[Tom’s Hardware] Steam Deck Hardware Analysis: Expect Potent 720p Gaming

1 : Anonymous2021/07/20 23:27 ID: oodsfp
[Tom's Hardware] Steam Deck Hardware Analysis: Expect Potent 720p Gaming
2 : Anonymous2021/07/21 03:11 ID: h5yhk42

If anything, it has the potential to be a pretty badass portable emulation machine.

ID: h5yqf5y

Seems to be it has the potential to be a bad ass portable AAA machine. Seems like there are better, cheaper options if all you want is to emulate older consoles.

ID: h60biii

I've seen reviews for other options and they're lacking in the CPU department to be fully capable. This is proper PC hardware that looks powerful enough to be comfortable with emulation.

ID: h60ga5s

More to the point, it can do both in one package

ID: h5z6eeu

What are examples for that? Ah raspberry Pi cannot really run e.g. N64 games well

ID: h5zmfo2

I can see myself emulating cherished games and the games that I normally play on my gaming PC. This is what I have been hoping for for ages in terms of gaming. A portable device that plays all of my games that I can dock and play on my TV or computer monitor.

ID: h5z8o8j

Serious question - why would one but portable gaming device instead of laptop / tablet and game pad?

ID: h5zdqd9

It isn't a service, the device runs the games locally. A laptop is far larger and bulkier, making it much less convenient to carry/use in many situations. It also has a larger screen, requiring a higher resolution and better performance to keep up, which drives the price way above the Deck. A tablet won't run all the same emulators you can run on a PC, and is much less powerful so won't run newer ones as well. The Deck will be able to emulate lots of Switch games, and has the controls to work with basically anything (including the massive library of PC titles).

ID: h5zc1li

Price and portability

ID: h5zyfwx

Dude. If you send me a tablette that has hardware much stronger than steam deck at the same price. I can give you a point

ID: h5zs953

Laptop is 10 times the size of steam deck lmaoo

3 : Anonymous2021/07/21 13:03 ID: h5zy9i5

This is very exciting. The prospect of playing the majority of my steam library on the go along with possible emulation of older platforms, on a nice screen with what looks to be actually decent controls? Yes please. Also the price seems very competitive with the Switch to be honest. It's a bit more, sure, but the library of games and additional utility you get with this will be beyond comparison.

ID: h619knd

IGN got it playing AAA games on medium-high settings and good framerates, it will run games like Cyberpunk 2077 or RDR2 without issue.

ID: h60cish

The only argument for getting a Switch are the exclusives. If you don't care about them then the Steam Deck is a no brainer if you want a portable gaming machine in this form factor.

4 : Anonymous2021/07/21 11:24 ID: h5zolf7

I think the value proposition here is off the charts. I would love for this to do well for the sole reason of forcing devs to make it a target platform, essentially forcing native Linux ports.

ID: h60fds4

Likewise or at the very least some wine/proton settings that work out of the box if not a native port.

I’m definitely getting one because if the specs are accurate, it’s a bit faster than my home theater PC in both CPU and GPU perf (i3-4130 and GTX 750Ti). That runs the games I play at 1080p 45+fps on at least medium, so more power in a 1280x800 handheld will be beautiful.

5 : Anonymous2021/07/21 07:48 ID: h5z8sff

these will get modded to oblivion... i always love that naïve approach of taking specs of open systems for the be-all end-all

ID: h5zgeg2

Modded how? I expect all of 1 hackaday article of someone soldering a different apu onto it but breaking literally all functionality in the process lmao.

ID: h60rs0s

Not even. Custom SoC, so you won't find a chip with matching pinout.

ID: h60via2

Maybe someone will get it to run an eGPU off m.2 but that's really the best I can see happening here.

6 : Anonymous2021/07/21 01:51 ID: h5y7qdp

If only I could play oblivion on this :'( I could never figure out how to get my controller to work with it on Steam..

ID: h5yf9tz

:s I don't see why that wouldn't be plug and play.

ID: h5z2qph

Because its Bethesda. Half arsing things is kinda their superpower.

ID: h5yxmi7

Nope, Oblivion is NOT plug and play. It will be basically unplayable on this device. The Pc version of Oblivion (and Morrowind for that matter) does not have native controller support on PC, in spite of being released on consoles. You can get it working with some whacky mouse/keyboard emulators that can be assigned to joysticks/buttons and with some mods. However, the PC game engine wasn’t designed with this in mind, so although it works great on console, no matter what has been done it’s a hot mess on pc.

There’s been plenty of demand for Bethesda to remaster Morrowind/Oblivion and this is actually one of the top reasons. Another is that a full conversion to 64 bit would be huge for mods, making everything much more streamlined and simple.

Fallout 3 is another Bethesda game with tons of issues people have been hoping will get remastered. This one has controller support, but it actually won’t run on Windows 7/8/10 without mods.

It’d really be great if Microsoft did this now that they own Bethesda, as they could use an outside Dev, release it on Xbox/PC, and charge a premium for the remastered editions.

7 : Anonymous2021/07/21 14:19 ID: h607nmn

How long till they make a laptop shell attachment lol.. I wouldn't mind paying $150-$200 for the ability to do some work on this thing

ID: h60d229

You can buy a dock for it that will give you DP 1.4, HDMI 2.0, Ethernet, 1xUSB 3.1 and 2x USB 2.0 so you can use it as a normal PC with external mouse, keyboard and monitor.

ID: h60g9fy

I was talking something more like this.

8 : Anonymous2021/07/21 14:48 ID: h60bllp

Another thing people forget is that you can game at much better settings at home if you enable streaming.

9 : Anonymous2021/07/21 11:26 ID: h5zorme

It's 800p it's a 11% pixel density difference come on... At least get your data right.

10 : Anonymous2021/07/21 12:17 ID: h5ztglo

What is this article comparing it with desktop PC? It is a 720p portable device and the author of the article was expecting RTX 3090 levels of performance or what?

ID: h5zyya6


11 : Anonymous2021/07/20 23:53 ID: h5xt6yg

Would have been nice if it was consistent 60fps on all games. I guess that's where we could probably tweak graphic settings.

ID: h5xtuuk

I think these type of speculation pre-launch are beyond meaningless. Not only we don't know the performance of iGPU RDNA 2 but this device will run a custom flavour of Linux. Valve will optimize the shit out of their OS to extract better performance. Not only that, you can force VRS in AMD based systems through MESA.

ID: h5y6odb

Not only we don't know the performance of iGPU RDNA 2

We do have an idea since this is what the consoles are using. It has 40% of the CUs of the xbox series s, it's clocked the same and has DDR5 rather than GDDR6. So 1/3 of the xss is a good starting point.

Reducing the resolution from 1080p to 720p (44%) and lowering some graphics settings would give the steam deck portable next gen performance. It will be running crossgen titles and next gen stuff just fine.

If the screen has VRR, then variable performance will be more than enough. Especially with such a small screen.

12 : Anonymous2021/07/21 01:32 ID: h5y5cv3

I'm curious to see the game support. It's not like you are going to be able to set a bunch of stuff to make proton work with unsupported games when you have no keyboard.

ID: h5zkfl9

There's a keyboard on the touchscreen when you need it, the same as other portable devices. You can see it on either the Deck website or the IGN videos.

ID: h5zpq6z

Most games only use a handful of keys that can be remapped to any number of buttons/triggers on the controller. Then a majority of games that do have a lot of hotkeys that are turn-based can be played with trackpads. And then for faster games keys can be bound to a menu that is accessed using the trackpads. It's not as intuitive as m+kb and not ideal but it can be done. Fast paced rts and Mobas are the last ones youd want to attempt, possible but very difficult. Most other genres are fine.

ID: h600mv2

I'm not even looking at mapping keys. How big is the officially supported proton game list now? Last I checked it was basically just Valve games. If you want to spend a couple hundred bucks to play CS:GO on the go then by all means.

ID: h5zgh01

Why are they down voting you this is a good point?

ID: h5zkj86

Because there's an obvious answer.... How am I typing this comment on a portable device without a keyboard?

ID: h60fvln

Because it's simply incorrect. Why would you assume the Steam Deck has no virtual keyboard?

ID: h5zys0a

Sorry if this is a dumb question, but since you can install Windows on it, why can’t you just play any game that way, instead of via Proton on SteamOS?

ID: h61i2x3

I keep seeing this question (and I don't think it's dumb, btw...) so I'll repeat my original sentiment from a few days ago.

This is going to be a reverse of the "But can you install Linux on it?" days of the 00's.

Yes, some people will buy this with the intent of installing Windows and no, it won't be nearly as much of an adventure as getting it was back then (this is consumer level hardware with none of the headaches of absent drivers and having to bootstrap a kernel on FridgeOS)... but it will never work as intended by Valve when they do.

From what very little any of us have seen, the primary user interface is going to be Valve's "Big Picture" answer for the Deck, but I'd be quite surprised if there aren't a host of QOL improvements baked in that simply will not directly translate from a Linux box running (what I'd assume will be a noticeably customized) KDE on the frontend over to a stock Win 10.

It will install and work, but it will be Windows running on an uncomfortable body.

Nothing some time and patience won't solve, but my guess is it'll feel a bit of kludge out of the box.

I'm a Linux guy already, though. While some are thinking "Why wouldn't I run Windows on it?" I'm thinking, "Why wouldn't I switch from KDE to i3 and do some actual work on this thing?"

Spec wise, it beats out my XP13!

ID: h600yxn

Joe consumer is going to buy your hand held so they can install windows on it because it sucks how you sold it to them?

13 : Anonymous2021/07/21 15:16 ID: h60fixb

Yes, it's generally being underestimated.

A simple way of looking at it is - it's significantly more powerful than a PS4, but also targets a much lower resolution.

i.e. should be roughly ~50% more powerful in raw performance, and also targets 1280x800 instead of 1920x1080

So anything that runs on the PS4 the Steam Deck should be able to run at 60 FPS around "medium".

And just to close with another comparison you could make, the Xbox Series S is about 2.5x the raw power, but will be targeting 2-3.6x the resolution (1080p to 1440p dynamic res). So, the Steam Deck should be able to do roughly the same FPS and settings as an Xbox SS, just at the much lower native res.

(but caveat on that comparison about CPU-limited performance and also DirectStorage, until it also gets implemented in SteamOS, as the hardware should be compatible)

ID: h60rv1r

Um, where are you getting 50% more powerful than PS4 from? I expect it to be roughly as powerful as a PS4 but just targeting lower res, which is obviously going to make a huge difference.

ID: h60zgff

RDNA2 is ~70+% faster than GCN1 per TFlop, so the GPU is significantly faster.

The CPU is then hilariously faster, as Zen2 is something like ~80% higher IPC than Jaguar, and it's also clocked much higher.

So, overall, should be in the ~50% faster ballpark, but in raw performance, so if it was targeting the same resolution of 1080p. It'll be ballpark of up to ~3x the performance of the PS4 when accounting for targeting 800p.

i.e. if a PS4 runs something at 1080p30, the Steam Deck should run it at 800p ~90 FPS, at equivalent graphics settings.

Its exact performance is going to come down to what its sustained clocks actually are.

14 : Anonymous2021/07/21 15:36 ID: h60iazf

Yeah. This also should run next gen only games well due to RDNA2 with its DX12U featureset (and Vulkan equivalents). Equipped with a NVMe SSD, it's pretty futureproof.

I am just a bit worried about the CPU. If a next gen game runs at 30 FPS on the next gen consoles with little CPU headroom left, Steam Deck might not be able to run it. A 60 FPS next gen game should run without issues at 30 FPS on the Deck though, that's a given.

ID: h60s5l3

I mean, if you’re tapped out on the console CPUs at 30fps I’d say PC players would be pretty fucked too. Not many PC gamers have 3700X-class hardware.

16 : Anonymous2021/07/21 11:34 ID: h5zpibz

expect potato 720p gaming

17 : Anonymous2021/07/21 13:30 ID: h601ey0

Will be an absolute sick portable machine to play indie and emulation games.

18 : Anonymous2021/07/21 13:02 ID: h5zy4k3

I wish they'd gone with 1080P for the screen.

I didn't think I would notice but going from 720P to 1080P on a 5" phone screen is a huge jump. 720P on a handheld 7" screen is gonna be hella jaggy, plus you can't even take advantage of FSR coz the render resolution is gonna be hella low (like 600P or 540P).

19 : Anonymous2021/07/21 13:29 ID: h601bij

True but its not as bad you think... Also, its in the middle its 800p not 720p which like a good 11% difference in pixels.

20 : Anonymous2021/07/21 13:23 ID: h600mll

Almost guarantee this was totally due to battery life concerns. I think this thing is going to be a dog when it comes to battery already - when you have to say "anywhere between 2 and 6 hours, depending" , that doesn't really exude confidence. This thing will probably average more along 2 hours of battery life, unless you kill every setting possible, or stick to streaming games via Steam Link.

21 : Anonymous2021/07/21 16:13 ID: h60nlbs

Between 2 and 8 hours. The original Switch quoted between 2.5 and 6.5, it depends how you use any portable device like this. A phone can easily last days on standby, or many hours doing light reading, but gaming will kill it much faster. 4 hours of Portal 2 at 60fps or 6 hours at 30fps, but 2 hours in very demanding games is what the IGN interview said

22 : Anonymous2021/07/21 14:52 ID: h60c889

The screen on the Stream Deck has a resolution of 1280x800 so the next resolution after that would be 1920x1200 not 1920x1080.

23 : Anonymous2021/07/21 16:41 ID: h60rpwz

If the screen was 1080p it probably wouldn’t have enough horsepower to handle AAA titles.

24 : Anonymous2021/07/21 09:42 ID: h5zh4lg

There isn’t a rule book for where chips should come from and go to - the rules are that it’s a free for all, whoever is willing to invest and innovate to bring new products out to sell.

25 : Anonymous2021/07/21 08:18 ID: h5zbkif

Cornering a new type of PC devices is not a waste. Intel has a ton of inertia in laptops, but not here.

26 : Anonymous2021/07/21 17:31 ID: h60yvxi



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