The Steam Deck has a form factor similar to that of a Nintendo Switch but slightly bigger, with the capabilities of a full gaming PC. It includes a modified version of Valve's SteamOS, with a new console-like graphical interface.
Equipped with a 7-inch touchscreen,1280x800 and dedicated game controls (including two trackpads and eight triggers on the back), the SteamOS-based device will connect to your Steam account and will be able to run all the PC titles. It is powered by an "accelerated processing unit" produced by AMD, while the CPU is based on AMD's Zen 2 microarchitecture, with up to 3.5 GHz frequency.
The GPU consists of 8 RDNA 2 computing units each running up to 1.6 GHz, which produces a maximum computing power of 1.6 teraflops. 16 GB of DDR5 RAM, while a microSD slot allows users to increase the built-in storage space.
Three models will be available, although Valve would like to point out that there are no differences in performance between them: the big difference is the capacity and speed of the flash memory included in each of them. Each model has a battery that can last from two to eight hours of use, depending on the game you are playing.
The models are as follows:
- $399 / £349 – 64GB eMMC format storage
- $529 / £459 – 256GB PCIe 3.0 NVMe SSD and "Steam Community Exclusive Profile Package"
- $649 / £569 – 512GB NVMe SSD, as well as "premium anti-glare engraved glass" and a carrying case
The last two Steam Decks will also have faster NVMe SSDs, while all three will allow you to install and play on a Micro SD card to further expand the storage capacity.
Although the Steam Deck does not have the removable controllers seen on the Switch, it does have an optional dock that allows you to connect the device to an external display. Three USB ports (1x USB 3.1, 2x USB 2.0) are included on the dock while DisplayPort 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 output is supported. There is also an Ethernet jack. 4K output at 120 Hz or 8K at 60 Hz is possible when using the dock.
Specifications compared to the Nintendo Switch OLED
Here's how OLED Switches and Steam Deck compare in terms of specs:
|Switch OLED||Valve Steam Deck|
|Display||7" 1280x720 OLED touchscreen||7" 1280x800 (16:10), 60Hz LCD touchscreen|
|GPU||NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor||8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz|
|RAM||4 GB||16 GB DDR5|
|Battery||Circa 4.5-9 ore||Circa 2-8 ore|
|Storage||64 GB, MicroSD expandable||64 GB / 256 GB / 512 GB, MicroSD expandable|
|Dimensions||239mm x 102mm x 28.7mm||298mm x 117mm x 49mm|
|Price||$349.99 / £309.99||$399 / £349 (64 GB)
$529 / £459 - (256 GB)
$649 / £569 - (512 GB)
|CPU||NVIDIA Custom Tegra processor||AMD Zen 2 4c / 8t, 2.4 - 3.5GHz|
|Weight||421 grams||669 grams|
|Audio||Stereo speakers, 3.5mm stereo jack||Stereo speakers, 3.5mm stereo jack, dual mics, multichannel USB-C/Bluetooth output|
|Wired connectivity||USB-C||USB-C with DisplayPort 1.4 Alt-mode support; up to 8K @60Hz or 4K @120Hz, USB 3.2 Gen 2|
|Wireless connectivity||WI-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n/ac)||Wi-Fi and Bluetooth|
Release date and accessories
The Steam Deck doesn't have a definitive release date yet, but it's currently set for the 2021 holiday launch, and Valve President Gabe Newell said reaching these prices was critical to the product's success. A pre-order booking system will be launched shortly, with Valve aiming to avoid the chaos and unpredictability of recent console launches. All three models will come with a carrying case.