Valve has taken the gaming community by storm with the announcement of the new portable gaming console- Steam Deck. Steam Deck is a mini-computer version of a gaming console that will feature all of steam’s extended library games. The best thing about Steam Deck is the portability of the play unit. An easy-to-carry handheld gaming computer is a dream come true. Steam has carefully partnered with the best hardware and software designers to produce a masterpiece of gaming. Soon the days will come when gamers can sip a latte on the way to college and play their favorite game simultaneously. Naturally, with the introduction of Steam Deck, various mobile gaming communities might feel attracted as the concept is fairly the same. The reason is, while gamers are looking for portable gaming solutions, they also want high-definition gameplay and captivating graphics.
What is Steam Deck?
Steam Deck is a handheld mini-computer acting as a gaming console for every game in the Steam library. This is a portable gaming solution bearing a close resemblance to a PSP or Nintendo Switch. But the game mechanics and UI completely resembles a computer. Steam has carefully incorporated all the AAA games into the gaming console. According to Steam, the device is powerful enough to run even the heaviest of games. Earlier in May 2021, rumors were heard about a portable gaming console that Valve was working on. Valve CEO Gabe Newell also testified to the news of developing games for consoles. Finally, on July 15, Valve revealed the all-new Steam Deck. The portable gaming unit was up for pre-orders from the next day itself.
According to Gabe Newell, Valve wanted to focus mainly on the performance of the new portable gaming unit. Steam Deck promises powerful performance with strong hardware and software support. Valve has also adopted an aggressive strategy regarding the sale and pricing of Steam Deck. When asked about the ‘slightly high’ price of Steam Deck, Newell said that it was a painful decision for them. But the decision to keep the price a bit high was necessary to meet the expectation of all the gamers. Valve has promised to deliver the best PC gaming experience in a handheld console. The Steam Deck promises to deliver games at 30+ FPS with high resolution. The device will also have an option to limit the FPS fluctuation to better gameplay and performance as required. Steam Deck will feature SteamOS 3.0 as the operating system.
Specs and configuration
The Steam Deck runs on quad-core Zen2 with 8 threads at a viable frequency of 2,4-3.5 GHz. Valve has partnered with AMD to manufacture a powerful APU for the unit. The Steam Deck will feature a 7-inch display with a 1280×800 LCD. The gaming unit will boast a 720p clarity with added resolution boosters. Valve has also incorporated Bluetooth and WiFi in the Steam Deck for the ease of gaming. Dimension-wise, the Steam Deck is 298 by 117 by 49 millimeters. Therefore, the Steam Deck is approximately 669 grams in mass. The controls of the console will be fairly easy, as promised by Valve. To play any game, one will have to click on the power button. Thereafter, if the Steam Deck is connected to the internet, a steam login pop-up will appear. Upon logging in to steam, the user can play any game of their choice. Valve has promised the users a powerful gaming experience on the Steam Deck.
The website of Steam Deck boasts a video of Stars Wars Jedi Fallen Order gameplay on the Steam Deck. In the video, the gamer appears to play the game effortlessly using various joysticks and controls. Steam Deck uses hardware that is designed to put “real games in real hands.” Steam promises a Powerful, Comfortable, and Versatile hardware experience with the new Steam Deck. The portable hand-held gaming computer can run any AAA games without any issues. Valve has also provided a full-fidelity control setup for the Steam Deck, allowing gamers to play for hours at a stretch. The gaming experience will go up several notches with the new system configurations.
Valve has partnered with AMD to device a custom-made Accelerated Processing Unit for the Steam Deck. The custom-made APU is designed after the Zen2 and RDNA 2 architectures of AMD. The CPU of Steam Deck runs on a quad-core eight-thread unit to boost the performance. As for the GPU, it runs on eight compute units of 1.6 TFLOPS. The time frequencies of both the CPU and the GPU varies as needed. CPU uses a time-frequency variance of 2.4- 3.5 GHz. For the GPU, the range is 1.0- 1.6GHz. In addition, the valve has managed to include Ryzen 3000 desktop computer-like performance in the CPU. On the other hand, the GPU performance can be compared to Radeon RX 6000 series. Steam Deck also boasts a powerful memory of 16 GB of RAM of the LPDDR5 version. Valve has included the RAM in a quad-channel configuration.
Valve has included some of the best gamepad controls for smooth gameplay in the new Steam Deck. The Gamepad promises absolute comfort to the gamers. Steam Deck bears both a trackpad and Thumbsticks for easy movement and navigation. A gamer can choose to use either of them or both during a game. The shape of the device is sculpted in a way to facilitate long gaming sessions. This means a player won’t have hand-aches or stress during long gameplay hours. Valve has promised to deliver the best portable gaming thumbsticks in the market with the new Steam Deck. The thumbsticks will carry built-in capacitive touch sensors to provide a range of accuracy and perfection. There are also analog triggers that can be used to avail a whole range of gaming precision. For example, they can be quite handy while playing a racing game. There are four user-assigned grip buttons at the back of the device. This will allow the gamer to have a firm grip over the control pad allowing the thumb to move freely.
The trackpads are a new inclusion for a hand-held gaming unit. Many PC games are quite hard to play on portable consoles. Thus Valve has decided to provide the Steam Deck with smooth trackpads to operate as touch control. Difficult FPS game movements can be easily accomplished by mastering the trackpad control.
Steam Deck comes with a Gyro sensor that enables the user to take the help of the Gyro controls. The Gyro sensors can provide great help during in-game movement precisions. While playing a competitive FPS game, using the trackpad and thumbsticks alone may not be enough. Thus the option to move the device and move the in-game avatar is quite handy. The gyro settings can provide absolute control over PC games in a hand-held unit with the control pad.
Steam Deck provides versatile storage options for the users. Based on the internal storage availability, Steam Deck will ship in three variants. The base variant will have a 64 GB eMMC internal storage unit. It will run over PCI Express 2.0 x1. There will be a mid-tier model with a 256 GB storage option provided through an NVMe SSD device. Valve has not stopped at this but goes a step further with the high-end model. It will boast a huge 512GB NVMe SSD storage unit. Both the mid-range and high-end variants will run over PCI Express 3.0 x4. There is also an opinion to extend the storage by the inclusion of a Micro SD card.
Steam Deck promises an immersive display of a w 7-inch touch-sensitive screen. The LCD in the touchscreen will have 1280×800 pixel resolution. Valve has managed to include a fixed 60 Hz refresh rate display for the touch screen. Valve has stated that the games are conjured to achieve a vertical synchronization where possible. There will be two thumbsticks and two trackpads under each thumbstick for the primary control. The gamepad will also carry ABXY buttons and shoulder buttons on each side of the unit.
Power and other specs
Steam Deck runs on a powerful battery of 40 Watt-hour. Thus, it can provide several hours of uninterrupted gameplay without worrying about battery life. It will provide a long battery life of 7-8 hours while playing lighter games and streaming games. The Steam Deck carries an expandable USB type C charging jack. The single jack can be used to connect the Steam Dock with a large screen as well. Valve has confirmed that the Steam Deck can be used as a PC as well. One can connect the Steam Deck with a large screen and play. It will also support PC apps, streaming videos, and whatever task one feels like doing on their PC.
Valve has done an excellent job incorporating the Steam Deck with the finest Steam OS. The portable hand-held mini-computer supports a wide range of home screen functions. Users can access the Steam home page directly by the Steam Deck and browse it the way they like. Steam OS is a modified arch-Linux that will run on the Steam Deck. Proton’s added layer protection enables most Windows games to be played on a Linux environment. Steam Deck is conjured to deliver a performance of the eighth-generation console. Valve has tested all the games on the Steam library, and each one has checked out nicely. Most games are running on a minimum frame rate of 30 FPS.
The Steam Deck will host a desktop version of Steam. Valve has added several options to navigate through the Steam client on the Deck. The feature comes quite handy during browsing games, chatting with friends, or simply connecting to the client. Valve has used the AMD advanced features to their fullest while designing the Steam client for the Deck. It will allow a user to instantly suspend any game running on the deck just with one click. Users can alternatively resume the game by turning on the Steam Deck using the power button and pick up right from where they had left. Although Valve has primarily designed the Steam Deck to run Steam library games, it can also support third-party apps and games from Epic store, EA play, and Xbox Games Pass. There is also an option to replace the SteamOS with an alternative operating system.
The Steam Deck has many impressive features and promises to deliver an amazing gaming experience to its users. Valve has particularly worked very hard to come up with this robust portable gaming solution. Many Steam users are ecstatic to get their hands on this portable mini-computer. Earlier users got to know that the famous Esports game DOTA 2 will also run on Steam Deck. Valve has confirmed the Steam Deck will start shipping from December 2021.