The fact that temperatures are rising, especially in midsummer, is nothing new. The fact that hardware often reaches its limits in high heat is just as little. Nevertheless, given the current circumstances, Nintendo for the Switch and now Valve for the Steam Deck felt compelled to give a hint last week.
The steam deck also suffers from the heat
People are not only suffering from unusually high temperatures in Europe in the temperate latitudes; almost all continents are affected by heat waves. But hardware is also affected by the unfamiliar circumstances – especially if it is potentially defenseless against the sun’s rays. As a result, handheld game consoles such as Nintendo’s Switch or Valve’s Steam Deck are directly affected, so Valve is now following in Nintendo’s footsteps and issuing a warning. Like the Switch, the Steam Deck is designed for ambient temperatures of 0 to 35 degrees Celsius in the shade. However, the temperatures are often higher at the moment, especially outdoors or in non-air-conditioned indoor rooms with large windows.
The Steam Deck initially reacts to this with thermal throttling, i.e. the temperature-related reduction in the clock of the Van Gogh APU. However, this is specified for operation up to 100 degrees Celsius, so that the threshold to be exceeded is quite high. However, if the core temperature should climb to 105 degrees Celsius despite the clock reduction, the Steam Deck will switch off without further warning to prevent permanent damage to the hardware. However, gamers should be able to foresee a possible problem from the dropping performance and high temperature of the handheld console.
A bit more detail about this – Steam Deck’s APU runs well at temperatures up to 100°C. At 100°C, it will start to throttle performance, and at 105°C it will shut down. Again, this is to protect itself (and you) from damage.
— Steam Deck (@OnDeck) July 19, 2022
However, Valve did not give any recommendations for using the Steam Deck in hot weather – unlike Nintendo. For the switch, it was pointed out that the air inlets and outlets should be kept free and cleaned if necessary. On the other hand, users should, if possible, ensure adequate air circulation and stay in the shade. This advice can presumably be transferred to the Steam Deck.
Valve recently warned against SSDs that are too long
About a month ago, Valve issued a warning to Steam Deck owners, but this related to the installation of M.2 2242 SSDs that were too long. Instead, only the use of the smaller M.2 2230 SSDs is planned, which Valve has recently installed with half the bandwidth. The output does not fall as a result, but production was able to be doubled for this reason, among other things. Nonetheless, the handheld console is still out of stock.