December 4, 2021

Valve takes a deep dive into the Steam Deck and its Aerith SoC

What simply occurred? Valve used its current Steamworks Digital Convention to disclose new particulars about its upcoming Steam Deck, together with a Ultimate Fantasy VII-inspired codename for the customized SoC powering the hand-held machine: Aerith.

Valve has revealed numerous info on the Steam Deck just lately, and never all of it good—it appears the chip scarcity will likely be delaying the primary items’ launch from December to February. However the dwell stream delved extra into the technical points of the mini console.

We all know that the Steam Deck makes use of a mix of Zen 2 cores and the identical RDNA 2 graphics engine discovered within the firm’s Radeon RX 6000-series, giving it entry to options equivalent to FidelityFX Tremendous Decision (FSR) and DirectX 12 Final. The 7nm chip had been known as Van Gogh—as within the Van Gogh APUs—however the particular SKU used within the Steam Deck goes by the codename Aerith.

The Aerith SoC boats 4 cores/eight threads with clock speeds between 2.4 GHz and three.5 GHz; Valve mentioned that it needs to goal for constant speeds quite than squeezing the very best boosts out of the chip. It has a peak FP32 (single-precision) efficiency as much as 448 GFLOPs, barely slower than a Ryzen 3 Professional 4450U.

The GPU, in the meantime, presents 8 Compute Models with clocks between 1 GHz to 1.6 GHz and has an FP32 efficiency of as much as 1.6 TFLOPS. That latter stat would possibly sound disappointing, however we all know the metric isn’t nice for measuring efficiency—Valve has proven loads of video games hitting 60 fps.

Elsewhere, Aerith has a TDP from 4W to 15W. Whereas Valve has not carried out a thermal energy restrict on the SoC, it urges builders to make use of a framerate limiter of their titles; Valve will implement the limiter in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later. The corporate beforehand confirmed that the Steam Deck would provide the identical efficiency whether or not docked or undocked, and there might be circumstances, equivalent to on scorching summer time days when used outdoor, that it could want to scale back energy draw to take care of clock speeds. This is able to cap cost charges, obtain speeds, or SSD bandwidth.

We already knew the Steam Deck would use 16GB of quad-channel 32-bit LPDDR5 reminiscence with speeds as much as 5,500MT/s. Not solely does this future-proof the system, however it’s additionally a perfect pairing for the bandwidth-loving APU.

Lastly, Valve talked concerning the 40 Whr battery that ought to provide round 7 – 8 hours of gaming. It will probably additionally help two 4k screens at 60hz by way of an built-in USB3 Gen2/DisplayPort 1.4 DSC connector, and there’s a 45W charging cable that permits the Steam Deck to be charged whereas gaming, in addition to the attachment of some peripherals.

The primary Steam Decks ought to arrive in February 2022.

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