Valve details Steam Deck hardware, the AMD Zen2/RDNA2 SoC is codenamed Aerith

Published: 12th Nov 2021, 21:15 GMT   Comments

Steam Deck detailed

During Steam Deck Development Live Stream, Valve employees have explained the principles behind the upcoming handheld device.

AMD Aerith SoC features 4 cores based on Zen2 microarchitecture with clock speeds varying from 2.4 GHz up to 3.5 GHz. Valve claims that its goal was to offer stable clocks rather than focus on peak clocks that cannot be sustained over a long period of time. The same applies to integrated RDNA2 GPU with 8 Compute Units and clocks from 1.0 to 1.6 GHz.

The whole Aerith SoC will have a TDP from 4 to 15W. Valve actually insists that the developer should enable some kind of a frame limit for the device as the company confirmed they have not implemented any kind of artificial power limit that the SoC can consume. Instead, the device should offer the same performance no matter if it is docked or mobile over long periods of time. However, in some extreme cases such as using the device outdoors during summer, the device may need to reduce the power draw to maintain high GPU clocks speeds. Furthermore, Valve did confirm Steam Deck will feature a global frame limiter at some point in the future, should game developers not implement it themselves.

In terms of memory, Valve decided to use LPDDR5 technology as it offers the best efficiency for this form factor. Although most games would be running smoothly with 8GB or even 12GB of RAM, the company decided to extend the capacity to 16GB to ensure the device stays future-proof for games that have not even come out yet.

The cheapest model with 64GB eMMC memory will be slower than NVMe based 512/1024 GB models. Valve benchmarks have shown that game loading time will take 12.5% more time while the system will require load 25% slower.

Valve confirmed that the Steam Deck will support up to two 4K screens at 60 Hz through an integrated USB3 Gen2/DisplayPort 1.4 DSC connector. The cable offers up to 45W of charging power, enough to charge the console at full speed and sustain gaming at the same time. In fact, gamers can still attach peripheral devices such as webcams up to 7.5W, which should still be within the charging limit.

The live stream which is targeted at game developers also focuses on the user interface, game optimizations, and overall gaming experience of the device. Steam Deck has been officially delayed by two months. Valve’s first handheld gaming device should begin shipping to first customers around February 2022.


Handheld Gaming Consoles
VideoCardzSteam DeckOne XPlayerAYA NEONintendo SwitchNintendo Switch OLED
ArchitectureAMD Zen2 & RDNA2Intel Tiger LakeAMD Zen2 (Renoir)ARM CortexARM Cortex
SoCAMD AerithCore i7-1185G7***
Core i7-1165G7**
Core i7-1135G7*
Ryzen 5 4500UNVIDIA Tegra X1NVIDIA Tegra X1
SoC CPU4C/8T @ 3.5 GHz4C/8T * 4.2*, 4.7**, 4.8*** GHz6C/6T @ 4.0 GHz4x A57 + 4x A534x A57 + 4x A53
SoC GPUAMD RDNA2 8 CUs @ 1.6 GHzXe-LP (Iris) 96 EUs @ 1.35 GHzAMD Radeon Vega 6 @ 1.5 GHzNVIDIA Maxwell 256 CUDANVIDIA Maxwell 256 CUDA
Memory16GB LPDDR5-550016GB LPDDR4X-426616GB LPDDR4X-42664GB4GB
Storage64GB eMMC (PCIe Gen2x1)
256GB NVME (PCIe Gen3 x4)
512GB NVMe (PCIe Gen3x4)
512GB*, 1TB **, 2TB *** NVMe SSD512 GB / 1TB * NVMe SSD32GB64GB
Display7″ 1280×800 IPS8.4″ 2560×1600 IPS7″ 1280×800 IPS6.2″ 1280×720
5.5″ 1280×720*
7″ 1280×720 OLED
ConnectivityWi-Fi 5, Bluetooth 5Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5, USB 4.0 x2WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2802.11 a/b/g/n/ac,
Bluetooth 4.1
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac,
Bluetooth 4.1
Battery40 Whr15,300 mAh12,300 mAh4310 mAh
Weight669 g820 g650 g400g / 277g*420g
Dimensions29.8 x 11.7 x 4.9 cm28.8 x 13.0 x 2.1 mm25.5 x 10.6 x 2.0 cm23.9 x 10.1 x 1.4 cm
20.8 x 9.1 x 1.4 cm*
24.2 x 10.2 x 1.39 cm
OSSteam OS 3.0 (Arch)Windows  10Windows  10CustomCustom
Release Price399 USD (64GB)
529 USD (256GB)
649 USD (512GB)
1,059 USD*
1,158 USD **
1,599 USD ***
$789 (16G/512GB)
$869 (16G/1TB)
299 USD,
199 USD (Lite)
349 USD
Release DateFebruary 2022June/July 2021March 2021March 2017
Sep 2019*
Holiday 2021
* Standard Edition
** Pro Edition
*** Ultimate Edition
* 1TB model* Lite


[Steamworks Development] Steam Deck Development Live Stream (54,046 views)

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