Every game on PC and Steam Deck is different, so graphics settings are often best determined on a case-by-case basis. If you’re new to tweaking graphics settings, there are three broad steps to take if a game isn’t performing well (and is checked out or in Playable status).
1. Check if each game has a performance profile
While running the game, tap the Quick Access button, go to the Battery Icon, and under “Performance Settings” you can see “usage profile per game”. It is such a game that offers this The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. If you see this option, you probably don’t need to do much tweaking other than accepting this setting. The game will probably go well.
Note: To access this section, you must select “Advanced View” under the Performance Level slider in Quick Settings. The Advanced View displays various performance parameters such as Framerate Limit, Refresh Rate, and options to change screen tearing or half-speed shading, among others.
2. Adjust other Quick Settings
Using the frame rate counter I mentioned above as a good performance indicator (you want to average a relatively stable number between 30 and 60), you might consider dialing back the frame rate limit in Speed’s Performance menu. Parameters. This is a slider that stops at 15, 30, 60, and Off (sometimes called “uncapped” in PC gaming spaces).
If you fluctuate between 30 and 60 wildly, move this slider to 30. You can also lower the screen Refresh Rate from 40 to 60. This changes the refresh rate of the screen itself (since all moving images are an illusion. consisting of multiple still images), but you’ll want to make sure V-Sync is enabled in the game’s own settings for this feature to work best.
If you don’t understand what these do, it’s untouched by other settings like Allow Ripping, Half-Speed Shading, and Manual GPU Clock Control. We’ll cover them another time.
3. Change basic settings in the game itself
Every game is different, so a universal set of tips for graphics settings is difficult, but if you’re new to PC gaming, here are some things to keep in mind:
Image capability: Steam Deck’s screen is native 1280×800 resolution. You’ll want to make sure your game is compatible with this resolution and not above or below this number.
shade quality: Different games will have different settings for shadows, so this will vary a lot. However, one of the first places you should consider dialing back settings to improve performance is the shadow settings.
Many modern games have different settings for shadows. Stacking these back to the “Medium” setting will often save a number of shots.
Motion blur, chromatic aberration, film grain, etc.: These are often dirty words in PC gaming. I personally like a good app chromatic aberration and film grain. The key words there are “good practice”. This is often an effect like motion blur and film grain, which can smear the image, especially on a small screen like Steam Deck. Although it may not result in increased performance (sometimes it can), it can clean up the image.
For example, I like to use film grain and chromatic aberration cyberpunk 2077 on desktop (sue me). I think it adds a nice layer of texture and depth to the image. However, I will turn this setting off when playing the deck 2077 because it doesn’t translate that well to the small screen.
This doesn’t even scratch the surface of graphics settings, but if you’re new to tweaking these kinds of options, they’re good places to start. Honestly, when in doubt, a quick Google of “best Steam Deck settings for game X” is a good way to see what’s working for other users.
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