Starfield on Steam Deck: Performance and Best Settings

The gaming world has been abuzz with excitement ever since Bethesda announced its ambitious space-faring RPG, Starfield. As gamers eagerly awaited its release, another significant announcement caught the industry’s attention: Valve’s Steam Deck, a handheld gaming device aiming to bring PC gaming to the palm of your hand. The inevitable question arose: How would Starfield perform on this new device? This article delves into the performance of Starfield on the Steam Deck and offers insights into the best settings for an optimal gaming experience.

NOTE: The info is unofficial. Due to the embargo, no videos or screenshots can be shared. Please treat this material as a teaser. It will be updated after the game’s release.

The Steam Deck: A Brief Overview

Before diving into Starfield’s performance, it’s essential to understand the Steam Deck’s capabilities. Powered by a custom APU developed by AMD for handheld gaming, the Steam Deck boasts a quad-core Zen 2 CPU with eight threads and an RDNA 2 GPU with 8 compute units. With three different storage options – 16GB eMMC, 256GB NVMe SSD, and a high-end 512GB NVMe SSD – the device caters to a range of gamers. Its 7-inch LCD touchscreen with a 1280×800 resolution ensures that games look crisp, even on a smaller screen.

Starfield’s Demands

Starfield, being a next-gen title from Bethesda, is expected to push the boundaries of gaming hardware. With expansive space environments, detailed ship models, and bustling spaceports, the game demands a lot from the system it runs on. Bethesda recommends a mid-to-high range PC for the best experience. But how does this translate to the Steam Deck?

Performance on the Steam Deck

The game should run decently on Steam Deck, especially considering its components. I estimate that Starfield will run smoothly on medium settings, with the frame rate oscillating around 30 FPS. There will be occasional dips, especially in more intense scenes, but nothing that negatively affects the overall experience.

The Steam Deck’s RDNA 2 GPU manages to render Starfield’s vast space environments with relative ease. However, when it comes to densely populated areas or intense space battles, the device does show some strain. It’s a testament to Valve’s hardware that a handheld device can run such a demanding game, but it’s clear that some compromises are necessary for the best experience.

Starfield is said to be the first game to support AMD FSR 3, a frame duplication techonology with low input lag and solid image quality. This is not yet available at this time.

Best Settings for Starfield on Steam Deck

Here are the settings, which should provide balanced gameplay:

  1. Resolution: 1280×800
  2. Render Resolution Scale: 50%
  3. Graphics Preset: Low
  4. Shadow Quality: Low
  5. Indirect Lighting: Low
  6. Reflections: Low
  7. Particle Quality: Low
  8. Volumetric Lighting: Low
  9. Crowd Density: Low
  10. Motion Blur: Medium
  11. GTAO Quality: Medium
  12. Grass Quality: Low
  13. Contact Shadows: Off
  14. V-Sync: Off
  15. Upscaling: AMD FSR 2
  16. Sharpening: 20-50%
  17. Enable VRS: On
  18. Film Grain Intensity: Off

These settings ensure that the game should maintains a consistent frame rate while still looking visually appealing. Players might be tempted to push the device to its limits, but it’s essential to remember that the Steam Deck’s primary appeal is its portability, not its raw power.

Additional Tips for a Better Experience

  • Battery Life: Starfield is demanding, and running it will drain the Steam Deck’s battery faster. It’s advisable to keep the device plugged in during extended play sessions or to have a power bank handy.
  • Storage: Starfield, with its vast universe, takes up significant storage space. If you’re using the 16GB eMMC version of the Steam Deck, an external storage solution is a must.


The Steam Deck’s ability to run Starfield is a testament to Valve’s engineering prowess. While it might not offer the same experience as a high-end gaming PC, the fact that players can explore the vastness of space from the comfort of their couch, bed, or even on the go, is nothing short of revolutionary. With the right settings, Starfield on the Steam Deck becomes a joy to play, proving once again that the future of gaming is not just about power, but also about flexibility and adaptability.

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