Steam Deck: the preview with what we know about the hybrid between a PC and a portable console

Steam Deck: the preview with what we know about the hybrid between a PC and a portable console

Steam Deck

In a surprise move, Valve has officially announced the Steam Deck handheld console, a Nintendo Switch-style PC that targets the general public by combining high performance, full connectivity, a control system with all imaginable inputs, built-in microphones and compatibility with Windows games, peripherals of all kinds, any docking station and the whole Linux environment.

In essence, Steam Deck seems to take up the discourse started with the Steam Machine to decline it in a mobile version. In fact, it packs a PC with SteamOS 3.0 in a shell very similar to that of the Nintendo Switch, albeit larger, heavier and more equipped in terms of controls and connectivity.

But on the other hand, it is proposed as a real hybrid between a console and a gaming PC designed to be compatible with all Windows games thanks to the Proton software compatibility layer, created by Valve itself. Furthermore, returning to the Steam Machine discourse, also in this case it is a first step for what could become an ecosystem. In fact, further versions and models developed by third parties are not excluded. But it is still early to talk about it. For now, let's focus on everything we know in this preview of Steam Deck.

Hardware features

Voluminous but definitely promising While looking to the future of its new creature, Steam is focused on this first model that, in pre-order starting today, July 16, takes the field with warlike intentions. This was stated by the same Gabe Newell, head of Valve, speaking of the pricing policy that starts from 419 euros for the model with 64 GB of storage.

Steam Deck is an AMD-powered handheld PC from Valve that runs KDE on Arch Linux

steam-deck-jedi.pngImage: Valve

Valve has taken the wraps off a portable PC it has called Steam Deck, which is set to begin shipping in the US, Canada, EU, and UK in December.

Ostensibly a handheld gaming device that is in the same realm as the Nintendo Switch, under the hood, the Steam Deck runs SteamOS 3.0, a new version based on Arch Linux, with KDE Plasma used for desktop mode.

While Valve has said the Linux system will use its Proton compatibility layer to run games designed for Windows, the company said users are free to replace it.

'Steam Deck is a PC, and players will be able to install whatever they like, including other OSes,' it said.

Hardware-wise, Valve said it worked with AMD on a custom 4 to 15-watt APU that has a 4-core Zen 2 CPU and 8-core RDNA 2 graphics unit, as well as 16GB of memory. The Deck contains a 7-inch 1280x800-resolution touchscreen, has a number of trackpads, thumbsticks, buttons, and triggers for input. The 40Wh battery is said to allow around two to eight hours of use, and is charged via a single USB-C port that is also used to connect monitors and docks.

The Deck has three storage options: A base level of 64GB eMMC using PCIe Gen 2, and 256GB NVMe SSD and 512GB 'high-speed' NVMe SDD that both use PCIe Gen 3. The storage level chosen determines the cost of the Deck, with unit retailing for $400, $530, and $650 respectively.

There is also a microSD card slot to allow users to store games and have more storage.

Valve said it would also have an official dock that would have one USB-A 3.1 port, two USB-A 2.0 ports, with one ethernet, DisplayPort 1.4, and HDMI ports apiece.

The Deck is far from Valve's first attempt to push Steam OS, with the Linux-based Steam Machines falling flat when they appeared in 2015.



'It's a Linux system, you know this!' says Valve

Image: ValveElsewhere in Linux

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