Valve has finally announced its Steam Deck handheld console (originally Steam Pal) based on a custom 7nm AMD SoC (reportedly Van Gogh) featuring four Zen 2 cores and eight RDNA 2 CUs (512 shaders), alongside 16GB of LPDDR5 (5,500 MT/s) memory and up to 750GB of high-speed NVMe storage. The CPU runs at a base clock of 2.4GHz and a boost of 3.5GHz, offering a rated FP32 performance of 448 GFlops, while the GPU has a base clock of 1GHz and a boost of 1.6GHz, resulting in an FP32 performance of 1.6 TFLOPs. The APU has a TDP of 4-15W.
It’s worth noting that despite featuring just eight CUs, the GPU on the Steam Deck will be notably faster than all existing Ryzen APUs because firstly, it is based on the RDNA 2 microarchitecture (vs GCN) and also packs the much faster LPDDR5 memory with a bandwidth of 5,500 MT/s which should do a much better job of feeding the GPU.
As for storage, the Deck has an interesting configuration. It has three separate disks. A 64GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1) for the OS, and two additional NVMe based SSDs. One has a size of 256GB and the other is twice as large at 512GB. Since both drives use the older PCIe 3 standard, they should have a rated speed of around 4-5 GB/s. This may not be quite as much as the PS5, but the sheer capacity and the option to add a “high-speed” microSD card should make heads turn.
In terms of the display, you get a 7″ (6:10) display with a resolution of 1280*800 at 60Hz which is rather on the low side for today’s standards. Like the Switch, it has a touch display and a brightness of 400 nits.
Additionally, the handheld comes with a dual microphone array, stereo speakers with an embedded DSP, as well as support for multi-channel audio over USB-C, or BT 5.0 (Via DP).
There’s also support for haptic feedback, a battery capacity of 40Whr (2-8 hours of game time depending on the visual fidelity), and the option to use the console as a PC via the DP.
Overall, the Steam Deck is another entry into the handheld gaming console dominated by the Nintendo Switch. Its price tag of $399 will make it quite hard to position. There are a few perks that come with the console such as support for your existing Steam library (no need to buy any new games), but that alone is unlikely to be enough to combat Nintendo’s large suite of first-party titles, and a loyal fan base. Reservations have already started to book a unit, and the first wave of consoles will ship in December.