What Is the Steam Deck, and Should You Buy One?


The Steam Deck is a handheld gaming PC created by Valve. Picture a Nintendo Switch with commonplace PC {hardware} operating commonplace PC video games and you’ll have a reasonably good concept of what to anticipate.

The Steam Deck Is a PC!

The Steam Deck is essentially only a PC. It makes use of commonplace PC {hardware} and runs commonplace PC working techniques like Linux and Windows—we’ll get to the software program in a second.

Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais revealed {hardware} specs to IGN. Every Steam Deck makes use of the AMD Zen 2 CPU and RDNA 2 GPU structure, and all of them include 16GB of RAM. And in fact, it has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

The Steam Deck is a transportable system with built-in controls—whether or not you like touchpads or joysticks, the Steam Deck has them. It has a seven-inch display screen with 1280×800 decision (that’s a 16:10 facet ratio.) The display screen has ambient mild sensors to robotically modify brightness, identical to a contemporary cellular system.

Valve says you’ll get between two and eight hours of battery life relying on what you’re doing. It comes with a carrying case for portability, too.

Valve may even produce a docking station, providing you with a method to dock the Steam Deck and play your video games on a TV or monitor. But any USB-C dock will work with it: Again, it’s a PC.

What Operating System Does the Steam Deck Run?

The Steam Deck comes with a brand new model of SteamOS, Valve’s gaming working system primarily based on Linux. Valve is asking it SteamOS 3. An older model of SteamOS ran on Valve’s Steam Machines. It has a personalized interface that appears a bit like Steam’s Big Picture mode—Small Picture mode, anybody?

But once more: This is a PC. You can select to put in Windows 10 (or Windows 11) or one other PC working system on this system.

You don’t have to limit your self to video games, both: You can run Linux desktop functions (or Windows desktop functions, should you set up Windows.)

What Games Can the Steam Deck Play?

A game library shown in Steam Deck and on a laptop running Steam.

As it runs Steam OS by default, the Steam Deck will natively run Steam video games that help Linux. However, Valve has additionally been engaged on a “Steam Play” characteristic that permits you to play Windows video games on Linux. it makes use of a modified model of the open-source Wine software program, known as Proton, to emulate Windows video games immediately on Linux.

Unlike typical Wine configuration, which might contain painstaking configuration and random bugs, Steam Play is designed to “just work” with Proton, providing straightforward set up of Windows video games in only a few clicks. Valve is clearly extremely assured about SteamOS’s compatibility with Windows video games, promising that “your entire steam Library shows up, just like any PC” while you log into the Steam Deck along with your Steam account.

However, you possibly can select to put in Windows in your Steam Deck and get entry to Steam’s full Windows library, too.

It can run the rest, too—from an internet browser to a media server to a competing sport retailer like the Epic Games Store or Blizzard’s Battle.web. (However, a few of these functions could not work on Linux and could require you first set up Windows.)

How Much Will the Steam Deck Cost?

You can buy fashions with totally different storage: 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB. The Steam Deck prices $399 for the 64GB mannequin, $529 for the 256GB mannequin, and $649 for the 512GB mannequin.

The 64GB mannequin makes use of slower eMMC storage, whereas the fashions with extra storage use sooner NVMe storage—the largest mannequin has the quickest storage of all and additionally comes with an anti-glare display screen.

Aside from the storage and display screen, all fashions have equivalent {hardware} inside. Valve says you possibly can lengthen the storage with an SD card, however you possibly can’t improve the inside storage.

When Will the Steam Deck Be Released?

The Steam Deck might be launched in December 2021. Valve is utilizing a queue-based system: Starting on Friday, July 16, it is possible for you to to order a spot in the queue to buy one. Head to Steam to reserve your Steam Deck.

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