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Valve unveils Steam Deck, a handheld gaming PC powered by AMD

Valve, the company behind the popular Steam game distribution platform and maker of games like Counter-Strike and Half-Life, have unveiled Steam Deck, a handheld PC designed specifically for gaming.

Steam Deck looks like the powerful cousin of Nintendo's Switch, but the two devices cannot really be compared. Valve calls it an all-in-one portable PC gaming device and claims that Steam Deck runs the latest AAA games "really well".

steamdeck

Steam Deck is powered by Steam OS and AMD hardware. The device plays Steam games using Valve's Proton technology. Since it is a PC, it can also be used for other activities thanks to the full Linux-based environment.

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The device supports Bluetooth, which means that gamers can connect mice and keyboards to the device. A direct connection to external displays is supported by the base device, but Valve revealed that it will release a dock in the future which will expand the capabilities further.

Steam Deck will launch in select regions, United States, European Union, Canada and United Kingdom, with more regions to come in 2022. Interested gamers may reserve a single unit on Valve's SteamPowered website; first units will be shipped in December 2021.

Three packages are available for preoder:

  • A 64GB eMMC storage version with a carrying case for €419.
  • A 256GB NVMe SSD with a carrying case for €549.
  • A 512GB NVMe SSD with a carrying case, premium anti-glare etched glass, for €679.

Every other hardware spec is identical.

Steam Deck: the hardware

Steam Deck is powered by AMD hardware. A Zen 2 processor with four cores and eight threads, and a RDNA 2 1.6 Teraflops GPU. All devices have 16 Gigabytes of LPDDR5 RAM (5500 MT/s), and come with 64 to 512 Gigabytes of storage space. A high-speed microSD card slot is available to extend storage on all devices.

The touch-powered display has a 1280x800 pixel resolution and a 16:10 aspect ratio. It has a size of 7" diagonally, a refresh rate of 60Hz, and a brightness of 400 nits.

Connectivity-wise, it features Bluetooth 5.0 and dual-band Wi-Fi support (IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac). The base device

Steam Deck supports stereo audio channels, has a 3.5mm stereo headphone hack, a dual microphone array, and multichannel audio via DisplayPort.

A 40Whr battery is in the device which is good for 2 to 8 hours of gameplay, depending on the game.

The device's dimensions are 298mm x 117mm x 49 mm.

IGN published a hands on video on YouTube

Closing Words

Steam Deck is not really that expensive if you compare it to gaming PCs. The 64 GB storage version uses slower storage technology and lacks the storage space needed to play some storage hungry games.

Battery life depends on the games that are played on the device and how good the battery actually is.

The base version can be connected to external displays and the Dock will expand the capabilities.

One of the main appeals of Steam Deck is that it brings the entire Steam library to the device in a matter of seconds. Just fire it up, sign-in to a Steam account, and all purchased games become available. You do need to install those on the device first before you may play them, and this is where storage available on the device comes into play.

The 64 Gigabyte version is not only ill-equipped when it comes to storing games on the device, it also uses slower storage technology, something that you may notice when it comes to game loading times on the device.

Who is it for then? Steam Deck may appeal to gamers who don't want to lay a thousand or more Dollars for a gaming PC, and gamers who like the game-wherever-you-go option the game offers. Many PC games don't work that well with controllers and while you may connect mouse and keyboard to the Steam Deck, doing so while on the go is not practicable.

In the end, it depends largely on the games you like and where you like to play them. It may even appeal to gamers who have a powerful gaming rig at home, but would like to take their gaming to other rooms of the home, e.g. to play a last round of Dota 2 or Faster than Light in bed before going to sleep.

Now You: what is your take on the Steam Deck?

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Valve unveils Steam Deck, a handheld gaming PC powered by AMD
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Valve unveils Steam Deck, a handheld gaming PC powered by AMD
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Valve, the company behind the popular Steam game distribution platform and maker of games like Counter-Strike and Half-Life, have unveiled Steam Deck, a handheld PC designed specifically for gaming.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Anonymous said on July 16, 2021 at 9:47 am
    Reply

    man…that control layout…

  2. Dumbledalf said on July 16, 2021 at 10:40 am
    Reply

    If I can use it to play LOTRO, which is an MMORPG on Steam, I’m on board.

  3. Mark said on July 16, 2021 at 12:19 pm
    Reply

    According to valve’s developers their goal is for every windows game to work by the time they ship steam deck. This is massive.
    Proton/DXVK doesn’t work in all windows games mostly because of anti-cheats.
    They said they have solved this issue (the changes have not released publically yet) and steam deck is going to support every windows game.
    Also Google announced some days ago the Stadia porting toolkit for developers that is going to use Proton and DXVK and every developer will be able to port their game to Stadia without any effort.
    We don’t know what’s Google part for pushing companies to make anti-cheat to work in Proton.
    One thing is certain, there are massive changes coming to Proton, and we are not far away from the day that you won’t have to use windows for games.

    1. ULBoom said on July 17, 2021 at 12:22 am
      Reply

      Don’t have to now.

  4. CalvinT said on July 16, 2021 at 6:29 pm
    Reply

    If the Steam Deck can run Windows on it, will it be able to run Windows 11?

  5. Anonymous said on July 16, 2021 at 11:23 pm
    Reply

    Can someone clarify if steam is mandatory to run games? aka could you also run gog based games?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on July 17, 2021 at 6:54 am
      Reply

      It is a Linux system, you can install anything that is compatible.

  6. ULBoom said on July 17, 2021 at 12:21 am
    Reply

    OMG! Bring oven mitts!

    The second pic has so many things wrong with it…

    What ever happened to the space heater ROG phone?

  7. love this said on July 17, 2021 at 3:17 pm
    Reply

    > what is your take on the Steam Deck?

    For those gamers who can afford it, this is basically a luxury alternative to other portable options.

    If you think this is an affordable option to buying a gaming PC, think again. The affordable option to a gaming PC is buying a used/last-gen console.

  8. Frederick Astor Schermerhorn III said on July 17, 2021 at 3:31 pm
    Reply

    > what is your take on the Steam Deck?

    I’m rich, so I’ll buy one and give it a spin. If I don’t like it I’ll give it to my spoiled nephew, who will likely either lose it or break it just a month or so.

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