Please note that this post is tagged as a rumor.
Valve SteamPal powered by AMD APU?
According to the rumors, Valve is preparing to launch its own handled gaming console by the end of this year.
Today it was discovered that the latest Steam beta client features a codename of “SteamPal”, which is referenced under Valve’s unreleased controller codenamed “Neptune”. This has been reported by SteamDB website operator Pavel Djundik. Valve’s Neptune controller has been first spotted in Steam client code in September last year.
Valve's "Neptune" controller shows up in latest Steam client beta again.
It's named "SteamPal" (NeptuneName) and it has a "SteamPal Games" (GameList_View_NeptuneGames)
— Pavel Djundik (@thexpaw) May 25, 2021
Additionally, there is a report from Ars Technica claiming that SteamPal is actually Valve’s new gaming console. The site is citing its own sources familiar with Valve’s plans. This device, which would feature Linux operating system, would reportedly be announced by the end of this year.
SteamPal is still in the early prototype stage but it has allegedly controller layout similar to Nintendo Switch, except they wouldn’t be detachable. We have seen numerous designs featuring this type of layout. Such systems are usually are powered by Windows 10 operating system, including products like as Aya Neo or One Xplayer. Those devices can already play Steam games without issues.
At least one SteamPal prototype version is quite wide compared to the Nintendo Switch. This extra width accommodates a slew of control options. […] The SteamPal is still in the prototype stage, and its features are subject to change, as we’ve seen with prototype hardware for other Valve initiatives like SteamVR and the Steam Controller. In other words, while I’m pretty confident that the SteamPal will include a d-pad, I can’t say for sure. This also means I don’t have details on crucial hardware aspects like battery size, screen size, pixel resolution, memory, and storage capacity.
— Sam Machkovech, Ars Technica
No further details are available at the moment, but the site is quite confident that the device does exist. It does not guarantee that it will launch in its current form, but there is a good reason to believe that it will launch this year. Earlier this month Valve co-founder Gabe Newell hinted that we might see something that could be an answer to the growing popularity of console video games:
You will get a better idea of that by the end of this year… and it won’t be the answer you expect. You’ll say, ‘Ah-ha! Now I get what he was talking about.’
— Gabe Newell, Valve
Furthermore, there is a new rumor on Reddit claiming that the device is powered by AMD APU codenamed “Aerith”. At this moment AMD is only known to be working on VanGogh APU and its successor DragonCrest, both said to be powered by Zen2 core architecture and Navi2 integrated graphics. Those are low-power (9W) APUs targetted at handheld devices, so they would match the description.
AMD Van Gogh/Aerith is to feature a quad-core CPU with SMT. It is rumored to feature 8 Compute Units (512 Stream Processors) based on RDNA2 architecture, so architecture-wise it is similar to current consoles such as Xbox Series S|X and PlayStation 5.
Update: One of the known leakers (@Kepler_L2) confirms that Aerith is indeed a codename for Van Gogh.