Valve dives into the Steam Deck and its Aerith SoC

What just happened? Valve used their recent Steamworks virtual conference to reveal new details about their upcoming Steam Deck, including a Final Fantasy VII-inspired codename for the custom SoC powering the portable machine: Aerith.

Valve recently revealed a lot of information about the Steam Deck, and not all of it is good – it looks like the chip shortage will delay the launch of the first units from December through February. But the direct deepened the technical aspects of the mini console.

We know the Steam Deck uses a combination of Zen 2 cores and the same RDNA 2 graphics engine as that of the company’s Radeon RX 6000 series, giving it access to features like FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) and DirectX 12 Ultimate. . The 7nm chip had been called Van Gogh, as in the Van Gogh APUs, but the specific SKU used in the Steam Deck is codenamed Aerith.

The Aerith SoC offers four cores / eight threads with clock speeds between 2.4 GHz and 3.5 GHz; Valve said he wanted to aim for constant speeds rather than squeezing the highest boosts out of the chip. It has maximum FP32 (single precision) performance up to 448 GFLOP, slightly slower than a Ryzen 3 Pro 4450U.

The GPU, on the other hand, offers 8 compute units with clocks between 1 GHz and 1.6 GHz and FP32 performance of up to 1.6 TFLOPS. This last statistic may sound underwhelming, but we know the metric isn’t ideal for measuring performance – Valve has shown many games hitting 60 fps.

Elsewhere, Aerith has a TDP of 4W to 15W. While Valve hasn’t implemented a thermal power limit on the SoC, it urges developers to use a frame rate limiter in their titles; Valve will apply the limiter at some point in the future. The company has previously confirmed that the Steam Deck will deliver the same performance whether it is docked or not, and there could be instances, such as on hot summer days when used outdoors, where it may need to reduce power consumption to maintain clock speeds. This would cap load rates, download speeds, or SSD bandwidth.

We already knew that the Steam Deck would use 16 GB of 32-bit, four-channel LPDDR5 memory with speeds of up to 5,500 MT / s. Not only does this ensure the longevity of the device, but it is also an ideal pairing for the bandwidth-loving APU.

Finally, Valve talked about the 40 Wh battery which is expected to deliver around 7-8 hours of gaming. It can also support two 4k displays at 60Hz via a built-in USB3 Gen2 / DisplayPort 1.4 DSC connector, and there is a cable. 45 W charging power that allows the Steam Deck to be charged while playing, as well as the connection of certain peripherals.

The first Steam Decks are expected to arrive in February 2022.

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