Steam Deck OS 3.5’s New Features

Valve is rolling out a fresh SteamOS update, and it’s packing some juicy features. Head over to Steam’s website to get the lowdown in detail, but let’s break it down for you here.

  • Enhanced Display Features: If you’ve got your Steam Deck hooked up to an external display that’s all fancy with support for HDR and variable refresh rates (VRR), you’re in luck. Steam Deck can now get groovy with these! If your external display is HDR-compatible, toggle it on. Got a USB-C adapter that’s VRR-ready? Turn that feature up too!
  • Color Boost: Ever noticed colors on your screen and thought, “Hmm, could be better?” Valve’s got your back. They’ve tweaked the Steam Deck‘s color settings to mimic the sRGB color palette. The result? Richer, slightly warmer hues. But if that’s not your jam, or you’re feeling experimental, dive into the settings. Adjust the vibrancy and temperature to make it just right for your eyes.
  • Under-the-Hood Goodies: Not all changes are visible. This update equips the Steam Deck with refreshed graphics drivers that boost performance and functionality. Fun fact: even though Starfield, Bethesda’s top-notch space RPG, isn’t officially stamped for the Steam Deck, folks are enjoying it on the device. And guess what? This update amps up its performance!

  • Snappier Wake-Up: We all love a device that wakes up quickly. Valve has fine-tuned the sleep resume speed, shaving off a few precious seconds. It’s the little things, right?
  • Linux Lovers, Listen Up!: For those using the Linux desktop mode on the Steam Deck, there’s news for you. The base Arch Linux is now more polished with a refreshed Plasma desktop interface. Expect a revamped Discover app store, handy widgets, and a nifty new window tiling system.
  • BIOS Tweaks: The BIOS now includes settings to adjust the voltage. It hints at the potential to easily undervolt or overclock the Steam Deck. But, hold your horses – we’ll need to dig deeper to confirm what it truly means.

Feeling brave and wanna give the SteamOS 3.5 preview a spin? Hop into Settings > System > System Update Channel > Preview. And if things get a bit too wild on the preview side, no worries. A quick switch back to the Stable channel will have you sorted.

Here is the full list of changes from Valve:


  • Added Settings -> Adjust Display Colors, to tune the display’s Color Vibrancy and Color Temperature. The settings can be tuned with a preview of a test image (above), or with your running game.
    • Native: The native display color appearance (the color rendering for Steam Deck prior to this update).
    • sRGB: Emulate the sRGB primaries, in a smooth manner that does not introduce gradient clipping.
    • Boosted: Emulate a wider-gamut display appearance, resulting in increased apparent vibrance. May result in gradient clipping.
  • HDR can now be enabled in Display Settings if supported by the external display.
  • VRR can now be enabled in Display Settings if supported by the USB-C adapter.
  • Reworked Quick-Access scaling settings to separate scaling from filtering. Added Stretch and Zoom scaling as new options to handle different aspect ratios.
  • Fixed touchscreen orientation while external display is connected.
  • Compositing is now avoided in additional scenarios, reducing latency and stutter in situation with multiple overlays on screen.
  • Improved latency in certain situations where the application renders slower than the display’s refresh rate.


  • Fixed an issue where certain workloads would exhibit severe CPU performance issues unless SMT was manually disabled.
  • External storage devices are now auto-mounted when connected to Steam Deck. To format or manage storage devices use the new device management interface in Settings->Storage.
  • Updated graphics drivers, with many performance and functionality improvements. Improved performance for Starfield. Fixed viewmodel corruption in Amnesia: The Bunker and launch failures for Immortals of Aveum and Kaiju-A-GoGo.
  • Improved Bluetooth connection stability, especially with multiple controllers
  • Slightly improved sleep resume speed
  • Implemented switching between controller bindings and mouse/keyboard desktop bindings by long-pressing Options in the Linux hid-steam driver, to match Steam’s default Desktop configuration.
  • Improved fade transitions between applications.
  • The contents of the performance overlay can now be customized by creating a ~/.config/MangoHud/presets.conf configuration file.
  • Fixed a bug where some games could appear stretched if their window size didn’t match their swapchain size (eg. Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4)
  • Fixed Disgaea PC needing to be tapped on before input works
  • Fixed physical dimensions reported to games, fixing some issues with an incorrect aspect ratio sometimes being detected (eg. Returnal)
  • Worked around a problem where Allow Tearing could cause heavy stuttering if the Performance Overlay or other overlays appeared on screen. Tearing is now impossible in such situations, and the Performance Overlay should be disabled for best results.
  • Fixed a problem where keyboard input would not be detected in Overwatch 2
  • Controller firmware: fixed an issue where some thumbstick touch sensors would lose touch periodically

Firmware 116

  • Added voltage offset settings.
  • Improved robustness of the Firmware Settings Reset chord (Volume Down + Quick-Access + Power) against some boot hang scenarios.
  • Fixed a rare issue that would set the processor TDP limit too low causing CPU and GPU frequencies to be stuck at 400 MHz and 200 MHz respectively.
  • Fixed an issue when the charging light would turn back on when plugged in for a while after fully charged.

Updated Arch Linux Base

  • This update pulls in newer performance, security and stability fixes for the underlying packages that are the foundation for SteamOS
  • Most notably, this includes recent changes to KDE Plasma, Steam Deck’s Desktop Mode. Full notes on these updates can be found on KDE’s website here. Here are a few of the highlights:
    • New window tiling system
    • Updated Discover (app store / software manager) with a new homepage and improved search
    • Discover can now perform system updates from the desktop
    • Updated desktop widgets

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