Valve recently leaked many beans from its upcoming portable handheld gaming PC. The company recently hosted a Steamworks virtual conference via video streaming, which anyone who wants to watch can watch, which details many aspects of the upcoming Steam platform.
We have learned a lot about Valve’s Switch clone. We have given a fair look at the game performance we can expect. In addition, we know that these devices start at $400, have conducted a fair review of the specifications, and of course have planned to postpone the release. But for those considering a PC game that is truly feasible on a portable handheld device, this kind of in-depth exploration is welcome.
Virtual meeting is Split into several videosThey include a general introduction to the hardware overview, an in-depth discussion of customizing the AMD APU on the system, and useful tips for developers and gamers.
The first big news of the conference was the announcement of the official name of the AMD chip. It is called the Aerith SoC, and it must be a reference to the character of Final Fantasy VII. Aerith is a 4-core 8-thread APU, whose pedigree can be traced back to the Zen2 micro-architecture. It is used in conjunction with 8 AMD RDNA 2 computing units. Valve and AMD have been working closely to optimize games on Linux, and this seems to be going well. The chip is not trying to high clock speed, but to maintain consistency, which is emphasized throughout the conference.
Valve also does not set power limits on the chip, but it is recommended that developers may wish to set their own frame limits. This means that it should run the same whether it is docked or not, which is neat, but it does mean that it will drain the battery faster without restrictions. It has a 40-watt-hour battery and the game time is about 7-8 hours. In terms of heat management, Steam Deck may start to throttle and lose some performance, but before game performance is hindered, things such as download speed will be affected. Although we have known the general specifications for a while, all of them paint a more reliable picture of how gaming performance might work.
For developers who want to optimize game performance on the Steam platform, there are other tools. Developers will be able to upload specific texture packs for the Steam platform. This means that when only optimizing for lower resolution screens, they can also significantly reduce the size of the downloaded file.
This is very convenient for those who buy the cheapest $399 MSRP model, which has only 64GB of eMMC PCIe Gen 2 storage, but it can be expanded using microSD. It will also provide 256GB and 512GB models equipped with NVMe SSDs. These will cost $529 and $649, respectively, which is slightly higher, but Valve estimates these speeds will be 12-25% faster, depending on the task.
For those who don’t want to always play games in a handheld configuration, Steam Deck actually looks like a convenient portable game console. It can support two 60hz 4k screens, and using a 45w charging cable, it can still be charged when the game is fully charged. It can even be used with most peripheral devices via the USB-C port. The Steam Deck has an official dock to help connect other ports, but you can also use a powered USB C hub. Having said that, Valve also stated that it is not designed for VR, so maybe don’t expect it to run your Vive Pro 2.
Valve reiterated another major change that may not only affect Steam Deck customers. The interface used on the Steam Deck system called Deck UI will replace Big Picture Mode, which is a Steam interface designed to be used with a controller or TV. Valve stated that this move will happen with more frequent updates of the deck UI and will maintain a more unified presentation. This is good news for those who want to use it more as a console, and it may also make it easier for those who jump between machines.
You can still pre-order the Steam Deck on the official website and join the queue of fans who want to try out this new portable gaming PC. Unfortunately, these are expected to be postponed until at least February 2022, so if you need something earlier, you may be able to check our Black Friday sales list.