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Valve announces Steam Deck, AMD Zen 2, RDNA 2-powered handheld running Linux-based Steam OS

Valve has just announced its very own handheld gaming hardware, Steam Deck. Valve partnered with AMD to create a custom Zen 2-based CPU running up to 3.5GHz for Steam Deck the Valve says is optimized for handheld gaming that Valve claims is capable of 448 GFlops. Its GPU has x8 RDNA2 CUs running up to 1.6GHz and is capable of 1.6 TFlops according to Valve and comes standard with 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM.

Steam Deck runs Steam OS 3.0, which is based on Arch Linux which is installed on either 64GB of slower eMMC storage, or 256G or 512GB of high-speed NVME storage. Steam Deck has an abundance of control options like x2 thumbsticks, x2 small trackpads, Xbox -like ABXY button layout, a D-pad, a gyroscope for mobile-like motion controls and a 1280 x 800 7-inch touchscreen. Similar to Nintendo’s Switch, Steam Deck has x4 Trigger buttons in an Xbox-like layout.

Compute

ProcessorAMD APU
CPU: Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz (up to 448 GFlops FP32)
GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz (up to 1.6 TFlops FP32)
APU power: 4-15WRAM16 GB LPDDR5 RAM (5500 MT/s)Storage64 GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1)
256 GB NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
All models include high-speed microSD card slot

Controls and Input

Gamepad controlsA B X Y buttons
D-pad
L & R analog triggers
L & R bumpers
View & Menu buttons
4 x assignable grip buttonsThumbsticks2 x full-size analog sticks with capacitive touchHapticsHD hapticsTrackpads2 x 32.5mm square trackpads with haptic feedback
55% better latency compared to Steam Controller
Pressure-sensitivity for configurable click strengthGyro6-Axis IMU

Display

Resolution1280 x 800px (16:10 aspect ratio)TypeOptically bonded LCD for enhanced readabilityDisplay size7″ diagonalBrightness400 nits typicalRefresh rate60HzTouch enabledYesSensorsAmbient light sensor

Connectivity

BluetoothBluetooth 5.0 (support for controllers, accessories and audio)Wi-FiDual-band Wi-Fi radio, 2.4GHz and 5GHz, 2 x 2 MIMO, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

Audio

ChannelsStereo with embedded DSP for an immersive listening experienceMicrophonesDual microphone arrayHeadphone / mic jack3.5mm stereo headphone / headset jackDigitalMultichannel audio via DisplayPort over USB-C, standard USB-C, or Bluetooth 5.0

Power

Input45W USB Type-C PD3.0 power supplyBattery40Whr battery. 2 – 8 hours of gameplay

Expansion

microSDUHS-I supports SD, SDXC and SDHCExternal connectivity for
controllers & displaysUSB-C with DisplayPort 1.4 Alt-mode support; up to 8K @60Hz or 4K @120Hz, USB 3.2 Gen 2

Size and Weight

Size298mm x 117mm x 49mmWeightApprox. 669 grams

Software

Operating SystemSteamOS 3.0 (Arch-based)DesktopKDE Plasma

Valve says its 40-watt-hour battery can provide up to 7-8 hours of play. Valve is also releasing a dock that enables Steam Deck to act as a console where the games can be played on your TV.

Expansion

Peripherals1 x USB-A 3.1 Port
2 x USB-A 2.0 PortsNetworkingEthernetExternal displaysDisplayPort 1.4
HDMI 2.0

Power

InputUSB-C Power Delivery passthrough inputDeck connection6″ USB-C captive cable with low profile 90° connector

Size and Weight

Size117mm x 29mm x 50.5mmWeightApprox. 120 grams

Steam Deck runs on their Linux-based Steam OS, so you will have to consider this list of compatible games before plunking down $399 for this device. Of course being that this is Windows compatible hardware you could always just install Windows 11 and Steam, enable Steam’s launcher and have access to Steam’s entire library of Windows compatible games instead.

A former industry insider and tech industry enthusiast.

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