Steam Deck, Valve's Answer to the Nintendo Switch, Announced for December Release

Terronium-12

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So this took me completely by surprise. Valve announces the Steam Deck, their new handheld that's set to release this December. Powered by an AMD Zen 2-based CPU and RDNA 2-based GPU, the Deck will have more than enough power to drive its 1280x800 native resolution. Beginning tomorrow, you can reserve yours for a whopping five smackaroos ($5 USD) with Valve getting in touch with those with a reservation (in the order reserved) closer to launch to make the full purchase.

Speaking of the full purchase, let's talk price. How much is the Steam Deck? Prices start at $399 for the cheapest model. With it comes 64GB of eMMC internal storage and a carrying case. Moving up to the $529 model nets you a 256GB NVMe SSD and an exclusive steam community profile bundle, in addition to the carrying case. Finally, there's the $649 model which bumps up the SSD storage to 512GB and includes "premium anti-glare etched glass" as well as an exclusive virtual keyboard theme.

It should be noted that all models include a MicroSD card slot for further storage expansion. Come December, the Deck will initially be available for shipping to the US, Canada, EU, and the UK with more regions to follow suit in 2022. Like the Nintendo Switch, the Deck can also be docked. Yes, there's an official dock albeit a separate accessory with more information coming at a later date. What we know at the moment is it will include an HDMI 2.0 port, DisplayPort 1.4, an RJ45 Ethernet port, 2 USB 2.0 slots, and a single USB 3.1 port. Power to the Deck comes in the form of a USB-C connection. Meaning, naturally, you can simply use a powered USB-C hub to keep the Deck going as well.

Here's a list of specs:

Processor AMD APU
CPU: Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz (up to 448 GFlops FP32)
GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz (up to 1.6 TFlops FP32)
APU power: 4-15W
RAM 16 GB LPDDR5 RAM (5500 MT/s)
Storage 64 GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1)
256 GB NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)

All models include high-speed microSD card slot
All models use socketed 2230 m.2 modules (not intended for end-user replacement)


Resolution

1280 x 800px (16:10 aspect ratio)
Type Optically bonded LCD for enhanced readability
Display size 7" diagonal
Brightness 400 nits typical
Refresh rate 60Hz
Touch enabled Yes
Sensors Ambient light sensor

What are your thoughts? I'm all but ready to lay down my $5.
 
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Sureboss

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This looks like an awesome portable gaming console. I have zero use for this though, so I'll probably end up getting one. 😛
Looks great for when you're sat in traffic jams!

I like the look of this, outside of the storage on the base model...
 
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I'm admittedly a little curious about it. Would be fun to see how it'd handle mods installation from outside the Workshop.
 

Terronium-12

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I'm admittedly a little curious about it. Would be fun to see how it'd handle mods installation from outside the Workshop.
Without an issue whatsoever. It comes with SteamOS pre-installed but if you don't like it, you can install Windows on it. It is, after all, a handheld PC.
 

AISUYU

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Since gamers will basically have access to Xbox Game Pass on it there's REALLL potential here. Valve needs to market this well. I might buy this to play Forza 8 or whatever it's called.
 

AISUYU

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Is there any chance of emulating ps2 games on it? Oh how much I would love to have a portable Gran Turismo 4 machine
The devs stressed that you can do whatever you want with it, like take it for a walk or go out to dinner with it.
 
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I have various concerns.

First being the sheer amount of buttons being crammed onto it. The front is overly cluttered, and the d-pad and face buttons look like they were tossed on purely as an afterthought: it looks like you practically have to bend your thumb backwards to reach them. Those tiny trackpads are going to be clumsy at best (and I don't know anyone who used trackpads for gaming anyway), and then you look at the back...

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I'm not sure how you're supposed to grip this thing comfortably without either constantly pressing those buttons on the back face, or placing your fingers over that exhaust port.

That brings me to concern 2: gaming laptops are notorious for getting really hot when you use them for a while. Moving to an even smaller form factor is going to make that much worse, even if they have some god-tier passive cooling and/or a bunch of tiny fans screaming away inside it.

eMMC is the type of storage used in tablets, and is not good for large file storage like you'll find in PC games due to its speed limits. It's pretty obvious that Valve only used that in the base model so they could get a price point close to the Switch, and microSD cards are even slower than eMMC so that's not a saving grace either. MicroSD is fine for the Switch or a tablet/cellphone as the games there are relatively lightweight, but Valve is advertising that you can play AAA games on this, and file transfer speed can be a huge bottleneck.

Finally, I don't expect any kind of decent battery life out of this, especially if you're playing any kind of game that requires an Internet connection. Leaving the Wifi on my Switch activated seems to cut its battery life by almost half, I can't imagine this faring any better.

Honestly, I feel like it'd just be a better value to save up a little longer and get a decent gaming laptop. There are plenty in the $900-ish range that are more than capable of playing any modern games at high graphics settings with no real problems.
 

NLxAROSA

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I suppose you've never used a Steam Controller. Those trackpads work amazing together with gyroscopic control. And they don't work like the trackpad you'd find on a laptop. Steam controller also has those buttons on the bottom, never been a problem. This is just an evolution of the Steam Controller.

As for laptops running hot: yes, when hooked up to the power supply and using the full overclocking/boosting power of the GPU/CPU. I have never seen a decent laptop run hot when running on the battery, because power/thermal limits. Also keep in mind that this is only running at 1200x800, something your phone could do without breaking a sweat.

Personally, I would not consider a laptop an alternative for a handheld at all, but maybe that's just me.
 
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I don't know if I should get the 512 or 256 one.. I like the sound of the anti-glare etched glass screen but am obviously going to be putting a screen protector on it anyway.. So could get the 256 and a glass screen protector.. hmmmm
 
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Can I preorder 10 for resale when none are available in December?
Damn Xbox and PS5 scalpers.
I think you need to make a downpayment of 5 elizabeths. It's also a prerequisite to have bought something from the Steam Store before 2021. That in theory should keep the scalpers from.... scalping.
 
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This will look absolutely marvelous sitting idle in a drawer next to my PS Vita. I'd get this probably to play only very casual games that I already do with Steam on the PC.

But talk about not ever actually needing this, yet alone finding more unavailable time we already don't have.
 
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neema_t

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Keep refreshing, what they mean to say is "we're getting absolutely hammered" - it was doing that for me (even when the button was finally un-greyed-out) too.

I've just reserved the 256GB model, with a kid on the way I'm expecting my PC gaming time to be reduced (putting it mildly) but I'm also expecting to move out of London at some point in the next year, so being able to play on the train on my way to work then during lunch and on the train home again might yet afford me a good bit of gaming time, a laptop is both way more than I can justify spending and no good for use on a busy commuter train where I'll probably be standing. All it needs to do is run Forza Horizon 5 natively... Oh, that and not be generally terrible.
 
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Terronium-12

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Keep refreshing, what they mean to say is "we're getting absolutely hammered" - it was doing that for me (even when the button was finally un-greyed-out) too.

I've just reserved the 256GB model, with a kid on the way I'm expecting my PC gaming time to be reduced (putting it mildly) but I'm also expecting to move out of London at some point in the next year, so being able to play on the train on my way to work then during lunch and on the train home again might yet afford me a good bit of gaming time, a laptop is both way more than I can justify spending and no good for use on a busy commuter train where I'll probably be standing. All it needs to do is run Forza Horizon 5 natively... Oh, that and not be generally terrible.
Yeah, I finally got through. Reserved the 64GB model. If I have a second guess then I'll see if I can upgrade to the 256 but I only see this being used when I'm in bed, on the throne, or when I'm travelling. The latter of which I haven't done in quite a long while, so.... :lol:
 

Northstar

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I figured I would put my name down for the 256GB version just so I have it reserved if I decide to pull the trigger, should be more than enough for the games I usually play.
 
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neema_t

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I spent some time earlier going through my backlog and checking it against ProtonDB, looks almost all of the games I've got lined up are either native, platinum or gold so that's pretty encouraging, I have maybe three silver, two bronze and two unrated. Obviously this doesn't mean all these games will work flawlessly because people are testing Proton on a wide array of hardware and none of it is similar to the Steam Deck, but it's a good sign. There were some big surprises too, like Quake 2 is platinum but one of its mission packs is bronze (why?!) and Hitman 2 has a native Linux build, I had no idea. MGS V is gold, I could see myself getting back into it for that reason... If you've reserved one I'd recommend using ProtonDB to see if you're likely to have a good experience with the games you want to play or not. Unless you just want to install Windows, of course.

My availability is estimated for Q1 2022 so I'll have an opportunity to check reviews, playtests and opinions before I need to make the decision but it'd have to have some serious issues for me to not want it.
 
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ROAD_DOGG33J

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Uhhmm...that's interesting. It seems pretty cool, but I don't really have a use for it. I'm looking forward to seeing if it has any success.

Not the biggest fan of handhelds for anything other than more casual games and the price is steep for that. And it would be another device to get text neck with.
 

Terronium-12

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Uhhmm...that's interesting. It seems pretty cool, but I don't really have a use for it. I'm looking forward to seeing if it has any success.

Not the biggest fan of handhelds for anything other than more casual games and the price is steep for that. And it would be another device to get text neck with.

Text neck? :lol:

I guess it's not any worse than me coining "Gran Turismo thumb" , so, yeah. Interesting development on the Deck! All models have a socketed M.2 2230 slot, meaning, depending on how easy the teardown is, you can install one yourself and call it a day. I'm feeling even better about reserving the 64 gig model now. :D
 
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So check me out...
1) Set up your PS5 (or 4) for Remote Play
2) Download the Windows version of Remote Play to your Steam Deck (SteamOS has a Windows compatibility layer so it should be fine)
3) Download a program to remap the Steam Deck's buttons to PS buttons
4) Pair your PS with the Remote Play install on your Steam Deck
5) Remap your buttons
6) Go somewhere with a decent internet connection
7) Bring a DualSense/DS4 and a cable with you just in case my idea doesn't work
8) Sign into your PS account
9) Play your PlayStation games on the go!

Please God let this work