Steam Deck officially announced by Valve

Just got a notification that my Dec ship date has been bumped to Feb 2022 (512 top of the line reservation). Woof.
Ok, two more months to get Linux kernel 5.16 and Proton and Steam super polished up for this. And a couple more months for all of us to beat on the Linux updates and see what doesn't work.

Shame though.

I was half expecting this. Supply chain issues have been getting steadily worse for a while now.
A more in-depth look at what's actually inside the Deck.

The biggest takeaway for me is that there's 1 gig of dedicated graphics memory onboard. It's got more than the 8 gigs of LPDDR5 at hand. I'm betting that it works kinda like a big cache and is what's making this drive a lot of modern games even at 800p.

Also, Valve is getting devs to produce Deck/mobile-specific versions of their games with smaller footprints including installations. This makes sense since they're already doing this for the Xbox Series series. They claim 18 percent slower load times from SD cards and 25 percent slower boot times for alternate OSes installed on SD cards, so it's not that far off the onboard NVME drive. The 64 gig eMMC drive is about 12 percent slower than the NVME, also not bad.
If the specific mention of dedicated VRAM by Liliputing is insinuating 1GB of GDDR6 or something, that seems to be a misinterpretation based on a potentially-misleading slide from Valve.
I'm not seeing any evidence of GDDR / HBM / eDRAM / etc. Only LPDDR5.
VRAM explanation in original dev Q&A sesh (YouTube)
My interpretation is that it works like any other AMD APU in that there is a certain amount of the shared system RAM that is virtually "dedicated" to the GPU in the BIOS for compatibility purposes, so that OS & apps can see that the iGPU has some static amount of memory attached. Once the GPU driver is loaded, additional system memory can be allocated to the GPU dynamically as needed (up to 8GB total in this case according to the interview). The hardware dev did use the word "dedicated" in the Q&A (that word is not present on the original Valve slide however) which could be interpreted as indicating discrete GDDR-type memory but in the context of APUs it means "system memory that is set aside for the iGPU on a BIOS level" and I haven't seen any mention of another type of memory being in the system on block diagrams etc.

I imagine we'll see more clarity on that point soon since there's multiple plausible ways to interpret it.

Edit to add transcription of relevant section in vid:
So, um, obviously, so it's 16GB of unified memory, uh we have one gigabyte that's dedicated for the GPU- but really the GPU can also access up to eight gigabyte depending what's happening. (um) So really, you can really expect to have at least, or up to, eight gigabytes for the any game or the gpu itself.
Last edited:
I agree with the evaluation that they likely meant it’s a virtual 1gb at a pre-driver level until OS loads drivers.
Doesn’t it have quad channel LpDDR5 @5500MT ? That’s way more than other off the shelf APUs support and explains the performance.
I agree with the evaluation that they likely meant it’s a virtual 1gb at a pre-driver level until OS loads drivers.
Doesn’t it have quad channel LpDDR5 @5500MT ? That’s way more than other off the shelf APUs support and explains the performance.
Exactly, 128-bit 5500MT/s bus is in like low-end GDDR5 territory.
With due respect, after having tried VR games, iPad games, NVIDIA RTX 3080 raytraced games, and Android games, I am a messenger to inform that some things have converged. The number of game-playable platforms and legitimate cross-platform-funness (TRUE natural non-awkward fun) have increased and are no longer silos, period, bluntly, full stop.

Thirty years ago, we had VHS VCRs. We had tube TVs. We had a cassete deck. We had a CD player. We had broadcast TV.

Holy silos, batman!

But, today, we can do all of that media consumption on a single mobile device (or any device, really) that is totally multimedia.

Likewise, many games play very well on multiple platforms. For example, those super-enhanced 3D ray traced versions of a mouse-click Sierra Quest game. Or an indie game such as “Cloudpunk” which is dramatically different from games that some of you play. The types of games that exist have grown bigger. Maybe many esports CS:GO players have never played solo games before…. But.

Here’s a great example. There are several games available on Steam that are mouse-click style Sierra Quest games that I wish I could play on mobile, but they have never been released for mobile. Steam Deck, for example, would totally pay for itself, just by the virtue of satisfying a SIerra Quest itch (remixed into modern GPU 3D parallaxed graphics). Some great solo games don’t really need more than just thumbsticks and/or touchscreen.

Yes it may be fine and dandy to hate on those crossplay square pegs in round holes. But that’s not what I am talking about. Amazing PC indie games like CLOUDpunk (21st century mix of Sierra Quest / Banjo Kazooie in gameplay feel, with a scifi story) would be perfect for Steam Deck, for example, chrissakes. Some things that normally uses a mouse click (e.g. inventory items) are convenient on touchscreens, like the inventory screens of Maniac Mansion or Leisure Suit Larry clones clones that are constantly released all the time these days by indie studios. Or Sim City / Tycoon / Civilization clones. Or whatever.

Also, this is BIG for many tight-budget indie studio revenues, who now can access mobile market, with fully 100%-mobile-enjoyable PC games. Do you realize there's 100+ raytrace GPU-fancy-shit clones of those old style classics, all developed by indie studios, but never was released for iPad because the indie studios couldn't afford to port them from PC to iPad/iPhone? I want to GIVE them money, support the indies. They translate almost perfectly losslessly between PC and touchscreen iPad with 100% preserved enjoyment funness. But what if there's no mobile port of an accidentally mobile-friendly PC game? Ouch. Hating on Steam Deck = hating on indie studios who currently can't afford to port mobile-friendly PC games to mobile platforms.

Also, not to mention all that numerous big-name wonderful 4K ray-traced RTX PC games that were also programmed to behave as nice 720p-compatible console ports (but still running on PC) at middle graphics settings, with HUD elements that auto-resized big enough to be readable on a tiny budget 37" HDTV across a big room. They had to do that because they targetted PC/PS4/PS5/XB1/XBSX or whatever with the same responsive UI coding. So these flexible PC games that degrade gracefully with quick settings change (big text, good HUD, gamepad control) to console-perfect-ports also apparently play perfectly well on a Steam Deck, so you already have a mobile port equivalent with better performance than a Nintendo Switch. So Steam Deck benefits ALL game studios. Hating on Steam Deck = also hurts your favorite game studios (even if it's not Valve).

While fun mobile playability is not true for ALL PC games with fiddly controls and doesn't gracefully adapt to 720p, keyboard-required and super tiny text. Yes, they will play crappily on Steam Deck.

But the fact is that even a portion of the Steam store totally justifies Steam Deck enjoyment, I do tell the haters to shaddup. Even ONE favorite years-replayable game (not available on iPad/Mobile but plays perfectly mobile) can even justify Steam Deck. Look at those people still on certain games years later, like Civilization type games or Sim City type games, or those Tycoon type games that have perfect mouse:touchscreen equivalence. Drag finger = drag mouse (to pan map or move inventory items). Tap finger on inventory = click mouse on inventory. Some games just apparently have great 1:1 mouse:touchscreen behavior equivalence as many of those didn't add any or many right-click operations that broke any mouse:touchscreen symmetry (which are easily remapped dynamically based on per-game profiles). Some of these games (or versions of games) have never had mobile ports released ever, despite having perfect 1:1 funness when mobilized because the controls naturally adapt perfectly to a touchscreen(for inventory) + gamepad(for controlling scrolling/character/etc). There ARE also many old games that exist that just apparently naturally accidentally adapts to touchscreen ops, like tapping/dragging the inventory screen of an indie Sim City clone. Hundreds of examples which I will reply in continued rebuttals if you reply with a disagreement.

Fine, some of you dislike Valve. If you hate Valve, go buy a Steam Deck clone such as GPD or something else. But disliking the rightful need-to-exist generic concept of a mobilized PC in a Nintendo Switch style form factor? It's an obvious need-to-exist product if you play many 3D non-FPS games, some of which are very CPU/GPU horsepower hungry. Duhblankstare.

Sure, competitive FPS is fun. But FPS isn’t the only game in the universe, peeps.

Bottom line:
  1. The number of exceptions are growing bigger and bigger.
  2. Many great PC games DO play well and naturally on mobile.
  3. Many great mobile games DO play well and naturally on PC.

All of your points are well and good in theory. And I am sure your porn steam games will have a great new platform. But expecting valve to actually deliver here especially with diablo immortal coming out at the same time which you can play on superior displays with a superior controller.... well..... again... Gabe. This needed to happen a decade ago. Not in 2021 with 60hz sample and hold.

EDIT: 2022
Last edited:
Looks good. I guess they are not expecting to sell at retail, that box wouldn't fly at Best Buy.
Because of the small size and high value they are going to have to be behind lock and key at Best Buy or GameStop if they sell there anyway. So single stand displays for retail stores will be cheaper and more effective.
So, now that people are starting to get units in-hand, how are performance / usability / battery life impressions?
Yeah, developers have them, but they probably can't talk about specifics, aside from showing a screenshot of their game running.
ah ok, sorry folks, I forgot the delay was all the way until Feb and misinterpreted that pic. My bad.
Yeah, I mean it's Valve, they are probably the nicest game company, but still. You don't want to be breaking NDAs.

Usually you won't get sued, though, they will just cut you off and give you no more support.

Glad they're moving along but... by the END of February? That's a bit disappointing, unless they're getting a much larger/faster production schedule once they actually get things going. Given that only those who literally bought in the first few (5?) minutes or so were given original Dec 2021 dates and now pushed to Q1 2022 (a group I would have been in had Valve had the foresight to turn off the "too many attempts, locking checkouts for awhile" knowing there was going to be a massive rush to preorder), those like myself got bumped to Q2 2022, and a much larger group has seemingly gotten in "After Q2" .

While I'm glad that this is moving forward and I really want to support the Deck given many of its features, design, open (source, spec) ethos, and Arch Linux based SteamOS 3.0 , there are some elements that continue to grate. The delays are a big one, which also mean that other competing products are arriving along the way. I wrote before that I wish instead of using Zen 2 CPU cores, they would have used the similar 7nm process yet more efficient and powerful Zen 3 CPU cores - I stand by that, but with CES demonstrating the new Ryzen 6000 which is going to bring with it Zen3+ mobile cores + RDNA2 GPU cores, it is going to make the Deck's hardware seem even more outdated ; the CPU cores will be at least 1.5 generations out of date and uniqueness of the RDNA2 GPU that would have been present had it launched in 2021 will be gone, leaving it to contend with newer hardware. This isn't to say that the Deck is going to be useless when it arrives or anything, but I can only hope that Valve ships it en mass ASAP. Ideally, it would be great if Valve made the Deck with upgrade able components in mind, so one could swap in an updated mainboard with a new APU at a later time or send it in for Valve to do it for the less technically adept user.