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Nov 12, 2022 3 min read

New SteamOS 3.4 beta brings many notable changes

A Steam Deck showing the Steam Deck logo.

The new SteamOS 3.4 beta brings many new features to the Steam Deck including a new version of Arch Linux and KDE Plasma.

Valve have released a new version of SteamOS for beta testers (so far, the update is only available in the preview channel).

SteamOS 3.4 brings many changes to the OS, from a new version of Arch Linux, on which SteamOS is based, over to new features for KDE Plasma, the Steam Deck's desktop mode, as well as an optimized Performance HUD level 2.

Another interesting tidbit of the changelog is that external drives are automatically mounted when you connect them to your Steam Deck. This should come in especially handy with something like the JSAUX M.2 Dock.

The list of changes is long, so we embedded it below:

Rebased SteamOS on the latest version of Arch Linux

  • This update pulls in the latest 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, and here. Here are a few of the 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 touchscreen gestures
    • New themes and wallpapers
    • Updates to widgets

Performance profiles

  • New option to allow Screen Tearing
  • Changed performance HUD level 2 to use a horizontal layout. It fits in the letterbox space for games running in a 16:9 aspect ratio.

Storage

  • Re-enabled TRIM for the internal drive as well as supported external storage devices, improving write performance
    • This includes a workaround ensuring that TRIM operations are safe for SD cards that advertise discard support but do not support it
    • Steam will periodically TRIM storage devices as needed
    • New button in Settings → System → Advanced to run trim immediately
  • Added an 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

Input

  • Disabled built-in DualShock 4 and DualSense trackpad → mouse emulation when Steam is running
  • Changed timing of virtual keypresses to improve game compatibility with on-screen keyboard
    • Fixes input issues with apps such as Street Fighter V, EA app
  • Fixed Steam Input's action set switching based on cursor visibility in Game mode
  • Re-enabled the built-in gamepad driver when Steam is not running in desktop mode

Audio

  • Fixed a case where the default audio device would display "echo-cancel-sink" and audio controls would cease to work correctly
  • Fixed a case where some applications would output audio to 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 backlight was enabled

  • Fixed issue with opening file managers if the gamescope session has been restarted

  • Fixed issues with sleep / wake for a number of titles

  • Fixed GPU clock settings sometimes not sticking if set manually (thanks to user xperia64 for the amdgpu kernel patch backport)

  • Fixed an issue with fan controller excessive sensor polling causing sporadic fan behavior and higher SSD temps on some NVME drives

  • New firmware for Docking Station

    • Fixes an issue where HDMI 2.0 displays are not detected during wake or boot up
  • Known Issue: Chinese Pinyin and Zhuyin input for the on-screen keyboard are not currently functioning correctly - we are aware of the issues and will address in an upcoming update.

Unfortunately, a beta update seldom comes without its fair share of problems. This is also the case for the SteamOS 3.4 preview, as some community members reported dual boot capabilities were currently broken.

But if you still want to try this preview update, ou can opt into this in Settings, then System, and here you want to change the Steam Update Channel to preview.

Kevin Wammer
Gamer since the age of 3. Fell in love with tech while hacking PSPs for fun. I have a tri-force on my forearm.
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