Steam Deck OLED Delivers Drastic Latency Reduction

Diverging from the recent trend of incremental improvements in new products, the Steam Deck OLED presents a substantial enhancement over its predecessor. This advancement is not limited to mere display improvements; Valve has also reduced input latency, significantly benefiting players of FPS, fighting, and platformer games. Recent tests have corroborated that the Steam Deck OLED indeed boasts noticeably lower latency compared to the original model.

Digital Foundry employed the NVIDIA LDAT tool to test the input latency of the Steam Deck OLED. Under identical settings of 90fps full load, the new device exhibited a remarkable reduction in latency, averaging 26.1ms less in “Doom Eternal” and 32.5ms less in “Crysis 3” compared to the original model. This significant disparity persists even when the settings are adjusted to 60fps full load, with the new device maintaining latency reductions of 8.5ms and 11.3ms. Further reducing the frame rate to the 40-45fps range, often preferred by Steam Deck players, the new model continues to offer around a 20ms decrease in latency.

The Steam Deck OLED’s impressive input latency performance is largely attributed to the faster response time of the OLED panel compared to LCD screens. This is noteworthy, considering that the new device’s chip does not feature performance enhancements and maintains the same working frequency and TDP as the original. Additionally, the new model’s incorporation of faster LPDDR5 memory likely contributes to the improved response speed.

However, owners of the original Steam Deck cannot simply replace their device’s screen with the new OLED panel to achieve an enhanced gaming experience. The new device has undergone a fundamental redesign internally, making a straightforward screen swap unfeasible. Fortunately, Valve has not abandoned the original Steam Deck. Recent firmware updates have already improved the input latency performance of the original device.