Valve is finally getting into the handheld gaming business. Steam Deck is coming this year. It is a handheld device where you can play any game you’ve got in your Steam library. The idea behind it is to bring me PC gaming into a console in a Nintendo Switch format, though the Steam Deck can do a lot more than just play games.
The truth is not just a game console, it’s a portable PC. It can be plugged into a monitor or a TV, install apps and software, use to watch streaming video, and more, according to Valve users will be able to install other game stores on it, according to Valve. The Steam Deck will run on a new version of SteamOS, which is Valve’s Linux-based operating system, but we still can play Windows games on it.
The Steam Deck release will begin around December 2021, but that doesn’t mean if we reserved one you’ll receive it this year since the Steam Deck site is expected to be available in Q2 of 2022 for each version of the Deck across both the UK and US.
What’s interesting here is that, for the 512GB version at least, the ETA date has actually been pulled in. Where it hit Q3 2022 almost immediately after reservations went life, it has now been adjusted to Q2 2022.
Steam Deck can be reserved online only for a $5 (£4) deposit, through Steam’s site. Immediately after it started the reservation page went online. Customers trying to reserve a Steam Deck were faced with timeouts and error messages, and some who tried multiple times were told they would face a delay before they could try again for attempting to make “a lot of purchases in the last few hours”, others saw messages that their Steam accounts are too new to reserve a Steam Deck, though many they’ve had their Steam accounts for years.
The $5 deposit will go toward the cost of the Steam Deck if you do decide to order one, though it’ll be refunded if you decide to cancel.
Once inventory is available all customers will be notified of the order reservations were made to make their purchase. The SteamDeck is only available to reserve in the US, UK, Canada, and the European Union. The first Steam Decks reserved will ship in December.
Regarding the price of the SteamDeck, it depends pretty much on which version you’ll choose. The Steamdeck will arrive in three different versions based on storage size. They will cost: $399 for the 64GB version, $529 for the 256GB version and $649 for the 512GB version
The more expensive versions of the Steam Deck will feature a faster NVMe SSD storage, while the cheaper is listed with a 64GB eMMC storage solution. All three versions will let you increase storage space with a MicroSD card.
If you plan to upgrade the storage, you’ll likely want to spend a bit more cash on a faster MicroSD card for quicker loading times. We’re not sure how the expansion storage will work on the device but logic demands only to use a super-fast SSD.
Steam Deck specs
The Steam Deck specifications were revealed by Valve with the console itself, and here is what lies inside the console’s 7-inch screen.
The main thing that PC gamers will love is that the Steam Deck runs on an AMD APU, and the whole console chip is built around the two key AMD architectures the Zen 2 and RDNA 2.
The Zen 2 is the same we can find within AMD Ryzen 3000 processors, and within the Steam Deck resides four Zen 2 cores, capable of eight threads, ready and waiting for your portable gaming needs.
The RDNA 2 architecture is responsible for the PC’s graphical feel. The device gets powered by 8 Compute Units (CUs) for a total of 512 cores and gets enough to get by at 720p without too much hassle.
Steam Deck specs
CPU AMD Zen 2
Core count 4-core/8-thread
CPU clock speed 2.4–3.5GHz
GPU AMD RDNA 2
GPU Compute Units 8
GPU clock speed 1–1.6GHz
RAM 16GB LPDDR5 @ 5,500MT/s 32-bit quad-channel
Storage 64GB eMMC / 256GB NVMe SSD / 512GB NVMe SSD
Display 7-inch LCD touchscreen
Resolution 1280 x 800
Refresh rate 60Hz
Audio Stereo speakers, 3.5mm jack, dual mics, USB Type-C/Bluetooth
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, USB Type-C with DisplayPort 1.4 support
Size 11.7 x 4.6 x 1.8-inch (298 x 117 x 49mm)
Weight Approximately 1.47 lbs (669 grams)
Price $399 (64GB) / $529 (256GB) / $649 (512GB)
My recommendation will be to go for the best of the three which is the 512GB model. Games are big and heavy anything smaller than that is going to feel forced and slowed, the NVMe SSD allows for bandwidth upwards of 3,000MB/s. The 256GB model is similarly quick but is suitably suitable mainly for those willing to put up with slightly less storage space.
As for the 64GB model, we’re not quite as convinced and think you might be better, buying a Nintendo Switch.
Valve’s decided their graphics resolution will hold upon a 1280 x 800 display with a 60Hz LCD panel and 400-nits brightness and is one of the best gaming monitors we’ve seen in a console.
The RAM specification for the Stream Deck is at 16GB of quad-channel LPDDR5 at 5,500MT/s, instead of the dual-channel RAM that was first listed. That’s a big deal for an APU-powered machine like this—the more memory bandwidth, the merrier.
What games will run on the Stream Deck? According to Valve, all Steam libraries since the device has the level of performance that is required to run the latest generation of games without problems any issues.
The battery life is not that especially good but you can play between 2-8 hours, depending on what we are playing. You can play Portal 2 for four hours on this thin, but if we limit it to 30 fps, we’d be able to play as long as 6 hours. That’s not much and could be a real issue if you want to take your Deck with you while traveling or if you’re away from an electrical outlet for a while.
What is really appealing is that you can do a lot more with the device. Like a PC, the Steam Deck is intended to be an open platform. We can install Windows on a Steam Deck and even install other game storefronts like Epic or Xbox Game Pass. We can even wipe SteamOS off the Steam Deck completely and just use it to run Windows and run anything you can run on a PC.
Want to learn some more, you can visit the official Steam Deck website here.