AMD Van Gogh/Aerith APU with RDNA2 iGPU for Steam Deck pictured up close

Published: 9th Feb 2022, 10:46 GMT   Comments

Steam/AMD Van Gogh APU for next-gen portable gaming

Steam has lifted the embargo on first impressions/early review videos of the Steam deck.

Valve’s Steam Deck is a handheld Linux-based gaming console incorporating the latest hardware from AMD. The Deck is based on AMD Van Gogh SoC (also known as Aerith), a custom 7nm design based on Zen2 and RDNA2 microarchitecture. It was, in fact, the first RDNA2 APU to be announced way ahead of Ryzen 6000 series codenamed Rembrandt, interestingly this APU has still not been officially launched despite early January showcase.

AMD Van Gogh APU, Source: Steam

There is a large list of Zen2 based handheld consoles already, but thus far none features RDNA2 GPU. This alone brings a significant performance uplift compared to now a bit outdated but still competitive Vega graphics. The console is now being extensively compared to AyaNeo, featuring Zen2 and Vega GPU. Interestingly, despite being a physically smaller console than Steam Deck, AyaNeo has a much larger heatsink for the main processor. However, this shouldn’t come as a surprise because Cezanne and Barcelo APUs (used by AyaNeo) operate at 10 to 25W whereas Steam Deck at 4 to 15W.

Earlier this week, two popular YouTube channels Linus Tech Tips and Gamers Nexus got the opportunity (and courage) to tear down the samples they received to take a look inside. This custom chip has a large Valve/Powered by AMD logo and is covered with enough thermal paste to cover the whole chip.

AMD Van Gogh APU, Source: Linus Tech Tips & Gamers Nexus

Steam wasn’t lying when they said they are not recommending dismantling the console. The complete process is complicated and may require either a lot of experience or courage. People interested in battery replacement may need to account for the fact that it is actually glued to the chassis. However, a thermal paste replacement shouldn’t be much of a problem.

The final version of the console has a different PCB color compared to the engineering sample used for Valve’s official teardown. But apart from that, there are no significant changes to the design, which is a good thing, because it means it was locked for production for a while.

Steam Deck, Source: Valve

Steam Deck officially launches on February 25th, which is when Valve will begin sending notifications to first customers who preordered the console last year. It costs 399 USD for the cheapest eMMC based model, which is significantly less than Aya Neo Next (1315 USD) and OneXPlayer (1059 USD).

Handheld Gaming Consoles
VideoCardzAya Neo NEXT (PRO)Aya Neo NEXT AdvancedSteam DeckONEXPLAYERONEXPLAYER MiniNintendo Switch OLED
ArchitectureAMD Zen3AMD Zen3AMD Zen2 & RDNA2Intel Tiger LakeIntel Tiger LakeARM Cortex
SoCRyzen 7 5825URyzen 7 5800UAMD Van GoghCore i7-1185G7
Core i7-1165G7
Core i7-1135G7
Core i7-1195G7NVIDIA Tegra X1
SoC CPU8C/16T @ 4.4 GHz8C/16T @ 4.4 GHz4C/8T @ 3.5 GHz4C/8T up to 4.8 GHz4C/8T up to 5.0 GHz4x A57 + 4x A53
SoC GPUAMD Radeon Vega 8 @ 2.0 GHzAMD Radeon Vega 8 @ 2.0 GHzAMD RDNA2 8 CUs @ 1.6 GHzXe-LP (Iris) 96 EUs @ 1.35 GHzXe-LP (Iris) 96 EUs @ 1.4 GHzNVIDIA Maxwell 256 CUDA
Memory16-32GB LPDDR4X-426616GB LPDDR4X-426616GB LPDDR5-550016GB LPDDR4X-426616GB LPDDR4X-42664GB LPDDR4-3200
Storage1TB-2TB NVMe2TB NVMe64GB eMMC (PCIe Gen2x1)
256GB/512GB NVMe (PCIe Gen3x4)
512GB, 1TB, 2TB NVMe512GB, 1TB, 2TB NVMe64GB
Display7″ 1280×800 IPS7″ 1280×800 IPS7″ 1280×800 IPS8.4″ 2560×1600 IPS7″ 1920×1200 IPS7″ 1280×720 OLED
ConnectivityWiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2Wi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, USB 4.0 x2Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, USB 4.0 x2WiFi 5,
Battery47 Whr47 Whr40 Whr15,300 mAh10455 mAh4310 mAh
WeightTBCTBC669 g820 g589 g420g
DimensionsTBCTBC29.8 x 11.7 x 4.9 cm28.8 x 13.0 x 2.1 mm26.0 x 10.6 x 2.3 cm24.2 x 10.2 x 1.39 cm
OSWindows  11Windows  11Steam OS 3.0 (Arch)Windows  10Windows  11Custom
Release Price$1,315 (16G+1TB)
$1,565 (32G+1TB)
$1,465$399 (16G+64GB)
$529 (16G+256GB)
$649 (16G+512GB)
$1,059 (16G+512GB)
$1,158 (16G+1TB)
$1,599 (16G+2TB)
$1259 (16G+512GB)
$1399 (16G+1TB)
$1599 (16G+2TB)
Release DateFebruary 2022February 2022February 2022December 2021January 2022October 2021

Source (via Andreas Schilling):

[Linus Tech Tips] I Want to Get Inside You! - Steam Deck Tear Down (1,727,395 views)
[Gamers Nexus] Steam Deck Tear-Down: Build Quality, Disassembly, & VRM Analysis (394,053 views)

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