The Steam Deck is a portable gaming console that provides its users with a vast library of games. However, not all games in Valve’s online store perform well on the Steam Deck. If you own a Steam Deck and find that your console stutters, crashes, or suffers from other performance issues, it’s worth adjusting your settings. Here are five key steps to optimize your gaming experience for demanding games on the Steam Deck.

Step 1: Enable the Steam Deck’s Performance Overlay to View Performance Stats

Enabling the performance overlay on the Steam Deck shows real-time performance information which includes frame rate (FPS), CPU and GPU usage, and the temperature. This feature is beneficial for identifying which settings need optimization. Use the below steps to access the performance overlay whilst in-game on the Steam Deck:

  1. Press the Quick Access Menu (QAM) button located on the right-hand side of the Steam Deck, underneath the right touchpad.
  2. Scroll down to the battery icon and press A to open the Performance menu.
  3. Scroll to Performance Overlay Level and press A.
  4. Slide the toggle across to choose the amount of information you want to display (options between OFF and 4).

Based on what aspect of performance your Steam Deck is struggling with, playing with the different performance overlay levels should be enough to help you identify which settings you need to optimize.

Step 2: Enable Per-Game Profile to Customize Performance

As all games are not fully optimized for the Steam Deck, it’s worthwhile to customize the settings for demanding games that do not perform well. The per-game profile tool can be used to adjust performance settings for each game. You’ll find this feature in the Quick Access settings. Follow these steps to enable the per-game customization feature:

  1. Press the QAM button,
  2. Scroll to the battery icon to show the PERFORMANCE SETTINGS (the same settings that display the Performance overlay level).
  3. Toggle on Use per-game profile.

Now, any settings you change will save and be relevant only to the current game you’re playing on the Steam Deck. Customized per-game profiles work to get the best performance out of each game that you play on your Steam Deck.

Step 3: Customize Performance Settings for Your Game

Now that you’ve enabled per-game profiles, it’s time to customize the performance settings for individual games. Customize the following settings for your game:

  • Framerate Limit: If the frame rate is inconsistent, it might be worth capping the maximum frame rate.
  • Refresh Rate: Set your refresh rate according to your frame rate limit.
  • Allow Tearing: It’s worth disabling tearing.
  • Half Rate Shading: Toggling this feature on can help boost game performance and save the GPU from rendering every pixel at once, but it can reduce image quality.
  • Thermal Power (TDP) Limit: Enabling this feature can help prevent overheating and limit battery usage, but it can reduce the performance of your game.
  • Manual GPU Clock Control: If the GPU is under-utilized, safely overclock your GPU to gain FPS.
  • Scaling Filter: Use this toggle to choose the best settings for your graphics to fit your screen.
  • Show Perf Overlay in Steam: Toggle on/off to constantly display FPS when using the Steam Deck.

It’s essential to try each customization option one at a time to see their effect on your game performance.

Step 4: Modify the In-Game Settings to Improve Performance

For optimal performance while gaming with Steam Deck, it’s necessary to play around with in-game settings for most games, which can range from basic to advanced. Try reducing the resolution, adjusting the graphics quality, and turning off features such as motion blur and other graphical options to optimize game performance while playing on the Steam Deck.

Step 5: Try Downloading a Steam Deck Performance Tool to Further Optimize Your Settings

If you’ve tried all the above steps, but your game performance is still sub-par, consider installing an optimization tool, such as CryoUtilities. The CryoUtilities 2.0 was created to manage storage and boost performance on your Steam Deck. This option is useful for gaining one-click recommended settings when all else fails.

These steps will help you optimize your Steam Deck’s settings for optimal and smoother gaming experience. If the problem persists, check out Steam’s refund policy for games that refuse to run on your Steam Deck.


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