I swapped out my steam deck noisy fan and I’m so happy

in 160 hours elden ring, I’m sure of one thing: The most annoying thing about my Steam deck is its raucous fanbase. And now, I’m very happy to report that there is a way to fix it. It takes about 15 minutes and $30 — depending on where you live — to install a replacement fan from iFixit.

Five days ago, the repair company finally got a huge shipment of those fans, and I immediately bought one. Now, the little squeak of my Steam deck is gone.

Is the fan still loud? yes it is but it is a whoosh instead of a groan. I like to think of it as the sound of air coming out of the holes in the deck, but mostly, I don’t think about it at all. I could tune in to the new Whosh with ease, while the Whine always managed to get my attention even after Valve tweaked its software to reduce fan noise.

There seemed to be a slight reduction in overall noise with the replacement fan, but the lack of whine is a big deal.

In fact, the new fan has less groaning than the electrical tape trick I showed you in April, and – YMMV – sounds oh-so-slightly quieter overall. I did an unscientific test with the new fan against both my original luminous fan and the one fixed with electrical tape, and the new fan measured 2 to 2.5 decibels less than the quietest room in my house.

Each time, I let the deck’s chip heat up to over 90 degrees Celsius and increased its power to about 28 watts to make sure the fan was blowing as much as possible—which, honestly, is pretty much the same. That’s how it goes when I’m playing elden ring generally.

iFixit sells a “good” fan made by Huaying.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

How can a replacement fan make such a difference? It’s a long story, but the Steam Deck community learned several months ago that Valve shipped with one of their gaming handhelds. Two various fans. One is made by Delta, the other by Huaying, and it has long been suspected that the Delta fan is an inferior part that Valve did not initially design. But while Valve has tried to downplay the problem with software, it’s certainly a hardware problem as well.

last month, gamer nexus All but settled the question, both putting fans to the test and providing excellent audio samples of what “The Vine” actually sounds like in practice (for that go to 8:51):

So when iFixit announced that it had received a supply of Huaying fans, there was reason for excitement. Would fixing it be as simple as buying a “better” fan, opening the deck, swapping out the fan, and re-fastening the 13 screws? I think I’ve seen enough now to say that the answer is yes.

The $30 iFixit kit comes with picks for opening the deck, a screwdriver and ESD-safe tweezers, and fan.
Photo by Sean Hollister/The Verge

I won’t attempt to rewrite iFixit’s fan replacement guide, which you can find right here, but I will say it was quick and easy with those instructions and kit – which includes a simple screwdriver with the right Philips bits, A pair of tweezers, and a handful of blue picks, to open the steam deck’s plastic shell clip.

It took a couple tries to figure out how to use those blue picks to open the case, and I found it easier to pull out the fan’s electrical connector with my fingernail than with tweezers, but every piece got used Gone and I didn’t want anything that wasn’t in the box.

I spend a lot of time playing deck in quiet rooms with family members trying to sleep. So for me, it’s $30 well spent. I wonder why Valve isn’t doing anything about the fan itself – it’s pretty clear now that the whiny fan isn’t the intended experience.

Apparently some Steam Deck owners have had luck with an even better fan after RMA – but when I returned my 64GB model, it came with another delta. I just have to try Huaying for now.

If you want to hear some of my audio samples (you’ll need to turn up the sound and/or wear headphones!), I took a recording of a bare Delta fan, a taped-up Delta fan, and a . Huaying fan at the same distance from all microphones.

delta fan

delta fan ramp up (more pronounced groan)

Delta fan with electrical tape (very slight whine in the background)

Huaying Fan, aka “The Good One”

At the time I am writing these words, iFixit still has a Steam Deck replacement fan in stock.

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