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Valve Posts Official Steam Deck FAQ: Supports MicroSD Booting, Remote Play for PC

Steam Deck
(Image credit: Tom's Hardware)

Valve's upcoming Steam Deck gaming console is set to start shipping in December of this year, and interest is high for the handheld gaming console. Steam Deck buyers have a lot of upfront questions, though, so Valve has posted a frequently asked questions (FAQs) page to share some more details about the new system.

As a reminder, the Steam Deck gaming console is Valve's attempt to enter the handheld gaming market, and it wields a custom AMD APU. Featuring four cores and eight threads of Zen 2 core IP, the chip runs at 2.4–3.5 GHz clock speeds. It also features an RDNA 2 graphics engine with eight compute units running at 1.0–1.6 GHz. The APU is rated for a thermal power budget of anywhere from 4W to 15W, and it connects to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM running at 5500 MT/s. For external storage, there's a high-speed microSD card slot. This is all tied together by a custom Arch Linux-based operating system with Valve's Steam UI on top of it.

Valve's new FAQ has quite a bit of new information. For starters, all Steam Deck models have a glass, optically bonded IPS LCD screen, except the 512GB model, which has a screen with an additional anti-glare etching applied. The console also has dual LRA motors, with one placed under each trackpad for haptic feedback purposes. 

When it comes to storage expansion, the system formats the MicroSD card with the ext4 file system, but it can also read data from exFAT formatted cards. It can also boot off a MicroSD card and supports multi-boot (you can choose which OS to run at boot time). 

In addition, Steam Deck's software ecosystem functions very similarly to a traditional PC and Steam; however, the console has a custom picture mode instead of the classical Big Picture mode you see with Steam desktop client software. You can exit this mode and get access to the regular Linux desktop environment. You can also use the Steam Deck as a controller for a PC via Remote Play. 

The console will use Proton to support other non-Steam games. The console doesn't officially support VR configurations, but you can use it for VR even though the system isn't optimized for that purpose. The system also doesn't support external GPUs. 

Finally, the included USB-C cable is 4.9 feet long. Valve says you get the full performance while on battery — using the Steam Deck in a docked configuration doesn't improve performance. 

We expect Valve to share more details as the systems move closer to market in December. 

  • mac_angel
    I'm kinda hoping that Steam will release Steam OS to install on PCs.
    Reply
  • cryoburner
    mac_angel said:
    I'm kinda hoping that Steam will release Steam OS to install on PCs.
    They already did that close to 8 years ago as they were preparing to launch the Steam Machine ecosystem. I don't think they have the new version of SteamOS found on the Steam Deck available for download yet, but an older version of SteamOS is still available at their site...

    https://store.steampowered.com/steamos/
    Of course, the Steam Machine program kind of flopped, and SteamOS never really took off (along with Linux gaming machines in general). I suppose the compatibility situation might be better this time around though, so perhaps the Steam Deck might fare better than their prior abandoned hardware ecosystems. And if the Steam Deck manages to do reasonably well and receives continued support, perhaps SteamOS might become a more viable option for gaming systems.
    Reply
  • mac_angel
    cryoburner said:
    They already did that close to 8 years ago as they were preparing to launch the Steam Machine ecosystem. I don't think they have the new version of SteamOS found on the Steam Deck available for download yet, but an older version of SteamOS is still available at their site...

    https://store.steampowered.com/steamos/
    Of course, the Steam Machine program kind of flopped, and SteamOS never really took off (along with Linux gaming machines in general). I suppose the compatibility situation might be better this time around though, so perhaps the Steam Deck might fare better than their prior abandoned hardware ecosystems. And if the Steam Deck manages to do reasonably well and receives continued support, perhaps SteamOS might become a more viable option for gaming systems.
    yea, I remember that. A big reason I never got into Linux was because a lot of my computer use is about gaming. Some web browsing and media, etc, but not enough to go through the trouble of a dual boot system for that and Windows for gaming. Steam has been saying that they want the SteamDeck to have access to the full Steam library though. That's what got me interested. Being able to play any and all my Steam games without the BS of M$. And since it's mostly built off of a Linux kernal (I think, don't quote me, I haven't really done any research, I was waiting until the final product) then I think the majority of drivers should be good.
    Reply