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Your next Steam Deck rival could have an Nvidia GPU, according to leak

There's reportedly an Nvidia handheld gaming GPU in the works, in collaboration with Mediatek, following alleged frustration with Nintendo.

Steam Deck with Nvidia logo on the screen

An Nvidia handheld PC gaming chip is reportedly in the works right now, which would give some serious competition to the AMD chip used in the Steam Deck. According to this latest rumor, Nvidia is working with Taiwanese semiconductor firm Mediatek on the new handheld gaming chip, which is likely to be much more powerful than the Nvidia chip in the Nintendo Switch 2.

Only one of the best handheld gaming PC devices on our guide currently uses Nvidia silicon, and that’s the Razer Edge, which is fundamentally a cloud gaming device. The problem for Nvidia here is that, unlike AMD, it doesn’t have an x86 license, and all the big PC games for Windows are designed to run on the x86 instruction set. Unless Nvidia plans to buy up a firm with an x86 license, this alleged new chip’s CPU cores will be based on the Arm architecture.

This latest rumor comes from tech leaker XpeaGPU in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “Mediatek is also working on [a] gaming handled [sic] SoC with [an] Nvidia GPU,” the post says. The reason, according to XpeaGPU, is that Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang “is frustrated by Nintendo and he sees a good market potential.”

Your next Steam Deck could have an Nvidia GPU: Screenshot of X Twitter post by XpeaGPU

Although the Nvidia Nintendo Switch 2 GPU is officially still under wraps, the silicon-on-chip (SoC) in the new handheld is widely rumored to be based on a customized version of Nvidia’s T234 Tegra chip from 2021, which has eight Arm CPU cores and a GPU based on Nvidia’s last-gen Ampere architecture.

That will be fine for Nintendo’s needs, bringing ray tracing and DLSS Super Resolution to the Switch platform for the first time, but Nvidia clearly has the potential to make a much more powerful SoC for handheld PC gaming devices with its latest GPU and CPU tech, using its latest Ada architecture. According to a recent report by Economic Daily in China, Nvidia is also already working with Mediatek on an AI CPU for PCs, which it says will be produced by TSMC on its 3nm process and could even be released in the first half of 2025.

Arm would be a good fit for a handheld device in terms of heat and power efficiency, and is arguably a more appropriate CPU architecture for use on a portable games console. The barrier for Nvidia will be getting enough of the PC’s huge x86 games back catalog ported over to Arm machine code. That won’t be easy, but it’s not impossible for a company with Nvidia’s wealth and technical resources.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard whispers about an Nvidia Steam Deck rival, and it’s an obvious area where Nvidia could have an advantage over AMD and Intel if it can build the momentum behind an Arm-based PC gaming platform.

In fact, there’s no reason why a future Steam Deck couldn’t be based on Nvidia silicon. In the meantime, if you can’t wait to get hold of a PC gaming handheld, check out our Steam Deck OLED review, as this is the current king of the crop.