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Valve has told Steam Deck owners dealing with heatwaves that performance may drop once temperatures exceed 95F.

Chris Kerr

July 20, 2022

2 Min Read
Steam Deck artwork depicting a stylised version of the device in the hands of a user

Valve has warned Steam Deck owners the device may start to throttle performance to protect itself in high temperatures.

The note was shared as in the midst of a record breaking heatwave in the UK, which saw temperatures surpass 104F (40C) for the first time in history because of human-induced climate change. Europe is also struggling to deal with rising temperatures

"For our friends in the midst of a heatwave, a quick note about Steam Deck in high temperatures. Steam Deck performs at its best in ambient temperatures between 0° and 35° C (32F and 95F). If the temperature gets higher than this, Steam Deck may start to throttle performance to protect itself," wrote Valve on Twitter.

"A bit more detail about this -- Steam Deck’s APU runs well at temperatures up to 100°C (212F). At 100°C, it will start to throttle performance, and at 105°C (221F) it will shut down. Again, this is to protect itself (and you) from damage."

This isn't the first time Valve has provided Steam Deck owners with a bit of cautionary advice. Last month, Valve designer Lawrence Yang warned Steam Deck owners that tampering with the console's SSD -- as shown in a series of mod videos that had begun to circulate -- will "significantly shorten the life" of the handheld.

"Please don’t do this," said Yang on social media, in response to multiple articles that explained how owners could increased the size of the NVMe SSD in the Steam Deck. "The charger IC gets very hot and nearby thermal pads should not be moved. In addition, most 2242 M.2 drives draw more power and get hotter than what Deck is designed for. This mod may appear to work but will significantly shorten the life of your Deck."

Valve is also hard at work trying to get Steam Decks into the hands of consumers, and has started doubling weekly shipments of the handheld in a bid to fulfil pre-orders. 

The Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch both struggle in high heat

Just last week, Nintendo issued a similar warning about using the Nintendo Switch in temperatures of 95F or higher. It also advised users against covering the device's air intake and exhaust ports. 

That advisory followed a record-setting heat wave in Japan, with more likely on the way later this summer.

About the Author(s)

Chris Kerr

News Editor, GameDeveloper.com

Game Developer news editor Chris Kerr is an award-winning journalist and reporter with over a decade of experience in the game industry. His byline has appeared in notable print and digital publications including Edge, Stuff, Wireframe, International Business Times, and PocketGamer.biz. Throughout his career, Chris has covered major industry events including GDC, PAX Australia, Gamescom, Paris Games Week, and Develop Brighton. He has featured on the judging panel at The Develop Star Awards on multiple occasions and appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to discuss breaking news.

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