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SteamOS 3.5 preview update brings improvements to display, graphics drivers, firmware & more

Some highly anticipated features were just added to the SteamOS 3.5 preview update. Besides the updated firmware and updated OS base, the new preview update also brings new display features and various bug fixes.

The updates begin with the underlying Arch Linux version, which includes support for the latest KDA Plasma 5.27 and an enhanced Steam Deck's Desktop Mode. There are also adjustments to the tiling and widgets. Additionally, the system now supports HDR output for external displays and VRR, which Steam Deck's main screen does not. According to Steam, this functionality needs a USB-C adapter to function.

Deck's colour rendering is now simulated to the sRGB colour gamut, so users may see a warmer screen after installing the preview update. Users who prefer the previous colour appearance may simply alter them by accessing “Added Settings” > “Adjust Display Colors” and selecting the “Native” option.

Starfield also deserved some particular attention in this update. Even if it wasn't built to work with iGPUs, AMD and Valve's driver teams did their best to improve performance on Steam Deck. Additionally, the update comes with various fixes, including one for the 400/200 MHz bug found when the Deck was running a low TDP profile, causing CPU and GPU frequency to be locked at low settings. SteamOS 3.5 is now available for download via the Preview channel.

The full changelog for Steam Deck's SteamOS 3.5 preview update can be found below:


  • The default color rendering for Steam Deck has been adjusted to emulate the sRGB color gamut, resulting in a slightly warmer and more vibrant colour appearance.
  • Added Settings -> Adjust Display Colors, to tune the display’s Color Vibrancy and Color Temperature. The settings can be tuned with a preview of a test image (above), or with your running game.
    • Native: The native display colour appearance (the colour rendering for Steam Deck prior to this update).
      sRGB: Emulate the sRGB primaries, in a smooth manner that does not introduce gradient clipping.
    • Boosted: Emulate a wider-gamut display appearance, resulting in increased apparent vibrance. May result in gradient clipping.
  • HDR can now be enabled in Display Settings if supported by the external display.
  • VRR can now be enabled in Display Settings if supported by the USB-C adapter.
  • Reworked Quick-Access scaling settings to separate scaling from filtering. Added Stretch and Zoom scaling as new options to handle different aspect ratios.
  • Fixed touchscreen orientation while external display is connected.
    Compositing is now avoided in additional scenarios, reducing latency and stutter in situation with multiple overlays on screen.
  • Improved latency in certain situations where the application renders slower than the display’s refresh rate.


  • Fixed an issue where certain workloads would exhibit severe CPU performance issues unless SMT was manually disabled.
  • External storage devices are now auto-mounted when connected to Steam Deck. To format or manage storage devices use the new device management interface in Settings->Storage.
  • Updated graphics drivers, with many performance and functionality improvements. Improved performance for Starfield. Fixed viewmodel corruption in Amnesia: The Bunker and launch failures for Immortals of Aveum and Kaiju-A-GoGo.
  • Improved Bluetooth connection stability, especially with multiple controllers
  • Slightly improved sleep resume speed
  • Implemented switching between controller bindings and mouse/keyboard desktop bindings by long-pressing Options in the Linux hid-steam driver, to match Steam’s default Desktop configuration.
  • Improved fade transitions between applications.
  • The contents of the performance overlay can now be customised by creating a ~/.config/MangoHud/presets.conf configuration file.
  • Fixed a bug where some games could appear stretched if their window size didn’t match their swapchain size (eg. Naruto Shippuden Ultimate Ninja Storm 4)
  • Fixed Disgaea PC needing to be tapped on before input works
  • Fixed physical dimensions reported to games, fixing some issues with an incorrect aspect ratio sometimes being detected (eg. Returnal)
  • Worked around a problem where Allow Tearing could cause heavy stuttering if the Performance Overlay or other overlays appeared on screen. Tearing is now impossible in such situations, and the Performance Overlay should be disabled for best results.
  • Fixed a problem where keyboard input would not be detected in Overwatch 2
  • Controller firmware: fixed an issue where some thumbstick touch sensors would lose touch periodically

Firmware 116

  • Added voltage offset settings.
  • Improved robustness of the Firmware Settings Reset chord (Volume Down + Quick-Access + Power) against some boot hang scenarios.
  • Fixed a rare issue that would set the processor TDP limit too low causing CPU and GPU frequencies to be stuck at 400 MHz and 200 MHz respectively.
  • Fixed an issue when the charging light would turn back on when plugged in for a while after fully charged.

Updated Arch Linux Base

  • This update pulls in newer performance, security and stability fixes for the underlying packages that are the foundation for SteamOS
  • Most notably, this includes recent changes to KDE Plasma, Steam Deck’s Desktop Mode. Full notes on these updates can be found on KDE’s website here. Here are a few of the highlights:
    • New window tiling system
    • Updated Discover (app store / software manager) with a new homepage and improved search
    • Discover can now perform system updates from the desktop
    • Updated desktop widgets

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