The brief reply isn’t any, the Steam Deck doesn’t throttle. The marginally longer reply is: No, however you possibly can throttle your self in case you actually wish to.
Given the scale of the Steam Deck, you would be forgiven for pondering that the APU at its coronary heart would throttle again when issues get toasty. In spite of everything, throttling for thermals or battery life is one thing loads of customers can have seen in high-performance laptops, the place the CPU and GPU will be intentionally held again to assist with the cooling of the laptop computer itself.
That is not the case with the Steam Deck although, and the customized AMD APU to be discovered inside Valve’s new handheld can run perpetually at full pace with none points. This was a part of the unique design spec for Aerith, the manufacturing identify for the AMD Van Gogh-based silicon on the coronary heart of the Deck. Aerith was essentially designed to work inside the constraints of the hand-held machine, each when it comes to energy draw and the machine’s thermal envelope.
AMD’s Sebastien Nussbaum introduced the chip as being “optimised for constant efficiency for an prolonged time period,” which implies the main target has all the time been on sustained gaming efficiency with out throttling. And that is actually the expertise we have had in our testing of the Steam Deck.
That is not to say you possibly can’t restrict the capabilities of the CPU and GPU your self, and certainly that is precisely what you may wish to do with a view to lengthen the battery lifetime of the machine. There are a variety of how of doing this from inside the Superior Efficiency menu, accessed within the SteamUI or in-game by hitting the “…” button.
The simplest approach of extending the battery life is solely to restrict the body price to 30fps utilizing the toggle swap within the menu. Relying on the sport, this could significantly scale back the ability draw, and thus lengthen the battery life by fairly a bit too. We have seen battery life when enjoying God of Battle go up by 147%, for instance, when switching from the usual 60fps restrict to the 30fps lock. It pays to make use of the efficiency overlay to see what impression the settings are having on the assorted parts of the system if you wish to poke round additional your self, however that is important both.
If you wish to get a bit extra below the hood, you possibly can elect to manually set the GPU clock or use the Thermal Energy (TDP) Restrict. The Handbook GPU Clock Management allows you to hone in on simply the GPU and elect to set the clock from as little as 200W all the best way as much as 1600W. It’s also possible to set the Thermal Energy restrict from 3W as much as 15W, though you want to know what you are doing right here to get persistently clean efficiency.
Each the ability and clock limits can have unpredictable behaviour in your efficiency, so in case you’ve acquired any doubts, then sticking with the body price restrict might be the best choice. However the possibility is there in case you’re all the way down to experiment, and it may very well be that different customers discover limiting one or the opposite can produce higher efficiency and battery life than simply setting the body price restrict to 30fps. One thing price maintaining a tally of in your fave video games the place 30fps is simply not sufficient.
After all, you do not have to the touch any of those settings in case you simply wish to play your video games and are not too bothered in regards to the battery life. You may usually nonetheless hit at the very least 90 minutes uncapped in essentially the most exacting of video games, with as much as seven hours attainable from much less demanding ones. All of it is determined by the sport you are enjoying, and the way far you might be out of your charger. It is also all fairly moot in case you’re enjoying with the Steam Deck plugged in, the place you possibly can simply let the Aerith APU do its factor unfettered by the constraints of energy or body price limits.