Valve has announced the release of SteamOS 3.5, which brings several notable changes to its gaming operating system. This update includes new display optimizations and performance improvements designed specifically for the Steam Deck. A post on the Steam blog provides detailed information about these updates.
One of the key improvements is support for variable refresh rates (VRR) and HDR when using an external display with the Steam Deck. Valve states that HDR can be enabled if the display is compatible, while VRR requires a compatible USB-C adapter. Additionally, Valve has changed the Steam Deck’s default color rendering to “emulate the sRGB color space,” resulting in a slightly warmer and more vibrant appearance. Users can also adjust the screen’s vibrancy and color temperature with the new settings.
In addition to display optimizations, the update brings updated graphics drivers that offer performance and functionality improvements. Although Bethesda’s Starfield is not officially verified for the Steam Deck, Valve claims that the update improves the game’s performance. The new update also includes a slightly improved resume speed in sleep mode to meet the need for faster usability.
For Linux desktop mode users, the underlying Arch Linux has been updated. This update includes a new version of the Plasma desktop interface, an updated Discover App Store, new widgets and a window layout system. Valve has also introduced voltage compensation settings in the BIOS, allowing for easier undervolting or overclocking of the Steam Deck.
To access the SteamOS 3.5 preview, users can go to Settings > System > System Update Channel > Preview. If the preview is deemed too unstable, users can revert to the stable channel.