Steam Deck has stopped me obsessing over frame rates — and I couldn't be happier

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GTA 4 connected Steam Deck
(Image credit: Future / Valve / Rockstar Games)

It’s nary concealed that I emotion nan Steam Deck. Heck, I’m obsessed pinch it. I’ll admit this whirlwind emotion matter is still reasonably new. It’s besides thing I springiness my awesome workfellow Tony Polanco each nan in installments for, arsenic he encouraged maine to clasp nan Deck and its LCD surface knowing afloat good I’m an unapologetic OLED snob. After a fewer weeks pinch nan device, it doesn’t consciousness for illustration my passion for Valve’s portable PC is going to dwindle anytime soon. 

My acquisition pinch Steam Deck has been transformative successful position of my position connected PC gaming, and conscionable really wonderfully malleable it tin be. So overmuch so, it’s yet stamped retired a deep-seated pet peeve I’ve harbored for acold excessively long. 

Before I became a Steam Deck disciple, I was perfectly obsessed pinch framework rates. Such was my committedness to maintaining a locked 60 fps aliases moreover 120 fps successful immoderate of nan best PC games, it sewage to an unhinged state. 

Thanks to package for illustration Fraps, I tin perpetually show framework complaint readings, and my narration pinch said app has been toxic for a while. Despite owning aggregate FreeSync and G-Sync monitors passim nan years, which mostly soft retired awesome fps dips, I was still perfectly addicted to Fraps. 

If Fraps’ on-screen HUD showed 1 of nan best Steam games was dropping from 60 fps down to 56 fps, I’d instantly jump into nan graphics settings and commencement lowering individual pre-sets to get backmost to that magic 60. 

After respective GPU upgrades complete nan past respective years, my anticipation is that my Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090-powered rig should beryllium capable to tally immoderate modern triple-A crippled astatine 4K / 120 fps. Sadly, for a assortment of reasons (mainly revolving astir nan rumor of shader compilation stutter), PC ports often underwhelm, sloppy of nan level of hardware you propulsion astatine a game. I’m looking astatine you, Star Wars: Jedi Survivor.

Decked out

 Arkham Knight connected Steam Deck

(Image credit: Future / Valve / Rocksteady Studios)

Don’t get maine wrong, I emotion nan truth that nan mostly of PS5 and Xbox Series X games now tally astatine 60 fps. The simplification of input lag acknowledgment to nan boost successful framework complaint is instantly appreciable successful nan immense mostly of titles, and I’d take a crippled moving astatine 1440p astatine 60 fps complete a 4K effort astatine 30 fps each time long. That said (and to wholly contradict my erstwhile sentence), getting intimately acquainted pinch nan Steam Deck has made maine mostly okay pinch sub-60 framework rates.

My go-to Steam Deck acquisition is to manually dial down nan machine’s refresh complaint settings to 40Hz, which delivers gameplay that feels noticeably smoother than playing astatine 30 fps. Most of nan games I play connected nan Deck tin tally astatine 40 frames per 2nd pinch a juggling enactment involving mean to precocious settings moving astatine nan handheld’s astir 720p resolution.

And honestly, it feels great. I’ve go obsessed pinch replaying nan criminally underrated Batman: Arkham Knight — people, nan Batmobile is obscurity adjacent arsenic bad arsenic nan wide interwebs sermon would person you judge — and I’m having a awesome clip playing nan crippled locked down to 40 fps.

Alright, truthful admittedly I still attraction astir framework rates to an extent. Yet Steam Deck has shown maine I tin still person an absolute blast playing games that can’t fastener to 60 fps.

That’s not to opportunity I wouldn’t emotion a Steam Deck OLED exemplary that could accommodate 1080p / 60 fps experiences. But for nan clip being, I’m caput complete heels for nan existent type of Valve’s breakout device.

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Dave is simply a computing editor astatine Tom’s Guide and covers everything from cutting separator laptops to ultrawide monitors. When he’s not worrying astir dormant pixels, Dave enjoys regularly rebuilding his PC for perfectly nary logic astatine all. In a erstwhile life, he worked arsenic a video crippled journalist for 15 years, pinch bylines crossed GamesRadar+, PC Gamer and TechRadar. Despite owning a graphics paper that costs astir nan aforesaid arsenic your mean utilized car, he still enjoys gaming connected nan spell and is regularly glued to his Switch. Away from tech, astir of Dave’s clip is taken up by stepping his husky, buying caller TVs astatine an embarrassing complaint and obsessing complete his beloved Arsenal. 

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