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Valve and GPD Purportedly Working to Optimize Steam OS for Win Max 2

GPD Win Max 2 handheld
(Image credit: GPD)

Valve's Steam Deck is quite a standout proposition with its custom AMD APU and Steam OS. It has been such a success Valve cannot even make these devices fast enough. According to a conversation on the Indiegogo campaign page, we can see GPD HK (Project Owner) stating that Valve are actively working Hong Kong-based GPD to deliver an optimized Steam OS experience on its upcoming Win Max 2 handheld. Right now we only have one side of the story, so until confirmation come from Valve, take the news with a pinch of salt.

The GPD Win Max 2 is currently in the midst of an IndieGogo crowdfunding round, and is enjoying a great deal of success with over 50 days left. Described in brief as a "4G Gaming Laptop", this highly portable clamshell device comes with an AMD Ryzen 7 6800 U option (or you can choose an Intel i7-1260P), and Windows 11 by default. With the AMD APU option, some gaming and tech enthusiasts are naturally interested in installing the Steam OS on their GPD Win Max 2 systems when they receive them.

(Image credit: GPD)

This curiosity of gamers and enthusiasts interested in the GPD Win Max 2 has spilled over into the crowdfunder discussion thread, where GPD is doing a pretty good job of answering a wide range of questions. When asked about Steam OS on the new Win Max 2, A GPD official revealed that Valve is going to "improve the Steam OS for the 6800U handheld." They later reveal that GPD has been in contact with Valve since March 2022, but it may be another six months before any co-work materializes.

In some ways the GPD Win Max 2 is a natural competitor for the Steam Deck, but in others it is quite a different device. Valve's handheld is a Nintendo Switch-a-like in many ways, but the GPD device is a much bigger screen packing clamshell design. We used to call designs like the Win Max 2 'netbooks' or 'subnotebooks', but the GPD device makes obvious its gaming pedigree with a full array of modern joypad controls embedded in the area between the keyboard and its 10.1-inch bezel-less display.

GPD Win Max 2 IntelGPD Win Max 2 AMDValve Steam Deck
CPUIntel Core i7-1280P with 14C/20T Turbo up to 4.80 GHzAMD Ryzen 7 6800U with Zen3+ architecture, 8C/16T, Turbo up to 4.80 GHz,Custom Zen 2 "Van Gogh," 4 cores, 8 threads, 2.4 - 3.5 GHz
iGPUIris Xe G7 Graphics with 96EU, 768 stream processors. Runs at up to 1.45 GHzRadeon 680M RDNA2 graphics with 12CU, 768 stream processors. Runs at up to 2.2 GHzRadeon graphics with 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0 - 1.6 GHz
Screen1,920 x 1,200 pixel with ultra-narrow borders, 10-point touch, 4096-level pressure-sensitivity1,920 x 1,200 pixel with ultra-narrow borders, 10-point touch, 4096-level pressure-sensitivity7-inch touchscreen, 1280 x 800 (16:10), 60 Hz, IPS, and Anti-glare etched glass on top model
RAM16GB or 32GB versions will be sold with LPDDR5 5200 MT/s RAM. Chipset supports up to 64GB16GB or 32GB versions will be sold with LPDDR5 6400 MT/s. Chipset supports up to 64GB16GB LPDDR5
Storage1TB or 2TB versions will be sold. The twin PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots support up to 8TB each. SD and microSD slots are present for up to a further 4TB storage. The SD slot offer up to 300 MB/s, and microSD up to 160 MB/s1TB or 2TB versions will be sold. The twin PCIe 4.0 M.2 slots support up to 8TB each. SD and microSD slots are present for up to a further 4TB storage. The SD slot offer up to 300 MB/s, and microSD up to 160 MB/s64GB of eMMC, 256GB M.2 NVMe SSD or 512GB M.2 NVMe SSD
PortsThunderbolt 4, 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2,USB 4, 3x USB 3.2 Gen 2,USB Type-C with DisplayPort, microSD card reader (UHS-I)
MultimediaBuilt-in web cam, quad speaker surround soundBuilt-in web cam, quad speaker surround sound3.5 mm headphone jack
KeyboardQWERTY keyboard with backlight and OC keyQWERTY keyboard with backlight and OC keyNA
Gaming controlSunken joystick using hall-effect tech, clickable joystick, motion controls, shoulder triggers, two other keysSunken joystick using hall-effect tech, clickable joystick, motion controls, shoulder triggers, two other keys 
OtherWi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, 4G LTE option, 65 Wh battery, fingerprint loginWi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, 4G LTE option, 65 Wh battery, fingerprint loginDual-band 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0, 40 WHr battery, 45W power adaptor
PricingFrom $999From $899From $399

(Image credit: GPD)

With Valve getting in touch with GPD, it would be interesting to know if it had also reached out to portable gaming device makers like AyaNeo, OneX, and others. The benefits of Steam OS are in its streamlined singular purpose of PC gaming, but so far most Steam Deck alternatives have been relatively high priced, and their CPUs/APUs are not as well balanced (CPU vs GPU cores) as the custom AMD unit in the Steam Deck, for fast 3D gaming.

Mark Tyson
Mark Tyson

Mark Tyson is a Freelance News Writer at Tom's Hardware US. He enjoys covering the full breadth of PC tech; from business and semiconductor design to products approaching the edge of reason.

  • ezst036
    I would like to see SteamOS on other devices. I'm curious that when Steam releases the official ISO, what does that look like on an AYA Neo?
    Reply
  • AtrociKitty
    This actually isn't too surprising. Believe it or not, there already is GPD-specific code in Steam OS 3. Valve apparently used a GPD device for prototyping. This comment is what gave it away:
    # this test block detects a thinkpad x220 which I use for
    # testing when I don't have a GPD: edit to match your own hwThere are also a handful of GPD-specific files in Steam OS, some of which exist in other Linux distros:
    /usr/share/libinput/50-system-gpd.quirks
    /usr/bin/gpd-xorg-rotation-config
    /usr/lib/modules/5.13.0-valve10.1-1-neptune-02144-g7fffaf925dfb/kernel/drivers/platform/x86/gpd-pocket-fan.ko.xz
    /usr/lib/firmware/brcm/brcmfmac4356-pcie.gpd-win-pocket.txt
    Reply