In our Steam deck review, Wes made a note of how loud the fan inside this little handheld gaming device can get. People are complaining all over the web, and it looks like companies like iFixit are starting to take notice.
This is likely to be one of the first downsides you’ll encounter if you fire up your Deck in a quiet space and you could easily find yourself being kicked out of bed to sleep on the couch. So it’s no wonder that Steam Deck users have urged fan manufacturers to come up with a quieter solution.
The Deck fan “will ramp up to an annoying tone even under relatively light loads,” explains Wes. “During testing, Valve updated the fan profile to be less erratic and run at a lower RPM in lighter games, but the Deck fan is absolutely noisier and more annoying than the Switch.”
When answering the question “How tall is the Steam Deck“Our Dave made it clear that the Deck failed the ‘significant other’ test. Even when I was playing solo, I found that I had to turn up the volume on the speakers because they are also competing with the exhaust chat.”
In the words of our Alan, “Not loud in itself, just perfect mosquito in a beer can at annoying levels.”
A Reddit user observes the difference between fans of the Q1 256GB Deck, against the Q2 512GB. There seems to have been a small improvement, but users still seem pretty flustered.
Reddit user solohack3r proposed that the “fan control, lm sensors, and other Deck dependencies cannot properly measure temperatures”, which was thought to cause the fans to spin at unnecessarily high RPMs. It was said that this was not a Deck-only problem, and that an upcoming Linux RC kernel would fix it.
That was two months ago.
When software engineers have tried everything they can for the release version, the next logical step is for modders among us to try and swap out the problematic hardware.
Fortunately, Valve hasn’t turned the Steam Deck into a Chinese puzzle box like some manufacturers (no *cough* Apple, Nintendo pointing fingers). The thing is, good 50mm x 10mm 5V are hard to come by as of today, due to the uniqueness of the Deck format.
After Noctua apparently told a redditor there would be no Noctua fans for the Steam Deck coming, another Reddit user joined the conversation, having asked Noctua support via email if there were any plans to release a 50mm x 10mm 5V fan in the future. Noctua Support said, “We do not currently have these products planned. However, I will forward your product suggestion to our side department.”
It’s all very cut and paste, but it seems to be rousing enthusiasm. Maybe if enough people bothered them…
Meanwhile, iFixit seized the opportunity. Defending the right to repair, iFixit has officially stated that it will come out with replacement fans for the Steam Deck.
Hey! We are planning to sell replacement ventilators and are analyzing which ones we will have available.April 18, 2022
If all goes according to plan, we could see Steam Deck fans being sold on the iFixit store, though a follow-up tweet notes “We’re trying to get the noiseless ones, but it will depend on what’s available to us.”
Hopefully this is just another step in the evolution of Steam Deck modding, and fan makers will realize that this can be a lucrative market. Whatever your take on the Steam Deck fans argument, let’s be honest: sell a gaming device to a community like ours, and we’re sure to find ways to take it down and turn it into Frankenstein, whether we need to or not.