It seems that the Steam Deck will have a strange new solid-state cooling system with no fans. While piezoelectric fans are not a new concept, they have not before been employed in small-scale portable computer devices, making the suggested application of the new technology all the more intriguing.
Users rapidly started experiencing extremely aggressive fan curves that resulted in a loud, high-pitched whine in certain usage circumstances when the Steam Deck was released. Though Valve was able to solve the difficulties by modifying the fan curve, a newcomer to the cooling tech area claims a solution that might give a viable alternative to traditional heat dissipation methods utilised in tiny devices.
At the beginning of the year, at CES, Frore Systems unveiled its solid-state piezoelectric fan. While it’s AirJet and AirJet Mini coolers sounded intriguing on their own, the most intriguing of all the possible applications for the technology appeared in one of Frore Systems’ official publications. Notably, they make a specific mention of “Hand Held Gaming Devices” with 15 watts of computing power, with the attached image plainly being that of Valve’s wildly popular Steam Deck. According to the datasheet, the Frore Systems’ solid-state fan should be able to handle the Deck’s heat output while also drastically lowering the device’s noise level.
To transfer air over the chilled surface, piezoelectric cooling systems use a tiny, quickly-blowing blade. They haven’t always been able to outperform traditional fan-based cooling technologies, but they are significantly more reliable in tough situations. Frore Systems is the first business to use this technology in a new piece of consumer-grade gaming gear, and although its usefulness has yet to be shown, it definitely offers an intriguing new set of cooling options.
Though piezoelectric fans are unlikely to be included in the Steam Deck’s next official version upgrade, the schematics given by Frore Systems suggest that installing one of the company’s coolers shouldn’t be too difficult for the end user. The Frore Systems representative at CES 2023 said that the first real-world implementations of its solid-state cooler should be available in a couple of months, confirming or denying the company’s undoubtedly high promises.
The fact that Frore Systems has yet to demonstrate that their solid-state coolers provide a suitable solution to the problem of heat dissipation is also important to note. It’s difficult to fathom the system surpassing tried-and-true fan-based coolers without seeing it in action. Whether Frore Systems’ claims are true, it will be fascinating to see if these new coolers may help in instances where the Steam Deck, for example, throttles performance during heatwaves.