Valve, the company behind Steam Deck, has unveiled plans to cut the massive file size of its shader caches in half. The gaming handheld has been a favourite of gamers for the past few years, but one issue with it is how much space its shader cache files take up, potentially multiple gigabytes for larger games. Valve aims to free up some precious gigabytes on Steam Deck’s SSDs with an update to the device’s open source video driver.

According to a report on Phoronix, an upcoming Mesa 23.1 update “re-implements the RADV pipeline cache based on the common vk_pipeline_cache,” which affects how the Vulkan driver caches files. Valve has created big shader cache files for individual games, improving performance and reducing shader compilation stutter. However, the downside is that they take up much space. With the new Vulkan pipeline cache, the files will be about 60% smaller, freeing up precious gigabytes on Steam Deck’s SSD.

Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais confirmed that the pre-built shader caches expected to reduce by about 60% for most games, while for others, they may not change dramatically. But the transcoded video depots, which are also marked ‘shader pre-caching’ in the UI won’t change in size. The size reduction update will coincide with a stable release early this summer, along with a graphics driver update for SteamOS 3.5.

If you find that you still have storage space issues, our walkthrough for upgrading Steam Deck SSD (opens in new tab) might come handy.

In conclusion, the news of the upcoming update from Valve is exciting for gamers as it will get rid of the many space-hogging shader cache files. The reduction in file sizes will allow gamers to have more games and achieve better performance on their Steam Decks. The stable Mesa driver 23.1 version is expected to arrive in early May, coinciding with the driver update for SteamOS 3.5. Gamers are advised to have patience and look forward to the upcoming update that’s sure to make our gaming experience more enjoyable.

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The material in this article is written on the basis of another article.

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