Update: It runs Arch Linux, and the Steam Deck interface is built on KDE’s Plasma.
Valve just announced the Steam Deck, its long-rumored Switch-like handheld gaming device. It will begin shipping in December and reservations open July 16th at 1PM ET. It starts at $399, and you can buy it in $529 and $649 models as well.
The device has an AMD APU containing a quad-core Zen 2 CPU with eight threads and eight compute units’ worth of AMD RDNA 2 graphics, alongside 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. There are three different storage tiers: 64GB eMMC storage for $399, 256GB NVMe SSD storage for $529, and 512GB of high-speed NVME SSD storage for $649, according to Valve. You can also expand the available storage using the high-speed microSD card slot.
This is an excellent value for money, and what’s awesome is that this is a Linux device (it can run Windows too, if you choose to install it, since it’s just a PC). It runs a new version of SteamOS, using the amazing Proton to run Windows games. This is how I’ve been playing my games for a long time now, and I can’t reiterate enough just how good Proton has become. At this price point, with these features, and with Steam’s massive reach, this device is going to be a massive hit.
My fiancée and I have already decided we’re getting one, since it’s just so perfect for what it offers. I’ve been looking at similar offerings from Chinese manufacturers, but they usually come with compatibility problems, far higher prices, and Windows. This new device from Valve seems to fix a lot of these issues, and I can’t wait to see if it’ll hold up in reviews.
I’ve had my trigger finger hovering over the button for the GPD Win 3, but now I’m inclined to wait for this since it’s Linux (yay!) and AMD (YAY!) rather than the Wintel GPD unit. As much as I like the form factor of the GPD system (Sony UMPC style slider), I have a feeling the Steam Deck will be more performant and refined, and again a Linux-first machine has me drooling! They also are not restricting or locking down the device; you can install whatever OS you want, though the form factor would make some OS choices less relevant.
Consider me hyped.