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New competition (?) The Steam Deck

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They should call that thing MonsterThumbs.  Who the hell has thumbs that long?

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On 7/15/2021 at 7:45 PM, justclaws said:

Yes, the "custom APU" seems to be very close to the v1605b which is pin compatible with the VCS r1606g,
as that is also 4-core with 4 threads, maximum 32GB DDR4 RAM, Vega 7 graphics, which is close to this.
I've seen people swap BGA chips, so perhaps somebody will swap the v1605b into a VCS before Atari can.
 

 

The CPU in the deck is 4-core with 8 threads as it uses SMT technology. 

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9 hours ago, Matt_B said:

As pretty much anyone with a Steam library that runs to thousands of games could tell you, there's no rule that says you've got to install all of them at once. I'd need about 30TB for my library, but luckily I've only got 29 downloaded at the moment so it's more like 300GB. 512GB is an adequate amount of storage, although 256 would be pushing it and 64 is joke tier.

For those wanting to play modern AAA games, 512GB is not much really. It's normal now for the biggest titles to weigh 50-100GB (or more). Install Forza, COD and GTA V and you're already well over the half capacity. It'll do, I guess, but you will be scratching your head and juggling gigabytes often.

 

Regardless, I'm pretty sure it'll be a huge hit, not because it's really needed, but because people are gadget-crazy - and it's from Valve too. It's something I'd probably get very excited about when I was a teen, but now the realistic question is: why would I want to play AAA PC games on an unwieldy, underpowered machine with a small screen? I was also never entirely convinced about the allure of the "on the go" gaming. Being a fuddy duddy old schooler I'd rather read a book or look out the window and do some people watching. I stare at glowing rectangular screens for too many hours at home already as it is. And when I really need to play something outside, Nethack on my phone will do.

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I probably won't buy one but I sure will enjoy listening to members of the 'master race' explaining how they now need a handheld system after having claimed the opposite for the past few years... 😌

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Only anecdotal, but I'm seeing a lot of people on on social media platforms saying they put their preorders in.   If it performs well I don't doubt the $399 SKU could sell millions of units.  I'm definitely interested, but will wait when reviews come out for it. 

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On 7/17/2021 at 5:12 AM, roots.genoa said:

I probably won't buy one but I sure will enjoy listening to members of the 'master race' explaining how they now need a handheld system after having claimed the opposite for the past few years... 😌

The idea of a handheld PC has always been cool to me.  Unfortunately they have all sucked as they are too loud, or too hot to hold, or are too weak to do much other than play emulators or old DOS games.  I have a GPD Win2, and the form factor is weird too, being a clamshell.

Wonder if the Steam Deck is using the liquid metal stuff like the PS5 to try and cool it better.

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Decent article from DF on the tech side: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2021-valve-steam-deck-spec-analysis

 

...but that old silly myth about "openness" is rife throughout. Wow, you can install Windows - as if you didn't have to then install Steam anyway. Yes, you do have a great "choice" of either signing up for Steam or some other 0-ownership platform, or not playing countless games at all. It's the amazing freedom and openness of the PC!

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23 minutes ago, youxia said:

Decent article from DF on the tech side: https://www.eurogamer.net/articles/digitalfoundry-2021-valve-steam-deck-spec-analysis

 

...but that old silly myth about "openness" is rife throughout. Wow, you can install Windows - as if you didn't have to then install Steam anyway. Yes, you do have a great "choice" of either signing up for Steam or some other 0-ownership platform, or not playing countless games at all. It's the amazing freedom and openness of the PC!

Eh?  You can just install gog galaxy, or if you like you could even hook a cd rom up to it and run purchased games.  I mean it is basically a laptop with a controller glued to it instead of a keyboard plugged in.

Yku know what this is to me (outside of a portable Steam gaming thing?) Is what I had bought a switch for, being able to load Linux on it and play whatever I damn well please, whether that is some newer games, or load up the Atari800 emulator and play some Jumpman. 

I bought one of the earlier Switch so that I could do the silly unlock thing, but still was waiting for the developers to make lakka work with all the hardware, haven't looked in some time... but the Steam Deck will be awesome for thise times when I am stuck waiting for slow config management stuff to finish, ir rebooting of upgraded machines is going on.  :)  so yeah, I preordered one.

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On 7/17/2021 at 1:04 AM, CPUWIZ said:

They should call that thing MonsterThumbs.  Who the hell has thumbs that long?

You know what they say about dudes with long thumbs.

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Just now, Cebus Capucinis said:

You know what they say about dudes with long thumbs.

They are faster at texting?  They have problems finding gloves that fit well?

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They make great 12-inch pianists.

 

I'm bummed I didn't preorder this thing. Kind of interested but need the dough for other things right now.

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4 hours ago, leech said:

Eh?  You can just install gog galaxy, or if you like you could even hook a cd rom up to it and run purchased games.  I mean it is basically a laptop with a controller glued to it instead of a keyboard plugged in.

Yku know what this is to me (outside of a portable Steam gaming thing?) Is what I had bought a switch for, being able to load Linux on it and play whatever I damn well please, whether that is some newer games, or load up the Atari800 emulator and play some Jumpman. 

I bought one of the earlier Switch so that I could do the silly unlock thing, but still was waiting for the developers to make lakka work with all the hardware, haven't looked in some time... but the Steam Deck will be awesome for thise times when I am stuck waiting for slow config management stuff to finish, ir rebooting of upgraded machines is going on.  :)  so yeah, I preordered one.

Sure, you could even play nothing but FOSS games and emulators on it if that's what you want. Nothing is more open than that.

 

Still, I'd think that Valve know what they're doing here, in that while it's possible to put another operating system on it, that's probably not going to be something that most people will attempt. Much the same goes for the manual upgrade to the SSD.

 

Windows in particular is a tempting carrot to dangle in front of people who've already got a Game Pass subscription or games on other storefronts without proper Linux clients like Epic and Origin. However, in practice, they're not going to very usable on handheld device and, without the benefit of SteamInput, a lot of controller mapping will have to be done manually. XInput games should still work but there are still relatively few that can be played entirely without a keyboard. GPD haven't just been adding them for show, at any rate.

 

Also, it's that fall back option in case Steam OS is another unmitigated disaster like it was with the Steam Machines. The people who bought one won't then be left with a brick while Valve regroup and come back for another try with entirely different hardware in another five years. I'd think that their chances of making it stick are much better this time, but it's good to know that you're covered.

 

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On 7/16/2021 at 8:33 PM, Matt_B said:

As pretty much anyone with a Steam library that runs to thousands of games could tell you, there's no rule that says you've got to install all of them at once. I'd need about 30TB for my library, but luckily I've only got 29 downloaded at the moment so it's more like 300GB. 512GB is an adequate amount of storage, although 256 would be pushing it and 64 is joke tier.

Right but the 512gb model runs over $600..

 

  It's no longer the "affordable Switch/PS5/XBsX killer" that everyone proclaims it to be. 

On 7/16/2021 at 8:33 PM, Matt_B said:

The PS5 users should figure it out eventually.

It works for the PS5 only because it barely has any games right now 😜    And all your PS4 games can be installed to an external disk, keeping the valuable internal SSD space free for PS5 games when they come.  But they will also eventually let you add extra nvme storage for PS5 games.

 

On 7/16/2021 at 4:46 PM, EricBall said:

And as others have pointed out, the low resolution of the display may be an issue as well.  (OTOH, lower resolution typically means higher framerates.)

on a screen that size, 720p won't be an issue.  The pixels are too small for most people to tell the difference between 720/1080 or higher.

On 7/16/2021 at 4:46 PM, EricBall said:

Only 16GB of RAM (I'm assuming shared with the GPU) might be a limitation, but probably not as much as the 64GB of slow storage in the base model.

16Gb is what next gen consoles have, they are relying on the fast speeds of nvme SSD to not have to keep so much data in memory at once.    So that's how games will be developed for next gen. 

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14 hours ago, Matt_B said:

Sure, you could even play nothing but FOSS games and emulators on it if that's what you want. Nothing is more open than that.

 

Still, I'd think that Valve know what they're doing here, in that while it's possible to put another operating system on it, that's probably not going to be something that most people will attempt. Much the same goes for the manual upgrade to the SSD.

 

Windows in particular is a tempting carrot to dangle in front of people who've already got a Game Pass subscription or games on other storefronts without proper Linux clients like Epic and Origin. However, in practice, they're not going to very usable on handheld device and, without the benefit of SteamInput, a lot of controller mapping will have to be done manually. XInput games should still work but there are still relatively few that can be played entirely without a keyboard. GPD haven't just been adding them for show, at any rate.

 

Also, it's that fall back option in case Steam OS is another unmitigated disaster like it was with the Steam Machines. The people who bought one won't then be left with a brick while Valve regroup and come back for another try with entirely different hardware in another five years. I'd think that their chances of making it stick are much better this time, but it's good to know that you're covered.

 

From my understanding of the Steam machines, they failed because tgere were multiple manufacturers, they were too expensive for the hardware in them, and either proton was too early along, or people just installed Windows because they didn't understand that Linux thing... BPM has come a ling way as well.  And the Steam Deck version looks MUCH better.

 

I bet most that buy this won't bother putting Windows on, and likely won't use it as a docked PC either.  I mean how much does the Samsung Dex thing get used?

 

7 minutes ago, zzip said:

16Gb is what next gen consoles have, they are relying on the fast speeds of nvme SSD to not have to keep so much data in memory at once.    So that's how games will be developed for next gen. 

Ha, anyone whining that 16gb isn't enough doesn't know what that entails.  Hell only reason to even have 32gb+ is either bragging rights, virtual machines, or doing giant freaking posters at insane resolutions... maybe video editing.  16gb is plenty for anything else.  I am actually kind of shocked they bothered with 16gb of RAM for the current gen consoles, they uaually skimp on the memory.  Guess they finally figured out that high resolution textures take memories...

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14 hours ago, Matt_B said:

Also, it's that fall back option in case Steam OS is another unmitigated disaster like it was with the Steam Machines.

I tried Steam OS on my system a few years back, and it was the worst Linux distribution I had ever used.   I hope the 3.0 version is greatly improved.

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4 hours ago, zzip said:

I tried Steam OS on my system a few years back, and it was the worst Linux distribution I had ever used.   I hope the 3.0 version is greatly improved.

My biggest complaints about it were the lack of partitioning options, as it just blew away whatever hard drive you had in the box.  Then they sort of stopped updating it.  They should have just used Debian's mirrors and created a systemd service file to start BPM.  Then kept it up to date with debian-backports.

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Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, leech said:

My biggest complaints about it were the lack of partitioning options, as it just blew away whatever hard drive you had in the box.  Then they sort of stopped updating it.  They should have just used Debian's mirrors and created a systemd service file to start BPM.  Then kept it up to date with debian-backports.

Yeah that,  but there was also a modified version of it that could install to a disk that you partitioned yourself, as long as you met some stringent partition requirements.    You needed to set up several partitions of specified sizes, and they had to be in the beginning of the partition table.   After that you could partition and install what you wanted.    Better, but still ridiculously inflexible

 

but once you had it installed, the distribution lacked many of the libraries needed to get non-Steam games running.   And there were no repos to add them, you had to roll your own.

 

I was hoping to use it as disto dedicated to gaming, but turns out there are much better distros geared to that purpose.

Edited by zzip
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17 minutes ago, zzip said:

Yeah that,  but there was also a modified version of it that could install to a disk that you partitioned yourself, as long as you met some stringent partition requirements.    You needed to set up several partitions of specified sizes, and they had to be in the beginning of the partition table.   After that you could partition and install what you wanted.    Better, but still ridiculously inflexible

 

but once you had it installed, the distribution lacked many of the libraries needed to get non-Steam games running.   And there were no repos to add them, you had to roll your own.

 

I was hoping to use it as disto dedicated to gaming, but turns out there are much better distros geared to that purpose.

Yup, that is the fault of them not just pulling the debian repos.  Like if you are going to base your distribution on another one, pick a stable one (Debian is great as they have the mist packages, and don't try to chase the latest), get a system for newer drivers worked out (not hard at all with backports) and then make your mods to it in a different repo (custom Steam packages, maybe proton and bleeding edge Mesa).

 

Problem was, the devs didn't understand the debs.

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9 hours ago, leech said:

From my understanding of the Steam machines, they failed because tgere were multiple manufacturers, they were too expensive for the hardware in them, and either proton was too early along, or people just installed Windows because they didn't understand that Linux thing... BPM has come a ling way as well.  And the Steam Deck version looks MUCH better.

The Steam Machines shipped with no means of playing non-native games other than streaming, and Proton wasn't introduced until a couple of years later as a reaction to that problem. People went with Windows mainly because that's what you needed to do to get access to your full library.

 

Another major problem was the controller support. Most games didn't have any and those that did expected an Xbox controller rather than a Steam one for the most part. I've no doubt that it's a very versatile controller if you're prepared to customize it to the needs of the games; it just doesn't work very well out of the box with them.

 

I didn't think all the hardware was all bad though. The Alienware Alpha had a relatively cheap entry level model with plenty of upgrade potential. It ultimately sold quite well, albeit mostly in the configuration that came with Windows and an Xbox controller. Not so much for the rest of them, I suspect.

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On 7/18/2021 at 12:26 PM, leech said:

The idea of a handheld PC has always been cool to me.  Unfortunately they have all sucked as they are too loud, or too hot to hold, or are too weak to do much other than play emulators or old DOS games.  I have a GPD Win2, and the form factor is weird too, being a clamshell.

Wonder if the Steam Deck is using the liquid metal stuff like the PS5 to try and cool it better.

They're really not that bad these days. I have the GPD WIN3 (5.5" screen) and just received the ONEXPLAYER (8.4" screen; https://armchairarcade.com/perspectives/2021/07/18/video-onexplayer-unboxing-the-steam-deck-killer-is-here/). Both are perfectly capable of playing most games, even AAA games. They're still not mostly perfected for handheld play in a way like the Switch is, but that's more down to the general nature of the PC platform than any particular failing of the hardware or other physical design decisions.

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Posted (edited)

Well everyone, I am sorry to do this as I know many will be disappointed, especially those of you who were really antipating or even preordered already but upon seeing this video I felt compelled to share so you can cancel any preorders or forget about saving up for any level of the Steam Dock 😯 This will come as a shock but clearly it just is not worth even considering, no use trying to convey myself as the details and info are right here in this short, well researched and expertly presented video that I fortunately just discovered. Again, I really am sorry but let's just be thankful this guy was brave enough to come forward and expose the cold hard facts before any of us made a huge mistake! 😏

 

Edited by OldSchoolRetroGamer

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Arg Hater blgrm Blum pfft ack clickbait mumbledypeg naysayers arglebargle itsahit appkiller waitandsee youbetcha leave us true believers alone!

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How do the specs compare to the VCS? Assuming higher given the up to 650 price point but how does the 400 dollar one compare to the 300 VCS?

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All three models have the same basic spec, just different storage.

 

Compared to the VCS, the spec is at least twice as good across the board. There's a quad core CPU and an 8 compute unit GPU, both with newer architectures. It's also got twice the RAM, that's more than twice as fast, and even the base model has twice the storage.

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1 hour ago, Mockduck said:

How do the specs compare to the VCS? Assuming higher given the up to 650 price point but how does the 400 dollar one compare to the 300 VCS?

Specwise good,  but the storage situation on the $400 model makes it really iffy.   seems like a bait-and-switch to get people to upgrade one of the pricier models.

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