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Valve is back in the hardware business as they have formally announced their Steam Deck handheld. 

https://www.google.com/amp/s/venturebeat.com/2021/07/15/valves-steam-deck-merges-switch-convenience-with-pc-gaming/amp/

This seems to be the unholy lovechild of MSony consoles, the Nintendo Switch, and a penguin. Under the hood is a custom AMD Zen2 + RDNA2 APU, same as the PS5 and xXxBOxXx, though details such as core counts and clock speed have not yet been revealed. The device can be inserted into a dock (sold separately) to output to a TV, monitor, etc. It runs SteamOS 3.0, Valve's custom gaming-focused Linux distro, though there's nothing stopping you from installing Windows on it.

Let's hope the Steam Deck fares better than the Steam Machines. :p

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Wonder how hot that runs.

Why has elegance found so little following? Elegance has the disadvantage that hard work is needed to achieve it and a good education to appreciate it. - Edsger Wybe Dijkstra

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20 minutes ago, Malcador said:

Wonder how hot that runs.

You can use it to play hot potato with your friends and family. Steam Deck - Taking couch co-op to the next level!

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It can't run that hot, 40Wh battery with (supposedly) 2 hours of battery life and a 7" screen doesn't leave much- any- room for high frequencies. And indeed it doesn't; abridged tech specs (full 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
 
It ain't going to run the CPU and CUs at the top freqs for very long, even with them already being reduced relative to desktop and the consoles.
 
So it's basically using a Zen2 laptop APU modified for DDR5 and will perform a lot worse than the non portable MSony equivalents (but better than the Switch with its antiquated Tegra). It using Linux is almost certainly why Valve was so keen to get DLSS on Linux [lol, use your noggin son, it's RDNA2 so won't have DLSS anyway] and you have to suspect they'll be pushing for FSR implementation too. Prices start at USD400, secure yours with a reservation fee today. Or not.
Edited by Zoraptor
fricking zenforo, where's my nuke smiley button gone?
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Posted (edited)

^ I believe the screen is 720p (no need for anything more at 7"). At those specs is should be awesome in handheld mode and good at 1080p, any resolution above that will be a less than smooth experience unless it's a pretty old or extremely well optimized game. Well, with Fidelity FX Super Resolution 1440p would be in play.

Edited by Keyrock

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Screen is 16:10 1280x800 so it's slightly above 720p demand wise.

In theory I guess that scales fine CU and frequency wise to something like the S model Xbox in terms of TFlOpS/ resolution. In practice... skeptical. The power draw/ supply advantage of a corded console should be significant over a portable for maintaining real world performance, and almost all MSony titles will presumably have FSR for its 'free' performance going forward.

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I do really like the physical design of the unit. It has 2 analog sticks, 2 trackpads (presumably with haptic feedback) and a real D-Pad (this is key). Granted, in practice I find myself using the D-Pad fairly rarely these days, but on those rare occasions where a D-Pad is superior to an analog stick, it's really really superior and the half trackpad half D-Pad that is on the Steam Controller is SUPER GARBAGE as a D-Pad. Also, not show in the picture, there are 4 paddle buttons on the back, 2 on each side. The point is, there are a ton of buttons and axes and so on. It looks to be a significantly improved Steam Controller.

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Looks interesting as basically a Switch-but-a-PC dedicated mobile gaming machine (although obviously it will also have the option to stream video and stuff), but boy, the close-ups I saw of people actually playing it, the ergonomics of the controller part of it look like it'd unbearable for me...but I do have notable hand problems and need very specific ergonomics.

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5 hours ago, Bartimaeus said:

Looks interesting as basically a Switch-but-a-PC dedicated mobile gaming machine (although obviously it will also have the option to stream video and stuff), but boy, the close-ups I saw of people actually playing it, the ergonomics of the controller part of it look like it'd unbearable for me...but I do have notable hand problems and need very specific ergonomics.

The thought of using those face buttons and the D-pad makes my hands hurt. I don't even want to imagine what they'd do to yours.

Is there some secret, unholy alliance between Microsoft and Nintendo where they both decided to make sure that they'll have the only comfortably shaped controllers on the planet? True to form, Microsoft also made theirs so they break after half a year. I'm through my third XBox One controller by now, it's ridiculous. As bad as the JoyCons on the Switch are (for precision, actually, I find them quite nice to use, but it's impossible to play games that require precise inputs with them), the Pro controller is a real beast, it takes any punishment my nephew dishes out and keeps trucking on, and has ridiculous batterly life to boot.

Which barely matters to me because when I use it it's hooked up to the dock and to use the cable for inputs (if you ever get a Switch, there's an option for that in the system menu, it really pays off in terms of input lag). Screw wireless input devices.

Edited by majestic
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Third Xbox One Controller? I think I'm on my sixth or seventh from since when the Xbox One released, and I don't even play very many games, much less intense ones that often...but I do admittedly use them regularly for non-gaming purposes. At one point, I saw a good sale and I got a handful for $20 each, but I literally only have one unopened one left, and I'm about to cycle back to one that only has one minor problem, which is that the right analogue doesn't work (and actually, it came out of the box that way). Every single one, either a trigger or an analogue stick goes nuts - my current one (that I've been about ready to chuck out of a window for a few weeks now) the left analogue stick can't go left without it going up-left and it can't go right without it going right-down.

But you're not wrong re: Microsoft/Nintendo. I don't know how anybody uses a Playstation-type controller as their main controller, the form of those things are intolerable. In regards to wireless stuff, if I was playing something like Hollow Knight or Dark Souls, I definitely would not want wireless input...but most of the time, I'm playing more slow-paced stuff, so it doesn't really matter.

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Put fascists and sociopaths on your ignore list.

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Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.

 

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I guess I'm pretty lucky in that I'm rather adaptable to controllers. I'm fairly comfortable using almost anything, I honestly can't think of the last controller that really made my hands hurt. Apropos the Steam Deck, until I have one in my hands I won't know how it handles, so I'm mainly going by number of different buttons and axes. Given the rather excellent Steam Controller setup app which I'm sure will be adapted for the Steam Deck, I can imagine very robust control options.

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I caved and reserved one--had to get in before scalpers. I love handheld consoles. At one point I had every Nintendo handheld (I still have 2 DS's, a 3DS, and my Switch). They say it's basically a mini computer so I'm gonna try to download GOG Galaxy onto it and see if that'll let me play from that library, too.

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55 minutes ago, the_dog_days said:

I caved and reserved one--had to get in before scalpers. I love handheld consoles. At one point I had every Nintendo handheld (I still have 2 DS's, a 3DS, and my Switch). They say it's basically a mini computer so I'm gonna try to download GOG Galaxy onto it and see if that'll let me play from that library, too.

I'll be curious to hear your thoughts on it once you get it. As for GOG Galaxy, there currently is no Linux version. It may or may not work via WINE or Proton, I've never tried it. It's entirely possible Valve will put in some work to get Epic Store and GOG Galaxy and whatever other storefront that doesn't have a native Linux client to work via Proton, if it doesn't already, but I wouldn't hold my breath since Valve obviously would prefer you buy games from them.

Alternatively, you could install Windows on the machine and then you wouldn't have to worry about compatibility layers. The trade off is running an OS that wasn't specifically tailored to the machine and since Windows is proprietary your options in tinkering with it would be limited.

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I don't think I need either the Switch or Steam Deck to play slot or jigsaw puzzle apps, so ... nah.
Not knocking them, I can understand/see their use. Such devices are not aimed at me is all.  :lol:

8 hours ago, Bartimaeus said:

I don't know how anybody uses a Playstation-type controller as their main controller, the form of those things are intolerable.

Speak for yourself.  :p I'm the total opposite, where while I can use an xbox sort of controller, I can't stand their form, weight, or sticks - they make my hands hurt etc. Even before I became velcro-fingers. It's just an individual comfort. I always hear PS ones suck more re: breaking but I haven't had any issues re: ps4 sticks or buttons in 4+ years (I have 4), with 100s/1000's of hours of use. Maybe I'm just weirdly extra-gentle or something.

Their rechargeable battery - how long before they don't hold a charge for as long - happens a little faster than I'd like, but dunno.  The one I use on the PC I bought a long cable for it anyway so no issue there.

I do wonder if having the buttons more directly to the side of the stick (Steam Deck) would be better for my trigger thumb/joint issues - so it'd be more of a slide over to them vs. (for me) a thumb stretch upwards. When the thumb has to stay almost ramrod straight, moving it over/upwards means sometimes sliding over the X(A) or square(X) button and accidentally hitting them while trying to reach for the triangle(Y) button.  >.>

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2 hours ago, Keyrock said:

Alternatively, you could install Windows on the machine and then you wouldn't have to worry about compatibility layers. The trade off is running an OS that wasn't specifically tailored to the machine and since Windows is proprietary your options in tinkering with it would be limited.

I know they say that it can work, but I wouldn't think it would be particularly practical, at least at first.

There are some rumours that Zen4 will have integrated graphics as standard, but if they don't it's hard to see AMD supporting integrated RDNA2 in drivers solely for a product that is 'meant' to be on Linux; and otherwise Zen APUs are always released months, sometimes many months, after the non integrated chips. That would mean hoping that desktop/ mobile or Vega integrated drivers work with integrated RDNA2, and I wouldn't bet much on stability there. And on the base model Windows is going to be taking up a lot of the 64GB storage relative to Linux.

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Ignoring the screen and inputs altogether, it still might be a decent NUC alternative. Especially since the AMD NUC-likes from Asus and Gigabyte have pretty questionable build quality as it is.

L I E S T R O N G
L I V E W R O N G

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1 hour ago, Bokishi said:

Preordered one this morning, the 512gb NVME one. That space is still way too small but hope you can upgrade it eventually

If I *was* going to get one, I'd do the same. 64GB would be, like, are you mad, no, nope, no way.

Now I'm wondering how FFXV would play on the thing....I'm guessing Ansel wouldn't work/be available on it tho. Or...  :shifty:

Edited by LadyCrimson
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“Things are as they are. Looking out into the universe at night, we make no comparisons between right and wrong stars, nor between well and badly arranged constellations.” – Alan Watts
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I'll be curious to see a teardown of a Steam Deck once they hit reviewers hands. The main thing I'm wondering is if the SSD is soldered on the PCB or if it is removable and thus upgradable. You can increase storage with microSD, but even a top speed microSD would potentially impact performance.

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What are the odds Valve puts out a game at launch? In the past they have said they don't want to do exclusives, but they could do a timed exclusive, say a month, that way they still look like the good guy vs Epic's year of exclusivity. Release just the Linux version at launch; there's really no way to make it SteamOS 3.0 exclusive, if it works on SteamOS there's a 99.9% chance it will work "out of the box" on Arch (SteamOS 3.0 is Arch-based) and 98% chance it works on Ubuntu, Fedora, etc. (the community will have it running within a day or two in the event of the 2%). A month later release the Windows, Macintosh (do people still game on Mac, is that a thing?), and console versions.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Yeah, watched that yesterday, seems pretty neat. Probably something you want to wait until the second generation comes out so they can fix whatever major hardware issues arise, though...

Put fascists and sociopaths on your ignore list.

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Never believe that anti-Semites are completely unaware of the absurdity of their replies. They know that their remarks are frivolous, open to challenge. But they are amusing themselves, for it is their adversary who is obliged to use words responsibly, since he believes in words. They even like to play with discourse for, by giving ridiculous reasons, they discredit the seriousness of their interlocutors. They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert. If you press them too closely, they will abruptly fall silent, loftily indicating by some phrase that the time for argument is past.

 

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15 hours ago, Bartimaeus said:

Probably something you want to wait until the second generation comes out

I mean, that's a good policy with any new device. Being an early adopter always comes with caveats.

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