Have you ever wondered which handheld gaming console is faster between the Steam Deck and the Aya Neo Next? YouTuber ETA PRIME's (opens in new tab) latest video shows us which device delivers the best gaming performance.
AMD's Ryzen processors power the two gaming devices: a custom APU (Van Gogh) for the Steam Deck and a mainstream Ryzen 5000 (Cezanne) SoC for the Aya Neo Next. Both processors come out of TSMC's 7nm furnace; however, AMD's recipe differs between the two chips. Memory-wise, the Steam Deck has 16GB of LPDDR5-5500, while the Aya Neo Next sports 16GB of LPDDR4-4667.
Aerith, the chip found inside the Steam Deck, contains four Zen 2 cores and eight threads. It has a 2.4 GHz base clock and a 3.5 GHz boost clock. Meanwhile, the Ryzen 7 5800U is at the heart of the Aya Neo Next. The processor features eight Zen 3 cores and 16 threads with base and boost clock speed up to 1.9 GHz and 4.4 GHz, respectively. Aerith has a TDP between 4W and 15W, whereas the Ryzen 7 5800U has a cTDP between 10W and 25W.
Aerith leverages AMD's latest RDNA 2 solution with eight RDNA 2-based compute units topped out at 1.6 GHz. The Ryzen 7 5800U, on the other hand, is still on Vega and offers eight Vega compute units with a maximum frequency of 2 GHz.
The YouTuber performed his gaming tests at 1280 x 800 resolution with low graphics settings and AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) feature enabled in some games. The Steam Deck was on SteamOS except for the Forza Horizon 5 test, where the YouTuber changed the operating system to Windows 10. The Aya Neo Next ran natively on Windows 10.
Steam Deck vs. Aya Neo Next Gaming Benchmarks
|Steam Deck (15W)||Aya Neo Next (16W)||Aya Neo Next (28W)|
|God of War||32 - 53 FPS||19 - 30 FPS||24 - 32 FPS|
|The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt||57 - 61 FPS||45 - 50 FPS (Avg: 47 FPS)||55 - 66 FPS (Avg: 59 FPS)|
|Elden Ring||37 - 44 FPS||31 - 40 FPS (Avg: 32 FPS)||34 - 51 FPS (Avg: 41 FPS)|
|Forza Horizon 5||80 - 93 FPS (Avg: 83 FPS)||52 - 77 FPS (Avg: 71 FPS)||91 - 107 FPS (Avg: 92 FPS)|
The Steam Deck delivered better performance in God of War than the Aya Neo Next, even with the latter is running in the 28W mode. Neither device maintained 60 FPS, but the Aya Neo Next had lower dips in frame rates.
In The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, the Steam Deck outperformed the Aya Neo Next in 16W mode. However, it wasn't until the YouTuber switched over to the 28W configuration that we saw the Aya Neo Next slightly outpacing the Steam Deck.
The Steam Deck and Aya Neo Next kept the frame rates above 30 FPS in Elden Ring. The Aya Neo Next (28W) performed mildly better, though.
Both gaming devices excelled in Forza Horizon 5, maintaining frame rates above 60 FPS during the benchmark runs. In addition, the Steam Deck offered higher performance than the Aya Neo Next in its 16W mode.
The Steam Deck is a capable handheld gaming device from a performance efficiency standpoint. Nonetheless, the Aya Neo Next offered higher performance in some CPU-intensive titles due to the console's more beefy processor and more generous thermal limits. The YouTuber noted that there's even a 35W setting on the Aya Neo Next, but it'll deplete your battery faster and force your processor to run hotter.
Aya Neo has since upgraded the Next from the Ryzen 7 5800U to the more recent Ryzen 7 5825U (Barcelo), a refresh of the former. However, the Ryzen 7 5825U brings a 100 MHz upgrade in both base and boost clock over the original Ryzen 7 5800U, so it's not a groundbreaking improvement.
The problem with the Aya Neo Next is the pricing. The starting price for the device is $1,385, more than 3X than Valve's Steam Deck, which starts at $399. The bad news is that new Steam Deck buyers won't see their order shipped until after Q3, which is a long wait. Moreover, Steam Deck scalpers are flipping Valve's handheld on eBay for over $1,500, making the Aya Neo Next look more attractive than it is.