Valve releases SteamOS 3.5.1 preview

Recently, Valve unveiled the preview version of SteamOS 3.5.1. Beyond routine software rectifications and feature enhancements, this release introduces voltage regulation support for the Steam Deck. The BIOS menu now boasts control options for modulating the voltage of the CPU, GPU, and SoC, facilitating effortless user adjustments whilst bolstering security features.

Steam Deck performance

Once users update their Steam Deck to firmware v118, they gain the latitude to adjust the voltage of the CPU, GPU, and SoC within a range of 0 to -50 mV. In an act of foresight, Valve has incorporated a safeguard for users who opt for voltage modulation: should the device malfunction due to unsuccessful voltage reduction, a straightforward mechanism is in place to restore normalcy. When a user initiates a CMOS reset, the new v118 firmware will automatically revert the voltage settings of the AMD SoC to their defaults.

To execute a CMOS reset, users must simultaneously depress the “volume down” button, “three-dot function key”, and the “power button”. During the system’s booting sequence, a prolonged press of the “volume down” button grants access to the BIOS interface. In theory, post-voltage regulation, AMD’s SoC should be more energy-efficient, thereby generating reduced thermal output. It remains an enigma whether, in the wake of these voltage adjustment capabilities, the Steam Deck’s battery longevity will experience any enhancement or, if so, by what magnitude.

Transitioning from firmware v116 to v118 has resulted in the discontinuation of access to AMD’s PBS (Precision Boost) and CBS. However, the introduction of voltage modulation promises superior performance outcomes. With continuous firmware refinements on the horizon, the enhancements could become increasingly pronounced. Furthermore, the SteamOS 3.5.1 preview has mended certain glitches, such as the erroneous reporting of internal display rotations to games. After rigorous testing, one can confidently anticipate the timely release of the official version to the users.