A new way to fix Steam Deck noise fans

After more than 160 hours of being immersed in the world of Elden Ring, I can safely say that the one thing that bothers me the most about Steam Deck is its loud fans. When I heard that there was a way to solve this problem, I couldn't be more excited. For about 15 minutes and $30 (depending on where you live), you can install a replacement fan from iFixit. When I learned that this repair company finally had a large stock of these fans, I immediately bought one. Now, my Steam Deck doesn't have that little squeal.

So, is the fan still loud? The answer is yes, but the sound is now more of a "whoosh" sound than the original scream. I prefer to think of this sound as air escaping from the deck's vents, and most of the time, I don't even pay attention to it. The new "whoosh" sound made it easy for me to ignore it, whereas the previous squeal always got my attention, even though Valve has tweaked the software to reduce fan noise.

I noticed that after replacing the fan, the overall noise seemed to decrease a bit, but more importantly, that squeal was no longer there. The new fan is actually less noisy than the one I showed you guys back in April that was repaired with electrical tape. I did an unscientific test in the quietest room of my house comparing the new fan to my original fan and a fan that was repaired with electrical tape and the new fan was 2 to 2.5 quieter than the other two decibel.

So why does replacement fans make such a big difference? It's a long story, but the Steam Deck community found out a few months ago that Valve had two different fans for its gaming consoles. One was made by Delta and the other was made by Huaying, and it has been suspected that the Delta fan was an inappropriate part that wasn't originally designed by Valve. While Valve has attempted to mitigate this issue through software, it's clearly a hardware issue as well.

So when iFixit announced that they had found a supply of Huaying fans, there was a lot of excitement. Is the fix really as simple as buying a "better" fan, opening the deck, replacing the fan, and re-tightening 13 screws? I think I've now seen enough evidence to say yes.

I'm not going to try to rewrite iFixit's fan replacement guide, but what I will say is that following those directions and using that kit (which includes a simple screwdriver with the correct Phillips bit, a pair of tweezers, and a blue open shell tool) is very quick and easy to change. It did take me a few tries to figure out how to open the case using those blue case opening tools, I found it easier to pull out the fan's electrical connector with my fingernails than tweezers, but I used every bit in the kit Just the same tool, I don't need anything that isn't in the kit.

I spend a lot of time playing the deck in a quiet room while the family tries to sleep. Well worth the $30 to me. I just don't understand why Valve didn't do something about the fan itself - now it's clear that that loud fan wasn't the intended experience.

Apparently some Steam Deck owners have had luck getting better fans after the RMA too - but when I returned my 64GB model it still came with a Delta fan. I just now have the chance to try Huaying fans.

All that said, replacing a Steam Deck fan is actually a relatively simple process that just requires buying the right parts and tools and following a few simple steps to replace it. This could be a very worthwhile investment for those who regularly game in quiet environments. Hope this article can help those who are annoyed by the fan noise of Steam Deck to find a satisfactory solution.