In a recent video interview with IGN, Valve developers discussed the Steam Deck’s technical capabilities, and the custom APU (accelerated processing unit – AMD‘s own brand of CPU) that is able to deliver “the best performance and the best battery life possible”.
According to developer Pierre-Loup Griffais, the team had been testing games from across the Steam back catalogue.
“But the real test for us was games that were coming out last year. They just couldn’t really run very well on the previous types of prototypes and architectures we were testing,” he said.
“This is the first time we’ve achieved the level of performance that is required to really run the latest generation of games without problems. All the games we wanted to be playable is, really, the entire Steam library. We haven’t really found something we could throw at this device that it couldn’t handle.”
Griffais adds that this includes games that have been released this year, which have been running “without issues”. He believes this is largely down to industry trends favouring high frame rate performance, which means it’s easier to scale down a game to the Steam Deck’s 800p display and run at a target of 30Hz.
As well as a brand new CPU and GPU, Valve hardware engineer Yazan Aldehayyat added that the Steam Deck is also using LPDDR5 RAM, a fast new memory standard.
“We might actually be one of the first products to showcase this memory technology,” he said. “That gives a lot of future proofing, especially since we’re not the only people with this architecture. Any optimization that game developers make for this new architecture will carry forth to benefit us as well.”
However, due to anti-cheat software, half of Steam’s most popular games may not be able to run on the Steam Deck. Valve nonetheless is working to resolve these issues before the system launches.
Valve has also confirmed that the Steam Deck will mean the end of Steam’s Big Picture mode.