spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/26/22 12:02 p.m.

Last July I found out about the steam deck on launch day and said for $5 lets throw down a deposit and see what comes of it. 

Since Mid 2020 I had been playing with the idea of SFF PCs, when I picked up a 1 Liter lenovo business PC and had some fun with that.. but it never really struck what i was looking for.

So looking at the steam deck as a 4 core 8 thread APU pc with the ability to play actual games having 16 gigs of onboard ram and the newest graphics tech from AMD(as of last year) in a "small" handheld device at a very competitive price point. This is the same chip that runs the PS5 and newest XBOX with a few less compute units in it.

IGN Video about the steam deck

I saw potential to meet what i was looking for in a portable PC concept and went for it. I got lucky on launch day and after years of training playing the F5 game in the autocross registration world.. i managed to get a reservation in the first 5 minutes. That reservation turned into a order in shipment batch #3 2 months ago, about 3 weeks after launch in late February.



So after 2 months.. what's the ownership experience like?

Solid, but imperfect.

The steam deck does not run every game on steam, it doesn't run on windows it runs on Steam OS3 which is based on a linux kernel, so it uses compatibility software to run windows games, and it's incompatible or untested with many games, but it's also got a library of games that it is compatible with that grows by the day.

I thought you said you wanted a SFF PC, this sounds like it's just a game console?

Gaming is definitely the primary use case of this little machine, but it does have a standard desktop interface as a part of the Linux kernel steam OS3 is built upon.

It runs firefox and almost every website i visit without issue on it. Peacock streaming is the only website i've found that's not compatible with linux.. wierd.. but not world ending.

I have a little USB-C dongle from anker that i plug a monitor into and with a wireless keyboard and mouse it's a full blown PC.





What are the coolest features of the steam deck?

without a doubt the coolest feature of the steam deck is game suspension and pickup with the press of a button.

You can pause mid game, put the deck to sleep, and put it in your bag, pull it back out few hours later, and then wake the device and pick back up right where you were.

This eats a few percent of battery per hour, but it's not unreasonable.

How's the battery life?

battery life is very good, as long as you're not trying to play modern AAA titles that push the deck to its limits. One of the games i play pushes the deck hard and uses almost all the avilable ram and can burn battery down running the APU and display at 25W of power draw. this will eat through the battery in 90 minutes..

But many of my games I run at a much lower TDP, which you can configure on the fly, and (as of last week) on a per game basis. I run those at 7W and i'm seeing 4+ hours of battery life.



So should I buy one?

I can't make that determination for you. But i would say, if the deck interests you.. put in a reservation.

At the time of reservation launch day, the onboard storage upgrade path was unknown.. but that's not the case today.

Reserve the cheapest or the most expensive version of the steam deck. The cheapest version uses a 2230 SSD with eMMC memory on it, but the 512GB or a 1TB NVME version of the drive is available online and this is what the 256 and 512 GB SKU use.

The only other feature that is worth noting is the anti glare screen.. but you can get a screen protector for the deck from multiple sources.. and they make them with this coating.

The deck also has a micro SD card slot onboard and as long as you buy a verified high quality card, it will work nearly as fast as the SSD for game storage.

So if i was reserving one today, i'd be looking at the bas emodel at $399.

Concluding thoughts:

The Steam deck isn't perfect, but is picking up features by the day.

Since launch, Valve has added the following features to the steam deck
 

  • lock screen
  • per game power profiles
  • replacement parts directly available from iFixit
  • improved remote display resolution
  • adjustable fan curves for the onboard cooling fan
  • hundreds (if not thousands) of games have now become playable or verified for the steam deck.

I bought a high end windows laptop at the end of last year, but I'm finding that more and more of my uses can be covered by the steam deck and while it's not bug free, it's very workable.

This chip set also appears to be coming in some lower end thin and light laptops later this year as well... video from ETA prime on youtube

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
5/26/22 1:04 p.m.

This is very relevant to my interests. I've got....idk hundreds of games via steam. Entire catalogs of stuff. More than one reasonable human can play in one lifetime. 

 

My problem is I keep buying hotrod laptops and those are berkeleying expensive. I'm moving towards video editing and other things that will hog my laptop up, and a dedicated, portable console the size of my switch would solve a lot of problems. 

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
5/26/22 1:44 p.m.

In reply to Mndsm :

it's a good bit chonkier than the switch, but it's not unreasonable. and the charger and other items can be stored in the carrying case as a result.

It's an imperfect device, and the compatibility with origin games is best suited to online only play... BUT it's a good little device and I'm happy to have it.

dclafleur
dclafleur Reader
5/26/22 1:54 p.m.

Glad to see this shared, I'm starting to travel a bit for work again and this seemed like it might be a good solution for the long travel days or for a bit of fun after hours stuck in a hotel. Also really appreciate the perspective on base vs top end. I was originally leaning towards the top end model but at that cost it isn't quite as practical of a solution. 

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