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May 22 2022 6:01 PM ˚
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Valve’s Steam Deck: A long-awaited leap for desktop enthusiasts

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(Photo: Freepik)
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Compact, light, features a touchscreen, and can run almost any desktop application with relative ease, Valve’s recent creation has taken the internet by storm. Steam Deck, a handheld device quoted to be a fully portable PC, can run video games and applications as if it were an actual desktop.اضافة اعلان

Given the handheld’s scheduled December release, it is time to look at what makes this magical piece of hardware tick.

How much power can you expect form the Steam Deck?

According to Valve, all the Steam Decks on offer are identical, with the only difference being available storage. The Steam Deck features three models, with the smallest hosting 64GB of storage, the middle-ground hosting 256GB, and the highest hosting 512GB. It is important to note, however, that the 64GB model of the SteamDeck has eMMC memory, which is slower than its 256GB and 512GB SSD counterparts.

While Valve has confirmed that storage can expand via MicroSSD cards, it is highly likely that these expandable memory chips will be significantly slower than the device’s internal SSDs. While this has yet to be tested, many fans of portable devices around the world already predict that MicroSSDs will have a significant impact on the Steam Deck’s performance.

However, as mentioned, the Steam Deck’s specs are the same in all three versions of the portable handheld. It comes with a seven-inch touchscreen, underneath which sit four Zen 2 cores, totaling to eight threads. As for the graphics processing, the AMD RDNA 2 architecture is used to power everything you see on screen, amounting to 512 cores behind the scenes. While this is not exactly groundbreaking in terms of stationary desktops, this architecture is sure to create a spectacular performance.

The deck has been confirmed to have 16GB quad-channel LPDDR5, a great improvement compared to the current dual-channel RAM trend that has been growing in the handheld sector.

The Steam Deck runs with a 1280x800 display at 60Hz, and with the screen being capable of touch input, there is not much to say about the screen performance other than it being serviceable. However, while the native resolution and refresh rates are average in terms of existing handheld devices, Valve has stated that the device will be compatible with external displays. While it is unclear at this stage whether it would be possible to operate the device at 4k native, there are rumors about the device using AI upscaling to increase graphic fidelity on larger displays.

Unfortunately, battery life is where the deck falls flat. Based on Valve’s statements, the Steam Deck can run up to 8 hours before needing a recharge. In other words, if you’re looking to boot up the deck and play some graphic-intense games or potentially fiddle around with a bit of video editing, the deck’s battery takes a nosedive and can deplete as early as three hours into the session.

What can I actually do with the Steam Deck?

As mentioned by Valve, the aim is for Steam Deck to become the leader of the handheld PC. The device is preloaded with Linux, an operating software that Valve has selected as baseline due to its ability to run faster than its alternative, Windows OS. However, Gabe Newel, founder and president of Valve, has stated that Valve has no intentions in limiting its users to their chosen OS.

For users, this means absolute control over their operating environment as well as the tasks that they choose to perform. While the Steam Deck is first and foremost a portable gaming device and will primarily be used as such, Valve has made it clear that if it runs on your desktop – it’s going to run on the Steam Deck. This means that if you’re looking for a larger screen for your on-the-go Netflix or Hulu viewing sessions, the Steam Deck would be a perfect fit for you.

Valve has also stated that the Steam Deck is highly versatile in terms of connectivity to other devices, featuring one USB 3.1 port, two USB 2.0 ports, and DisplayPort, along with an HDMI to ensure that each user’s experience can be customized.

In short, the answer to this question is best summarized by a Valva quote:
“Use the deck like you would your PC – because it is.”

Alright, I’m sold. Where can I get it?

While the pre-orders have already begun (and have been shut-down multiple times due to demand), unfortunately the Steam Deck is not available in the Middle East — not available for direct purchase, that is.

If you’re looking for a way to grab a deck upon release, the best possible way is to order it off American or European websites from resellers. While resellers will most likely put up the deck at an increased price, it is the only way that someone in Jordan can purchase it.

A big caveat of purchasing the deck from abroad is the need to have a US or EU based Steam account. This would mean that whoever you end up trusting with $650 in cash would also have create a Steam account to purchase it for you. Keep in mind that there is a possibility that the deck will only operate with Steam accounts that are region-locked to the US or the EU, meaning that your existing library would not transfer over.

In conclusion, the Steam Deck is possibly one of the most anticipated pieces of hardware to hit the market in 2021. While difficult to grab in the region, unofficial websites such as eBay for US purchases or OnBuy for Europe purchases are already filling up with sellers offering their pre-ordered decks for purchase.

Alternatively, if Valve’s index sales patterns are to be followed, there is a chance that the deck will make its way into your neighboring electronic stores by late 2022.






 
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