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Steam Deck revealed: Handheld gaming PC from Valve lets you game anywhere

Ever wished your Nintendo Switch had your entire Steam library? Boy, do we have news for you.

Published onJuly 15, 2021

Steam Deck
  • Steam parent company Valve just announced the Steam Deck, a handheld gaming PC.
  • It has custom AMD hardware that Valve says can run even the latest AAA games.
  • The console will start at $399 and become available in December 2021.

In what could be the biggest surprise of 2021, Valve just announced a new handheld gaming console. The Steam Deck looks like a Nintendo Switch crossed with a Sega Game Gear.

The device will allow you to play your entire Steam library from anywhere. It is not a cloud-based system: the hardware inside runs games on-device. This is possible through custom AMD hardware. Valve says it is powerful enough to run the latest AAA games with high power efficiency.

See also: The best gaming laptops you can buy

According to IGN, that hardware includes a four-core, eight-thread CPU paired with eight RDNA 2 compute units for the GPU, and 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM. That powers a 7-inch, 1,280 x 800 LCD screen with a 60Hz refresh rate. Obviously, those aren’t the highest-end specs ever, but that’s the sacrifice you’ll need to make for this level of portability.

The front of the console features all the buttons you would expect from something like an Xbox Core Controller. Additionally, it features track pads for mouse inputs and four rear buttons that you can map as you wish. The operating system onboard is Steam OS which will mimic a console experience. However, there will be a full “regular” desktop based on Linux you can access and use to launch all manners of third-party apps.

Steam Deck: Price and availability

The Steam Deck will start at $399, which gets you the console with 64GB of storage and a carrying case. There is a microSD slot available so you are not locked to the onboard storage.

There are higher-tier options with more and faster storage, but all will display games at the same frame rates and graphics quality. There’s a $529 model with 256GB of storage and a $649 model with 512GB. That more expensive model also features anti-glare etched glass, which the other models don’t have.

You can pre-order this starting tomorrow, but it won’t land until December of this year.

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