Steam Deck supports Ray Tracing, VRS and other stores; Programmer compares it to Xbox Series X in performance per pixel

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Following previous rumors of a handheld system in the works at Valve, the Steam Deck was officially announced yesterday along with a December 2021 release window.

The Steam Deck is powered by AMD’s RDNA 2 architecture, so it’s not surprising to hear directly from Pierre-Loup Griffais of Valve that the hardware supports DirectX 12 Ultimate features such as variable speed shadow (VRS) and acceleration for ray tracing, but it’s always good to get confirmation.

Perhaps most exciting, Valve attached to IGN that the Steam Deck lets you do everything you could do with a PC, including browsing the web or playing games at other stores like Epic’s.

Again, you can really do everything you would expect from a Linux based PC. So the answer to those things is yes.

Speaking of Epic, Tim Sweeney publicly applauded the Steam Deck announcement on Twitter, specifically for the openness of the platform.

The hardware is very powerful for its target resolution of 1280×800. In fact, programmer and modder Peter “Durante” Thomas compared it to an Xbox Series X in “performance per pixel” (via RobotBrush).

• The GPU is about as fast in raw performance as a base PS4, but it is a much newer and more efficient architecture (same as PS5/XSX) and only needs to target 1280×800. In other words, it has about the same raw GPU performance per pixel when targeting 1280×800 as the Xbox Series X when targeting 4K (slightly more actually).

• The CPU is actually half an XSX/PS5, with a slightly lower clock speed.

• 16 GB RAM (very neat), 4x Switch, same capacity as PS5

Obviously there will be a bit of overhead (ranging from basically nothing or even better performance to significant overhead) for running games on Proton compared to Windows, but this is the performance you should expect.

If one of your favorite games is one of those titles that suffer from significant overhead on Proton, you can always choose to install Windows on the Steam Deck.

Last but not least, Valve founder Gabe Newell too commented on the upcoming handheld system. Newell stressed that it was difficult but crucial for Valve to maintain a low price to sell millions of them.

Price/performance is going to be one of the critical factors in the mobile space and so we had to be very aggressive in terms of pricing on the Steam Deck. Price was secondary and painful, but that was pretty obviously a critical aspect of it. But the first thing was the performance and the experience, that was the biggest and most fundamental limitation that caused this.

Our view is that if we do this right, we will sell it in millions of units and it will clearly create a product category for us and other PC manufacturers to participate in and that will benefit us in the long run.

Are you interested in a Steam Deck? If so, which configuration do you prefer? Let us know in the comments!


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