Valve once again surprised gamers yesterday when it announced the Steam Deck OLED less than a week from its November 16 launch. Early impressions are extremely positive on various aspects, and there are also minor performance improvements thanks to the faster 16 GB LPDDR5 on-board RAM (6400 MT/s, up from 5500 MT/s of the original model) and fixed 1.6GHz GPU frequency (the original model is variable from 1.0 to 1.6GHz) enabled by the 6nm Sephiroth APU.
However, this revision still comes up short in terms of performance compared to the latest PC handhelds, such as the Asus ROG Ally and the Lenovo Legion GO, which are powered by AMD’s Ryzen Z1 Series APU based on Zen 4 and RDNA 3 technology.
Fans of Valve’s handheld PC have been waiting for a proper 2.0 revision. Speaking to Eurogamer as part of the Steam Deck OLED launch, Valve hardware engineer Yazan Aldehayyat said that’s not a thing because the technology for a major performance leap isn’t available yet.
Obviously we’d love to get even more performance in the same power envelope, but that technology doesn’t exist yet. That’s what I think we’d call a Steam Deck 2.0. The first Steam Deck was the first moment in time where we felt like there was enough GPU performance in a portable form factor that lets you play all your Steam games. We would love for the trend of perf-per-watt to progress rapidly to do that, but it’s not quite there yet.
The engineer’s comment is in line with a statement made in late September by Valve’s Pierre-Loup Griffais, who said he doesn’t expect technology to be there for another couple of years. As such, the much-anticipated Steam Deck 2.0 isn’t likely to materialize before 2026.
Another major question mark within the Deck community was whether Valve would create games specifically tailored for the hardware. Valve product designer Greg Coomer provided some clarity on that topic in the aforementioned Eurogamer interview.
There is work like that going on at Valve, but we’re not debuting a piece of content that is tailored to the OLED screen. I think even when we shipped the first version of Steam Deck it was surprising to a lot of people that we didn’t really orient a lot of our own games – or create a new game – specifically targeted to our hardware or exclusive to Steam Deck. We’re basically conducting ourselves the same way roughly where we don’t have title that is imminent that we’re going to unveil with the launch of OLED.
But all of the titles – a lot of which exist but some are unannounced – are definitely targeting this device. So, over time, you’ll see that from Valve, but not in a big splash at the moment of launch.
Are you going to purchase the new Steam Deck OLED? Let us know in the comments.