One of the more curious aspects of Valve’s recently revealed Steam Deck is just what sort of performance will be on tap from the custom Zen 2 and RDNA 2-based APU. While we still haven’t seen actual benchmarks for the handheld gaming PC just yet, Valve makes some lofty claims by telling IGN that the new device has the “level of performance required to run the latest generation of games”, and that “we haven’t really found something that we could throw at this device that it couldn’t handle”.
You’ll need to temper your expectations, however, as Valve stated that the performance level it’s targeting is lower than what you’d usually find on the best gaming monitor. The device sports a native 800p resolution screen and aims to hit an average frame rate of 30fps, putting it more in line with previous generation consoles than PC gaming.Of course, less demanding games will be able to make the most of the display’s upper 60Hz limit, but it’s still not clear exactly which ones will be able to reach above 30fps.
It remains to be seen how the Steam Deck’s performance will differ when users go down the route of installing Windows onto the device over its native Linux OS, as games could run smoother on one or the other.
You’ll want to hit those higher frames if you’re planning to play FPS games on the device, where a smoother frame rate is more important. Even still, 30fps is impressive when you consider the form factor of the Steam Deck, and it’s similar to what we see on other handheld devices like the Nintendo Switch.