SteamOS 3.4 Is Coming to Steam Deck Beta – It’s a Huge Upgrade

Valve dropped another one this weekend here, with the Beta version of SteamOS 3.4 now available for Steam Deck. This is easily one of the biggest updates they’ve made to the system since release, and there are several changes that improve experiences across the entire device.

This includes massive upgrades to desktop mode, an upgraded Arch Linux package base, a Level 2 performance overlay changed to show details along the top of the screen instead of going down the left, external drive upgrades and more.

New Level 2 Performance Overlay Style:

Looks good!

SteamOS 3.4 currently uses kernel 5.13 (with various valve patches) 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 has been re-founded on the latest Arch Linux
    • This update pulls the latest performance, security, and stability fixes for the core packages that form the foundation of SteamOS
    • Notably, this includes recent changes to KDE Plasma, Steam Deck’s desktop mode. Full notes on these updates can be found on the KDE website here, here, and here. Here are a few highlights:
      • New overview view to see all open windows and virtual desktops
      • Updates to KRunner, the built-in assistant for searching and running tasks
      • New touch screen gestures
      • New themes and wallpapers
      • Updates to widgets
  • performance features
    • New option to allow screen tearing
    • Changed the Performance HUD Level 2 to use a landscape layout. Fits letterbox for 16:9 games.
  • storage
    • TRIM has been re-enabled for the internal drive as well as supported external storage devices, improving write performance
      • This includes a workaround that ensures TRIM operations are secure for SD cards that declare but do not support Ignore
      • Steam will periodically TRIM storage devices as needed
      • New button in Settings → System → Advanced to turn on cutting immediately
    • Added an Eject option for removable drives in Settings → Storage
      • This unpacks the removable drive, does not actually eject it
    • External drives formatted as ext4 are now automatically installed and available for use in Steam
  • Enter
    • Disable the built-in DualShock 4 and DualSense trackpad → Mouse emulation when Steam is running
    • The timing of default keystrokes has been changed to improve game compatibility with the on-screen keyboard
      • Fixes input issues with apps like Street Fighter V and the EA app
    • Static steam input working group switching is set based on cursor visibility in game mode
    • Re-enable the built-in gamepad driver when Steam is not running in desktop mode
  • My voice
    • Fixed a situation where the default audio device displays “echo-can -cell-sink” and the audio controls stop working properly
    • Fixed the case where some apps output audio to the wrong device
    • Fixed an issue where HDMI/DisplayPort audio goes to sleep after idle on external displays
  • general
    • Fixed a performance issue that could cause pauses of up to 100ms during gameplay if adaptive backlighting is enabled
    • Fixed an issue where file managers would open if a gamescope session was restarted
    • Sleep/wake issues have been fixed for a number of titles
    • Fixed GPU clock settings sometimes not getting fixed if set manually (thanks user xperia64 for back port for amdgpu kernel patch)
    • Fixed an issue with excessive fan controller polling causing choppy fan behavior and higher hard drive temperatures on some NVME drives
    • New docking station firmware
      • Fixes an issue where HDMI 2.0 displays are not detected during activation or boot up

known problem: Pinyin and Zhuyin Chinese Input for On-Screen Keyboard is currently not working properly – We’re aware of the issues and will address them in the next update.

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