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News Hardware Steam Deck Supports Ray Tracing, VRS, and Other Stores; Programmer Compares It to Xbox Series X in Performance per Pixel

Lunatic_Gamer

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The Steam Deck is powered by AMD's RDNA 2 architecture, so it's not surprising to hear straight from Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais that the hardware support DirectX 12 Ultimate features like variable rate shading (VRS) and acceleration for ray tracing, but it's always good to get confirmation.

The hardware is very powerful for its target resolution of 1280x800. In fact, programmer and modder Peter 'Durante' Thomas likened it to an Xbox Series X in 'performance per pixel' (via RobotBrush).

• The GPU is about as fast in raw performance as a base PS4, but it's a much newer and more efficient architecture (the same as PS5/XSX), and it only needs to target 1280x800. In other words, it has about the same raw GPU performance per pixel when targeting 1280x800 as the Xbox Series X has when targeting 4K (slightly more actually).

• The CPU is basically half a XSX/PS5, with slightly lower clock.

• 16 GB of RAM (really neat), 4x Switch, same capacity as PS5

Obviously there will be a bit of overhead (varying from basically nothing or even better performance to significant overhead) for running games on Proton compared to Windows, but this is the performance you should expect.

Sounds like a great portable PC. I might get one down the road.
 

SlimySnake

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Lol nonsense. 99% of games on xsx don't run at native 4k. Most go all the way down below 1440p. Metro was hitting 1100p. Doom in ray tracing was going down to 1200p.

Ue5 is targeting 1440p 30 fps for the xsx. Let's ask that programmer what would be the pixel level performance of this 1-1.6 tflops machine.
 

assurdum

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It performs at 800p as series X in 4k isn't it exactly shocking, especially with the next generation engine in the horizon...
 
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assurdum

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Lol nonsense. 99% of games on xsx don't run at native 4k. Most go all the way down below 1440p. Metro was hitting 1100p. Doom in ray tracing was going down to 1200p.

Ue5 is targeting 1440p 30 fps for the xsx. Let's ask that programmer what would be the pixel level performance of this 1-1.6 tflops machine.
Uh. I reminded native 1080p reconstructed in 4k via FX resolution.
 
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GHG

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I wonder if it would be just better to wipe it and put windows on it. Worried a bit about it being Linux and using that emulator.

Valve will ship it with Linux to avoid paying Microsoft a windows license fee for every deck that is sold but once it's in the hands of people I see a lot of people doing exactly that with it.

It's what I'll be doing with mine, unless anything changes I see no reason not to.
 
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Digital Foundry are salivating on this for their clickbait titles. Can't wait for the extra layer of their comparisons, Switch vs Steam Deck vs Xbox Series S.

The sub-HD wars (not really the Series S in most cases, but clickbait works wonders).

Edit - As for the OP, it's incredible hardware for a handheld, in 2021 amidst a global pandemic and the never before seen chip shortage / mining boom and scalper shitwaffles acquiring hardware and selling them for massive profits, what kind of a deal Valve would've struck with the hardware manufacturers for their final BoM, to even make this thing affordable.
 
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TheAssist

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So this would then be bottlenecked by the CPU more than the GPU no?

Since many things the CPU calculates dont scale as well with display resolution compared to the GPU.
 

GHG

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Ah yes, we all know these things scale linearly...

Exactly.

Reminds me of the Series S vs Series X talk. "Just drop the resolution and it will be OK" they said and we all know how that's turned out.

I think the hardware in the deck is good for a handheld device but talk like this irks me since it's overselling/overhyping the device when it should be able to stand perfectly fine on it's one merits without these kinds of comparisons.

I have a good idea of what I'm getting here and I'm primarily going to use it as an indie/emulation device for 60fps games and probably a bunch of more graphically intense turn based games at 30fps (divinity OS, BG3, wasteland, xcom, etc). I just hope everyone else knows what they are getting and don't get suckered in to claims like those in the OP, only to end up disappointed because it can't run new AAA games smoothly at 60fps even at 720p.
 
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Guilty_AI

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Ok, this is a very informative bit that got ommited from the article

"The steam deck is able to run current gen PC games at medium to high settings at smooth frame rates. While i wasn't able to to run benchmark tests during my hands-on time, i played Death Stranding, Doom Eternal, Control and several others, all of which looked great and played smoothly"
 
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martino

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if gabe strategy work :
Our view is, if we're doing this right, that we're going to be selling these in millions of units and it's clearly going to be establishing a product category that ourselves and other PC manufacturers are going to be able to participate in and that's going to have long-term benefits for us.

At least we will have a good collection of titles to play with and confirm or not scallability on per engine / genre basis.
 

MrFunSocks

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Ray tracing from a 1-1.6TF GPU at 720p? Lol no. Anything ray traced would be rendering at like 180p lol.

As for what durante said, well the evidence we have contradicts him. Control, doom, etc were running at medium/high settings at 720p. They run higher than that on series x. Not a chance this thing runs pc games at higher settings than the series X does at 4K. Also most games aren't 4K native.
 
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Haggard

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And since we all know that the 4k target is just wishful thinking for the xsx as well as the PS5 and we're already seeing a lot of 1440p on the screens for cross gen stuff we all know that this quote is utter bullshit and not worth making threads about .. Oh wait.
 

Kholinar

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1.6 RDNA 2 teraflops = 2 GCN (PS4) teraflops, plus a whole host of other architectural improvements, and it supports all DX12 Ultimate features. It also has a CPU that dogs on the PS4's CPU by orders of magnitude, and it only needs to target around half the resolution that the PS4 does.

With VRS I can see it hitting a stable medium/60 on all last-gen titles. This thing is gonna be great.
 

ethomaz

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I think you need to read his quote again. He never directly compared performance between the systems. He said per pixel. It’s probably a bit less i real world figures, but I can understand his point.
His take is really dumb and false.

No. Deck won’t delivery anything close to Series X quality in 800p lol

It will play most games in low/mid settling at 60fps in 800p… some games won’t reach 60fps in 800p but well there is 480p, 360p, etc.
 
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ethomaz

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1.6 RDNA 2 teraflops = 2 GCN (PS4) teraflops, plus a whole host of other architectural improvements, and it supports all DX12 Ultimate features. It also has a CPU that dogs on the PS4's CPU by orders of magnitude, and it only needs to target around half the resolution that the PS4 does.

With VRS I can see it hitting a stable medium/60 on all last-gen titles. This thing is gonna be great.
Plus a OS that takes more from the system, plus an abstraction layer similar to emulation.

I agree it will delivery very similar to PS4… most games in 1080p 30fps or 900p 60fps… or in Deck terms 800p 70-80fps… low/mid settlings like PS4.
 
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It will play most games in low/mid settling at 60fps in 800p… some games won’t reach 60fps in 720p but well there is 480p, 360p, etc.

Cringe Wince GIF
 
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Omeggos

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The system is essentially a 2Tflop handheld with rdna2. That’s about it, which for a handheld sounds fucking amazing but come on, this will be pulling considerably less than the series s (or even a ps4 pro) in terms of processing power, let alone series x or even ps5. Even with the lower Rex, you’ll likely be seeing lower settings in comparison to Xbox series x (barring resolution)

but that’s not to say it isn’t cool. I’ve got mine preorder and I’m looking forward to trying out halo (mcc and infinite) and dark souls in portable form.
 
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Guilty_AI

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So is this thing gonna fucking slap or what? Help me GAF, without all the console warrior shit
If i had to make a guess i'd say it'll deliver performance similar to a gtx 1050 ti, which is realy darn incredible... for a handheld device.
Here's a benchmark of control with the card, whose performance i think is in line with what has been said about it so far



People are worried about the emulation layer by proton, but nowadays performance with it is really good on most titles. The biggest worry at the moment are some online games, something valve already said they're working on and will release an update for proton fixing it before steam deck is out.

And either way, you can always just install windows on it if you're still not convinced or satisfied with linux gaming.
 
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LiquidRex

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The Steam Deck is powered by AMD's RDNA 2 architecture, so it's not surprising to hear straight from Valve's Pierre-Loup Griffais that the hardware support DirectX 12 Ultimate features like variable rate shading (VRS) and acceleration for ray tracing, but it's always good to get confirmation.

The hardware is very powerful for its target resolution of 1280x800. In fact, programmer and modder Peter 'Durante' Thomas likened it to an Xbox Series X in 'performance per pixel' (via RobotBrush).



Sounds like a great portable PC. I might get one down the road.
Is all 16 GB of RAM available for devs?
 
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01011001

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I mean, the issue is... if a game on Series X drops the resolution down to 1440p or 1200p, that's not amazing but not the end of the world

if the Series S goes below 900p, or even 720p... that's really on the edge of being ok

now with this system that is about half as powerful (not even half), dropping from 720p down to 480p will be BARELY ok for many people, and it will look pretty shit in modern games.

it has the benefit of being a handheld system with a comparatively small 7" screen and not a system you will play on a 55" 4K TV, but still, there is a limit at which games will stop looking decent and start to look N64-esque.

so while that sounds great at first glance "same power pixel for pixel as a Series X", what that really means is extremely low resolution games as soon as you play anything more recent and don't want to drop settings to low.
 
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LiquidRex

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His take is really dumb and false.

No. Deck won’t delivery anything close to Series X quality in 800p lol

It will play most games in low/mid settling at 60fps in 800p… some games won’t reach 60fps in 720p but well there is 480p, 360p, etc.
Well at 480p it would have been wiser for Steam to go with a CRT screen instead of OLED. 😂😂😛
 
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Rikkori

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I wonder if it would be just better to wipe it and put windows on it. Worried a bit about it being Linux and using that emulator.
Unless you plan to use it as a PC too idk that I'd bother with it, unless a specific game you want to play turns out to have issues with SteamOS. Keep the sleeker OS imo, you don't want to pay the overhead unless you need to.
Many Xbox Series X games run well below native 4K. Dynamic 720p sounds pretty bad tbh.
Nah, it will be fine. 800p locked is a given.
Did this "programmer" forget that the SX has overkill cooling & is connected directly to the wall?
What does that have to do with anything? Steam Deck doesn't have Series X hardware it has to cool & power, it has a 15w envelope (or less, if capped). That's nothing given all its vents.
So this would then be bottlenecked by the CPU more than the GPU no?

Since many things the CPU calculates dont scale as well with display resolution compared to the GPU.
No, GPU will still be the main bottleneck, especially memory bandwidth. A lot of settings that might hit the CPU will hit the GPU even harder first (LOD, etc.) so in the end it's still the GPU that needs more CUs/memory bw in the future for an upgraded version.
Ah yes, we all know these things scale linearly...
They don't but they actually scale non-linearly in favour of Durante's argument. Remember that console settings are closer to the tail-end of the graphics/performance slope.

Ray tracing from a 1-1.6TF GPU at 720p? Lol no. Anything ray traced would be rendering at like 180p lol.

As for what durante said, well the evidence we have contradicts him. Control, doom, etc were running at medium/high settings at 720p. They run higher than that on series x. Not a chance this thing runs pc games at higher settings than the series X does at 4K. Also most games aren't 4K native.
RT is actually doable. I was testing RDNA 2 @ 500 mhz with my 6800 trying to limit everything as much as possible and it could still do 900p w/ all RT effects @ 50w (which is more a cap of the config than how high it needs to be) in Cyberpunk 2077 which is a worst-case scenario pretty much. Will you actually want to turn RT on here instead of just stabilising fps & other settings? Ofc not, but it bodes very well for RT-required titles such as Exodus EE etc.
It doesn't need to be as powerful as the beefy gaming PCs or next gen consoles, this thing has reasonable price points, for what it can do.
Exactly, it's a great piece of hardware for the price.
1.6 RDNA 2 teraflops = 2 GCN (PS4) teraflops, plus a whole host of other architectural improvements, and it supports all DX12 Ultimate features. It also has a CPU that dogs on the PS4's CPU by orders of magnitude, and it only needs to target around half the resolution that the PS4 does.

With VRS I can see it hitting a stable medium/60 on all last-gen titles. This thing is gonna be great.
60 fps might be an issue more often than not for AAA-type games but a stable 30 fps is guaranteed in pretty much everything.
So it has more features than the PS5, nice.
Love You Heart GIF by iskra

It's will be awesome either way. Best handheld ever.
Pretty much, they packed so much in, it's crazy!
Tbh I'm salty. I didn't pre-order one when it was announced, didn't know you only needed $5 deposit down. Didn't want to spend 600 on a handheld I don't know shit about.

So is this thing gonna fucking slap or what? Help me GAF, without all the console warrior shit
These types of forums always have a lot of negative nancies infesting them, not worth paying attention to. The tech they pack in this thing, and for the release date, is nothing short of a miracle, and then the price is the cherry on top. This is one of the best hardware releases in history, and that's me downplaying it. The only thing bad about it is they need to make 10s of millions in the first year and they won't be able to.

To put it in perspective, the technology in the chip they're using is not something that will be generally available any sooner than late next year, and people who would put it together in a handheld (e.g. like Aya Neo et al) would probably not be able to do that until 2023 and would charge a cool $1000 at a minimum, with likely fewer I/O options and without the software support Valve promises. When you look at everything Steam Deck does in a single package, it's simply unbelievable. It's the kind of product you might day-dream about that could be possible if people would take X, Y, and Z technologies you know about and then would combine them, but you'd never expect that to actually happen. It's the exact opposite of what Nintendo does (or what you'd expect from corporations in general).
 

Guilty_AI

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Is all 16 GB of RAM available for devs?
All the memory that isn't being used by the system should be available for the game.
My guess is that the system will use 1 to 2 gb of memory, so that leaves 15-14 gb for gaming (assuming you're using steam OS which uses linux, since windows eats way more ram than that).

That said, "available for the devs" isn't a good question, seeing as this will simply run normal PC versions of the games. Devs won't be developing games specifically for this system. Maybe at best making optimizations for it.
 
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DonJuanSchlong

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I don't recall seeing any Steam Deck fanboys here.
Probably not, but I personally wouldn't like it either way. Great for portability, but please don't make it another thing in console wars! I just want to read forums, and not have to deal with warrior scum!
 

01011001

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I just like the fact Valve showed the world you can have such power in handheld form for $399. A slap across Nintendo's stingy face. I hope now Nintendo's next system will be at least as good as this.

the issue Nintendo has is that Nvidia's mobile efforts have been extremely stagnating for the past 7 years. the last big chip upgrade they made was the X1... technically the X2, but that one is designed for cars and not necessarily for mobile devices
 

GHG

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Ray tracing from a 1-1.6TF GPU at 720p? Lol no. Anything ray traced would be rendering at like 180p lol.

As for what durante said, well the evidence we have contradicts him. Control, doom, etc were running at medium/high settings at 720p. They run higher than that on series x. Not a chance this thing runs pc games at higher settings than the series X does at 4K. Also most games aren't 4K native.

If only you and your comrades were this realistic and honest about the Series S when the specs were revealed.
 

DonJuanSchlong

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I just like the fact Valve showed the world you can have such power in handheld form for $399. A slap across Nintendo's stingy face. I hope now Nintendo's next system will be at least as good as this.
Not sure why LiquidRex LiquidRex gave you the empathy emoji, as this could possibly be better than steam link, while being able to run games without needing a host, aka running games natively without having a PC.
 
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Probably not, but I personally wouldn't like it either way. Great for portability, but please don't make it another thing in console wars! I just want to read forums, and not have to deal with warrior scum!

It really should be compared with the Switch in my opinion. It doesn't make sense to compare it to the XSX or the PS5.

I am interested in it for emulation purposes though. Pretty sure it will do very well there.

Edit: I own a lot of old games on Steam so it's definitely going to be fantastic for that.
 
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MrFunSocks

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Unless you plan to use it as a PC too idk that I'd bother with it, unless a specific game you want to play turns out to have issues with SteamOS. Keep the sleeker OS imo, you don't want to pay the overhead unless you need to.

Nah, it will be fine. 800p locked is a given.

What does that have to do with anything? Steam Deck doesn't have Series X hardware it has to cool & power, it has a 15w envelope (or less, if capped). That's nothing given all its vents.

No, GPU will still be the main bottleneck, especially memory bandwidth. A lot of settings that might hit the CPU will hit the GPU even harder first (LOD, etc.) so in the end it's still the GPU that needs more CUs/memory bw in the future for an upgraded version.

They don't but they actually scale non-linearly in favour of Durante's argument. Remember that console settings are closer to the tail-end of the graphics/performance slope.


RT is actually doable. I was testing RDNA 2 @ 500 mhz with my 6800 trying to limit everything as much as possible and it could still do 900p w/ all RT effects @ 50w (which is more a cap of the config than how high it needs to be) in Cyberpunk 2077 which is a worst-case scenario pretty much. Will you actually want to turn RT on here instead of just stabilising fps & other settings? Ofc not, but it bodes very well for RT-required titles such as Exodus EE etc.

Exactly, it's a great piece of hardware for the price.

60 fps might be an issue more often than not for AAA-type games but a stable 30 fps is guaranteed in pretty much everything.

Love You Heart GIF by iskra


Pretty much, they packed so much in, it's crazy!

These types of forums always have a lot of negative nancies infesting them, not worth paying attention to. The tech they pack in this thing, and for the release date, is nothing short of a miracle, and then the price is the cherry on top. This is one of the best hardware releases in history, and that's me downplaying it. The only thing bad about it is they need to make 10s of millions in the first year and they won't be able to.

To put it in perspective, the technology in the chip they're using is not something that will be generally available any sooner than late next year, and people who would put it together in a handheld (e.g. like Aya Neo et al) would probably not be able to do that until 2023 and would charge a cool $1000 at a minimum, with likely fewer I/O options and without the software support Valve promises. When you look at everything Steam Deck does in a single package, it's simply unbelievable. It's the kind of product you might day-dream about that could be possible if people would take X, Y, and Z technologies you know about and then would combine them, but you'd never expect that to actually happen. It's the exact opposite of what Nintendo does (or what you'd expect from corporations in general).
Do you seriously think they would sell tens of millions of this per year? Like legit you think that? You think this would outsell every console?

Bananas. Absolutely bananas.


It really should be compared with the Switch in my opinion. It doesn't make sense to compare it to the XSX or the PS5.

I am interested in it for emulation purposes though. Pretty sure it will do very well there.

You should seriously just look at something like an S22 Ultra next year with the AMD gpu in it. Higher resolution screen, infinitely more pocketable, higher refresh rate, and will emulate all consoles up to the PS3 generation just as well as the Deck.
 
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