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Steam Deck Benchmarks Show 60 FPS Gaming Experience With Reasonable Eye Candy

Steam Deck
Steam Deck (Image credit: Valve Corporation)

Valve's Steam Deck will hit the market in December 2021. However, a lucky Chinese netizen has managed to get his hands on a development kit and posted an early review of the handheld PC. Being a development kit, the retail unit's performance will likely vary so approach the benchmarks with an open mind.

The Steam Deck utilizes a custom AMD APU that brings the chipmaker's Zen 2 and RDNA 2 microarchitectures onto a single chip. On the computing side, we have a quad-core, eight-thread processor with clock speeds that vary between 2.4 GHz and 3.5 GHz. On the graphics end, the chip wields eight RDNA 2 compute units that tick between 1 GHz and 1.6 GHz. The APU is accompanied by 16GB of next-generation LPDDR5-5500 memory.

Sporting 7-inch LCD display, the Steam Deck outputs at a 1280 x 800 resolution at 60 Hz in handheld mode and up to 8K at 60 Hz or 4K at 120 Hz when docked. The Chinese user tested his development kit in handheld mode.

Starting with Shadow of the Tomb Raider, the Steam Deck delivered an average frame rate of 30 FPS on the highest setting. The reviewer claimed that he didn't notice any stutter in the gameplay. Dropping the graphics preset to high got the average frame rate to around 36 FPS. Further lowering the image fidelity resulted in a frame rate over 60 FPS. However, the reviewer didn't share which settings he modified.

Steam Deck Benchmarks

GameGraphics SettingFrame Rate
Shadow of the Tomb RaiderHighest / High / Custom30 FPS /36 FPS / 60 FPS
DoomMedium / Custom60 FPS / 46 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077High20 FPS - 30 FPS
DOTA 2Highest / Low47 FPS / 80 FPS

In Doom, the frame rate fluctuated around the 60 FPS mark on the medium setting. With a more demanding preset, the Steam Deck pushed out 46 FPS, and the gameplay was still smooth, according to the reviewer. Again, he didn't state the options that were changed.

Cyberpunk 2077, which is known to cripple even the best graphics cards, was tough on the Steam Deck. On the high preset, the frame rate oscillated between 20 FPS and 30 FPS, and the freezing was evident. For an acceptable experience, you'd need to lower the graphics setting to medium or low. Unfortunately, the review didn't test those presets.

DOTA 2 was obviously more forgiving on the device. The Steam Deck delivered frame rates up to 47 FPS on the highest preset and 80 FPS on the low preset.

During his testing, the reviewer measured the temperatures on the Steam Deck. He noted that the rear of the handheld PC was around 42.6 degrees Celsius and 29 degrees Celsius on the grips. In about three hours of game time, the battery life went from 100% to 46%. This is the development kit so there is margin for optimization. For reference, the Steam Deck is equipped with a 40 Wh Lithium-ion battery.

The Steam Deck will debut at $399 for the base model with 64GB of eMMC storage. The models with 256GB and 512GB of NVMe storage will cost $529 and $649, respectively.

  • hotaru251
    now imagine if they'd of put rdna2 with 5600g/5700g instead of ancient vega....
    Reply
  • OMGPWNTIME
    hotaru251 said:
    now imagine if they'd of put rdna2 with 5600g/5700g instead of ancient vega....

    Definitely true, although I have a strong feeling the Decks Quad Channel Memory is why it seems to perform better than anyone expected
    Reply
  • Stan110
    hotaru251 said:
    now imagine if they'd of put rdna2 with 5600g/5700g instead of ancient vega....
    The steam deck has a 8cu rdna2 based apu, not vega.
    Reply
  • deesider
    Stan110 said:
    The steam deck has a 8cu rdna2 based apu, not vega.
    Yeah, they are saying if only the actual 5700G used RDNA rather than Vega.

    Maybe they had a deal with Sony and Microsoft to hold off on using RDNA in their own APU, which doesn't apply to Steamdeck since it is also a custom console device.
    Reply
  • david germain
    OMGPWNTIME said:
    Definitely true, although I have a strong feeling the Decks Quad Channel Memory is why it seems to perform better than anyone expected
    maybe they are using failed QA silicon they have laying around in the factory. not good enough for desktop so put in handheld.
    Reply
  • mitch074
    david germain said:
    maybe they are using failed QA silicon they have laying around in the factory. not good enough for desktop so put in handheld.
    No, that's what the 4700S is about.
    Having tested the latest Vega on several iterations of Zen2/Zen3 APUs, I can attest that memory speed is the definite bottleneck : there is no advantage to RDNA2 over Vega when RAM bandwidth is low.
    Reply
  • -Fran-
    HYPE!

    I kid; but I can't deny I'm excited for it.

    Regards.
    Reply
  • renz496
    hotaru251 said:
    now imagine if they'd of put rdna2 with 5600g/5700g instead of ancient vega....

    Bandwidth will still be an issue. That's why AMD still play around vega with APU. Also for the vast majority of market people don't really need extremely strong igpu. Hence there is no immediate need for AMD to come out with APU with stronger gpu that what they already have with vega.
    Reply
  • fball922
    With the 4700S floating around, AMD has demonstrated that GDDR can be used for general computing (even if the latency is not ideal for other tasks), I am surprised there hasn't been a custom board with a working GPU and GDDR. This seems like a perfect use cast for such a device, I would think.
    Reply
  • renz496
    fball922 said:
    With the 4700S floating around, AMD has demonstrated that GDDR can be used for general computing (even if the latency is not ideal for other tasks), I am surprised there hasn't been a custom board with a working GPU and GDDR. This seems like a perfect use cast for such a device, I would think.

    because it can end up being an expensive venture. replace DDR with GDDR module? will they come soldered with the motherboard? doing so will take away the flexibility we had for decades on PC. make it into a module like regular DRAM? the problem is how many memory maker wiling to enter this kind market since it will be competing with regular PC that use standard DRAM module.
    Reply