The Steam alpha launched in March on the ChromeOS Dev channel. Steam is now in beta and will just require that your Chromebook be on the Beta channel, specifically version 108.0.5359.24 and newer.
Besides switching to a ChromeOS channel that provides more stable day-to-day usability, Google is lowering the hardware requirements and tripling the number of supported Chromebooks. There’s now support for AMD Ryzen 5000 C-Series and 12th Gen Intel, while the minimum CPU requirement has been lowered to Core i3 and Ryzen 3.
That said, Google recommends “16GB RAM and an i5 / Ryzen 5 or higher for the best experience.” The new supported device list is below:
- Acer Chromebook 514 (CB514-1W)
- Acer Chromebook 515 (CB515-1W)
- Acer Chromebook 516 GE
- Acer Chromebook Spin 514 (CP514-3H, CP514-3HH, CP514-3WH)
- Acer Chromebook Spin 713 (CP713-3W)
- Acer Chromebook Spin 714 (CP714-1WN)
- Acer Chromebook Vero 514
- ASUS Chromebook CX9 (CX9400)
- ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5500)
- ASUS Chromebook Flip CX5 (CX5601)
- ASUS Chromebook Vibe CX55 Flip
- Framework Laptop Chromebook Edition
- HP Elite c640 14 inch G3 Chromebook
- HP Elite c645 G2 Chromebook
- HP Elite Dragonfly Chromebook
- HP Pro c640 G2 Chromebook
- Lenovo IdeaPad Gaming Chromebook 16
- Lenovo 5i-14 Chromebook
- Lenovo Flex 5i Chromebook 14
- Lenovo ThinkPad C14
As part of Steam on ChromeOS going beta, the install process is just searching “Steam” in the launcher to start the updated install process when chrome://flags/#enable-borealis is enabled.
Power management improvements include showing low battery notifications when playing games in fullscreen, and “reducing CPU overhead in Vulkan and DirectX titles” to extend battery life.
On the storage management front, ChromeOS has switched to sparse disk and ballooning for games that download content outside of Steam, while this improves file access performance for Proton titles. Existing alpha users need to uninstall and reinstall Steam to get these improvements. Meanwhile, when there’s an active game download in the background, devices will no longer sleep.
Speaking of performance, there’s now Vulkan 1.3 and initial DirectX 12 support to improve “how shaders are stored and persisted.” Google has improved its “scaling system so you can now performantly play many more games on QHD and UHD displays, and see the performance benefits of reducing in-game resolution on all displays.” There are several other notable updates to the Steam for Chromebooks beta:
- Enable pointer lock by default (without the #exo-pointer-lock flag)
- Improved handling switching between apps and full-screen
- Improved keyboard handling; for example, the launcher key now works when the Steam client is focused
- Improved window management support
- Include Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai fonts
- Mouse cursor fixes
Google’s recommended games list now has 50 new titles with the full one below:
Major issues affecting the whole system should be uncommon, and hundreds of Steam games are now playable on a wider variety of Chromebooks
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