Valve has issued a warning about using the Steam Deck in more extreme temperatures, responding to the heatwave and record highs which the UK and Europe have been experiencing.
A tweet from the Steam Deck account reminds owners that the device operates optimally at between 0 and 35C (95F), and should the internal temperature exceed this, throttling may occur.
For our friends in the midst of a heatwave, a quick note about Steam Deck in high temperatures. Steam Deck performs at its best in ambient temperatures between 0° and 35° C. If the temperature gets higher than this, Steam Deck may start to throttle performance to protect itself.July 19, 2022
Throttling is where the Steam Deck’s APU (processor with integrated graphics) limits its speed and therefore performance level, notching things down to prevent overheating and protect itself.
The specific point where throttling occurs regarding the temperature of the APU itself is at 100C, and if it reaches 105C, that will trigger the Deck to shut down, in order to guard against the silicon from actually being damaged by running too hot for any prolonged period of time.
The weather has at least cooled down somewhat in the UK today, but it still remains hot, and across Europe too – and elsewhere for that matter – with the potential for further heatwaves to strike as the summer rolls on, so forecasters theorize.
Analysis: Hot hot heat requires extra caution
It’s good to see Valve being open about heat-related issues, and providing some exact temperature design specs to boot. However, it isn’t the first company to do so, with Nintendo already having issued a similar warning for Switch owners last week – and funnily enough, the handheld’s upper temperature limit is 35C degrees, the same as the Steam Deck.
Of course, these issues aren’t unique to handheld gaming devices – naturally the truth is that the blazing sun and seriously hot temperatures can adversely affect any piece of hardware. Although that doesn’t mean these cautionary messages aren’t worth sending out for individual devices, as the perils of high temperatures are well worth underlining, particularly when accompanied by specifics as provided by Valve and Nintendo. And especially in situations where temperatures don’t normally get as hot in a particular region, so folks who live there may not be used to considering the thermal limits of hardware.
When more extreme heat comes into play, it’s best to exercise your common sense, and be especially wary of when devices start to feel very hot in your hands for example – that’s a red flag to give that piece of hardware a rest. Similarly, be more aware of, say, using your laptop on top of a duvet for example, or other situations where vents may be blocked and cooling impaired.
And it’s not a bad idea to avail yourself of the likes of temperature monitoring utilities to keep a close watch on your desktop PC’s thermal performance (you can get basic info on temps in Task Manager, in the Performance tab), bearing in mind that the harder you work any device, the hotter components will get.
So a heatwave is not a good time for impromptu stress testing, for example, and playing more demanding games is also considerably more taxing for the likes of a GPU and CPU (we wrote about this, and potential countermeasures you can take recently).
Via Tom’s Hardware
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Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).