Steam Deck: First Hands-On With Valve's Handheld Gaming PC

Technology

IGN 15 July, 2021 - 11:58am 29 views

Valve’s Steam Deck is basically the real Switch Pro

PCGamesN 15 July, 2021 - 01:22pm

The rumours are true – Valve plans to release its own portable console this year. The Steam Deck is a handheld PC with a Switch-like form factor that lets you play your entire Steam library on the go. Valve has unveiled the machine and its specs ahead of reservations starting tomorrow.

The Steam Deck features a custom AMD processor and GPU combo built on Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architecture, which according to Valve, features “more than enough performance to run the latest AAA games in a very efficient power envelope”. The 7-inch touchscreen offers a 16:10 resolution of 1280 x 800 at 60Hz.

An optional dock, sold separately, will allow you to connect to an external display via HDMI, just like a Switch. The dock also features a wired ethernet port and USB connections, as well as a DisplayPort connection. The console itself features all the thumbsticks and buttons you’d expect from a modern controller, plus trackpads under each stick, and additional buttons on the back of the device.

The Steam Deck starts at $399 USD with 64GB of internal storage. A $529 model will feature a 256GB NVMe SSD, while a $649 model has a 512GB NVMe SSD. All models will include a microSD slot.

The system will be available for reservation starting Friday, July 16. You will be required to put down a (refundable) reservation fee as part of Valve’s effort to combat scalpers. As inventory becomes available, those who have placed reservations will get the opportunity to pre-order.

The Steam Deck is slated to start shipping in December 2021. For some upcoming PC games to play on it, you can follow that link.

Dustin Bailey Senior news writer

As an American, Dustin enjoys being asked to write about football and cockney rhyming slang. Besides PC gaming, he's a keen anime and wrestling fan.

Steam Deck is Valve's first handheld console and it's releasing in December

Windows Central 15 July, 2021 - 12:03pm

Surface Duo is on salefor over 50% off!

Update 2:05 p.m. ET: Added Gabe Newell comments.

In a surprise move, it's been revealed that Valve is working on a handheld device that'll let you play Steam games on the go. It's called the Steam Deck and it's set to ship this December.

The website was discovered today, with Valve announcing the handheld later. The Steam Deck will come in three sizes — 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB — and will cost $399, $529, and $649, respectively. In order to reserve one, you have to have a Steam account that has made a purchase prior to June 2021. This is in an attempt to reduce purchases from unauthorized sellers and scalpers. Currently, you can only reserve if you're in the U.S., Canada, the EU, or the U.K., although it'll be available in more regions in the future.

The handheld has a bit of a wacky layout, with two thumbsticks towards the top, and four paddles on the back underneath the standard bumpers and triggers for more customizable constrols, but the website says it was built for longer gaming sessions. It has a 7-inch touchscreen, trackpads, and gyro controls.

The processor is a custom APU built with AMD, and the website claims it should be more than enough to handle "the latest AAA games." The three storage sizes mentioned above refer to a 64GB eMMC, 256GB NVMe SSD, and 512GB NVMe SSD, which are all built for fast loading times and features like quick resume. It's also expandable with a microSD card, where you can store games locally. It also claims to have a battery life of 7-8 hours, which is about on par with its direct competitor, the Nintendo Switch.

It's unclear at this point if you'll need to store games locally to play them or if you can stream games over the cloud. It does support Steam Cloud Saves, so you can move from your Steam Deck to your PC and back. EIther way, Valve promises that you should be able to play all Steam games without the need for porting thanks to a compatibility layer called Proton, which is built into the SteamOS and runs on Linux.

There's also a dock so you can connect it to external displays or a USB-C hub, but it'll be sold separately. You can also attach your peripherals like controllers and fight sticks. If you want to hook it up to a PC monitor, you can.

Valve co-founder Gabe Newell told IGN that finding the right balance between performance and price was a "critical" aspect of the production process.

"I want to pick this up and say, 'Oh, it all works, it's all fast'," Newell said. "And then price point was secondary, and painful. But that was pretty clearly a critical aspect to it."

"If we're doing this right, we're going to be selling these in millions of units and it's going to be establishing a product category that ourselves and other PC manufacturers are going to be able to participate in, and that's going to have longterm benefits for us," he continued.

We'll have to see if all of this ends up being a direct competitor to the Nintendo Switch and Xbox Game Pass, or if it'll go the way of the Steam Machine.

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Carli is the Gaming Editor across Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore. Her last name also will remind you of a dinosaur. Follow her on Twitter or email her at carli.velocci@futurenet.com.

Valve announces Steam Deck handheld for PC games

Polygon 15 July, 2021 - 12:01pm

Switch-like Steam console is coming this December

Previously rumored as the “SteamPal,” the Steam Deck is a portable console that looks slightly larger than the Nintendo Switch. It features a 7-inch touchscreen, two thumbsticks, a D-pad, and a four-button layout. There are also two trackpads — one on either side of the machine, under the thumbsticks — to allow for increased precision. The Steam Deck has eight triggers on its back: four on the device’s shoulders and four more where the ring and pinky fingers rest.

The Steam Deck will run games from players’ existing Steam libraries. Players will simply log into their account, and their friends and catalog should follow them onto the handheld. The Steam Deck is capable of running PC games on its own hardware, without the power of the cloud. Videos released by Valve show people using the Steam Deck to natively play games such as Baldur’s Gate 3, Crusader Kings 3, Disco Elysium, Hades, and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. Players can also purchase a dock that allows the Steam Deck to run on a TV.

Inside, the Steam Deck boasts an APU built by AMD. Its CPU is based on the company’s Zen 2 microarchitecture, and tops out at 3.5 GHz. The GPU contains eight RDNA 2 compute units running at up to 1.6 GHz, delivering peak performance of 1.6 teraflops. The system packs 16 GB of RAM and a microSD card slot, allowing users to expand upon the built-in storage. The Steam Deck’s 7-inch screen is an LCD with a 16:10 aspect ratio and a 60 Hz refresh rate at a 720p resolution of 1280x800. The Steam Deck also features a dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi radio — it’s compatible with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz networks — and Bluetooth 5.0 for controllers, accessories, and (unlike the Switch) audio.

At launch, the Steam Deck will be available in three models with different storage options. Valve says there are no performance differences between the three versions, aside from the speed of the flash memory.

The $399 base model offers 64 GB of storage in the eMMC format. The next model up costs $529, and packs faster storage courtesy of a 256 GB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD; it also comes with an “exclusive Steam Community profile bundle.” The top-tier Steam Deck, at $649, includes a 512 GB NVMe SSD that Valve refers to as “high-speed,” although it is still a PCIe 3.0 drive. In addition, this model’s screen features “premium anti-glare etched glass.” The unit comes with an exclusive carrying case and exclusive virtual keyboard theme, on top of the cheaper models’ bonuses.

Steam users will be able to reserve any of the three Steam Deck models (for a fee) starting at 1 p.m. EDT on Friday, July 16 — as long as they made a purchase on the Steam Store at some point before June 2021. If not, they’ll have to wait until 48 hours later.

The 40 watt-hour battery inside the Steam Deck offers two to eight hours of gameplay, according to Valve — a wide range that likely depends on how taxing the software is. For audio, the Steam Deck features dual microphones, front-facing speakers, and a headphone jack. The entire machine weighs 1.47 pounds and measures 11.73 inches long by 4.6 inches high by 1.93 inches deep.

The Steam Deck’s official dock allows users to connect the handheld to an external display like a TV or computer monitor. It has three USB ports: one is USB 3.1, and the other two are USB 2.0. It also offers two video outputs — DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 — and an Ethernet jack. Courtesy of USB-C DisplayPort (aka DP Alt Mode), the dock will support video output in 4K resolution at 120 Hz or 8K at 60 Hz.

Valve will sell the dock separately; there’s no word yet on a price or release date. The company did specify in an interview with IGN that the Steam Deck will be compatible with “any USB-C dock that you can buy off the shelf.”

The Steam Deck also functions as a normal computer, allowing players to “install and use PC software,” according to Valve. For instance, users will able to browse the web and watch streams as well as play games. On the software side, the Steam Deck supports Steam features such as chat, notifications, cloud saves for games, remote play (allowing users to stream games from their home PC to the handheld), and the Steam Store.

It’s worth noting that the Steam Deck doesn’t run Windows, which is by far the most common operating system for Steam users. Instead, it runs the Linux-based SteamOS, version 3.0, which Valve says is “built with Steam Deck in mind and optimized for a handheld gaming experience.” SteamOS 3.0 includes Proton, a “compatibility layer” that allows Windows games to run on Linux “without any porting work needed from developers.”

However, the Steam Deck is not a closed device, so Valve won’t stop users from doing what they want with it, such as installing Windows and the Epic Games Store. And now that Xbox Cloud Gaming is available in a web browser, the Steam Deck could presumably be used as a portable Xbox Game Pass machine.

“It is a PC; you can install whatever you want on it,” Valve’s Erik Peterson said in a developer-oriented video published to Valve’s Steamworks YouTube channel. In addition, Greg Coomer of Valve told IGN that the Steam Deck’s accessory support extends to “anything that can be plugged in via USB and anything that can be plugged in or accessed via Bluetooth.”

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