The Steam Deck finally has Windows audio drivers

Two and a half months after our Steam Deck review, Valve has finally provided the drivers you need for audio if you want to install Windows on the portable gaming device. Before today, you would have had to pair Bluetooth headphones or plug in USB-C earbuds or a dongle to get any audio on Windows at all. Both the speakers and the 3.5mm jack didn’t do anything on Windows before today, and AMD has been blamed for the lag.

But now these two new drivers should enable both missing audio features. It took a while before AMD and Valve released the first graphics, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and SD card drivers for Windows as well.

Is it time to install Windows on your deck? No, I definitely wouldn’t say that. While Valve continues to fix bugs and add nice features on the Linux side, Windows was even messier at first, and Valve knew you’re largely on your own if you go in this direction. I was having all sorts of issues with Windows 10 a few weeks ago – and while the deck now has decent TPM support in the BIOS so you can install Windows 11, I can’t tell you if it would be any better.

Personally, I’d wait for Valve’s upcoming dual-boot wizard to allow you to add Windows without first deleting the existing SteamOS installation of the Steam Deck. (You can instead just swap out the M.2 NVMe drive and keep the two operating systems separate that way, but be careful.)

For me, the bigger thing is that Windows just doesn’t have the same console-like features that make the deck so good from the start, particularly how you can get instant insight into your performance and battery life and fine-tune all that on the fly.

If you want Windows, I’d probably look to a dedicated Windows portable instead, especially when competitors with more powerful chips and/or lower prices are responding to the deck. The Steam Deck finally has Windows audio drivers

Fry Electronics Team

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