There has been a lot of buzz around the upcoming release of the Steam Deck. This is not the first time a video game company tries to enter the extremely niche portable gaming market, and won’t be the first time we see a big tech giant fail at this.
Nintendo, Sony, and SEGA have all released portable gaming devices, with varying degrees of success. Other companies, like Dell, have announced similar projects that hope to capitalize on the small but dedicated market of portable gamers.
The big difference between the Steam Deck and devices by Nintendo and Sony is that the Steam Deck isn´t just a low-power handheld that will only play ported games. It´s a tiny PC that you can plug into your TV and run almost any app you install into it. So, is the Steam Deck a mini gaming PC?
The Steam Deck is not a dedicated gaming device like all iterations brought by Nintendo. It is a mini PC that runs on the Windows 10 operating system. This means that it can be used for a variety of tasks, such as browsing the web, watching videos, or playing games. It also has a built-in graphics card, which is a major advantage over devices like the Nintendo Switch or the fondly remembered PlayStation Vita.
According to the specs revealed by Valve, the thing can run more games than anything that has come out in the portable gaming market ever. The secret lies in its internal processing power. AMD engineered a four-core/eight-thread CPU that can be maxed out at a decent 3.5GHz. The graphics will be driven by a powerful 8-core RDNA 2 GPU. For comparison, Valve asserted that it would be like having a custom mini gaming PC running on a decent Zen 2 Ryzen 3000 and an RX 6000 for good measure in the palm of your hand.
All units will come with an un-upgradeable 16GB of RAM, but users can choose between three versions that will provide user-replaceable m.2 modules for storage.
However, the unit does not seem to be as portable as one might think. The 7-inch, 1280×800 LCD touchscreen will be embedded into a more-than-bulky unit that houses components that belong inside a laptop, a sizable (and heavy) battery, enough fans to keep temps under control, and a broader user interface full of buttons, triggers, control sticks and a couple of haptic touchpads.
The result is a 12-inch monster that is the same size as 2 Xbox controllers put together side by side.
While there is a lot of visible hype around this new gadget, we must remember that this is not the first time Valve has attempted to create its own hardware. The company released the Steam Controller in 2015, which was a failure by all accounts. So, we recommend caution when approaching these new shiny gadgets.
On the other hand, the asking price is kind of steep for being basically a glorified laptop. For a few hundred more, you can get an incredibly powerful custom mini gaming PC that comfortably fits any living room and will hit more FPS than any handheld device. Start building your high-end gaming rig by visiting CLX Gaming today.