Steam Deck Gets Experimental Support for Changing In-Game Screen Refresh Rate, Can Greatly Improve Battery Life

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Image: Valve

Valve has released a new beta patch for Steam Deck that adds experimental support for changing a game’s screen refresh rate. Users can adjust the refresh rate of a game by finding the new slider in the Quick Access Menu > Performance tab, which allows for the refresh rate to be changed to a value between 40 to 60 Hz. The frame rate limit slider values will also update accordingly, showing 1:1, 1:2, 1:4, or uncapped frame rate options.

SteamOS 3.2 Beta Patch Notes: April 27th, 2022 (Steam)

  • Added an OS-controlled fan curve to improve the experience in low usage scenarios, and adjusting how the fan responds to different scenarios and temperatures.
  • Fixed an issue where OS fan control would not automatically resume after waking up the device from sleep.
  • Added experimental support for changing the in-game screen refresh rate. The refresh rate will automatically be adjusted to the desired option when going in and out of game.
  • There is a new slider in the Quick Access Menu Performance tab that allows you to choose a screen refresh rate between 40-60Hz
  • The framerate limit slider values will update accordingly, and will include 1:1, 1:2, 1:4, or uncapped framerate options.
  • Fixed an issue with typing the € key using the Steam keyboard
  • Added experimental support for bringing up the Steam keyboard automatically in some cases in Desktop mode

As demonstrated by YouTuber The Phawx in the video above, lowering refresh rates can be a very effective way of improving the battery life of Valve’s Steam Deck. Sekiro drains the handheld’s battery relatively quickly in 60 Hz mode, but 40 Hz reduces the drain to about 20 watts, allowing the Steam Deck is power the game for around two hours longer.

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Tsing Mui
News poster at The FPS Review.

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