Steam Deck – A Valve’s handheld console, the Nintendo Switch will surely be the first choice for many people and almost an un-rival champion in this area. However, no one knows the word doubt!
On a beautiful morning, the gaming industry giant, Valve, suddenly made a statement that caused many people to fall: Steam Deck, a powerful handheld PC gaming device, which previously seemed like “fiction”.
Even Tim Sweeney (CEO of Epic Games) had to pat his opponent on the thigh, he considered this a… “Valve’s good move”, although Epic Games and Steam are both enemies “without common heaven”.
Will Steam Deck change the future of the handheld console – where Nintendo has been “annexing” for years?
1. Steam Deck System Specs
Regarding the System Spec of Steam Deck, Valve collaborates with AMD to create an integrated chipset (APU) optimized for the Steam Deck, including four Zen 2 CPU cores and an AMD RDNA 2 GPU with eight processor units (CU) – a structure previously equipped on Xbox series X/S and also PlayStation 5, and 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM.
If it is the “most powerful, complete” handheld console, how can the configuration of Steam Deck be compared to competitors, namely the Nintendo Switch “brother” or more “heavyweight” rivals such as the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S?
Comparing to the Nintendo Switch, which was launched more than four years ago and was updated with the OLED version, Steam Deck seems to be more powerful than ” As Different As Chalk and Cheese” when it is quite possible to play titles that the Switch cannot, such as Control (when the Switch can only be played through cloud services). Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order or No Man’s Sky as announced by Valve.
When bringing the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S to compare. Steam Deck seems incomparable due to the smaller body designed for handheld play. Although compared to previous generations of consoles, steam deck GPU performance will be higher than that of the Xbox One S (at 1.4 TFLOPS) and not so much lower with the PlayStation 4 (at 1.84 TFLOPS).
Notably, due to the use of the new RDNA 2 structure, it will be difficult to directly compare the actual graphics performance between the systems.
2. Steam Deck CONTROL
First, when looking at the design of Steam Deck, many people will wonder why the apparatus has so much… buttons.
In order for the apparatus to meet “all-in-one”, Valve has equipped a variety of control options including two moving buttons with capacitive touch sensor, D-pad, four ABXY function buttons, four upper controls, and four more rear customization buttons.
Notably, the Steam Deck is also equipped with an IMU six-axis switch to make it “better targeted”, delivering much greater accuracy than consoles or moving buttons when playing FPS games.
In addition, the apparatus is equipped with a 7-inch LCD screen with multi-touch that makes operation easier, as well as two small touch tables with haptic feedback and accent force touch to “play PC games that have never designed for handheld”.
3. Steam Deck BATTERY LIFE
When there is a relatively strong configuration, it is impossible not to mention the battery life of Steam Deck.
Valve reportedly equipped the 40Wh battery pack, for two to eight hours of play depending on the game – compared to the Switch’s 4.5 to eight hours.
Speaking to IGN, Valve said the apparatus would have an exact playing time of about four hours with Portal 2 running at 720p with 60FPS. And achieve up to eight hours with lighter tasks such as surfing the web or streaming games from other machines.
4. Handheld Console SCALABILITY
Having designed a machine capable of playing “all-in-one”. One of the most important factors is scalability with third accessories, and Valve’s solution?
Using a USB-C port.
Digging deeper, the USB-C port on Steam Deck is used by Valve to use the USB 3.2 Gen 2 standard. With bandwidth up to 20Gbps to be used for a variety of purposes: both charging, connecting accessories, and exporting images.
The company said Steam Deck can export images up to 8K@60Hz or 4K@120Hz DisplayPort 1.4 standard. Valve said the company will also launch an official dock model for Steam Deck in the future.
Currently, only the design port of the dock will reveal including DisplayPort 1.4, HDMI 2.0, USB-C charging port, network port, one USB 3.1 port, and two USB 2.0 ports.
In addition, Steam Deck also has the ability to expand capacity with the microSD card slot and connect controllers, headphones, and wireless accessories to Bluetooth, as well as wireless network connection via Wifi.
Unlike the Switch, which has limited software connections (although the Switch also has USB-C and Bluetooth ports). Steam Deck uses SteamOS 3.0 – which valve has developed based on Arch Linux. Which is a “wide-open” platform that welcomes accessory expansion to almost endless.
4. Handheld Console Software
In addition to powerful hardware, Valve has also “smashed and re-built” SteamOS with a brand new interface. Optimized exclusively for Steam Deck.
Although new, Valve said nearly every familiar function of Steam will be present: such as chat, notifications, cloud backups, Remote Play, stores, communities, and also Overlay completely redesigned.
Through Steam Deck, Valve also launched SteamOS 3.0 with a kernel developed based on Arch Linux. Comparing to Debian in previous versions. And since it is Linux, games developing for Windows often cannot run. At that time, Proton will “handle it”.
Protons as a compatibility layer so that Windows applications (and games) can run on Linux without the developer having to port a version separately.
For Steam Deck, Valve has greatly improved Proton’s performance. Even reportedly working with anti-fraud software developers (such as BattlEye and Easy Anti-Cheat) to increase the compatibility of “pre-launch” titles.
While optimized for handheld use, Valve said SteamOS won’t stop users from doing other things.
Connect your mouse and keyboard and use it as a real PC, or even install another operating system (hello Windows). And install third-party stores (like Origin and Epic Games Store).
4. Steam Deck PRICE
Steam Deck will launch in December this year with a starting price of $399 for an eMMC 64GB configuration, $529 for a 256GB NVMe SSD configuration, and $649 for a high-speed 512GB NVMe SSD configuration.
The configurations will all come with a carrying bag. The 512GB version using high-end anti-glare engraving glass and a designer case.
Valve has now pre-booked with consumer Steam accounts before July 2021. With a one-machine account limit to limit purchases for res sale – previously making it difficult for users to purchase PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.