Following warnings from Valve (opens in new tab) regarding the maximum (and minimum) temperatures your Steam Deck (opens in new tab) is happy to operate at, the little handheld gaming PC will now warn you when it’s running outside its safe operating temperature range.
As part of a major update to the Steam Deck’s OS (opens in new tab), version 3.3, Valve has added a warning to tell users when their device is at risk of running slowly, or not running at all from excessive heat or cold.
For the record, the Steam Deck’s safe operating range is between 0–35°C. If you exceed those temperatures, the system may throttle performance or even shutdown.
At high temperatures that’s understandable, as the CPU and GPU, in this case an all-in-one AMD APU chip, will exceed temperatures its silicon is designed to run at. At 100°C, the Steam Deck chip will throttle. At 105°C, it will switch off.
The ambient temperature will play a big role in reaching those sorts of temperatures, as the Steam Deck will run at 60–70°C while gaming in a room at around 20°C ambient temp.
But if you thought you’d be fine gaming in the arctic, then think again. When you get down to sub-zero temperatures, it’s a different ball game entirely. We asked Steam Deck designer, Lawrence Yang, about what the risk is of running the Steam Deck in these sorts of super chilled environments, and he told us it’s largely down to the battery.
“At very cold temperatures the battery starts to have a hard time,” Yang says. “Just like any battery powered device, [the] Steam Deck’s battery can’t sustain peak power draw at temperatures below 0°C (similar to the way cars have a tougher time starting in freezing weather). If temperatures do get this low, we’ll start to throttle the system to maintain battery longevity.”
So, in theory, you will see that new warning from Valve in any temperature exceeding 35°C or below zero. We don’t dare to test it with our only Steam Deck unit, though.