To be completely honest, when I first saw the Steam Deck, I thought it was quite a rip-off, or at least a mini low-end gaming computer that has the price, portability, and size of an expensive tablet (but with gaming controls). Apparently I was partially right. AMD makes absolutely wonderful processors that can make you shout “what in blazes” at the speed. And you can imagine what happens when they combine that with Steam, using a custom Operating System (OS, from now on) specifically designed for running games.
When you silence (or minimize) all the “background noise” of an OS such as its main processes and background processes, security protocols and so on, you can use the resources normally dedicated to that stuff, to running the game itself. This may speed the game up quite a bit, or not as much, depending on your hardware and whatnot. But most operating systems aren’t specifically dedicated to running games like this Steam OS is. Windows is a multi-purpose OS, which is good, but it isn’t specifically built for games. Specialized tools are usually better than jacks-of-all-trades items, when in their specialization. So considering all of this, the Steam Deck might just cut it, though I’m afraid about the thing not running games as well as it advertises. It’s not very convincing to have a small handheld thing like this being advertised as a portable PC in itself, capable of running AAA titles quite well:
With that in mind, let’s look at its technical specifications. This thing is running a Zen 2 4c/8t CPU, with a max speed of up to 3.5GHz, and a minimum of 2.4GHz. This is quite impressive for a small package as shown above. It uses an AMD GPU which has 8 RDNA 2 CU’s, but it’s really uncertain what sort of graphics card it is, because that only tells us its specifications. But apparently it runs between 1GHz and 1.6GHz, so that’s something. I assume we’ll know more in the future. As for now, there’s something else that’s been begging my attention.
The Steam Deck has a battery. If you’re a long-session gamer like myself, you’ll probably want it to be constantly plugged into a charger, otherwise it will probably run out in a few hours. Sometimes, my gaming sessions can last up to 5 hours if I feel like it and have the time. The fact that the battery life is that short scares me in case of a crash, but apparently there’s a feature that allows you to put the system into sleep mode which pauses the game directly where you’re at so that you can return to it instantly. This concerns me again, because what if the battery runs out or something happens which makes my progress become lost? I’m not interested in buying a little PC like that if all it takes is some water damage in this handheld device for my progress or saves to become corrupt. It better have a data protection feature of some sort, or I ain’t putting any stock into this thing. It might have an in-built hard drive, but what do you want me to do if it won’t turn on? Disassemble the whole thing and somehow scavenge the drive, then import the data somewhere? Too much work, thank you very much.
Another thing that interests me more than concerns me is the idea and ability it advertises to connect to your computer and stream games from there. If the Steam Deck is as advanced and as fast as it’s advertised, then why would you need to stream games from your PC? Wouldn’t that be a bit odd? I mean, it’s a cool feature, but something seems a bit fishy.
Then there’s a little dock that is sold separately, and able to be connected into. You can connect the dock to your TV, and this is what actually surprised me the most. I love the idea of having a portable gaming device that you can connect to any TV (if you have the right cables) and play there. It’s a bit like a Nintendo Switch, but compatible with almost anything.
But maybe I’m too harsh on the Steam Deck. To be fair, if you want the equivalent of a low to mid-tier gaming computer (from what I can tell), and you don’t want to buy a whole case for it and don’t want to spend the extra money, then the Steam Deck seems like something for you. If you can afford it, I’d recommend buying a full desktop gaming PC, but not everyone has that type of cash laying around. It seems like something more afforable, accessible, and aimed at both console players who might want to play PC games, and everyone else who might not be able to get their hands on something as powerful or as expensive as a full desktop. Depending on the type of storage and the other accessories that come with it, the cost ranges from $399 to $649.00 before tax. So essentially 400 and 650 dollars. That’s seriously not too bad if you want a portable gaming PC in your hands. But hey, I’m just a voice on the internet, make your own decisions.
Much love. Roxie out.