It’s been a few days now since Valve’s Steam Deck revealed. Pre-orders have been taken, sales have taken place, but we haven’t seen much on the device yet beyond a few very short clips of footage from the platform owner, as well as some out of the box footage. IGN screen – we have a idea of what this machine can do, but much of its makeup is still a mystery. However, more details about the device have emerged and the official tech specs page has been slightly expanded, giving us more good news on the hardware.
At the heart of Steam Deck is an AMD processor that has been the subject of many rumors, but without official confirmation, although some believe it has been canceled in the meantime. Codenamed ‘Van Gogh’, the specifications of the mobile-oriented APU have been known for some time, verified to some extent by disclosures in Linux drivers. At the heart of the chip is the Zen 2 architecture in a quad-core configuration, supported by eight RDNA 2 compute units – a match for Steam Deck. However, a long-term issue with AMD’s all-in-one chips and their performance has been constraints on memory bandwidth, and Valve’s initial specs only gave clues as to what the chip might be. offer in this area.
One of the two spec points that have been developed since the reveal is for the AMD processor memory controllers – the four-channel configuration effectively confirms 88 GB / s of bandwidth, and in terms of the balance between GPU compute and memory throughput, the good news is that Steam Deck is well within the ratios set by the Xbox Series and PlayStation 5 consoles – and the hope is, of course, that the handheld graciously shrinks from those machines.
In the DF Direct Special that we have prepared, we try to set wait levels for the Steam Deck, first with a very small performance analysis snippet based on the clips from Valve – which show Star Wars Jedi : Fallen Order running at 30-40 frames per second, Doom Eternal running very close to a locked 60 fps, and with less demanding games running at full 60Hz refresh of the built-in display. What we’ve seen so far looks promising – the processor appears capable of running triple-A games, no doubt boosted by the 1280×800 resolution. This can be very, very low for a desktop or laptop, but it’s fine for a mobile device.
In our video, we also show the key Ryzen 9 4900HS APU titles displayed in the reveal. On the one hand, this is a good measure of the graphics performance built into the PC in the mobile space. However, although it works with a GPU sustained compute of 1.8 TF, the performance is more like that of the Xbox One than the PlayStation 4 (note: this is still a very impressive achievement for a unit. mobile!). In terms of comparison to Steam Deck, this Renoir-based Ryzen processor runs on a lower performing graphics architecture with less memory bandwidth, but has a 35W power budget compared to only 15W maximum of Steam Deck. On the one hand, comparisons to Steam Deck will be tangential – but on the other hand, it shows that spec-based console comparisons can be problematic.
We also need to take into account the potential performance limitations imposed by Steam Deck’s compatibility layer, but specifically the varying power consumption, CPU and GPU clocks. We have received a number of requests to create a PC with similar specs to Steam Deck, depending on how much GPU and CPU compute is available. The problem is that such a PC setup cannot replicate the power cap of a moving room that needs to perform well in a portable device – in layman’s terms, power limits are as critical to performance as the rest of the world. the specification.
The other part of the spec that has changed since the initial reveal is the storage solution. At its base configuration of $ 399, Steam Deck comes with a 64GB eMMC NAND storage solution, while more expensive variants offer 256GB and 512GB NVMe SSDs. clear whether the storage side of the equation was user-scalable or not – and to be honest, we still don’t know for sure. An adjustment from the spec page confirms that standard m.2 2230 socket SSDs are used, suggesting user replacement or upgrade path. However, it’s clear that’s not the way to go, with the MicroSD slot recommended for additional storage – in fact, Valve’s Lawrence Yang. share that IGN’s experiments with the unit saw all games run from an SD card.
I can’t wait to see what happens next with Steam Deck. We now have confirmation from another IGN video that suspend / resume is implemented – a crucial feature for a mobile device – but I can’t wait to see more on the device, as well as a hint on the strategy for Valve to find out if the games will ship with Steam Deck – user-friendly profiles. We’d really love to see optimized 30fps and frame rate / 60fps settings setups unlocked, simply because if the PC market is to grow as Valve hopes, pickup and gaming have to work – well. Of course, there are profound implications for battery life when playing games on the unit with fully unlocked frame rates.
I also look forward to clarification on how open Steam Deck is in practical terms. Yes, you can install Windows on it – but will Windows drivers be available for the AMD chipset? Without them, the game will be impossible. And if SteamOS is the best way forward for Steam Deck, it will be interesting to see how well the Compatibility Layer performs for Windows titles (although there are many native Linux / Vulkan ports from Stadia that could migrate easily. to Steam) and whether Epic, Ubisoft, Microsoft and others can leverage this layer and bring their own showcases to SteamOS.
For now, additional device details dot the Is and cross the Ts on the base spec and whet the appetite for future disclosures. The stage is set for a device that has a good chance of successfully delivering the length and breadth of the Steam library in a new form factor – and potentially to a new audience, over time. However, the sheer magnitude of the task of making PC games run in a console-like form factor, while still retaining the open-ended nature and the ability to adjust that makes PC such a joy cannot be understated. estimated. Mobile-Type Suspend / Resume – A crucial piece for a handheld has now been revealed, but it will be fascinating to see how Valve intends to tackle the bigger challenges, and how much more we will see in the pre- hardware launch. .