Valve’s Steam Deck is the most anticipated market for PC gaming handheld. And it promises to offer sensational performance even though its small size, ‘comparable to a portable console,’ also an ‘excellent user experience’ and a low price. Let’s go there! We will tell you everything about this impressive concept of Valve’s Steam Deck PC Gaming.
It Is How Steam Deck Was Born
To know about Steam Deck in context, let’s talk about Valve first. This company, founded by Gabe Newell, has Steam as its main dedications. They are the creators of the largest PC game distribution platform globally.
Also, they are responsible for mythical sagas such as Half-Life, Counter-Strike, or Portal. But beware because they have another facet that is not known: hardware development. Maybe you don’t know about the Steam Controller or the Steam Link device, but you may probably know the HTC Vive. Both HTC and Valve develop these virtual reality glasses.
Well, one of the great failures of Valve was the concept of the Steam Machine. It was pre-assembled computers with similar sizes to a console. Its design is so to run the SteamOS system and the Steam Controller. The market reception was abysmal, and there are no Steam Machines anymore.
In this context, The Steam Deck was born. Thus the idea is to take advantage of the Steam Machines’. They left it to launch a computer with the body and functionalities of a portable console. Users want all the power of the PC in their hands. It meets the needs of gamers.
No “handheld” on the market has indeed achieved great reception. It has relegated the small console segment has to the Nintendo Switch and nothing else. Steam Deck is here to change that dramatically.
Steam Deck Technical Specifications
We will now see the most important technical specifications of the Steam Deck and then comment on the most important ones.
- We notice ‘AMD APU’ with ‘Zen 2’ processor with four cores. It has the feature of eight threads @ ‘2.4 – 3.5’ – GHz also with ‘RDNA 2’ graphics card – ‘8 CU’ @ ‘1 – 1.6’ ‘GHz’.
- Also we come across : 16GB – ‘LPDDR5’ – RAM @ 5500 MT / s.
- It is so with 3 storage options: 64 GB eMMC, 256 GB NVMe, or 512 GB NVMe.
- Controls with two analog sticks with capacitive touch and 2 square 32.5mm trackpads with haptic feedback. It has ABXI buttons, crosshead, L and R analog triggers, L and R front buttons, four assignable buttons, and view and menu buttons.
- It is a 7″ 1280 × 800 IPS screen with 400 nits brightness, touch, and 60 Hz.
- Capacity of Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi 802.11a / b / g / n / ac.
- It is Stereo audio, dual microphone, headphone jack.
- It has a 45W PD 3.0 USB Type-C charger and a 40Wh battery.
A Powerful And Solvent APU
AMD for Valve has developed the custom Steam Deck APU. However, it uses a Zen 2 4-core and 8-thread processor with an even lower frequency, comparable to a ‘Ryzen 4300GE’.
It is not that perfect CPU for gaming due to its clock rate. However, you can aspire to in such a small body.
As for the graphics card, ‘RDNA – 2’ is the latest architecture from AMD, and the use of 8 CU points to basic graphics. However, it is far well-functioned and more than the one used on desktop ‘APUs.’ According to Valve, the ‘Steam Deck’ will be useful to run any Steam game @ ’30 FPS’ or higher, depending on the title.
We can see there are three different storage options. They are, as we know – ’64 GB eMMC’ or ‘256/512 – GB NVMe’. We can notice the difference in performance between these two technologies is incredible since we use ‘NVMe’ in high-end PCs, while eMMC is for low-end mobiles.
It’s apparent that the ‘NVMe’ options are by far the best, With no hard performance data in hand.
Details On How To Expand The Storage On The Steam Deck
Expanding the Steam Deck storage is that it uses an M.2 2230 slot. It is the smallest type of M.2, so its availability is scarce since only 2242 do we find many options in the market line.
For example, Dell is practically the only thing with a fairly high price on its official website.
Too Low A Screen Resolution?
We can notice the screen resolution of the Steam Deck is ‘1280 × 800’, and it is equally capable of ‘720p’ – resolution.’ However, it so with a Format @’16:10′. I mean, it is not a Full HD screen’. Probably, that is what you would expect from the start.
Is it a problem? The reality is, no. If we consider the screen size of the Steam Deck, we have a density of ‘215 PPI’. A ’24 inch ‘1440p’ – monitor has ‘120-PPI’ and a ’22-inch’ 1080p monitor. The monitor has 100 PPI; a 14-inch 1080p laptop has 160 PPI, and so on.
Higher resolution would have affected performance without clearly benefiting the quality of the image.
To be clear, despite the image’s low resolution, the pixel density exceeds almost any device we have. However, there is an exception for our mobile phone. So we will not notice more pixels than in a normal computer monitor and current.
Valve has hit its mark with the resolution of the Steam Deck. However, the resolution increased to 1080p would impact the price. Besides that, it would put the used ‘APU’ against the ropes, compromising the visual performance. At the same time, they reduce visual benefits completely.
Focus On Battery, Connectivity, And Size
Let us keep speaking about the functioning of drums. The computer houses a capacity of about ’40 Wh’, a figure comparable to that of many much larger laptops. Therefore, we may consider it as a quite accomplishment. According to Valve, still, it suffices to provide a use of ‘2 to 8’ hours. In this case, 2 hours would be very poor, 4 hours would be good, and 8 hours great. Come on. It is not clear how much you will be able to play on the Steam Deck.
We have a USB type C only and one audio jack as ports. Remember that we can use the USB-C connector with its DP Alt Mode 1.4, connecting a secondary screen to our Steam Deck.
Finally, the equipment measurements are 298 mm x 117 mm x 49 mm, and it weighs about 669 grams. It’s a bit heavy, but not bad.
Selling Prices And Availability Of Steam Deck Editions
We have to analyze the technical specifications of the Steam Deck thoroughly. If we do it once, it is worth checking the different options we can buy.
We have already noticed and explained that the main difference is storage, but let us see the prices and changes.
- 474 dollars: 64GB eMMC.
- $622: 256GB NVMe, along with an exclusive Steam Community Profile Bundle.
- 769 dollars: 512GB NVMe, with a “premium anti-reflective screen,” a carrying case different from the other two options, a bundle of exclusive profiles, and also a virtual keyboard having an ‘exclusive-theme’
And now, let us examine which one is the best of these options in value for money. The truth is that the more expensive version does not seem to offer very relevant advantages. It is quite high to pay $ 147 more to get the doubling of the GB, but the course of the anti-reflective screen does not seem very important. The rest are trivialities.
It is always better to go directly for the ‘intermediate version.’ The price is good, and also the storage is very fast. The eMMC version is somewhat low incapacity, and the performance of that type of storage is poor.
Comfortable Controls And Suitable For Long Gaming Sessions
Now let us talk about the controls offered on the Steam Deck. According to Valve, it created everything with comfort in mind and the possibility of having extensive gaming sessions. Let us see all the controls that the equipment incorporates to do this.
It is clear that on the one hand, we have the screen, as it is tactual, to navigate via all the ‘Deck menus’ and the games.
We can continue with two trackpads which they designed to adapt to those games. We may note that the very intention of the game is you should not play that on ‘portable’ devices in the most meticulous and personalized way. For example, you can play Counter-Strike or with other shooters.
We continue with the ‘analog sticks to play. They have sensors used for ‘touch and capacitive.’ We also have two of them. According to Valve, we see them the best on a portable console.
The ‘analog triggers’ can not be missing, with a personalized response ideal for driving games. More or less, by modulating the force, we can step on the accelerator.
We find four customizable buttons at the back of the Deck.
we have the following as for the buttons:
- Quick access.
- Steam button.
- 4-way selector pad.
- Volume and power.
- L1 and R1.
- View button.
In short, incredibly, ‘complete controls’ are the possible option in each game.
Let Us Know About The Games Compatible With Steam Deck And Steam OS System
It is not installing Windows when The Steam Deck comes. It may look like a big issue. We all know the operating system of Microsoft. It is best to play there. It is also indisputable, both for the compatibility of games and for the use of APIs such as DirectX.
Specifically, we have an optimized version of SteamOS, an Arch Linux-based operating system with the KDE Plasma desktop on this Valve team. This OS lets us feel the entire Steam experience optimized highly for the console. However, there is still a concern about game compatibility.
Fortunately, Valve has the solution: Proton. It is a compatibility tool that allows many Windows games to be compatible with Linux without programmers making any adaptations.
And how does Proton work? Suppose we pay attention to the data on the ProtonDB website. We see information on 19,553 games in this case, of which 15,991 work on Linux, either natively or with Proton.
We see above more specific data, where “bronze or silver” means that the game has some problems. Such problems have the on affect the replay ability. “Gold or more” means it works perfectly, which we need in some cases to make adjustments. You can check the exact data for each game and the suitable ‘settings’ useful on ‘Steam-DB.’
We said that the Valve’s Steam Deck acts mainly as a PC gaming. However, we should not underestimate its connectivity limitations, which are mandatory considering the size of the machine. However, it is easy to turn it into a “full-fledged computer”: the official Steam Deck Docking Station.
This station, known as a ‘dock’ in English, allows us to fix the ‘Steam Deck’ in a vertical position and helps to expand ‘the number of ports on the machine.
Suppose we add to this the possibilities it offers in general. In that case, we see that one could live with only one Steam Deck. It is fulfilling all the functions of a PC and a console. We can connect both portable and desktop at the same time. So, we have all complete connections, typical of a normal computer or, at most, the size of a Mac Mini.
We have already taken a comprehensive look at the capabilities of this Steam Deck, so it’s time to recap.
Conclusion About The Valve’s Steam Deck Of PC Gaming
One of the most advantageous concepts of recent months is the Valve’s Steam Deck, it has made the place of handheld PC gaming large as a powerful alternate for consoles.
With the prominence of a next-generation AMD APU and an external construction with lots of possibilities for the gamer, Valve offers gamers a product fated to change the way we play. It gives access to the entire Steam catalog in a small machine with a screen of 7 inches. With 622 dollars for the intermediate version, all this is the most interesting.
We will end this article with a summary of the possible strengths of the Steam Deck. In addition to its negative points, we expect this kind of portable console.