Valve announces Steam Deck, the portable console for PC games
The rumor has become reality. Valve has introduced Steam Deck, a portable console to play PC games wherever you want.
The Nintendo Switch console has set trends. Since its launch we have seen several attempts to create a notebook PC in its form factor, without much success.
Valve Try your luck with Steam Deck, which is basically a Nintendo Switch for PC games. It even has its own dock for desktop mode, or to connect to a monitor or TV, and play on the big screen.
The idea behind Steam Deck the thing is you can take your Steam games with you anywhere– You turn on the console, enter your account, and your Steam content appears on the Steam Deck … with nuances.
Games on Steam Deck don’t work on Windows but on SteamOS, a Valve operating system based on Linux.
This means that PC games will not automatically work on the Steam Deck, developers have to convert them.
According to Valve, the process is almost automatic using Proton, so in theory most of the leading titles are on the Steam Deck, but some of your library may not be able to play it.
Before delving deeper, let’s go with the specifications:
|Screen||7-inch LCD touchscreen 1280 x 800 pixels @ 60 Hz. 400 nits|
|Processor||APU AMD CPU: Zen 2 4 núcleos y 8 hilos, 2.4-3.5 GHz (hasta 448 GFlops FP32) GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1-1.6 GHz (hasta 1.6 TFlops FP32)|
|Memoria RAM||16 GB LPDDR5 RAM|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth 5.0, 2×2 MIMO 802.11 ac dual-band WiFi|
|Audio||2 stereo speakers with DSP, microphone, headphone jack|
|Storage||64 GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1), o 256 GB NVMe SSD (4 x PCIe Gen 3) o 512 GB NVMe SSD de alta velocidad (4 x PCIe Gen 3)|
|Controls||2 sticks, crosshead, triggers, standard and front buttons, 4 grip buttons, 2 trackpads, HD haptic feedback|
|Expansion||Micro SD card and USB Type C connector with DisplayPort 1.4 support. Up to 4K at 120 Hz or 8K at 60 Hz|
|Drums||A 40 Wh battery that provides 2 to 8 hours of playtime|
|Measurements and weight||298 mm x 117 mm x 49 mm. 669 gramos|
|Price||From 419 euros|
Steam Deck employs a 7-inch LCD screen with a resolution of 1280 x 800 pixels, at 60 Hz.
It is the most objectionable point of the console (or portable PC), since if the objective of this machine is that you play on a mobile screen, it is surprising that it does not have some more modern feature, such as OLED or AMOLED panel, HDR, 120 Hz, etc.
Processor Steam Deck it is a new AMD designed APU for this machine. It has a Zen 2 CPU with 4 cores and 8 threads with up to 3.5 GHz, and an RNA 2 GPU. There are a total of 16 GB memory shared between RAM and video memory.
The GPU power reaches 1.6 TFlops, which means that it is 60% more powerful than a Switch, (1 TFlop) and stays entre la Xbox One (1,4 Tflops) y PS4 (1,8 Tflops).
Anyway, it has a CPU much more powerful than all of them, and it remains to be seen how that custom APU performs, so possibly it could reach the power of a PS4 or even more.
It’s fine for a laptop, but we’ll see how it performs with the next-gen games coming out at Christmas.
In addition to playing on a laptop, you can connect peripherals, or a monitor or a TV to play on the big screen, through un dock similar al de Nintendo Switch:
But beware, what that dock is sold separately, and still priceless.
There will be three different models that will differ in storage. Be careful here because they do not differ only in space, also in the PCIe connector, which influences the speed.
Models with more space also load and write data much faster:
- 64 GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1)
- 256 GB NVMe SSD (4 x PCIe Gen 3)
- 512GB High Speed NVMe SSD (4 x PCIe Gen 3)
All of them can be expanded with a micro SD card.
The controls are the usual ones in a portable console, with an important novelty: the two trackpads that serve to simulate mouse movements in games that need it, and that help to aim with more precision.
There are also several side and rear buttons, in addition to the conventional front and triggers.
One of the important aspects is Battery. It comes with a 40 Wh charge. If you play very demanding titles It will not last you more than 2 or 3 hours. With 2D indie games, up to 8 hours.
And we come to a key issue: the price. Steam Deck will not be cheap.
The basic version with 64 GB of storage and a case, costs 419 euros. With 256 GB it goes up to 549 euros, and the version with 512 GB and a high-quality anti-reflective screen, reaches 679 euros.
Steam Deck It is an interesting piece of hardware, which is a bit disappointing for its screen. And doubts remain about its performance in leading games.
At those prices, Valve will have a hard time convincing PC gamers, who prefer powerful hardware and large screens to play games.
With the detail that the interface of PC games are not designed for small screens, and some texts and icons will look tiny, if they are not adapted.
But you can find your market in players who cannot afford 1,500 or 2,000 euros on a gaming PC, and they will settle for a portable console that can be connected to TV.
If you’re interested, reservations are already open. They will be available for sale in December.