Anyone that has booted up Elden Ring on a Steam Deck has had the though, but Valve doesn’t want Steam Deck owners to sniff the exhaust that comes out of the fan’s vents.
A Reddit user posted their interaction with official Valve support on the Steam Deck subreddit. They asked whether inhaling the exhaust fumes from the portable device was safe, but received a decisive negative answer from the support agent. Valve’s Steam Deck has a “new electronics” smell, especially when the device heats up when playing resource-intensive titles.
While the portable PC is respectably powerful, games like Elden Ring can make it feel hot to the touch and sound like it’s about to shoot into space. The same smell occurs when playing a game on an Xbox Series X/S or a PlayStation 5 console, but the lack of portability makes it much more difficult to bring the console right to the nose.
Recently, smelling “fumes” from the Steam Deck has become a meme on the internet, akin to many potentially hazardous challenges on social media, such as those encouraging the consumption of laundry detergent. Many users report have stated they enjoy sniffing the exhaust vents on their Steam Decks to “enjoy the smell.”
Should I inhale Steam Deck’s exhaust fumes?
According to Steam support, no, players should refrain from inhaling exhaust fumes from the Steam Deck.
Steam support agent explains that it is “generally not recommended” to inhale exhaust fumes on any electronics. The agent also elaborates that while there is no health safety concern with general usage of the Steam Deck, purposefully sniffing the Steam Deck vents, even for a meme, is inadvisable.
Actual scientific research into potential health hazards related to air vented from running electronic devices is either scarce or nonexistent. Some plastics are known to be hazardous to health due to the use of chemicals when manufacturing them, but it’s unknown whether the Steam Deck, or other PCs, use these plastics.
There’s reportedly a difference in the smell of Steam Deck and Steam Deck OLED model
According to users, Steam Deck OLED doesn’t have the distinct “new Steam Deck” smell that the original one has.
Reddit user Nnamz reported that the “vents do not smell as good on the Steam Deck OLED” and that this was their biggest letdown. Another user labeled it as a “diet version” of the smell. This may stem from the OLED Steam Deck having improved cooling and other features.
The warning from Valve isn’t enough to stop the Steam Deck sniffing gang, though, with users claiming this won’t prevent them from inhaling the fumes. The Steam Deck is one of the biggest portable gaming PCs. The new OLED model improved the screen and the battery life but didn’t change the device’s specs.