The Valve Steam Deck is the answer to “what if you walk through a Nintendo Switch with a PC”. While it may look like the aforementioned Nintendo hybrid console, the Steam Deck is quite a different machine, effectively aimed at making PC gaming truly portable.
Valve’s Steam Deck is essentially a machine built around the custom SteamOS and AMD’s custom processor and graphics technology. And it aims to improve the functionality of a gaming PC in a handheld, allowing it to be able to run Windows 10 or Windows 11.
With that in mind, here’s what we know so far about the Valve Steam Deck.
- Latest Steam Deck News (Updated October 20)
- Steam deck specifications
- Steam Deck price and release date
- Current Status of Steam Deck Reservations
- Steam bridge design
- Steam bridge display
- Steam Deck Performance and Battery Life
- Steam Deck games and compatibility
- Steam bridge dock
- Steam deck faq
- Perspectives of the steam bridge
Latest Steam Deck News (Updated October 20)
Steam deck specifications
|Price||$ 399; $ 529; $ 649||Same processor / RAM, different storage|
|CPU / GPU||AMD Zen 2 + RDNA 2 APU||4 cores, 8 threads with 8 RDNA 2 compute units for GPUs. Processor: 2.4-3.5 GHz; GPU: 1.0 to 1.6 GHz|
|GPU calculation||1TF to 1.6TF|
|RAM||16 GB LPDDR5|
|Filter||7 “1280×800 LCD screen||512 GB model to include anti-reflective etched glass|
|Drums||40 watt-hour||7-8 hours for 2D games / web browsing|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth, USB Type-C, 3.5mm headphone jack|
|Storage room||64 GB; 256 GB; 512 GB||The 256 GB and 512 GB models will use faster NVMe SSD storage. 64 GB will use eMMC.|
|Expansion||Micro SD card slot|
|Max power||20W (including display)|
|Other||Built-in microphone, ambient light sensor|
Steam Deck price and release date
The Steam Deck will start shipping in December 2021, but only for first-time buyers. Reservations are already live and new buyers can expect to ship in Q2 or Q3 2022. After making a $ 5 reservation for a specific Steam Deck model, customers can only purchase that mode , so choose wisely.
The Steam Deck will be available in three different varieties. The 64GB eMMC storage model will be the cheapest at $ 399 and will include a carrying case.
The $ 529 mid-tier model will feature 256GB of NVMe SSD storage, along with a carrying case and an exclusive set of Steam Community profiles, although we don’t know exactly what that is.
The top-of-the-line model, which will cost $ 649, will feature 512GB of NVMe SSD storage, premium anti-reflective etched glass, an exclusive carrying case, an exclusive set of Steam Community profiles, and an exclusive virtual keyboard theme.
Current Status of Steam Deck Reservations
There is a huge demand for the Steam Deck. This demand comes up against the current global shortage of chips caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. This forces buyers to temper their expectations as to when their Steam Decks might arrive.
For now, reserving a Steam Deck now means waiting after Q2 2022, which is after June. Interestingly, it looks like Valve is updating their booking page with availability updates. So, for example, the base Steam Deck was expected after Q2 2022 at the end of June, but was moved briefly to Q1 2022. It has since been, along with all other models, moved to “after Q2 2022” .
What does all this mean? Well, unless you’re willing to pay an inflated rate on eBay or elsewhere, you’ll have to wait until the second half of 2022 to get your own Steam Deck.
Steam bridge design
The Steam Deck’s chassis appears to be formed from a matte black plastic shell, with a design that inexplicably resembles Switch.
There is a standard range of A, B, X, Y buttons, as well as two analog sticks and primary and secondary shoulder buttons. The R2 and L2 shoulder buttons appear to be spring loaded, with analog style compression. This is different from the Nintendo Switch, which features one-click shoulder buttons.
Around the handles are additional macro buttons that can probably be programmed for custom functions. Around the back is the Valve logo with a vent to release heat. Towards the top are the power button, USB Type-C port, another vent, headphone jack, and volume controllers.
Interestingly, on the front of the Steam Deck are two flat touchpads, a reminder of the ill-fated Steam Controller from 2015, as well as buttons for Steam, menu, and options. And next to the screen are two speaker grilles. The Steam Deck will also feature gyro controls, which can make it easier to aim into shooters when playing on a handheld.
Steam bridge display
According to the Steam Deck hardware page, it will sport a 7-inch LCD touchscreen with a resolution of 1280 x 800, on par with the Nintendo Switch OLED. However, it should be noted that OLED screens tend to produce more vivid colors and deeper blacks than LCD screens.
Steam Deck Performance and Battery Life
The Steam Deck is powered by an AMD processor which Valve claims has been “optimized for portable games.” It runs on a Zen 2 + RDNA 2 architecture, so hardware similar to that of the Xbox Series X. RDNA 2 is actually one of the few differentiators between the Xbox Series X and the PS5, potentially giving an advantage to Microsoft’s console.
According to Valve, this processor is “more than enough to run the latest AAA games in a highly efficient power envelope.” I guess we’ll have to see how this fares compared to demanding titles like Cyberpunk 2077.
Steam Deck, unsurprisingly, is tied to Steam. So, anyone who purchases a Steam Deck should be assured that almost all of their Steam library will be available for download immediately, thanks to Proton.
The Steam Deck can also be specified with 64 GB of eMMC storage or 256/512 GB of NVMe storage. There is a microSD card slot for further expansion.
The device will house a 40 watt hour battery, which promises several hours of play time for “most games”. Lighter gaming or browsing the web should have 7-8 hours of battery life.
According to the FAQ, the Steam Deck is ultimately a PC running Steam OS, and “you can install third-party software and operating systems.” In a video interview with IGN, the developers at Valve confirmed that since Steam Deck runs on Linux, it will also be possible to install the Epic Games Store. We have an explainer on Steam OS and the underlying Proton technology that will allow the Steam Deck to play many Windows-only games.
Steam Deck games and compatibility
When it was first announced, the Steam Deck was billed as the device to take “your Steam library, anywhere”. But it turns out that the Steam Deck so far only supports 16,000 games. That’s a lot, but it’s still a far cry from the full Steam library lineup.
And that raised compatibility questions, which prompted Valve to create the Steam Deck Compatibility Program. This will see Steam Store games accessible through the Steam Deck labeled as “Verified”, “Played”, “Not Supported”, or “Unknown”. The former is for games that run perfectly on the out-of-the-box Steam Deck, while Playable is for games that require some tweaking first. Unsupported is for games that don’t work and Unknown is for games that have not yet been verified for Steam Deck compatibility.
Steam bridge dock
Like the Nintendo Switch, the Steam Deck will also work with a docking accessory. The dock will allow players to connect their Steam Deck to a TV or monitor. It will also offer players additional expansion slots, which could come in handy when they want to connect one of the best battle sticks to play Street Fighter V at a LAN event or esport cafe. . The dock will be sold separately at a later date. But remember this is a PC so it can work from any other USB Type-C hub.
Steam deck faq
Can you upgrade Steam Deck storage?
Internal storage is not user-scalable, at least not officially. Valve’s Gabe Newell confirmed that inside is a normal M.2 2230 internal SSD slot which, theoretically, can be swapped out. However, it will take an experienced PC modder to replace it. Also, it will likely void any warranty. However, all Steam Decks have a micro SD card slot.
Is NVMe SSD Worth It?
The Steam Deck is available in two different types of storage. The cheapest model at $ 399 has eMMC storage, which most closely resembles an SD card. The more expensive variants have fast NVMe SSDs. NVMe SSDs have higher read / write speeds and will result in faster load times for gaming. For most players, the upgrade will be worth it.
What’s the best Steam Deck to buy?
Whether you buy the base Steam Deck for $ 399 or the more expensive 512GB model at $ 649, be aware that all units have the same compute and graphics power. The main difference is the size and speed of storage. The base unit will have slower eMMC storage while the $ 529 and $ 649 models have 256GB and 512GB of fast NVME SSD storage. For the most part, we think the average $ 529 model will do.
Does Steam Deck have a 5G or cellular connection?
No. Steam Deck is Wi-Fi only.
Does Steam Deck come with a docking station?
Unlike the Nintendo Switch, the Steam Deck docking station will not be included. It will be sold separately. A price has not been confirmed.
Does Steam Deck support keyboard and mouse?
Yes. The Steam Deck is ultimately a PC. You can plug in or connect wirelessly via bluetooth, both keyboard and mouse. It will be easier to connect peripherals via a dock.
Does Steam Deck support VR?
Technically speaking, yes. The Steam Deck can be used against the best VR headsets, but is not designed with VR in mind. Remember, the Steam Deck is a portable system intended for playing games at 720p resolutions. For VR you will need more power.
Does the Steam Deck have a kickstand?
No. The Steam Deck does not have a built-in kickstand. A dock or other solution will be necessary.
Perspectives of the steam bridge
The Valve Steam Deck wasn’t a machine we’d shouted about, but not that it made an appearance, the idea of a portable gaming PC from one of the top gaming companies is pretty appealing.
We would need to go out into the field to get a good impression of the Steam Deck, but it could be a sleeper hit device from late 2021 or 2022. We just hope its specs can provide enough gaming power to last more than a few. years.