Valve clarifies safe temperatures for steam deck in extreme heat

The steam deck floats above the sun and the silhouette of a man.

Praise the sun, but stay out of the heat with your expensive play equipment!
Image: Valve / Kotaku / Andy Lyons (Getty Images)

While Valve is no doubt happy that Steam Deck is in demand these days, they want to make sure your deck doesn’t exceed unsafe temperature thresholds. The company took to Twitter to issue a warning to clarify the safe operating temperatures for its portable PC. With all the wonderful, undisturbed, record-breaking heatwaves hitting various parts of the world, gamers willing to risk exposure to sunlight should take note.

Yesterday the official Steam Deck Twitter account directly addressed Deck owners who may be having difficulty deadly temperatures. “For our friends in the midst of the heat, a little note about Steam Deck at high temperatures,” the tweet began. “Steam Deck works best at an ambient temperature between 0° and 35°C. If the temperature gets above this, the Steam Deck may start to slow down to protect itself.”

Throttling is, as Valve very simply describes it, a way for the computer to “protect itself” when the internal temperature gets too high. Essentially, the hardware slows down its performance so it doesn’t keep generating more heat. If it gets so hot that damage to the equipment becomes inevitable, another protective measure kicks in: forced shutdown.

When temperatures get too high for throttling to make a difference, most computers will have some sort of feature to turn themselves off. valve, in follow-up tweetnoted that an internal temperature of 105°C is when the Steam Deck gets fed up with your overclocking shenanigans and shuts down to “protect itself (and you) from damage.”

“The Steam Deck APU works well at temperatures up to 100°C. At 100°C, it will start to degrade.” The company says it’s interesting. I’ve definitely found that portable machines, including laptops, tend to get a little hotter than tower desktops, which have more space and nicer cooling hardware. But 100 degrees for a PC component is very hot! GPUs over 85°C or so are considered “hot” and generally frowned upon by enthusiasts. Forget 100°C desktop temperatures. This means your cooling system needs a serious overhaul.

Read more: Too hot to play video games

However, standing outside with your Steam Deck in direct sunlight doesn’t seem like the best time to see how much crap you can destroy in a pluck or how high you can crank the graphics in Cyberpunk 2077.

We are at a curious crossroads in history, where temperatures are rising due to anthropogenic climate change, and we are also enjoying portable technology that is now more powerful than ever. This combination is not very suitable for our environment or our recreational activities. Portable consumer electronics can generate much more heat than we could see from a small machine in the 2000s or even 2010s. Valve and Steam Deck are not alone in this predicament.

Nintendo is also recently issued warnings on its hybrid console’s performance in hot weather, noting that the Switch is designed to be played between 5 C and 35 C. Like Deck, the Switch also activates its own internal switch if it gets too hot.

So while these devices have a few tricks up their sleeves to protect themselves from total meltdown, it’s probably best to schedule your portable sessions on a nice couch next to an air conditioner where you can forget about the deteriorating state of our environment. .

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