As reported by Phoronix, Valve released a new Steam beta update this Friday that improves the efficiency of Steam's shader pre-caching system. Now, when Steam detects pre-cache shader code that is stale or unused, it will automatically flush it out to save on storage space. This feature comes just in time for the Steam Deck, which should take great advantage of this, especially with the 64GB storage capacity of the baseline model. We've also now seen evidence that the Steam Deck has configurable GPU performance settings.
But, this feature won't just be limited to the Steam Deck; it'll also work on regular gaming PCs running Windows, Linux, and Mac when a GPU driver is changed or updated. Specifically for Linux users, Phoronix also notes that this feature will come in handy for gamers and enthusiasts who frequently ride Git builds of new Mesa graphics drivers, which are usually updated once a week.
Pre-compiling is becoming increasingly popular. Essentially, some pieces of code need to be compiled on the fly as a game or program is running. Pre-compiling that code before an app or game starts running reduces loading time and improves gaming performance, but it can put extra load on storage bandwidth and use up more storage space.
Even in the smartphone world, pre-compiling apps are becoming more popular. For instance, if you own a Samsung device, you can run Samsung's Galaxy App Booster, which pre-compiles all your apps on your phone for up to a 15% reduction in loading times.
Generally, pre-compiled shaders on a system can usually take a couple of gigabytes worth of storage if you play several titles and can get as big as 10GB or more if you play dozens and dozens of titles. So this new Steam client beta update could be very important for systems with small storage drives, like the baseline Steam Deck models.
Boiling Steam has also shared a short video of the Steam Deck's customization options regarding the device's performance-enhancing options. The first option has to do with the interface for the Steam Deck, which likely has to do with the client's overlay.
The second option reportedly allows Steam Deck owners to tweak the GPU performance, impacting battery life. There are four settings: auto, manual, low, and high. To further improve battery life, it would seem that Valve has implemented a framerate limiter. There is also an option to customize the AMD Aerith APU's TDP limit where you can prioritize performance or battery life.
Last but not least, the FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) option is also open to the user.