Steam Deck How to Boost Your Performance in 4 Steps

Steam Deck: How to Boost Your Performance in 4 Steps – 01net

Did you just get your Steam Deck or have you been playing with it for a few months? You’ve probably already fallen in love with the portable PC/console, which reminds PC gamers that they don’t have to push everything to have fun.

Yes, but… We’re on a PC after all. And if there is still a little more power to be found on the machine, why do without it? This is obviously the advantage of the platform and therefore also the advantage of the Steam Deck. That’s good: there is indeed three small adjustments, very easy to make, which allows you to further increase the number of frames per second and improve the stability of your games. We explain everything to you.

How the Steam deck works

One thing to know before making any changes that we recommend you do in this article: You can always come back, and there’s no chance of damaging your Steam deck by following these tips. If you’re not happy with these tips, all you have to do is revert to the default state of your Steam deck. You don’t even have to reset your console: three clicks and a reboot are enough.

In order to increase the performance of the Steam deck in-game, we will use three important concepts. So before we take you through the next three steps, let’s explain what we’re going to edit.

© valve

Shared memory allocation

The Steam Deck is equipped with an AMD APU. An APU is a name used to denote a chip that integrates and manufactures the processor and graphics card on the same chip share the same memory.

In particular, the Steam Deck is equipped in all its configurations with a Zen processor with 4 cores and 8 threads clocked at 2.4 GHz and capable of charging up to 3.5 GHz, as well as with an 8-unit GPU RDNA2, which is clocked at 1GHz is 1.6GHz. On the memory side we find both for the CPU and for the GPU 16 GB LPDDR5 RAM at 5000 MT/s.

Because memory is shared, it’s up to the system to dynamically determine which CPU or GPU needs it more at any given time. We’re going to influence this process Reserve more memory for the GPU by defaultwhich is preferable in the context of a video game console.

The Exchange Room (or Swap)

On any computer, RAM is always the fastest. It is equivalent to short-term memory for humans, while long-term memory would be more like the equivalent of storage space. As previously mentioned, the Steam Deck has 16GB of RAM, which is the system’s “short-term memory”.

However, it happens that this RAM memory is full and can no longer store data important for the system. In this case, the system uses what is called instead of deleting data during a process an “exchange system”. This is a reserved area of ​​disk space (which is 64, 256, or 512 GB depending on the Steam Deck version) that allows the RAM to “overflow”.

Disk space is much slower than RAM and therefore cannot fully fulfill his role, but he can be an important support. When data in RAM is not used regularly but still needs to be available, swap space is used. We go increase the exchange space to let more data pass.

© valve

The changeability

This very “Linuxian” term is associated with the exchange space, hence the name “swappiness”. This is a determining value the propensity to which the system’s kernel uses or does not use swap space depending on the occupancy of the RAM memory.

A swap rate of 100 means that the system is using swap space very regularly. A swap rate of 1 means that the system will fill memory to its maximum before turning to swap space.

Because swap space is much slower than RAM, system performance is at an advantage when RAM is prioritized. We will change this data so that RAM is used before anything else.

4 steps to improve your Steam deck

Now that you understand the points that we are going to touch up on your Steam deck, let’s go through the application step by step. Note that Connecting a keyboard to implement these changes will make things easier for youbut that it is possible to do everything natively on your console.

0/ Set an administrator password

If you haven’t already, you will need it set an administrator password for your Steam Deck in desktop mode. Warning: This password is different from your game mode lock screen.

Switch your Steam Deck to desktop mode (Steam Menu > Power > Switch to Desktop) and open your Start Menu. In the Settings category, click System Settings, and then select User in the Personalization category.

By default, a “Steam Deck User” profile is present here. Click Change Password and set your password. Remember, we will need it very soon. Once it is determined, a second “Change wallet password” window will appear: you can ignore it and click “Leave as is”.

1/ Change the UMA frame buffer size

Turn off your Steam Deck completely. Once it’s completely off, hold down the “Volume +” button and turn it back on by simply pressing the power button. Once the screen shows four different choices, you can release the volume button.

Welcome to the Steam Deck system administration interface. Select “Setup Utilities” to open the BIOS settings. Go down in the “Advanced” category to “UMA Frame Buffer Size” and select “4G”. Press the selection button between the cross and the left joystick to save the changes and restart your console.

With this change, we’re making the console always reserved At least 4 GB of VRAM for the GPU, as opposed to the basic 1GB. If the Steam Deck system is able to dynamically increase this capacity in-game and thus go beyond 4GB, we can influence the system’s decisions in favor of the GPU from a broader base. Note that this change affects every operating system installed on your console.

2/ Resize the swap space

Switch your Steam deck to desktop mode (Steam Menu > Power > Switch to Desktop) and open your favorite web browser. From there, open this article, right-click (hold and release on a touchscreen) this link and select “Save Link As…”. A download window should ask you where to put the “InstallCryoUtilities.desktop” file: you’re free to save it wherever you want, but “Downloads” will do just fine.

Alternatively, you can search your web browser for “CryoUtilities” which should take you to the GitHub page of CryoByte33, the creator of the tool we’re using. The link above is in the Install section of the page.

Once you have “InstallCryoUtilities.desktop”, double-click the file, Select “Run” and then “Next”. Go back to your desktop and you will find three new icons there: CryoUtilities, Uninstall CryoUtilities and Update CryoUtilities.

Double click on CryoUtilities and accept the terms. Then enter your administrator password defined in step 0 of this tutorial and click “Submit”. A first window opens on a homepage that offers you the option of automatically accepting all suggested changes. In order to better explain all the changes to you, we will make them step by step.

So click on the “Swap” tab and select the “Resize” option. You have several options to choose from, with “Default” giving you the Steam Deck’s default setting and “Current Size” being the selection currently applied to your machine.

We will be enlarging it to give the Steam deck more swap space so it can increase its memory management capacity. The recommended size is 16GB, but keep that in mind this swap space is taken from your memory. Steam Deck users with 64GB of storage might be better off sticking with 4 or 8GB.

If you have a 256GB or larger model, highlight 16GB in the list and click Change Paging File Size. The operation is performed live and may take a few minutes. Some rare cases had to wait about 30 minutes so be patient.

Note that there is an equivalent on Windows, called a “swap file”, which you can also modify if you have dual boot installed on your Steam Deck. We are already planning to write you a tutorial on this.

3/ Change the swapiness

Back in the Swap tab, click Change. A new list will appear, again with the word “Default” underlining the default setting that Valve has chosen.

We will choose the value 1 in the list proposed by the software. So the Steam Deck takes care of that Always use the much faster RAM before we turn to the increased exchange space in step 2. This again stabilizes the system in the game and offers us improved performance.

Select 1 and click Change Swapiness.

4/ Optimize storage and memory management

Go to the “Storage” tab. Here you will be offered several options: “Enable HugePages”, “Enable Shared Memory in THP”, “Set Compaction Proactiveness”, “Disable Huge Page Defragmentation” and “Set Page Lock Unfairness”.

You can click each of these options to activate them one by one. Their names will appear in green at the top of the page if the changes have been successfully saved. They all aim for that Change the way the Steam Deck manages data in RAM memoryto optimize handling of larger files and stabilize in-game performance.

Roughly speaking, “Huge Pages” allows the system to create groups of data to access them faster, and “Shared Storage” allows them to use that data with shared storage. We are also modifying the “Compaction proactiveness” so that data is not moved in RAM during a game and thus frame rate drops are avoided. Same principle for “Huge Page Defragmentation”. Finally, Page Lock Unfairness manages process memory accesses to limit them as much as possible, in turn avoiding performance degradation.

Bonus: for the cleanliness of storage

One last tab can still be useful to you: “Memory”. Here you have two sub-functions: Sync Game Data and Clean.

The first only matters if you have saved games to an SD card. Thanks to this feature, you can move all the files of a game back to the appropriate storage space to optimize their access time. For example, A game that is moved to an SD card no longer has any files in local storage. Clean allows you to remove residual data from games that have already been deleted from your system for more cleanliness. If you see “???? in this list delete!

Go back

According to numerous tests, these mods will allow you to recover between 5 and 11% more power on your Steam Deck in a variety of games, which are mainly felt in the stability of the experience. And the without sacrificing the performance of the device in office use classic, since the newly created swap space compensates for the provision of more VRAM for the GPU.

However, if for some reason you want to undo all these changes, all you have to do is go back to your Steam Deck’s BIOS, reset the UMA buffer size to 1GB, restart “CryoUtilities” and click “Stock” on startup restore device.

Note that Uninstalling CryoUtilities will not revert these changes. You must restart the script. Future SteamOS updates should also not affect these changes, and only the UMA buffer size can be reverted to 1GB by larger new firmware. It’s still useful to keep this utility installed on your Steam deck; After all, it doesn’t eat bread!