How to set the Steam Deck to 40Hz and 40FPS
40 is the new 60, especially on the Steam Deck. Here’s how to squeeze a little more performance out of your handheld by swapping to 40Hz.
The Steam Deck might be a surprising little powerhouse, but there are some games that aren’t sitting right on the handheld PC. Of course, this was to be expected and a lot of us have gotten used to it. Variable frame rates or locking the game to 30FPS is a logical step, but some want more out of their Steam Deck.
Battery life is a major concern for the Deck, with our longest play session coming in at around four hours while playing an emulated title. A lot of the charge is often drained not only by the game, but the Steam Deck pushing out a solid 60Hz regardless of the onscreen framerate.
Limiting the screen to 40Hz means you won’t be able to reach 60FPS, but it does mean a lot of bigger titles will run much better in the long term.
Thankfully, Valve saw what people were doing and has brought the option to the forefront in the settings menu, making this a snap to get going.
How to change to 40Hz on Steam Deck
While in Gaming Mode, you can change to 40Hz by pressing the three-dot button and scrolling down the menu to Performance.
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After this, go to “Refresh Rate” and cycle that down to 40Hz. Your Steam Deck will black out for a couple seconds while it readjusts the refresh rate. After this, you can set the framerate to 40FPS too.
If you do this while in the home screen, you’re going to affect the Steam Deck as a whole. This means every game, menu, and interaction with the handheld will be locked at 40Hz.
To get each game to launch with this on an individual basis, you can load up your game, repeat the process and toggle on “Use per-game profile”. Not every game will need 40Hz/40FPS and it’s best to keep your menus slick for ease of use.
40Hz Steam Deck won’t work while docked
Some monitors and TVs won’t support 40Hz out of the box while docked. For this, you’ll need to ensure that you’re using the Steam Deck’s per-game profile or give up on the idea entirely. If your TV doesn’t support 40Hz, this won’t work at all.