Steam Deck: Everything you need to know

Valve Steam Deck

The Valve Steam Deck is a newly confirmed portable gaming device, which is essentially a handheld gaming PC with a Nintendo Switch form factor.

Featuring an AMD Zen 2 CPU and an Nvidia RDNA 2 GPU, the Steam Deck sets itself apart from the Switch since it has more powerful specs and is capable of playing virtually any AAA game in the Steam library. So far, it’s been tipped as having a similar performance level as the PS4 and Xbox One.

The Steam Deck sports a 7-inch LCD touchscreen display with a 12800×800 resolution and a 60Hz refresh rate. It’s also capable of outputting to an external display via its USB-C port, although the dock will be sold seperately.

Valve has also confirmed that there will be three configuration options, all with the same CPU and GPU, but with varying storage capacities: 64GB, 256GB and 512GB. Storage will also be expandable via MicroSD cards.

Steam Deck will be running on SteamOS out of the box, which is a Linux-based operating system. However, Valve has confirmed you can treated this device like a normal PC, and install Windows if you prefer.

Keep on reading for a more detailed breakdown of the Steam Deck, and keep this page bookmarked for future updates.

The Steam Deck is confirmed to launch in December 2021 this year.

While you won’t be able to order the device until December, Valve is allowing people to make a reservation and enter a queue.

Reservations are opening on the Steam website at 6pm UK time (10am PDT) today. Head over to the site, and you can set a reminder so you don’t miss out during the mad rush.

The Steam Deck has a starting price of £349 / $399, which gets you 64GB eMMC storage and a bundled carrying case.

The second configuration costs £459 / $529, featuring larger 256GB that also benefits from faster speeds thanks to the jump to an NVMe SSD.

And finally, there’s a top-of-the-line £569 / $649 model with a beefy 512GB NVMe SSD. You also get a premium anti-glare etched glass for the screen too, as well as an exclusive virtual keyboard theme.

We’ve listed the Steam Deck specs below:

CPU AMD Zen 2 (4-core, 8-thread @ 2.4GHZ – 3.5Ghz)
GPU RDNA 2 (8 compute units @ 1GHz – 1.6GHz)
RAM 16GB DDR5
Storage 64GB eMMC base / 256GB NVMe SSD / 512GB NVMe SSD (microSD expansion)
Display 7-inch, 1280×800 (16:10), 60Hz LCD touchscreen
Battery 40WHr: “2-8 hours of gameplay” depending on title
Video output (docked) Up to 4K @ 120Hz / 8K @ 60Hz
Connectiivity 2.4GHz / 5GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0
Weight 669 grams

The Steam Deck looks incredible, blowing the Switch OLED out of the water with beefier specs and a larger game library thanks to SteamOS support.

However, it’s an expensive device, especially considering the base model offers a pitiful onboard storage that will struggle to fit even one modern AAA game. It’s also considerably heavier than the Switch, putting its portability prowess in some doubt.

But the potential of this device is still remarkable, supporting the likes of ray tracing and having a incredibly high docked display output which could possibly compliment an eGPU. And if you install Windows on the device, it may even become a superb option for on-the-go Game Pass.

Ryan Jones

By

Computing and Gaming Editor

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