Valve has introduced a gaming handheld: the Steam Deck. The device will receive an AMD APU with Zen 2 cores and an RDNA 2 GPU, 16GB Lpddr5 memory and versions with eMMC or SSD storage will be available. The price starts at 419 euros and deliveries start in December.
The Steam Deck features a touch-sensitive 7″ LCD with a resolution of 1280×800 pixels. The device runs on a custom AMD APU with a TDP of 4 to 15W, which according to Valve has been developed in collaboration with AMD and is optimized for handheld gaming.
The apu has a Zen 2 CPU with four cores and eight threads, which run at a speed between 2.4 and 3.5GHz. The GPU is based on the RDNA 2 architecture, has eight compute units and runs between 1 and 1.6GHz. According to Valve, the graphics processing power is a maximum of 1.6 Teraflops. On paper, that’s comparable to the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4.
Valve provides the Steam Deck with 16GB Lpddr5 RAM and there are versions with 64GB eMMC flash storage, and NVMe SSDs of 256GB and 512GB. The storage memory can be expanded via a MicroSD card.
In addition to the usual thumbsticks, the Steam Deck also has two pressure-sensitive trackpads to aid in games where precision is important, such as first person shooters. The trackpads have 55 percent less latency compared to the Steam Controller, according to Valve.
The device also features four back buttons, two built-in microphones, a gyroscope, a built-in digital signal processor that should provide a good sound experience, bluetooth 5.0, a headphone jack and a USB-C port that also has DisplayPort support for controlling from an external screen.
The specs show that the Steam Deck comes with a 40Wh battery. This allows the device to run Portal 2 for four hours, according to Valve, and five to six hours if players limit the frame rate to 30fps. In less demanding games or when browsing, the Steam Deck should last for seven to eight hours.
SteamOS and desktop mode
The Steam Deck runs on a new version of SteamOS, according to Valve, that can run even more Windows games through improvements to the open source tool Proton and adds broader support for third-party anti-cheat software. The built-in desktop mode also allows users to run compatible desktop software.
The Steam Deck supports Remote Play, allowing players to stream their games running on PC to the handheld, and thanks to SteamOS, the device can be put into a sleep mode and then wake up at the touch of a button and continue the gaming session put. SteamOS also supports cloud saves.
From July 16, the Steam Deck can be pre-ordered on the Valve website. Only one device per account can be pre-ordered and that account must also have made a purchase on Steam before June 2021. Valve says this is doing this to combat unfair practices via bots. In addition, an amount is also charged for reservation. From December 2021, Valve will be sending purchase invitations. The company tries to serve everyone who has reserved a device, but cannot guarantee this.
A model with 16GB eMMC memory costs 420 euros. The versions with NVMe SSDs of 256GB and 512GB cost 549 and 679 euros respectively. The most expensive version has an anti-glare etched glass layer over the screen. A dock is also coming out for the Steam Deck; Valve will announce more details about this later.
IGN has published a hands-on with Valve’s gaming business, and Valve has posted its own video online aimed at developers looking to make games for the handheld.