steam Deck, according to Digital Foundry. For your viewing enjoyment, I’ve included a copy below.
The whole Steam Deck changelog may be found here. The remainder is primarily bug fixes, but you can now “stop streaming” a game by holding down the power button, and Valve has moved the haptics and rumbling toggles out of the Quick Access menu. That’s a change I don’t agree with; they were useful when a previous game (can’t recall which one) was a little too enthusiastic with the vibrations.