Valve’s recent SteamOS preview update, now at version 3.6.0, has brought a wave of excitement among Steam Deck owners. This update includes a plethora of fixes and added features, along with a crucial graphics driver update promising “many performance and correctness improvements”. The OS has been upgraded to a newer Arch Linux base, accompanied by an update to the Linux kernel. Let’s delve into the standout features of this significant update.

One of the most thrilling additions in this SteamOS update is the improved pairing with Apple AirPods, ensuring a seamless wireless audio experience for users. Additionally, Bluetooth connection speeds have been optimized, enhancing overall connectivity. Users can now enjoy better performance and stability, especially in high memory usage scenarios, which is a substantial improvement for gamers and power users alike. Another noteworthy feature is the ability to wake the device from sleep using Bluetooth devices, adding convenience to the user experience.

The graphics card driver has been updated to Mesa 24.1, bringing about numerous performance improvements. Upon testing in demanding areas such as Cyberpunk 2077, users have reported a smoother frame rate experience with fewer stutters. While this update doesn’t transform the Steam Deck into a high-end gaming powerhouse, any performance enhancement is a welcome change for users seeking a better gameplay experience.

For users interested in pushing the hardware limits, overclocking controls have been added to the BIOS for the Steam Deck LCD, allowing for personalized performance adjustments. Furthermore, users can now set the SD card as the default boot device, catering to enthusiasts and tinkerers who enjoy customization options.

In terms of display enhancements, the update introduces Mura Compensation to improve display uniformity, mitigating the common “Mura effect” that can occur on LCD displays exposed to high temperatures. Additionally, there are improvements to display color balance at lower brightness levels, enhancing visual quality while maximizing battery life. Desktop mode now features thumbnail previews for videos in the file browser, adding convenience for users navigating their media library.

The Deck Dock, a standout feature in Steam Deck, receives HDMI CEC features including TV remote input, TV wake up, and TV input switching, enhancing the overall entertainment experience. Moreover, compatibility fixes have been implemented for high refresh rate VRR displays, ensuring a smoother viewing experience for users with such setups.

This update is currently available for users opted into the preview channel, accessible through the settings menu in the system panel. By selecting “Preview” from the system update channel dropdown box, users can enjoy the latest enhancements and features offered in SteamOS version 3.6.0.

Valve’s latest SteamOS preview update is a game-changer for Steam Deck owners, offering a host of quality of life improvements, enhanced compatibility, and a noticeable performance boost. While the update is exclusive to Steam Deck users for now, the positive impact on user experience is undeniable. Steam Deck enthusiasts can look forward to a more refined and enjoyable gaming experience with this latest update.

Hardware

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