Valve says you shouldn’t fix the Steam Deck’s noisy fan this way

The Steam Deck has started shipping two months ago todayand it’s got a little better since then, but this week could be our best yet – because we’re finally tackling the biggest single problem with the $400 portable PC. Yes, I am talking about the fan.

When the deck launched, it came with an extremely loud fan to cool its AMD Zen 2 and RDNA 2 silicon, and owners like me have dealt with its volume and constant whine from day one . It ran constanteven if I haven’t done anything with the system, and even in relatively light games like e.g Vampire Survivor.


The fan on my Delta Electronics Steam Deck.
Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge

Even worse wails. Or at least some Steam decks have this problem – the Reddit community discovered that Valve actually ships the deck with one of two different fans, one made by Delta and one by Delta another from Huaying. I have the Delta One, and most others also complain about the whining from what I’ve seen. Valve won’t comment on fan choices, and iFixit can’t say if you’ll be able to swap out for a better one when spare parts are available.

But this week Valve took a big step towards improvement a beta software update – and I can confirm that it is a whole new experience. The fan no longer turns on when the system just sits there – it’s now dead silent while idling until you warm up the chip by downloading some content or at least opening large folders of games.

It also doesn’t boot up as quickly anymore, as mine generally waits until the system tops 65 degrees Celsius before increasing the fan speed to a new notch – although I did notice that it got quite warm before it maxed out the fan speed reached, and even a stutter saw in elden ring when I mounted on the GPU at about 87 degrees Celsius.

One problem: None of Valve’s improvements have fixed the whining. My Delta fan might not boot up as quickly, but it still has that tiny jet engine scream.

Do you know what fixed it? Electrical tape.

u/OligarchyAmbulance spotted on Reddit that easy Press the back of the steam deck shell, near the Valve logo, was enough to muffle the howling. So they opened up their vapor deck and stacked four small strips of electrical tape in the same place in the case – just behind the fan. Here are some In front and according to videos they have created.


The steam deck already has its own electrical tape; The new bits would go just below the circle on the left.
Photo by Sean Hollister / The Verge

I did the same thing: press the back first to see if it might work, then open the steam deck and add the tape. The howling was all but extinguished. Don’t get me wrong, the fan is still noisy at full throttle! But now it’s mostly the sound of air, not a screech.

Should you try this at home? Not necessarily because we don’t know why it works or if there might be side effects like heat or wear and tear. “We don’t recommend changing the airflow path because we don’t know how that would affect thermals,” Valve’s Lawrence Yang tells me.

u/OligarchyAmbulance and I aren’t seeing a significant temperature difference yet, but between Valve’s warning and the fact that opening the deck is a bit harder than some people think, I’m not sure I’d recommend it to just anyone.

But it seems pretty clear that this fan issue is hardware, not just software – and unless Valve has a plan or recommendation to muffle the sound, more than a few gamers will take matters into their own hands.

The fan curve isn’t the only nice addition to the deck in this week’s beta update, by the way. It also adds an experimental way to change the screen refresh rate between 40 and 60 Hz, which could improve battery life and smoothness if your game is running at over 30 fps but can’t quite hit 60 fps. Valve says you shouldn’t fix the Steam Deck’s noisy fan this way

Fry Electronics Team

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