The Steam Deck has received a new update that includes many improvements, including per-game performance settings, which many players have been requesting.
This means you can now customize performance settings for particular games, so you don’t have to keep reapplying with appropriate frame rate restrictions or refresh rate limitations (and other bits and pieces) every time you play.
If you don’t specify any unique settings, each game will default to utilizing the system’s default performance settings.
According to Valve, “Players can now set game-specific performance settings. This feature is accessed in Quick Access Menu > Performance > Advanced View. By default, games will use the system performance settings. If per-game settings are toggled on, a profile for the currently running title is created. Any edits will be saved and automatically applied when the game is launched.”
The client update includes several bug fixes and some minor interface modifications, such as removing the rumble and haptics toggles from the Quick Access menu (these can be found in Settings > Controller Settings).
Since launch, you’ve been able to throttle the CPU, GPU, and frame limiter, and you can lower the screen’s refresh rate to boost your effective frame rate and lower latency. The problem is that even if you find a perfect combination that provides you the battery life and performance you desire, the Steam Deck will not save those settings per game.
Every time you switch to a new game, you’d have to learn them and flick the relevant toggles.
Therefore, per-game performance settings are crucial because, as previously stated, it was a pain to redo them all the time, and it can be helpful to tweak some titles to improve battery life.
For example, imposing a stricter frame rate limit on a more demanding game like Elden Ring, so you don’t run out of juice too quickly when out and about. If you flick it off, you can choose between “usually 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.”
Valve is working rapidly to remedy some of the Steam Deck’s more severe issues, which is encouraging. And that includes a patch for the noisy fan issue, which has been a hot topic recently (though the solution is still in beta, so hopefully, it won’t be too long until it’s released). Since the beginning, this has been one of the most requested Steam Deck features.
Another thing to keep in mind is that with this latest patch, Valve claims to have “added Steam hardware survey functionality for Steam Deck,” implying that Deck owners will now be appropriately included in Valve’s monthly reports. We expect this to significantly impact Linux usage in terms of gaming OS share on Steam, and it’ll be interesting to see how big of an impact it has...