Getting the Most Battery Life on the Steam Deck with GameScope

While we already know that capping the maximum framerate to 30 FPS while running a game on the Steam Deck ensures more optimal battery life, YouTuber The Phawx has demonstrated a way to increase battery life even further, thanks to the use of GameScope.

steam deck battery life: Forza Horizon 5 High benchmark on Deck

In a new video posted today, The Phawx compared benchmarks between the Deck, the GPD Win 3, and the Aya Neo Next with Forza Horizon 5. While it was impressive to see the results of the benchmarks (average of 42 FPS on the High graphics preset), the video also went over the importance of GameScope — what The Phawx has referred to as the “secret sauce” for the Deck in some of his other videos. Basically, GameScope allows a virtual screen to spoof resolution and framerate that takes over the actual screen.

With GameScope, we can preserve battery life in one of three ways:

  1. Set GameScope refresh rate to 60 Hz while using the in-game FPS limiter to 30 FPS
steam deck battery life: fh5 gamescope 60hz 30 fps
  1. Set GameScope refresh rate to 30 Hz with vsync off
fh5 gamescope 30hz vsync off
  1. Set GameScope refresh rate to 30 Hz with vsync on
fh5 gamescope 30hz vsync on

The first method provides a stable experience, but consumes more power than forcing GameScope to use 30 Hz. The second method was described as being “not good” as far as framerate stability, with the game ‘learching around’ every now and again. The third method apparently saves battery life “by another 10-15 minutes,” and while initially the framerate stability was a bit rocky, it evened out later on, as we can see from the charts he provided. So it seems like enabling vsync while using GameScope to limit the refresh rate to 30 Hz provides the best experience. It may not look as stable as the first method, but it apparently extends battery life by a few minutes.

Really interesting to see. 10-15 minutes longer may not sound like much, but it adds up for a game like Forza Horizon 5, where, according to The Phawx’s benchmarks, the Deck only lasts two hours on the lowest graphics preset.

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RealCelticGamer

Did The Phawx actually give instructions on how to get Gamescope to spoof a virtual screen? And wouldn’t that introduce a performance overhead?