Recently, Valve held the Steam Deck Development Live Stream, showing the internal operation of the Steam handheld, and sharing information on the custom SoC created by AMD for the Steam Deck. Steam Deck was originally scheduled to start shipping in December this year, but it has to be postponed due to the global chip shortage this year.
This Steam handheld is called Steam Deck. It adopts the AMD APU codenamed Van Gogh, is equipped with a 7-inch 1280 x 800 IPS screen, 16GB of LPDDR5 memory, three versions of storage space of 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB, running a customized Linux system, etc. Its customized APU is called “Aerith” and is manufactured using a 7nm process, the CPU based on the Zen 2 architecture has 4 cores and 8 threads, and the frequency is between 2.4 GHz and 3.5 GHz. The integrated RDNA 2 architecture GPU has 8 computing units with a frequency between 1.0 GHz and 1.6 GHz, and the power consumption of the entire SoC is between 4W and 15W. Its GPU supports FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) technology, and the performance of FP32 is 1.6 TFLOPs, which is comparable to NVIDIA GeForce MX450 (1.67 TFLOPs).
Valve confirms that Aerith does not have strict power consumption limits, whether it is connected to a power supply or used as a mobile device, the device has the same performance. In addition, Valve said that Aerith’s design goal is to provide a stable frequency and does not care about the short-term high frequency that cannot be maintained, which is the same for the CPU and GPU parts. Due to fewer device restrictions, Valve is urging game developers to limit the frame rate in the game to provide more stable performance, but it also plans to force a frame rate limiter on the Steam Deck.
Valve stated that it uses LPDDR5 memory because it has the best efficiency performance for mobile devices and can provide enough bandwidth, which is very suitable for APU. This is also the first AMD mobile processor with LPDDR5 memory. Although 8GB or 12GB of RAM can handle most games at this stage, it is still decided to use 16GB of RAM to cope with future games. The 64GB model uses eMMC flash memory, which is slower than the 256GB and 512GB NVMe SSDs. Official tests show that it takes 12.5% more time to load the game, and the system loading speed will be 25% slower.
Steam Deck can output two 4K@60Hz screens through the integrated USB3 Gen2/DisplayPort 1.4 DSC. The wire used can also provide 45W charging power, enough to make the device run at full speed while charging.