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How Steam Deck is Going to Revolutionize the Handheld Gaming Forever

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About Steam Deck:

Valve revealed the Steam Deck, a new portable gaming device. The portable device is intended to connect with Valve’s hugely successful Steam network, and users will be able to take their Steam collection with them wherever they go. Dual joystick controllers, a charging port, and the option to link to a display adapter are all features that the Steam Deck shares with the Switch. There is also a 7-inch screen with a 1200 x 800 resolution (no 4K output is supported), and the battery performance is estimated to last up to seven or eight hours, based on usage. A USB-C port for recharging, as well as an SD card slot for additional storage, are included.

There is a cloud save feature in Steam Deck, which ensures that you may play a game on your PC, then pick it up on your Steam Deck device without losing any progress and vice versa. As long as you don’t mind playing on a tiny screen, you won’t be missing out on any of the standard Steam features like Chatting or Local Play.

Specifications of the Steam Deck:

Specifications of the Steam Deck

In addition to the device’s 7-inch screen, Valve released the Steam Deck’s specifications, so we understand exactly what lies beneath. The Steam Deck uses a custom-designed AMD APU as the System On Chip (SoC) for processing that we haven’t seen before, and it’s the most crucial thing for PC gamers to keep in mind. Zen 2 and RDNA 2 are two of the most important AMD architectures. Zen 2 is the same technology seen in AMD’s Ryzen 3000 CPUs, and 4 Zen 2 cores, each functioning of 8 threads, are found in the Steam Deck.

Powering the graphics on this portable PC is the RDNA 2 architecture. Although Steam Deck has the same RDNA 2 GPU as in the Xbox Series S, be it with only 8 RDNA 2 Compute Units (CUs) instead of 20 found on the Xbox Series S. However it seems to be sufficient for 720p gaming on the Steam Deck.

Source: Linus Tech Tips

Steam Deck Specs:

ItemDetails
CPUAMD Zen 2
CPU clock speed2.4–3.5GHz
RAM16 GB LPDDR5 onboard RAM
GPUAMD RDNA 2 (8 CUs)
Battery40Whr (2 – 8 hours of gameplay)
Display7-inch LCD touchscreen (60Hz)
Resolution1280 x 800px (16:10 aspect ratio)
ExpansionmicroSD Slot
Operating SystemSteamOS 3.0 (Arch-based)
Size117mm x 29mm x 50.5mm
WeightApprox. 669g
Source: steamdeck.com

The Steam Deck has three different storage options: 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB. Between the available options, the 512GB model seems to be ideal for most users as it provides the ability to have a large collection of games within the fast SSD rather than having to rely on additional storage. Also, the premium anti-glare glass that comes with the 512GB modal is a welcome addition. In addition, an NVMe SSD with a bandwidth of up to 3,000 MB/s is included. It all hinges on Valve’s SSD option, though drives have a wide range of speeds. The 256GB model is just as fast as the 512GB model and is a good option for individuals who are ready to sacrifice a half storage space and the anti-glare glass found on the highest tier. However, the lowest tier of the three, the 64GB version is a quite large step down from the other two as it has a slower 64GB eMMC SSD instead of the NVMe found on the other two options.

Additionally, each of these systems has a microSD slot for additional storage, however, the game loading speeds may vary depending on the specs of the microSD card used. the speedier the microSD card, the greater it will be for game loading speeds.

To provide better performance at low power, Valve has chosen a 1280 x 800px resolution for the Steam Deck to play your games on the go. The Steam Deck’s touchscreen is a 60Hz LCD panel with 400 nits of brightness, which isn’t much to write home about. Its flaws may not be as obvious because of its 7-inches wide display as it is a handheld device. On the other hand, the RAM specification for the Steam Deck was also improved by Valve. The more memory capacity you have, the better for an APU-powered device like this as the 16GB LPDDR5 RAM in the Steam Deck is shared between both the CPU and the GPU.

Steam Deck’s Gaming Performance:

Steam Deck Gaming performance

With the recently released frame rate numbers from the Steam Deck development kits, it appears that Valve has set a basic 30 fps target for AAA gameplay performance. From the early reviews of the Steam Deck, it seems the Steam Deck is capable of running games including DOTA 2, Shadow of the Tomb Raider as well as DOOM, and Cyberpunk 2077 with good performance.

It’s no surprise that Cyberpunk will put a strain on the AMD processor inside the core of the Deck, but it’s only if you’re playing the game at its highest settings. If you lower the quality levels just a few notches, you’ll be able to have a smooth gaming experience at low or medium quality levels. That’s a fantastic feat, given how visually intense the game is. There are a lot of amazing figures for Shadow of the Tomb Raider fans. The Steam Deck’s ability to run Shadow of the Tomb Raider at 60 fps without turning to potato settings proves that it can compete with portable gaming PCs and laptops.

When using the Medium setting, DOOM can give 60 fps, whereas DOTA 2, which isn’t the most demanding game for handheld gaming, is still able to run at 47 fps on average. Cyberpunk 2077 has been the only title to crash, and even then just once is quite a good thing considering that it is non-native Linux gaming on pre-release hardware. It was revealed in a FAQ for game makers that were curious about the prominent specifications of the hardware, that AMD’s APU will be able to accomplish some amazing things. The following are some noteworthy quotes: “Vulkan’s dynamic drawing features are already supported by Steam Deck’s hardware, and the software side is now being developed with adapters that support the capability”.

“In addition to games that now include FSR, future OS releases will incorporate FSR support. As soon as it appears, even games that just don’t support FSR could benefit from it”.

Releasing Date of Valve’s Steam Deck:

Releasing date Valve's Steam Deck:

If you preordered one of the very first batches of Steam Decks, you’ll get your hands on the gadget in just over a month. At 10 am PT a release date for the Steam Deck was revealed for the 25th of February by Valve. On February 28th, the first units will be shipped, and more will be delivered on a regular basis for the coming month amidst the chip shortage. Originally, the portable PC gaming system was supposed to be available by the end of the year. However, on Nov. 10, Valve sent an email to customers informing them of the device’s two-month delay. The release date of each presale was determined by the day the booking was made. Those who have pre-ordered will be able to see the window on the Steam Deck page in the shop.

Steam Deck Pricing:

Starting at $399, the Steam Deck offers three models to choose from. For $399, you get a 64GB eMMC internal drive and a travel case with the entry-level Steam Deck model. NVMe SSD internal storage is included on the next-highest-priced variant, which costs $529. In addition to the leather cover, other benefits include “faster storage” and a “special Valve Focusing on the Audience package. Finally, the highest tier version at $649 will include all of the above features with a  premium anti-glare etched glass for the screen. Which in many reviewers’ opinion, is well worth the additional cost.

Valve warrants, all three versions of the device have the hardware to be free from defects in materials and workmanship under ordinary consumer use for one (1) year starting from the date of shipment (the “Warranty Period”).

Which Version of Steam Deck Should You Buy?

Steam Deck Versions

Customers can’t wait to get their hands on Valve’s portable Steam Deck console when it launches on 25th February 2022. All three variants mentioned above will be available at launch, each of which is a direct upgrade over the previous one. Here is a brief comparison of the three versions along with the extras they come with and the design and system variances between them.

64GB Steam Deck Variant:

The simplest and most basic version costs $399. It comes with a 64GB Embedded Multi-Media Card (eMMC) storage. This also includes the standard carrying case for the Steam Deck. If you’re a fan of handheld gaming but do not want to break the bank for it and don’t mind having a smaller storage capacity this will be your choice. Also if you are comfortable with digging around inside of the device you can also replace the 64GB SSD with a higher capacity one on your own although we highly discourage and do not recommend this as you could accidentally harm yourself or damage your device or void your warranty in the process, 64GB might be a little for a large library of games or big AAA titles however if you are planning on using the device for smaller games only or to expand the storage with microSD cards, this may not be an issue. It’s also worth noting that eMMC storage systems work as cheap hardware that sacrifices storage capacity and speed in order to save money. Obviously, this version of Steam Deck is designed to be more economical, but it’s still something to keep in mind.

256GB Steam Deck Variant:

The 256GB Steam Deck Variant costs $529 as the second tier of the device. This includes 256GB of fast NVMe Solid State Drive (SSD) storage and comes with the standard carrying case. However, the gap in write rates between eMMC storage and SSD storage is enormous, with the latter achieving write speeds up to 10 times faster than the former. Not only will this storage space affect how many games the Steam Deck can hold, but how quickly it can reach them as well. This is a very significant difference. Apart from the storage difference, this variant also includes an exclusive Steam Community profile bundle, although they have not yet revealed what exactly this bundle will offer.

512GB Steam Deck Variant:

The highest tier variant, at $649 is the most expensive model that comes with 512GB storage and a premium anti-glare etched glass. Unlike the other two variants, this model comes with an exclusive leather carrying case. This variant also uses the fast NVMe storage technology and it has the quickest storage among the three, as well as a padded sleeve. Similar to the 256GB variant, this also includes the Steam community profile bundle. Although, you can upgrade the storage capacity with microSD on the other variants as well, having more SSD storage is always a plus as it is the most performant kind of storage technology. On the other hand, the premium anti-glare glass and other benefits make this edition a genuine pleasure.

Summary

The Steam Deck is a revolutionary product in the history of the handheld gaming market as it provides the capability to run any PC game on the go. Compared to other direct competitors including the Aya Neo the Steam Deck is one of the most affordable options for playing games on the go, and for gamers without any options for running games otherwise.

Furthermore steam allows any games store including third-party stores such as Epic Games Store and GOG, etc. on steam deck along with the ability to even install and run Windows as the operating system instead of the SteamOS that comes with it. This essentially makes it a full-blown PC and thus cannot be compared to devices such as Nintendo Switch, but it’s also not priced out of reach like some other similar products. The accuracy isn’t as great as an Xbox or PlayStation consoles, but that’s less important in a machine designed to be handheld and portable.

If you want to know more about which version of the Steam Deck you should buy, please check out this article:

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Images Source: https://www.steamdeck.com/
Kiyara Molina

Kiyara Molina has more than 05 years of experience as a Client Manager at RR Donnelley. She was born in Phoenix, Arizona, and graduated from Arizona State University. She is spending her free time exploring exciting things and writing blog articles on Readwires.

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