Goodbye Nintendo Switch – Valve Revives the Pocket PC with the Steam Deck – Featuring AMD Van Gogh APU with RDNA 2 Graphics
17 July 2021
4500U AMD APU AYA NEO Emulation Linux mobile Nintendo pc Pocket PC Portable Radeon RDNA RDNA 2 RX Ryzen Ryzen 5 Steam Steam Deck SteamOS Switch VALVE Van Gogh vega

The revival of the Steam Machine is certainly more appealing now than it ever was before.

For awhile now I’ve been rather fascinated over the revelations made to the mobile “pocket PC” what with the Aya Neo and GPD Win 3 which essentially gives you a complete Windows based desktop experience albeit in a rather low-power portable application.

With the exception of the GPD Win 3, typically these handheld devices have showcased a resurgence when paired with AMD Ryzen embedded solutions as found with the AYA NEO which features a 6-core Ryzen 5 4500U Zen 2 based processor and features the everlasting solution of RX Vega integrated graphics.

Performance on these sorts of equipment is as you’d expect, not exactly ideal for more modern titles but at its given display resolution with low settings you’re more than able to play practically anything with the AYA NEO’s Renoir APU.

And I suppose that’s where Valve come into play, the Yiddlerd censorship happy merchants have gracefully decided to reintroduce the long since dead Steam Machine in this pocket PC form factor.

Valve have announced the “Steam Deck” which aims to give you that luscious portability and ergonomic design as found on the Nintendo Switch but the Steam Deck is all so much faster than merely any other pocket PC on the market.

Because the Steam Deck features the long awaited AMD “Van Gogh” APU which ties together the CPU from Zen 2 and sadly not Zen 3 but the excitement comes from its integrated graphics which comes in the form of an RDNA 2 based solution packing in 8 CU’s (512 Stream Processors) capable of providing upwards of 1.6 TFlops of FP32 compute power.

With the complete specification list looking as follows:

  • 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 a high-speed microSD card slot

You may have noticed that the AMD Van Gogh APU is paired with 16 GB of LPDDR5 memory which is ideally probably going to be much worse than say what LPDDR4/X is capable of in terms of frequency to latency but more rather at least you’d be getting more bandwidth and capacity as a result with the LPDDR5.

Storage capacity on the other hand is a bit Grabblery, with the Steam Deck being offered in three different configurations in terms of storage capabilities which is mostly down to the design featuring BGA SSD’s rather than a socketed M.2 drive.

The base model is effectively gimped, for $399 you’ll get the exact same Steam Deck though you’ll be extremely limited to a dreadful 64 GB of eMMC storage, rather than say UFS3.1 which is not only superior but also very prevalent on many mobile phones today.

For $529 you can have the system upgraded to a BGA SSD with 256 GB capacity, and you’ll get an exclusive custom steam profile bundle which is presumed to be animated. Or for a hefty $649 you’ll get 512 GB of storage capacity along with other goodies such as an anti-glare coating for the display along with a super exclusive carrying case and a worthless virtual keyboard theme.

Now obviously I presume that Valve have rather gimped the Steam Deck hard with the eMMC storage option for the base model along with jacking the prices up for additional soldered capacity simply because of profit margins, I wouldn’t be all that surprised if Valve were quite possibly losing money on units sold, particularly the base model for $399 whereas the NVMe offerings are simply so damn high in price by comparison to claw some of that deficit back.

Other important aspects are the Steam Deck’s display which is a 7-inch display with a resolution of 1280 x 800 which is a 16:10 aspect ratio offering a peak brightness of just 400-nits at just 60Hz, and of course it’s a touch screen!

By comparison the likes of the AYA NEO also offers a similar 7-inch 1280 x 800 IPS display and both of which are better than the likes of the Nintendo Switch with its little 6.2-inch 1280 x 720 display.

Which particularly I find interesting as the base model Steam Deck is priced at $399 as opposed to the recently announced Switch OLED model at $350.

The design of the Steam Deck is very reminiscent of other pocket PC handheld devices, much like the Switch with its drifting Joycons, the Steam Deck comes with two controllable thumb sticks, a D-pad along with your typical left and right triggers and buttons and your “A, B, X, Y” buttons.

It also comes with four programmable grip buttons that have been made unanimous via Scuf controllers.

Oh, and there’s a dock as well in case you maybe wanted to play some low resolution games on the big screen, take that Nintendo. Though it will be sold separately at a latter date.

And in an interview with IGN, Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais confirmed that the Steam Deck also comes with a built in microphone because all modern portable devices do these days so you’re more than free to shout nigger at cunts online wherever you may go.

Typically it has been stated that the Steam Deck uses the latest version of SteamOS which is Linux based mind you, however Pierre-Loup Griffais also stated that you’re more than able to install third party software and more specifically…. third party operating systems on this little guy.

So, what’s assumed to be the fastest handheld PC ever will grant users the opportunity to play practically their entire steam library with a rather enjoyable experience for at least a couple of hours because the battery life isn’t exactly the best as it can only last typically anywhere from 2-8 hours depending on the title and of course limiting the framerate, adjusting the brightness… shit like that.

But you’ll be able to enjoy games from other third party distributors and most certainly emulation. With the Zen 2 based processor and RDNA 2 based graphics the Steam Deck while being just $399 can easily emulate the likes of the Nintendo Switch with compatible titles most likely performing better through emulation on the Steam Deck.

Needless to say the Nintendo soyboy fangays have been thrown into a fit of rage upon realization that the Steam Pad makes their low-power Nintendo Shield OLED look like a massive pile of shit.

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With various Twitter comments mocking the Steam Deck for its controller layout and crying like little children because only Nintendo are allowed to pirate and emulate their catalog, with other individuals mocking the Nintendo fangays for destroying their portable soybox.

Overall I absolutely love the Steam Deck, portable gaming is a very lucrative market what with the Nintendo Switch continuing to shift hundred of thousands of units each and every month despite being released four years ago.

And that’s why I believe that Valve are taking a shit kicking on majority of units sold, opening the world up to affordable portable PC’s that absolutely dominate the Switch tenfold with the capabilities and convenience of playing ones “entire” PC game library through various operating systems while also having the benefit of being able to emulate such consoles with relative ease with additional detailing while Nintendies seethe with rage.

For $399 the Steam Deck opens up much more opportunities to the consoomer than say a four year old Nintendo Switch with a fancy new display for $350. And honestly it’s very compelling for me to go and buy one myself to play Rapelay wherever I go.

Power to the Sheeple.

 

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