Thoughts on Valve's Steam Deck

Those of you who don't know, Valve has just announced Steam Deck for portable handheld PC gaming.

Full specs
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
16 GB LPDDR5 RAM (5500 MT/s)
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

Pricing as below

$399 USD

64GB eMMC internal storage (disappointing)
Carrying case

$529 USD

256GB NVMe SSD internal storage
Faster storage
Carrying case
Exclusive Steam Community profile bundle

$649 USD

512GB NVMe SSD internal storage
Fastest storage
Premium anti-glare etched glass
Exclusive carrying case
Exclusive Steam Community profile bundle
Exclusive virtual keyboard theme

Starts shipping December 2021
Tried to reserve one but appears to be unavailable in Australia. Bad move.

If it becomes available in Australia, would Nintendo Switch need to catch up, especially after that marginal upgrade and price hike?
I'm personally excited for this.

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  • +43

    Not sure why Australia isn't included in the release seeing as we pay out of our arses when it comes to steam game pricing.

    • +14

      We can’t even buy a index here yet. I suspect accc and our warranty is stopping valve.

      • +1

        Not directly from the Steam store, but EB Games is going to start selling them in August.

        • +10

          Presold out. That’s a new term for me.

    • It's not like Steam likes Australia, the ACCC smacked them so hard they had to put in a refund option for games but then they changed it to 1 or 2 hours refund window only. They also got smacked by Australia for saying they dont do business in Australia. Europe also decided that it wasn't consumer friendly by also smacking them in court saying they need refunds in place.

      • Google and MS never obey Govt orders whereas Steam has to go down without even opting to fight in court lol

        • +1

          both google and MS provide avenues for refunds. I got a refund from MS recently after purchasing an Xbox game bundle that I thought included an expansion, asked for a refund the next day after installing and realising my mistake, was expecting it to be difficult. No questions asked, simple online form to fill in and refund processed the next day.

        • Nintendo probably worst.
          And Sony.
          Never heard of them doing refunds even on pre-orders.

  • +17

    Seems cool, hoping the project isn't abandoned like Steam Machines and the Steam Controller.

    • +4

      Yea wouldnt be handing over any coin to preorder

    • +3

      True, neither are sold anymore, but the ones that exist work and still get occasional updates…

    • +2

      I had that steam controller, it was good they tried to do something different but it was pretty awful to use compared to an xbox controller or nvidia shield controller.

    • +6

      It's a bid blunt to call it "abandoned".

      Valve had a plan to make their own TV console back in 2012. Their competitors are Sony and Nintendo, not MS as they were a different type of competitor (Windows). The problem was their financing, lack of expertise in hardware, and absence in retail markets. But this focus helped them realise what they needed to do: build an OS, build a controller, build a console box, and do it all on-the-cheap. Their ideas where A+ but the execution was a C-.

      They built the SteamOS.
      Trying to create competition in the PC Gaming space is great when MS has a monopoly over it. At the time, Android was still in its infancy (no support for 64bit, Vulkan, and still no official support for x86). Also there weren't any compelling games or any graphically intensive mobile games at the time. So they chose the best possible option: open-source, Linux, Debian-stable base. The problem is that Linux Distros are not friendly for users, it required a lot of money, effort, and time to get the ball rolling. Valve was sort of doing this by itself, while the rest of the others were fighting amongst themselves and doing the usual duplication of work. So while SteamOS sucks balls compared to OSX, and sucks cock compared to Windows10, they did push Linux to more mainstream and make gaming viable (SuperTux doesn't count). To this day, their OS isn't so much as abandoned as it is pointless. Since the Steam Service can usually be installed on your choice of Linux Distro.

      The Steam Pad.
      Alright this was simply a bad design. They tried to add touchpads to a controller, trying to cram it full of functionality. Not to mention the, high price, QC issues, poor customer support, and low availability. It basically serves a niche. What Valve should have done instead was to build a BETTER controller than Sony and MS, price it right. And to offer companies good financial benefits who then added proper/official support for their controller (and OS) through patches. For example, AppStore takes 30% cut… Steam takes 6%, which they can lower to 4%. This one just simply failed in the market, predictably so, it really wasn't abandoned.

      The Steam Box.
      I actually thought this would be the most simplest part. During this period, you didn't have many options. IBM (Cell/PowerPC) basically left the market. There wasn't any RISC-V or good alternatives. ARM may be decent today, but back then (Cortex A15) there wasn't much outlook of a fast single-core ARM processor. And this leaves x86, which is what the Steam Market was based on. And AMD was facing bankruptcy at this time with their processors, and their GPU division not doing too great either.

      So the obvious choice is a midrange 4c/4t Intel CPU (eg i5-2400), ample memory (8GB DDR3), some storage (256GB), and the rest thrown at the GPU which would have been a low-end Nvidia (GTX 660). At the target price of USD $500. Which is excellent value, equaling the performance of a PS4 Pro only 5 years in advance. At worst, some components may have needed to be nerfed such as, to a 2c/4t Intel CPU and GTX 650, and cost a tad higher at $600. Still a decent value.

      They didn't do this. They let other companies build their boxes and slapped a sticker on it, with little to no guidelines for the performance, price, or size. Obviously they all sucked on all those fronts. The most competent console box came from Alienware, but again they were overpriced. Overall, this here, the Steam Box, a TV console for PC Gamers, that was the major fail. And to me it feels like it was abandoned before release.

      • +4

        It really sounds like Deck is a successor to all that. It uses SteamOS, has a hardware that's like a console, and has the touchpads.

      • +1

        This is why I always try to buy games on steam instead of the garbage epic games store, even if it costs a little more.

        SteamOS sucks balls compared to OSX, and sucks cock compared to Windows10

        LMAO! Which is worse?

  • +4

    Looks very promising. May sway a lot of indie developers away from porting to the switch which can be very costly to do. And the ability to play games already in your library is a big win for the customers wallet. This could be a big hit to Nintendo going into the future.

    • +8

      It’s not costly to port to Switch. That is why you see an influx of indie games on there compared to other platforms.

      • It's just that most games on switch are years behind release date of PC. Quite a few games I played are almost unplayable compared to console or PC alternatives. For the more basic indie games it works just fine though, just some are VERY delayed, and often priced much higher than other systems.

        Also keep in mind indie were already on PC, that's why there is an influx on switch, because they opened that up AFTER release, while other platforms had indie games from launch, or from their backlog catalogue. I mean the games that are getting ported to switch, are already on PC, and probably consoles.

  • +2

    It’ll flop out of the gate and history says nothing will stop the Nintendo steamroller. They don’t need to “compete”.

    • +7

      Maybe, it does seem to be more competitively priced. Valve has botched previous hardware sales with overpricing and poor marketing. If they've learned from mistakes and handle this one better I could see them cutting a piece out of the portable gaming market pie

    • +5

      I don't necessarily agree.

      I "think" a lot of people are also using switch to play pc indie games and they are suffering from the lack of cross save functionality.

      Granted this could be bias on my end, but some people online seem to share same sentiment.

      Compound this to a people getting disappointed due to lack of switch pro, I think steam may very well have a good edge here.

      • +6

        People are downvoting him but he's right.

        The Switch sells because people want to play Nintendo exclusives. THE END.

        This is coming from someone who has a Switch but doesnt like it. I like Gabe and I like his "deck" (hahah) and I want it to succeed but Gabe's track record on PC hardware is not good to say the least.

        So if you're betting on hardware do you bet on Mario or Gabe???

        • +1

          But if you ant to play Switch exclusives, so your buy a Switch, are many going to buy a second portable?

          I think this will sell to people who are very keen to play Windows games, and less interested in Nintendo games, and some gamers who will buy both.

          I don’t think it is much of a threat to the Nintendo market.

        • And the deck will sell because people want to play the games they already own on a portable device, not hard to understand.

    • Its nothing like a new console/handheld launch. You have a pre-existing library and biggest store of games straight out of the gate. People have already amassed large collections of games on Steam. The idea you can easily play them on the go is a winner.

  • +5

    Didn't realise this has AMD hardware inside.

    The weight is 669g which is not light.

    It's also fairly bulky to be carrying around.

    2 hour battery life on games with decent 3D graphics. (i.e. not tetris)

    I think the timing is a bit off with covid still around.

    Because of the above, I think the switch will continue to be #1.

    • +1


      Also add the games library and the audience.

      Casual gamers = Mobile is fine.
      PC gamers = Mobile is maybe ok?

    • yep it looks clunky, tech/design aint there yet

    • +1

      Yeah the weight is a concern. Not going to be fun playing that in handheld mode for long periods of time unless you can rest your elbows on something.

    • I hope to God that it doesn't generate as much heat and fan noises as some of the laptops I had. I wouldn't be surprised if the Deck runs nosier and hotter than a Nintendo Switch because it basically is doing more. I just hope it is not to the point where it just stops functioning as a portable device.

    • +1

      Covid still around, like it'll dissappear soon before the specs are obsolete.

      For some part of the target market for this there's higher savings, and want to entertain at home so I feel might actually be a posative.

    • I mean they explained that even running games like Portal 2 on high FPS and max will result in about 2 hours, while reducing it to 30fps will result in around 4-6 hours. So that's freaking awesome.

  • +5

    Library is the main thing here. This will be my Vita replacement and will definitely make be doubt if i'll want a Switch 2.

    • +2

      It runs SteamOS 3.0 which is based on Arch Linux and uses Proton to have Windows games compatibility.
      Alternatively you should be able to install Windows on it

  • +6

    New Emulator Machine

    • +7

      Yuzu + Steam Deck = Switch Pro

      • -1

        I don't know what Oranges has to do with it but Steam Deck = Steam Deck

        • +5

          Yuzu is a Switch emulator. I was half-joking as I have no idea if it will run well on the Steam Deck

  • +9

    The pricing is quite sharp. The base model comes in at less half the price of the Aya Neo ($925 plus Tax) and the RDNA2 graphics on the Steam Deck is a generation ahead of Vega 6.

    Wonder how much it'll cost when it ends up being sold in Au when you add on the tariffs and down-under-tax…

    The only thing I'm slightly wary of is the longevity of X86 in portable gaming systems. I'd say one or two years from now we'd be seeing Radeon Graphics paired with ARM processors being more prevalent (more battery life, less heat, lighter chassis), or Nvidia DLSS enabled Tegra chips that give you higher resolution at a higher framerate to be the dominant force.

    • Wonder how much it'll cost when it ends up being sold in Au when you add on the tariffs and down-under-tax…

      I wouldn't be surprised if the Valve Steam Deck is twice the US price for AU, considering that the Valve Index Full Kit was US$999 and AU$1899.95.

    • +1

      Tegra X1 was the last Tegra with gaming as a focus, since then it has been aimed at AI and cars. So I'm not sure Nvidia will have a Tegra based gaming device soon anytime soon.

    • +1

      Two generations ahead actually

  • +5

    Wonder if gamepass will be possible on it

    • +2

      It's not OS locked so you should be able to install Windows

    • Sign me up if I can access gamepass.

      • Of course you will eventually be able to use it, and nvidia too!

  • -2

    Destined for obscurity like previous hardware experiments from valve. Disappointing to see the developer responsible for some of my most loved games no longer interested in making titles.

    • +4

      Index is still going strong, and Alyx is amazing.

      • VR is still a relatively new market. Index was a good move to take a share in that growing market.
        Steam Machines were a different story, you're competing against Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo who are very experienced in the estabilished console market. In the end they had a PC-Console half breed which didn't appeal to either console or PC gamers
        Trying to enter the handheld gaming market would definitely be a challenge as Nintendo has dominated it from the beginning. I think they have a chance if they handle it well. Pricing is quite competitive so it's a good start

    • Unfortunately have to agree, the key points of success imo is first party titles and being able to go mobile cpu, which Nintendo can and valve can’t. Valve barely puts out any games now, meaning the number of games optimised for this will be minimal and they won’t be leading by example like Nintendo does. Also since they don’t have an ecosystem they have to go x86, so it’s heavier, more expensive and has less battery life than an arm equivalent. And another company can easily clone this and undercut them.

      • +3

        And another company can easily clone this and undercut them.

        I doubt this. $399 USD for the base model is great value. Comparing to the other handheld PCs like the Aya Neo, it's less than half the price.

      • +1

        All Steam wants, is a device for people to buy games through. Game sales through Steam is their bread and butter.

  • +3

    Interesting, make or break will be battery life.

    They should sell a barebone console system to bring costs down. Would be a cheap way to get into PC gaming, espically now with GPUs being insanely priced.

    Honestly I use my switch in docked mode only, so a cheap Steam console would make more sense than a Steam switch.

    • Currently can get a fulled decked out Hades Canyon NUC for 1k on ebay, but these days prob better to get a laptop with same performance for slightly more.

    • +1

      People who own Steam games already have a docked system they can play their games on, though.

    • They should sell a barebone console system

      They tried that with Steam Machines.
      Also you can connect the Steam Deck to a monitor though a USB-C dock.

  • +12

    super keen to try this as a work computer

    • +6

      tax man dares you

  • Wow didnt see that coming. Looks good though, lets see how it performs

  • +3

    I'd buy this for sure but I doubt Steam would be selling it here in Australia (just like the index)

    • +6

      Valve Index was sold in Australia….just took them 2 years and ~twice US Prices

      • +2

        I really hope we don't suffer the same fate for deck… who am I kidding though :/

        • +2

          Yeah it sucks, I guess we'll need to import it ourselves if we want it…

  • +2

    lol literally thought this was the Switch Pro finally after only seeing a photo. Watch out Nintendo!

  • +4

    After watching a few videos on this it looks like a pretty interesting device. The fact that you can dock it and use it as a PC is pretty enticing. Very tempted to get one (impulse buy) but my wallet is thankful that you can't reserve in Aus atm.

    • +2

      Issue is if you can dock it you’re probably at home where you have a better computer to use anyway.

      • +5

        Perfect device for that niche of deskbound worker, mobile casual PC gamer + minimalist!

      • +1

        But then you can’t exactly take your gaming PC out with you to play games on can you? I own a Switch but there have been times I’ve longed for Fallout 3 or the second or third Dark Souls games on Switch.

        • +2

          Sure but it’s a compromise of both use cases. Portability wise its pretty heavy, the battery life is lower than the switch, and you’ll probably pay $1000+ since you’ll probably want at least 256gb. I just don’t see a big enough market for this tbh.

          • @cheng2008: I disagree, I actually think it’ll sell pretty well. Time will tell I guess.

            • @Ghost47: I agree that it will sell well, being Valve and everything. I just think that Valve needs to support it on a long time scale otherwise it'll end up with the same fate as the steam box. But I do like that Valve has brought more awareness to the mobile gaming market.

              • @cheng2008: I think you're both wrong.
                Portability-wise it is portable. You can take it out, like camping, or to your friends place, or even to say like the library/university. You can't say that about a Desktop PC. And it's going to be a better gaming experience than using a gaming laptop, since you don't have you bring along a big laptop bag with your mouse etc. And this does have a touchscreen and built-in controllers.

                Then again, it's big and heavy, it is not going to fit into your pocket. This thing is going to require you to carry a backpack (for men) or a handbag (for women). Battery life is very questionable, so that might mean bringing a charger (battery is not User Removable).

                So I see most people ending up using this like a tablet you use at home on the couch or bed. But if that's the case, it's kind of expensive. And a bit redundant, as you could just sit on your battle-station and use your regular Desktop PC. Or if you're inclined, you would just use your Wifi to stream your PC Game straight to your Windows/Android Tablet or phone. So ultimately a limited use.

                So this is a niche. The base model is stupid cheap. Just add a 1TB nVme drive yourself, and flash a $10 Windows10 Pro OS on it. It's going to kill that market, and be a great success (very nice). However, the market really isn't that big, it's not going to pass the 50 Million unit sales mark. It won't compare to the Xbox, PS5, or Switch.

                • @Kangal: Pretty sure the internal memory is not upgradeable and the only way to expand storage is the MicroSD slot

                  • @FireRunner: That's what I thought, but I've seen people posting about it, that there's an M.2 slot inside. So just get the cheapest model, throw $150 at it, and you get a decent flash in there with Windows10 Pro. (More optimised) Drivers and stuff will come out very soon for this. And there will be online guides to dual boot it as well. The microSD slot is just too slow for some programs, but should be okay for storing large game files (ie Textures)… and I know that microSD's do become prohibitively expensive in the higher capacities.

                    I'm hoping some AAA developers get their hands on this as well, and they release a game update or patch, which optimises their game for this hardware. For instance, Doom Eternal is a likely candidate. That will make it better for consumers. And yes I know there will be gamers out there doing this already like HardwareUnboxed, LowSpecGamer, and The Phawx.


                    Okay, so it is true. However, it isn't the mainstream 2280 size. This is the compact 2230 size. So expect to pay 40%-90% higher prices. So logically a 1TB nvme would cost between $200-$400, but probably $300. And say you're getting Windows10 Pro for free. So you're paying an extra $150 than what I stated earlier, think of it as money taken from buying four good games. That's rough but acceptable, and still slightly cheaper than what Valve would have you pay.

                    • -1

                      @Kangal: Doesn’t look user serviceable, you’ll probably void warranty doing this.

                      • @cheng2008: Void warranty?
                        Not too likely, if you swap them out without anything else. And you can clone the other module to have SteamOS. Not that I think we will even get the Steam Deck here, or with local Aussie Warranty.

                        Serviceability is unknown at the moment. But I think it should be fairly easy to do yourself, as Valve aren't known to making things consumer-hostile in the way that Apple and other companies are. Not to mention, iFixit will get a guide on this fairly soon, and we will see small businesses offering to do this for people who aren't confident to.

                        • @Kangal: That gamerant article says it’ll probably void warranty.

                          And sure, Aussies won’t have local warranty so they’ll probably have to find a local electronics repair shop anyway if something goes wrong, but I think most people will just pay extra for peace of mind rather than tinker with a new device.

                        • -1

                          @Kangal: I think servicability really needs to be looked at after the device is released. Not because Valve is or isn't evil, but packing something in that kind of small packaging could mean that they may had to forego some servicability for compactness.

                          i.e. xbox series x doesn't look that difficult to open up, but surface pro I think is awful to open up.

                          • -1

                            @iridiumstem: True, this isn't about whether Valve is a good guy or not. They don't really have a choice. This is why I don't think we should be encouraging people to rip apart their steam decks as soon as they get them.

                            • -1

                              @cheng2008: I humbly disagree.
                              This is a compact device, but it isn't THE most compact device. There's certainly adequate space to open up and replace an m.2 card.

                              Valve can be "evil" and make it difficult to service, using weird screws and glue and soldered-on parts. They can also be "good" by using standard screws, parts, and thoughtful for servicing.

                              And I think we SHOULD be encouraging people to rip apart their devices from Day 1. It is THEIR device, and NOT the property of the manufacturer. I 100% support the Right to Repair movement. A lot of the innovation in tech has happened due to the openness of it, challenging other devices and companies, and fanning the flames of competition. Locking people out, increasing prices, reducing durability, and telling governments that consumers DON'T own the devices they buy (merely license) is what restricts innovation and competition, and the general welfare of people. However, in turn, we need the populous to reward companies that do right by supporting them, which isn't happening and what we're getting are consumers who are indoctrinated by marketing (case in point; LGs abandonment from mobile phones).

                • @Kangal: do you need to go to to get cheap keys?
                  i haven't been able to find any cheap ones on for a while now

                  • +1

                    @dajackal: Yeah, just go through Germany. Because of their laws, and their high amount of PCs, you get access to it cheaply there. It's an open secret. Might be even cheaper from other places.

                    After a PayPal payment, they simply email you the code. Usually on the hour. If it doesn't work, usually they are nice and give you another one. And these are real keys btw. No shipping required, so doesn't matter if you're from Australia making the purchase from Germany. Good Luck.

  • +2

    "Steam deck". The name just makes me think of taking a steamer in the upper deck.

  • +1

    Get this instead of Switch, avoid the Nintendo tax.

  • Past Steam hardware has been pretty underwhelming

  • +3

    I'll stick with my Ouya thanks…

    • Ouuuuuyaaa

    • Didn't know it ran doom eternal?

  • Come on, Dell.

    Drop that Alienware UFO announcement.

  • +3

    Please don't send me unsolicited deck pics.

    • Hey, pass me your deck mate, it's my turn to play ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  • I was/am a huge fan of the Steam Controller for the trackpad precision and most importantly the reach around bumper buttons being able to act as macro modifiers that could bring up a custom GUI ontop of a game for things like quick save/load or whatever. It could even bring up an on screen keyboard in game, and you could type using the controller when bringing up a custom OSD.

    If they bring out a version that can be used with an eGPU such as the R43SG (and still have access to fast internal storage) then I'll buy one straight away.

  • So the pre-ordering went about as well as expected apparently:

  • +1

    I am kinda tempted, since it does sound like something I can leave in the living room and pick up and play in the bedroom if I so desire. I do have bunch of indie games that I do enjoy, which I doubt would be that taxing on the system (compared to say, a AAA title).

    I assume it would be OK for media as well, since it's just a PC?

    • From what I can see it can run full Windows alongside SteamOS. The CPU is a current AMD architecture 4c8t APU so it won't have any problem playing any media.

      • Yay, depending on how the device actually performs (thermal throttling and heat), I might grab it.

  • +3

    I think for me is that even if it does flop or steam abandons it - it is still a normal PC (just in a handheld format).
    It does not really need steam in any way for it to be viable (install windows or another linux distro).
    People seem to be too focused on the 2 hours of battery - that is at full power. Honestly though, on a 720p (or 800) resolution you don't need full power and as with the GPD stuff it is fairly easy to push these things to 4 hours+ (undervolting the gpu and cpu).
    If i didn't already have a GPD Win max (which i use quite a lot) - this would be a definite thumbs up for me. At the moment it is a bit hard to justify for me.
    The only neg i have about it is that the hard drive is not changeable and it is NVME as opposed to SATA (honestly - for portable gaming you don't give up that much performance (few seconds of load time at worst) but you get a drive that is a whole lot cooler and power efficient - 2 things that are good for gaming on the go.

    • +2

      To give some perspective - on the GPD Win Max i can run Final Fantasy XIV, Genshin Impact, pretty much all flawlessly and at 60fps. If i dial it down to 30 fps i can drop the voltage down and get quite a few decent hours of playtime. There has not yet been a game that wont run reasonably well at those resolutions (the effects you can argue, on a small screen i don't usually notice the difference). Plus with AMD Fidelity FX now coming on the scene these machines will be viable for a very long time.
      The GPD win Max 2 uses both a 4800U or an Intel Xe. The Xe is faster graphically then the 4800U, but the 4800U is more efficient and CPU is better. I imagine that with this running RDNA2 and a current Zen processor it will leave the intel for dead in the CPU/power and should equal (if not better) the graphics area.

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