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Steam Deck now supports VRR over HDMI on supported TVs with SteamOS 3.6.5 update

Steam Deck now supports VRR, but only over HDMI
Last Updated on June 19, 2024
Steam Deck inside case with packaging
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There is some good news for Steam Deck today as owners who’ve been waiting for VRR support (at least over HDMI) will have noticed an important update. SteamOS 3.6.0 introduced a new Dock firmware that includes fixes for VRR and CEC. While this update is currently in the preview channel (version 3.6.5), early reports are showing positive results.

For the uninformed, VRR stands for Variable Refresh Rate, meaning that the refresh rate of the display is capable of changing in accordance to the performance of the game. One popular implementation of this is AMD FreeSync, which is available on the likes of LG’s OLED TVs. So while the Deck’s built-in display still doesn’t get VRR – like the ASUS ROG Ally – at least we have support in some shape or form.

VRR over HDMI finally works

As an example, users with LG CX 2020 TV models can now enjoy VRR over HDMI with the Steam Deck in docked mode. One user on Reddit reported this in a thread. We expect this to also extend to other Freesync-compatible TVs, which AMD maintains a full list of here.

This means smoother gameplay with reduced screen tearing, thanks to SteamOS 3.6.5. Users can confirm VRR functionality by enabling it in the settings and checking the information panel on their TV. Again, using the CX as an example, repeatedly pressing the green button on the remote, a panel will appear displaying the current FreeSync, resolution, and HDR state.

VRR on the Steam Deck’s screen is still not possible

While VRR over HDMI is a welcome addition, some users still wish for native VRR support on the Steam Deck’s built-in display. The reasons for not including this functionality remain unclear, but it could be due to hardware limitations of the display itself, software that isn’t fully optimized yet, or production choices made during development.

If you’d like to try VRR over HDMI with your compatible TV, you can upgrade to the SteamOS 3.6.5 preview channel. This is found by going to Settings > System > System Update on your Steam Deck. Keep in mind that preview builds may contain bugs, so proceed with caution.

Steam Deck

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