Steam update could free up storage on Valve’s Steam Deck

Sream Deck handheld on purple backdrop

Valve’s latest Steam beta update just dropped, and it comes with shader pre-caching improvements that could benefit the Steam Deck. Spotted by Phoronix, the new pre-cache system identifies and removes unused code, freeing up space on any gaming SSD or hard drive using the storefront.

Pre-compiled shaders are storage guzzlers, with some games occupying gigabytes of space at a time. While this is less likely to affect gaming PCs with chonky drives, it’s something that could leave Valve’s 64GB Steam Deck model screaming for more space. Steam’s shader pre-caching overhaul should prevent this from becoming too much of an issue for the portable powerhouse, but it’ll also help any Windows or Linux rig with limited storage.

If you like tinkering with Mesa graphics drivers, Steam’s beta update should also come in handy. The new system eliminates old cache following any GPU changes, which means stale shaders won’t accumulate through installing bi-weekly Git builds.

It’s worth noting that while Valve advises against opening Steam Deck, you can arm the handheld with a larger M.2 SSD. That said, you can store your Steam library and install other operating systems onto a microSD card, so you don’t necessarily have to be a tech surgeon to increase the device’s capacity.

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The Steam Deck might be huge compared to other handhelds, but Valve’s already prepping features to help us manage smaller storage capacities. The beta version of the storefront now displays game sizes before installation, something that should help us wield more control over portable libraries.