Valve’s Steam Deck is the PRO Handheld that Might Make You SWITCH to Linux
An AMD-Powered Handheld for PC Gamers
It’s coming: a handheld from Valve (makers of Steam if you reside under a rock) that promises to run your library of PC games – and has some pretty serious specs to back that up. Forget minor refreshes to other 7-inch handhelds that play cartridge games, the Steam Deck might be the gadget to get this year. Now let’s hope for some real availability.
Diving in, the specs listed on the Steam Deck site are quite impressive, including as they do an AMD solution with Zen 2 CPU cores and RDNA 2 GPU cores. Yes, RDNA 2.
- AMD 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: 4-15W
- Memory: 16 GB LPDDR5 RAM (5500 MT/s)
- 64 GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1)
- 256 GB NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
- 512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
- Resolution: 1280 x 800px (16:10 aspect ratio)
- Type: Optically bonded LCD for enhanced readability
- Display size: 7″ diagonal
- Brightness: 400 nits typical
- Refresh rate: 60Hz
- Touch enabled: Yes
- Sensors: Ambient light sensor
Controls includes standard buttons as well as trackpads with haptic feedback, and you may have noticed from the specs that this display deviates from other 7-inch handhelds in that it has a 16:10 aspect ratio. (I think it’s safe to say that the 1280×800 resolution should not present a major challenge to the listed processing power.)
The full list of specs can be found here, with a few more excerpted below:
- Input: 45W USB Type-C PD3.0 power supply
- Battery: 40Whr battery. 2 – 8 hours of gameplay
- Expansion: microSD UHS-I supports SD, SDXC and SDHC
- External connectivity for controllers & displays:
- USB-C with DisplayPort 1.4 Alt-mode support; up to 8K @60Hz or 4K @120Hz, USB 3.2 Gen 2
- Size: 298mm x 117mm x 49mm
- Weight: approx. 669 grams
- Operating System: SteamOS 3.0 (Arch-based)
- Desktop: KDE Plasma
Yes, the Steam Deck is running Arch Linux-based SteamOS 3.0, and will make full use of the ever-expanding support for Linux gaming providing via Proton.
“On Steam Deck, your games run on a different operating system than the one on your desktop PC. It’s a new version of SteamOS, built with Steam Deck in mind and optimized for a handheld gaming experience. It comes with Proton, a compatibility layer that makes it possible to run your games without any porting work needed from developers. For Deck, we’re vastly improving Proton’s game compatibility and support for anti-cheat solutions by working directly with the vendors.”
The Steam Deck is available for reservation starting today (July 16, 2021), with three configurations available. It ships in December.