SteamOS 3.4 is rolling out in beta for the Steam Deck - it's a massive upgrade

SteamOS 3.4 is rolling out in beta for the Steam Deck – it’s a massive upgrade

Valve had another weekend here, with a SteamOS 3.4 beta now available for the Steam Deck. This is easily one of the biggest updates they’ve made to the system since release, and there are so many changes that improve experiences across the device.

This includes massive desktop mode upgrades, an upgraded Arch Linux package base, the performance overlay has been changed for level 2 to show details at the top of the screen instead of down to the left, external drive upgrades and more.

New level 2 style for performance overlay:

Look good !

Currently, SteamOS 3.4 uses kernel 5.13 (with various Valve fixes) and Mesa 22.2.0.

The words and pictures are great, but here’s a video showing some of the changes:

Here is the full list:

  • SteamOS rebased on the latest version of Arch Linux
    • This update incorporates the latest performance, security, and stability fixes for the underlying packages that form the basis of SteamOS.
    • Most notably, this includes recent changes to KDE Plasma, Steam Deck’s desktop mode. Full release notes for these updates can be found on the KDE website here, here, and here. Here are some of the highlights:
      • New overview to see all open windows and virtual desktops
      • Updates to KRunner, the built-in assistant for finding and performing tasks
      • New touch screen gestures
      • New themes and wallpapers
      • Widget updates
  • Performance Profiles
    • New option to enable screen tearing
    • Changed Performance HUD Level 2 to use a horizontal layout. It fits in letterbox space for games running in 16:9 aspect ratio.
  • Storage
    • TRIM re-enabled for internal drive as well as supported external storage devices, improving write performance
      • This includes a workaround to ensure that TRIM operations are safe for SD cards that advertise deletion support but do not support it.
      • Steam will periodically adjust storage devices as needed
      • New button in Settings → System → Advanced to run trim immediately
    • Added eject option for removable drives in Settings → Storage
      • This unmounts the removable drive, it does not physically eject it
    • External drives formatted as ext4 are now automatically mounted and available for use in Steam
  • To input
    • Disable DualShock 4 trackpad and built-in DualSense → mouse emulation when Steam is running
    • Changed virtual key synchronization to improve game compatibility with on-screen keyboard
      • Resolves input issues with apps such as Street Fighter V, EA app
    • Fixed Steam Input action set changing based on cursor visibility in Game Mode
    • Re-enable built-in gamepad driver when Steam is not working in desktop mode
  • audio
    • Fixed a case where the default audio device displayed “echo-cancel-sink” and audio controls stopped working properly
    • Fixed a case where some apps were playing audio on the wrong device
    • Fixed an issue with HDMI/DisplayPort audio going to sleep after being idle on external displays
  • General
    • Fixed a performance issue that could cause 100ms hitches during gameplay if adaptive backlighting was enabled
    • Fixed issue with opening file managers if gamescope session was restarted
    • Fixed sleep/wake issues for a number of titles
    • Fixed GPU clock settings sometimes not sticking if set manually (thanks xperia64 user for backporting amdgpu kernel patch)
    • Fixed an issue with excessive fan controller sensor polling causing sporadic fan behavior and higher SSD temperatures on some NVME drives
    • New firmware for the docking station
      • Fixes an issue where HDMI 2.0 displays are not detected during wake or boot

Known problem: Chinese pinyin and zhuyin input for the on-screen keyboard does not currently work correctly – we are aware of the issues and will address them in a future update.

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