Valve’s Steam Deck is the PRO Handheld that Might Make You SWITCH to Linux

Source: Valve 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.

  • Processor:
    • 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)
  • Storage:
    • 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)
  • Display:
    • 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
Valve's Steam Deck is the PRO Handheld that Might Make You SWITCH to Linux - Systems 3

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:

  • Power:
    • 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.”

Valve's Steam Deck is the PRO Handheld that Might Make You SWITCH to Linux - Systems 4

The Steam Deck is available for reservation starting today (July 16, 2021), with three configurations available. It ships in December.

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About The Author

Sebastian Peak

Editor-in-Chief at PC Perspective. Writer of computer stuff, vintage PC nerd, and full-time dad. Still in search of the perfect smartphone. In his nonexistent spare time Sebastian's hobbies include hi-fi audio, guitars, and road bikes. Currently investigating time travel.

8 Comments

  1. collie man

    It reminds me of the un-obtainable in my youth Lynx of my youth, and that makes me want one more than anything else, BUT ALSO, it looks awesome, I WANT ONE!!!!!!!

    Reply
    • collie man

      I wonder if it’s possible to change the OS and use it for a TOTALY diffrent than intended usage…… The mind wanders

      Reply
      • BigTed

        I’m guessing anything other than gaming would be painful at that resolution.

        Reply
        • Sebastian Peak

          I used a 1280×800 laptop back in the day, and for some reason I don’t have painful memories of it. Then again, I also used a 160×160 Palm device and thought text was perfectly legible. Our expectations have changed a lot.

          Reply
          • Daniel Babins

            yea, every once in a while I check out my old Touch gen 3 (my wife still uses it as an alarm) to see how far we’ve come, 320/480 was once the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, now it just looks like a big buncha HUGE pixels on a teeny tiny screen. We get used to what we have I suppose

            Reply
  2. collie man

    So, does it have an os of itself or is it primarily a hub for your steam games, does it transfer games directly and exclusively from steam or is it more open ended, does it work ofline or is it a streaming from pc device….. so many questions

    Reply
  3. BigTed

    Colour me interested. GPU should be okay, with its resolution of slightly less than half of 1080p. Plus it will look good at 215ppi. Hey Sebastian, we all know you’ve got plenty of time on your hands… why not clock down a Zen 2 CPU and RDNA 2 GPU to see what sort of performance we’ll be getting?

    Reply
    • Sebastian Peak

      You make an excellent point.

      Reply

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