How to improve Steam Deck performance using CryoUtilities

One incredibly smart member of the Steam Deck community, has designed CryoUtilities, which does a lot more than it makes out.

It’s designed to take advantage of Linux’s openness, by shifting resources around to actually use the hardware onboard. While this can technically be done on Windows too, it’s not as necessary due to PC games mostly being designed around Microsoft’s operating system.

While simple on the surface, you’ll have to bear with us on this one, as CryoUtilities is a little more complex than other applications, like Decky.

How to install CryoUtilities on Steam Deck

Download CryoUtilities and save it to the desktop. Make sure you have a sudo password set.

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Double-click the new icon and set it to the recommended settings. You can experiment with them after the fact, but the default install will ensure maximum use of the hardware.

That’s about it for what you need to do. The software has told the hardware what to do. Once you start customizing your game settings, whether directly in the game or via the Steam settings in the triple-dot menu, you’ll start to see the benefits.

CryoByte actually runs their own YouTube channel, where they go in-depth with the various settings options they’ve come up with as they work on the project.

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What is CryoUtilities for Steam Deck?

CryoUtilities allows you to alter the ‘swap file’ on Linux. It’s a portion of storage that the Steam Deck sets aside for when the RAM is overloaded. However, CryoByte has pointed out in-depth, that some games will never actually utilize the hardware properly.

With the specs onboard, some games shouldn’t be running like they do, and can often be found not taking advantage of the 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM, and the custom APU that is housed inside.

Essentially, some games are over-reliant on the swap file, rather than the hardware. This can lead things like emulation, or certain games to hitch, stutter or lag behind their usual performance.

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CryoUtilities allows you to not only shrink down the size of the swap file but also how much your device actually relies on it. With this out the way, your games will often default back to the hardware, rather than the software.

It’s an easy install, and you might not immediately see a massive difference. However, with the various things you’ll be throwing at the Steam Deck over its lifetime, getting better performance out of your games won’t always hurt.