Thursday, July 15th 2021

Valve Steam Deck SoC Detailed: AMD Brings Zen2 and RDNA2 to the Table

Valve today announced its first big splash into the console market with Steam Deck, a device out to eat the Nintendo Switch's lunch. The announcement comes as yet another feather in AMD's cap for its semi-custom SoC business, benefiting from being the only company with an x86-64 CPU license and having a cutting-edge graphics hardware IP. Built on the 7 nm node at TSMC, the semi-custom chip at the heart of the Steam Deck is designed for extended gameplay on battery, and is a monolithic silicon that combines CPU, GPU, and core-logic.

The yet-unnamed semi-custom chip features a 4-core/8-thread CPU based on the "Zen 2" microarchitecture, with a nominal clock speed of 2.40 GHz, and up to 3.50 GHz boost. The CPU component offers an FP32 throughput of 448 GFLOP/s. The GPU is based on AMD's latest RDNA2 graphics architecture—the same one powering the Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5, and Radeon RX 6900 XT—and is comprised of 8 RDNA2 compute units (512 stream processors). The GPU operates at an engine clock speed of 1.10 GHz to 1.60 GHz, with peak compute power of 1.6 TFLOP/s. The silicon uses a unified memory interface, and a cutting-edge LPDDR5 memory controller.
Steam Deck is endowed with 16 GB of LPDDR5 memory, running at 5500 MT/s data-rate. Storage interfaces include eMMC (1 GB/s per direction), PCI-Express Gen 3 x4 for NVMe-based storage (4 GB/s per direction), and microSDXC. The chip is designed to operate at configurable TDP of 4 W to 15 W. On battery, the console uses aggressive power management, running the CPU and GPU at tighter clock-speeds, lowering the TDP. When plugged in, the SoC gets to stretch its legs and sustain max boost frequencies better.
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59 Comments on Valve Steam Deck SoC Detailed: AMD Brings Zen2 and RDNA2 to the Table

#1
_Flare
could that be Van Gogh?
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#4
Gameslove
Availability to play offline or only WiFi connection?
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#5
zlobby
Where laptop (parts)?
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#6
neatfeatguy
RaendorIt should’ve been Gabe Boy all the time
Nintendo would have loved to sue them over trademark infringement. They are very sue happy when it comes to things using their IP or things very close. Gabe Boy....Game Boy.....Nintendo would have been seeing $$$$$ all the way to the bank.

Though, it would have been nice to see Steam taken down a peg if they did something as dumb as that.
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#8
zlobby
neatfeatguyNintendo would have loved to sue them over trademark infringement. They are very sue happy when it comes to things using their IP or things very close. Gabe Boy....Game Boy.....Nintendo would have been seeing $$$$$ all the way to the bank.

Though, it would have been nice to see Steam taken down a peg if they did something as dumb as that.
But will there be Gabe Boy 3?
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#9
windwhirl
zlobbyBut will there be Gabe Boy 3?
Nope. It will jump straight to 4 :laugh:
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#10
blu3dragon
_Flarecould that be Van Gogh?
Good spot. Could be.
8 RDNA2 compute units in this vs 8 Vega CUs in Cezanne.
4 zen2 vs 8 zen3 cpu cores, which would fit in with the lower power & smaller die requirement.
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#11
pantherx12
It's nice, but I think I'll wait for the Aya Neo refresh. I'd have have a little bit thicker and have more power if I need it.

I.e 8 cores 16 threads when docked and 4 cores 8 threads in mobile mode.
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#12
InhaleOblivion
Definitely Van Gogh as mentioned above. IGN posted gameplay footage running smoothly with various games as well. Plus a Q&A done with some of the SteamDeck devs.
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#13
dicktracy
Another flop from Valve. Their contribution to PC gaming is zip thus far.
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#14
windwhirl
dicktracyAnother flop from Valve. Their contribution to PC gaming is zip thus far.
Uh, I don't know about that. I hear quite a few people are happy with Proton.
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#15
jimmyxxx
I guess this is the answer to a monopolized playfield. Sony left the handheld market with the Vita and Nintendo has crushed it with the Switch.
I think Steam is the vert few companies that might have the resources and know how to pull-off a decent fight.
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#16
RandallFlagg
jimmyxxxI guess this is the answer to a monopolized playfield. Sony left the handheld market with the Vita and Nintendo has crushed it with the Switch.
I think Steam is the vert few companies that might have the resources and know how to pull-off a decent fight.
Meh, no, not monopolized. Marginalized sub-segment.

www.newegg.com/p/0Z9-005J-00BA8?nm_mc=KNC-MSNSearch&cm_mmc=KNC-MSNSearch-_-Game+Cube+Video+Games-_-CAFELE-_-9SIAY4BEFB3324&source=region&Item=9SIAY4BEFB3324
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#17
lynx29
honestly this looks decent. i really like you aim with the thumbstick but also with the gyro at the same time for extra accuracy to make up for not having a mouse...

I'm very interested in this.
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#18
Gruffalo.Soldier
I'm the only one
Does the version with 64gb internal, still have a internal m2 slot i wonder?
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#19
lynx29
Gruffalo.SoldierDoes the version with 64gb internal, still have a internal m2 slot i wonder?
I doubt it. this is probably proprietary nvme. gamersnexus will do a teardown for sure, so we will know then
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#20
TheDeeGee
Why make HL3 which sells 150 million copies, when you can make an overpriced handheld and sell 1 million units.

How tone deaf can one be?

Oh, good luck when you get stickdrift and have to toss the entire unit.
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#21
zlobby
Gruffalo.SoldierDoes the version with 64gb internal, still have a internal m2 slot i wonder?
I'm more worried about them handles. Can't imagine they are comfortable for anything more then 5 mins.
TheDeeGeeWhy make HL3 which sells 150 million copies, when you can make an overpriced handheld and sell 1 million units.

How tone deaf can one be?

Oh, good luck when you get stickdrift and have to toss the entire unit.
What if they make HL3 exclusive for their handheld consoles for a year, maybe?
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#22
Easy Rhino
Linux Advocate
Holy crap this thing is running Arch for SteamOS. Amazing. Linux is amazing.
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#23
persondb
Valve really isn't pushing this SoC, if you look at Luciene and Renoir U series, those are really pretty different with way higher clocks for both CPU and GPU at the same TDP. Remembering that a RDNA 2 CU is much more efficient power wise, so much that AMD claimed 30% higher frequencies @ same power.

I wished that this was Rembrandt based(Zen 3 and 12 RDNA CUs) but oh well, I guess that for the price, it's good. It would probably have been better for future proof and stuff like emulation, if we take the Aya Neo as an example, it wouldn't be able to do PS3 emulation well at all since lower clocks and lower core count(even if it has SMT/more threads).
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#24
watzupken
persondbValve really isn't pushing this SoC, if you look at Luciene and Renoir U series, those are really pretty different with way higher clocks for both CPU and GPU at the same TDP. Remembering that a RDNA 2 CU is much more efficient power wise, so much that AMD claimed 30% higher frequencies @ same power.

I wished that this was Rembrandt based(Zen 3 and 12 RDNA CUs) but oh well, I guess that for the price, it's good. It would probably have been better for future proof and stuff like emulation, if we take the Aya Neo as an example, it wouldn't be able to do PS3 emulation well at all since lower clocks and lower core count(even if it has SMT/more threads).
In such a small form factor, I am not sure if you have a lot of leg room to push for more powerful hardware to be honest. I feel RDNA2 is more power efficient, but it still runs very hot because of the high clockspeed. The Sapphire RX 6800 XT Nitro+ while pulling around 300W can hit 94 degs Celsius for its junction temp in a heavy RT workload.

In any case, the article mentioned that this will eat Nintendo Switch for lunch. From a hardware perspective, that is certainly so. But I would like to see if they can even sell anywhere as close to Nintendo Switch's sales number. This is not even an apple to apple comparison because the target market for Nintendo is certainly not the same as people who may buy this or a console like PS or Xbox.
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#25
Nordic
GamesloveAvailability to play offline or only WiFi connection?
Anything you could do on a Linux system you could do on this. It can play games offline. You can even install windows if you really want.
Easy RhinoHoly crap this thing is running Arch for SteamOS. Amazing. Linux is amazing.
The OS is honestly the most impressive thing about this by far.
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