Steam Deck is many things: great for gaming on-the-go, a potential budget desktop replacement, and an epic meme. No matter how much you want to, though, Valve says you should really stop inhaling fumes from its vents.
Its unique smell first became a point of conversation back in 2022 with the release of the LCD model. Forums cropped up asking about the odour, followed by tweets and articles until it elevated to meme status. People were, and frankly still are, obsessed.
Naturally, you can’t have thousands of people huffing Steam Deck’s exhaust without first enquiring about the potential dangers. Valve’s support tells Metapod100 that, while it might not be inherently hazardous to breathe in the heat, you should probably stop.
“As with all electronics, it is generally not recommended you inhale the exhaust fumes on your device,” says support agent Sandler. “While there are no safety concerns with general usage, directly inhaling the device’s vent fumes should be avoided. We understand that it may be a meme, but please refrain from this behaviour for the safety of your health.”
In our experience, the Steam Deck OLED is less potent than the LCD version – not that we’ve dedicated a lot of testing time to sniffing. This could be because the fan is different.
Your guess is as good as ours as to why people like the smell so much. After all, you don’t see people sniffing the side of their gaming laptop or sticking their head in a chassis to get a whiff of the best CPU cooler. Sadly for fans, it doesn’t last forever. Eventually, the factory smell will dissipate and your Deck will be left odourless.