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Valve's Steam Deck dev kit got the early benchmark treatment

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Shared on a Chinese news website, one lucky recipient of the Steam Deck developer kit decided to show off some benchmarks although they probably weren't supposed to.

We already knew that the Steam Deck had some pretty impressive internals, and that Valve had said it's "the most powerful gaming handheld in the world" in their YouTube advert. However, we've not really seen any good numbers until now.

Something to remember is that this is a dev kit, and so tweaks are likely to be made before the consumer units go out. Not only that but plenty of developers will no doubt be tweaking their games ahead of time. There will also be multiple updates to the Steam Play Proton compatibility layer before release too for running Windows games on it.

Anyway, here's what they tested and how they ran. Sadly we don't know the exact settings they used in some places so we've mentioned "tweaked" for those:

Game Setting: FPS
Shadow of the Tomb Raider

Highest: 30 FPS
High: 36 FPS
Lower (tweaked): 60FPS

DOOM (2016) Higher (tweaked): 46 FPS
Medium: 60 FPS
Cyberpunk 2077 High: 20 - 30 FPS
Dota 2 Highest: 47 FPS
Low: 80 FPS

One concern seems to be how hot it got after playing Cyberpunk. Not a very realistic game to be playing on High settings on the Steam Deck though. The user showed using a digital thermometer the back hit 42.6°C (108.68°F) and the grips stayed around 29°C (84.2°F).

A reminder on some of the specifications:

  • Compute
    • CPU: AMD APU Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz (up to 448 GFlops FP32)
    • GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz (up to 1.6 TFlops FP32)
    • APU power: 4-15W
    • 16 GB LPDDR5 on-board RAM (5500 MT/s quad 32-bit channels)
  • Storage (three models)
    • 64 GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1)
    • 256 GB NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
    • 512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)
  • Display
    • Resolution: 1280 x 800px (16:10 aspect ratio)
    • Type: Optically bonded IPS LCD for enhanced readability
    • Display size: 7" diagonal touch-screen
    • Brightness: 400 nits typical
    • Refresh rate: 60Hz
    • Ambient light sensor

Can't even begin to explain how excited I am to get my unit through sometime in Q1 2022.

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GeoGalvanic Sep 30, 2021
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QuoteThe user showed using a digital thermometer the back hit 42.6°C (108.68°F) and the grips stayed around 29°C (84.2°F).

It's honestly rather impressive that they were able to keep the key area (the grips) that much cooler than the rest of the system under those circumstances. Considering that's also probably the unit running at max for an extended period of time, I'd say that bodes pretty well for the device.
robvv Oct 2, 2021
I'm surprised Liam linked to the source as Ali213 are well-known providers of content without the associated cost!
Mohandevir Oct 4, 2021
I'm about to commit a crime posting this here:

An old RX 570 might be able to do some Raytracing on Linux, but not on Windows... An argument for the SteamDeck to stick with SteamOS 3.0? Coupled with AMD FSR?

No clue if it's relevant, it's just a tought and I found the news funny (RTX on Linux, but not on Windows).

Edit 1: Reformulated the last phrase.

Edit 2: It could be the missing piece of the puzzle for Stadia to add Raytracing support too...

Last edited by Mohandevir on 4 October 2021 at 2:51 pm UTC
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