Recently I came across a blog post that, supposedly, enhances the performance of the Steam Deck by running a few commands from the terminal. The post breaks down what each chunk of the script does. In essence, the script will do the following:

  • sets the CPU governor to “performance” as opposed to the default “schedutil”. According to the post the result of this switch will ‘reduce many of the dreaded frame-time spikes plaguing the schedutil governor.’
  • enables MGLRU (multi-gen least recently used). This will “dramatically improve upon the memory management of Linux.”
  • disables watchdog timers. This “can actually help the Steam Deck by not generating any interrupt requests of its own.”
  • disables the memory clock. Supposedly this helps with RPCS3
  • changes the I/O scheduler to “Kyber”. This “allows the diverse storage devices to both reach the maximum capacity of their respective throughput (i.e. read & write) speeds while at the same time still providing low enough latencies even among high I/O pressure.”
  • disables the tracking of file access times. “It will actually help in extending the lifetime of your storage devices, since it will cut-down on the wear & tear write operations cause on flash-based storage mediums.”
  • disables CPU security flaw mitigations. “Can boost the performance of SteamOS quite a bit,” at the risk of exposing your Deck to potential security risks

I have personally run this script myself with the SteamOS 3.5 preview branch (albeit with the CPU security flaw mitigations still enabled) and can confirm I haven’t run any issues so far during my brief testing. That being said, I haven’t noticed much of a jump in performance, either.

Xonotic benchmarks

Phoronix had recently benchmarked the performance differences between vanilla SteamOS 3.5 and the same OS version with the performance tweaks applied. CS:GO, F1 2022, Hitman 3, and Cyberpunk 2077 barely saw a performance difference at all. On the other hand, “very CPU bound workloads not too demanding on the GPU” saw a decent difference. For example, Unvanquished saw an 11 FPS boost with the tweaks applied. Xonotic saw a 10 FPS boost.

Have a look at the blog post if you want to give it a try. Be aware that you do so at your own risk. Also, applying these tweaks will likely impact the battery life.