spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) 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) 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. 

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/29/22 3:46 p.m.

Following up on this 3 months later.

The game compatibility library just continues to grow.

More and more companies have embraced the open linux based system that is the Steam Deck.

I've continued to love my steam deck, it's a fantastic device for travelingm as it's much smaller than my laptop (I run a 17" desktop replacement type machine).

So what else is in store for the steam deck?

Production has continued to ramp up and the waiting list is shrinking VERY fast. I have a second pre order that I'm planning to pass on to a friend, placed in may, that is supposed to come to fruition before the end of september.

Valve dropped a booklet this week ahead of launch in a few new countries.

In this booklet were a few interesting high points.

Valve plans to support the steam deck for a long time, they're planning a next generation deck right now, and are planning to bring support through cloud gaming to Chrome OS, allowing chrome books to bring steam gaming to a slew of devices that couldn't access high end gaming before!



Valve is also planning to roll out a general installer to put steam OS onto any x86 PC! This is currently possible through other workarounds, but they're unofficial and seeing Valve actively bringing the OS for an open release is super cool.

 




So 6 months after launch, this is still not a full fledged console release, but the steam deck is so much more polished on the software side than it was at launch.

There are now over 4500 games now steam deck verified or playable status.. which is incredible!
 

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
10/6/22 4:57 p.m.

Steam Deck is officially available without a pre-order

https://twitter.com/OnDeck/status/1578088497759793152

 

singleslammer
singleslammer PowerDork
10/6/22 7:13 p.m.

Nice, I have had mine for a month and really enjoy it. Been playing backpack hero and fallout 4. Works great. I need a longer charge cable. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Publisher
11/29/23 11:55 a.m.

Bumping this thread up because I picked up a used Steam Deck and have been playing it for a few evenings.

And, damn, this is impressive hardware. I still haven't found its killer app, but it makes real games playable in a much more casual way. So far I'm sold.

DjGreggieP
DjGreggieP Dork
12/8/23 12:30 p.m.

This is very relevant to my interests. I have been looking at a Steam deck (Now with OLED screens) because my steam library is vast and if I buy a Switch, I need to buy games for it...

I feel this would be the perfect option for when I am traveling or laying in bed if I am sick etc.  

dclafleur
dclafleur Reader
12/8/23 12:46 p.m.

I might go this direction next year, at this point I don't want to spend time in my office playing games after I spent 12 hours there. I have discovered through traveling with my switch that I won't actually play as much when traveling as I thought. This is because when I'm flying I prefer to read and I never end up spending as much time in my hotel room as I expect and when I do I'm usually catching up on work.

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/8/23 11:25 p.m.

I don't have a steam deck, but I have a console PC and I have to say the user experience is light years behind any console.  I'm curious if steam os has done anything to help with that, but I can't imagine that is the case. 
 

Playing games already in my library at 120hz on a 65" screen is kinda fun though. 

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard Publisher
12/9/23 7:24 a.m.

It's way, way better. Not as seamless as a console, but way simpler than a PC. On reason I quit PC gaming was every time I needed a new game it felt like I spent an hour finding drivers/adjusting settings/etc. The Steam Deck pretty much just works, though I have tweaked controls in a few games to match my preferences better. 

ProDarwin
ProDarwin MegaDork
12/9/23 12:32 p.m.

Interesting.  I wonder why it works better.

I have no driver issues with the PC, my biggest issues are:

1) pairing a controller was flaky as berkeley.  I ponied up the extra $25 or whatever for the Xbox wireless adapter and it seems to have alleviated that issue.

2) I have games scattered across 5+(?) different services - Epic, Steam, Origin, Prime, GOG, etc.  grouping them in a single controller friendly interface is one hell of a chore.

3) Also I 100% do not understand why the computer will sleep sometimes but not other times.  Sucks that you can't wake it with a controller though.

 

1 and 3 are surely better on steam deck, but I don't think they have fixed #2

spacecadet (Forum Supporter)
spacecadet (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
6/20/24 1:46 p.m.
ProDarwin said:

Interesting.  I wonder why it works better.

I have no driver issues with the PC, my biggest issues are:

1) pairing a controller was flaky as berkeley.  I ponied up the extra $25 or whatever for the Xbox wireless adapter and it seems to have alleviated that issue.

2) I have games scattered across 5+(?) different services - Epic, Steam, Origin, Prime, GOG, etc.  grouping them in a single controller friendly interface is one hell of a chore.

3) Also I 100% do not understand why the computer will sleep sometimes but not other times.  Sucks that you can't wake it with a controller though.

 

1 and 3 are surely better on steam deck, but I don't think they have fixed #2

So steam deck does nothing for your games on other services out of the box.

There are tools out there to run games from the other services through Herioc games launcher, but it's a tinkering required thing.

This incompatibility is part of what opened the door for the windows based handhelds like the ROG ally.

prodarwin
prodarwin MegaDork
6/20/24 2:36 p.m.

FWIW, I've been using Playnite to create a common interface.  It's tinkering for sure, but not bad.

My biggest issue now honestly is that the various services need to be re logged in constantly and if you run a game like assassins creed it's going to need an update that requires you to login every.berkeleying.time.

Some games also have a mouse element and the pointer will stay on the screen until you move it away to the corner (crash bandicoot for example).

Small annoyances, but they become big when you share the system with an 8 year old, or anyone who isn't adept at computers.

You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners
vu17WGchBo0rcRIn8SkoijyrpJkrf5AWdu89lydk9RkHqMHV3JBWbo3o7kUJhzTr