Tuesday, August 10th 2021

Valve Working With AMD to Bring Windows 11 Support to Steam Deck

Valve has previously announced that the Steam Deck will ship with their custom Steam OS 3.0 based on Arch Linux but that the user would be able to install alternative operating systems such as Windows 10. When Microsoft recently announced Windows 11 they also increased the system requirements with the most contentious decision being the requirement of a Trusted Compatibility Module (TPM). The Zen 2 Van Gogh APU found in the Steam Deck features a firmware-integrated TPM which needs to be supported within the device BIOS to enabled compatibility with Windows 11. Valve has confirmed that they are working with AMD to support the requirement and are hopeful that they will be able to achieve this.
Greg Coomer - Valve Steam Deck designerThere's work looking at TPM just now. We've focused so much on Windows 10, so far, that we haven't really gotten that far into it. Our expectation is that we can meet that.
Source: Valve (via PC Gamer)
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22 Comments on Valve Working With AMD to Bring Windows 11 Support to Steam Deck

#1
Valantar
Does this require more than changing a single bit in the BIOS from 0 to 1? I get that the Steam Deck might not have a fully featured and user accessible BIOS (and is likely to be more like a laptop), but ... how hard can this be?
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#2
Ferrum Master
ValantarDoes this require more than changing a single bit in the BIOS from 0 to 1? I get that the Steam Deck might not have a fully featured and user accessible BIOS (and is likely to be more like a laptop), but ... how hard can this be?
I do not think it is as simple you imagine.

It still has registers, memory addressing and very unique ones as custom ASIC. The base firmware is unique, it could not even use UEFI, is it known that it uses exactly AMI based solution? Imagine more like PS5, bare metal ASM code that acts as boot image. The TPM must be hardcoded from scratch to be compatible at higher lever.
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#3
Mussels
Moderprator
They're just making sure windows treats its CPU scheduler appropriately, and the default power plans can manage it in a way thats best for game performance
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#4
Ferrum Master
MusselsThey're just making sure windows treats its CPU scheduler appropriately, and the default power plans can manage it in a way thats best for game performance
From where did you pull something random about CPU scheduler? The article contains zero word about it.
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#5
Mussels
Moderprator
Ferrum MasterFrom where did you pull something random about CPU scheduler? The article contains zero word about it.
they said they were doing that with linux, and had to optimise the OS to make it work properly on their hardware (and same with W10)

the TDP limits for the CPU and GPU have to be reaaaaaally finely balanced here, or it'll tank hard in certain situations
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#6
tehehe
How cool it would be if it ran coreboot instead of some proprietary blob bullshit.
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#7
persondb
Ferrum MasterI do not think it is as simple you imagine.

It still has registers, memory addressing and very unique ones as custom ASIC. The base firmware is unique, it could not even use UEFI, is it known that it uses exactly AMI based solution? Imagine more like PS5, bare metal ASM code that acts as boot image. The TPM must be hardcoded from scratch to be compatible at higher lever.
It's not that unique man. It's as far as we know it more like a custom Renoir-derived design, with removing one CCX, switching the iGPU to a RDNA2 one, changing the memory controller and maybe some others but it's not a custom architecture like PS5/XBox where there are way more changes.
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#8
windwhirl
teheheHow cool it would be if it ran coreboot instead of some proprietary blob bullshit.
Forget about it. The blob is probably required by AMD's PSP, so it's not going away anytime soon.

Even less so if they're using AMD's PSP as TPM.
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#9
Ferrum Master
persondbIt's not that unique man. It's as far as we know it more like a custom Renoir-derived design, with removing one CCX, switching the iGPU to a RDNA2 one, changing the memory controller and maybe some others but it's not a custom architecture like PS5/XBox where there are way more changes.
It is.

It will have an unique bootloader as the article tries to say. Thus the TPM hurdle to write code for it.

The device is more like a mobile phone not a PC. Device does not consist only of CPU and igpu. To wake up the hardware it needs a lot of other devices, that wastly differs. First the clock init and virtual south bridge then the power section is woken up and steered. The HW is very unque especially in mobile space with special VRMs. AMI bios simply cannot be used. They do not have module drivers for very specific mobile components. So writing from scratch is a normal phenomena.

Also Mussels is talking trash. For devices like this everything is preset in that firmware including power, voltage limits. It is OS agnostic.

The upper layer... compiler wise Sony has contributed most compiler wise in Linux and everything should work fine. You will not be allowed to alter anything in the device. On windows and linux it will be locked. All memory registers to alter something will be undocumented and/or locked.
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#10
Mussels
Moderprator
Ferrum MasterAlso Mussels is talking trash. For devices like this everything is preset in that firmware including power, voltage limits. It is OS agnostic.
It's literally in the previous articles, they're seeking help from all the major OS's they want on launch day
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#11
Ferrum Master
MusselsIt's literally in the previous articles, they're seeking help from all the major OS's they want on launch day
Isn't it really weird for Microsoft to spend their own resources to some other companies business ventures? They have their own xbox venture to be occupied with.

Basically... I do not know why you even mentioned those things in the first place. I bet on most part those early things are based on assumptions.

The headline says it all. Valve is working with AMD. Hardware manufacturer that has all the source code and ASM commands and know how their security HW engine in the CPU really works to establish a working TPM base requirement on custom firmware level upon what to establish further boot to init the windows loader.. It will be a binary blob also. There couldn't even be a question about it, no one will disclose internal docs.

Most people even do not know how low level bare to the metal software works and how HW init/base feature set is established and yet manages to mumble something about something totally else.
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#12
Valantar
Ferrum MasterIt is.

It will have an unique bootloader as the article tries to say. Thus the TPM hurdle to write code for it.

The device is more like a mobile phone not a PC. Device does not consist only of CPU and igpu. To wake up the hardware it needs a lot of other devices, that wastly differs. First the clock init and virtual south bridge then the power section is woken up and steered. The HW is very unque especially in mobile space with special VRMs. AMI bios simply cannot be used. They do not have module drivers for very specific mobile components. So writing from scratch is a normal phenomena.

Also Mussels is talking trash. For devices like this everything is preset in that firmware including power, voltage limits. It is OS agnostic.

The upper layer... compiler wise Sony has contributed most compiler wise in Linux and everything should work fine. You will not be allowed to alter anything in the device. On windows and linux it will be locked. All memory registers to alter something will be undocumented and/or locked.
Uhm... why would this be more like a phone than, say, a laptop? By all indications this is laptop-grade hardware. What information do you have to indicate otherwise?
Ferrum MasterIsn't it really weird for Microsoft to spend their own resources to some other companies business ventures? They have their own xbox venture to be occupied with.

Basically... I do not know why you even mentioned those things in the first place. I bet on most part those early things are based on assumptions.

The headline says it all. Valve is working with AMD. Hardware manufacturer that has all the source code and ASM commands and know how their security HW engine in the CPU really works to establish a working TPM base requirement on custom firmware level upon what to establish further boot to init the windows loader.. It will be a binary blob also. There couldn't even be a question about it, no one will disclose internal docs.

Most people even do not know how low level bare to the metal software works and how HW init/base feature set is established and yet manages to mumble something about something totally else.
Any effort exerted by MS is likely to be useful in other, future hardware, and might even serve to improve how they do things in current hardware. And how does Xbox play into this? It is developed entirely separate from Windows and Windows hardware. Sure, the OS is a Windows fork, but it definitely isn't developed by the same team.
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#13
Ferrum Master
ValantarUhm... why would this be more like a phone than, say, a laptop? By all indications this is laptop-grade hardware. What information do you have to indicate otherwise?
It is a console. Usually a closed source specially tailored HW device with no compatibility purpose whatsoever what should PC as a laptop have.
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#14
Valantar
Ferrum MasterIt is a console. Usually a closed source specially tailored HW device with no compatibility purpose whatsoever what should PC as a laptop have.
What? No. Valve has been very explicit in saying that this is a PC. It is not a console. Not whatsoever.
Valve designer Lawrence Yang told IGN. “If you buy a Steam Deck, it's a PC. You can install whatever you want on it, you can attach any peripherals you want to it. Maybe a better way to think about it is that it's a small PC with a controller attached as opposed to a gaming console.”
Source.
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#15
Ferrum Master
ValantarWhat? No. Valve has been very explicit in saying that this is a PC. It is not a console. Not whatsoever.

Source.
You are also kinda venturing into off-road. I've asked you, does it use AMI? You said it just a toggle not realizing it does not use conventional bootloader code. It ain't just toggling a data bit. The device does not need to initialize various HW at early boot process as usually PC have, thus AMI is not needed as most stable and popular solution now.

Steam may say it is a PC, by no means it is what it is meant to be. They also say it is a special custom CPU. You can unlock a mobile phone and install a custom OS also. There will be that magical no guarantees what's working or not as there will be no open source to fix the onboard companion ASICs, at best binary blobs that will break with kernel updates(it because of legal reasons, the worst case could happen for the GPU driver). It does not reside components you can change, except for the nvme drive. If you can install another OS and third parity programs it does not make the device a PC. I can CHROOT any Linux atop android in my phone too. So what? Many years ago a carried a Nokia N900 that had multiboot in between native Maemo, Android and later the Jolla Sailfish. Was it a PC then? The heck no.
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#16
Valantar
Ferrum MasterYou are also kinda venturing into off-road. I've asked you, does it use AMI? You said it just a toggle not realizing it does not use conventional bootloader code. It ain't just toggling a data bit. The device does not need to initialize various HW at early boot process as usually PC have, thus AMI is not needed as most stable and popular solution now.

Steam may say it is a PC, by no means it is what it is meant to be. They also say it is a special custom CPU. You can unlock a mobile phone and install a custom OS also. There will be that magical no guarantees what's working or not as there will be no open source to fix the onboard companion ASICs, at best binary blobs that will break with kernel updates(it because of legal reasons, the worst case could happen for the GPU driver). It does not reside components you can change, except for the nvme drive. If you can install another OS and third parity programs it does not make the device a PC. I can CHROOT any Linux atop android in my phone too. So what? Many years ago a carried a Nokia N900 that had multiboot in between native Maemo, Android and later the Jolla Sailfish. Was it a PC then? The heck no.
It's a custom CPU, but one based on bog-standard PC architectures, and it's highly unlikely they aren't using laptop ancillary components and architectures to support it. Or are you saying that Valve is paying AMD to develop some sort of quasi-mobile implementation of Zen? Because that sounds extremely unlikely.

I mean, most of what you describe is true for the vast majority of laptops out there. They don't generally have replaceable parts (yes, even RAM is mostly soldered outside of large gaming laptops these days), except for storage. They don't need to initialize unknown hardware at boot. Etc. Nothing you are saying makes the Steam Deck more like a phone or console than a laptop, which is a PC. It's not a desktop PC, but it is a PC. Period. And AMD has everything needed to build laptops based on their architectures. The likelihood of Valve asking them to develop a bespoke phone-like system architecture and not use what already exists is essentially zero. Remember, Zen CPUs are SoCs that natively run chipset-less, needing only a basic BIOS chip to work (A300 and X300 platforms etc.). This applies even to desktop chips. Laptops all work like this. There is no reason to expect this to be different. That phones also have various capabilities is entirely irrelevant to this.

I mean, you're essentially arguing that laptops aren't PCs. In which case you've redefined 'PC' to mean something a lot narrower than any commonly accepted definition of the term.
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#17
Ferrum Master
ValantarI mean, you're essentially arguing that laptops aren't PCs. In which case you've redefined 'PC' to mean something a lot narrower than any commonly accepted definition of the term.
You can take out the PCIE device in a laptop and use it for something else, even GPU mods. Try to get it done with this one.

GL
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#18
Valantar
Ferrum MasterYou can take out the PCIE device in a laptop and use it for something else, even GPU mods. Try to get it done with this one.

GL
Hm? The vast majority of laptop GPUs are soldered to the motherboard (or integrated into the CPU/APU). MXM GPUs exist in a handful of DTR laptops. As for other PCIe devices ... this has an NVMe m.2 slot. If it could boot from something else (it might be able to boot from USB? It should, given the ability to install Windows), I wouldn't be surprised if that m.2 slot could run an eGPU, just like many laptops can, with an m.2-to-PCIe adapter and an external PSU. The main limitation there is whether the BIOS has a device whitelist/blacklist or not.

I really don't know what type of laptops you're used to seeing, but your descriptions do not match the vast majority of current laptops in any way that makes them different from what we know of the Steam Deck. And a higher level of integration does not in any way make something less of a PC.
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#19
Ferrum Master
ValantarHm? The vast majority of laptop GPUs are soldered to the motherboard (or integrated into the CPU/APU). MXM GPUs exist in a handful of DTR laptops. As for other PCIe devices ... this has an NVMe m.2 slot. If it could boot from something else (it might be able to boot from USB? It should, given the ability to install Windows), I wouldn't be surprised if that m.2 slot could run an eGPU, just like many laptops can, with an m.2-to-PCIe adapter and an external PSU. The main limitation there is whether the BIOS has a device whitelist/blacklist or not.

I really don't know what type of laptops you're used to seeing, but your descriptions do not match the vast majority of current laptops in any way that makes them different from what we know of the Steam Deck. And a higher level of integration does not in any way make something less of a PC.
You still don't get the idea. You may cling to abstract definitions, but this particular product is a console and period. It will be sold as such even, unless they are willing to get sales ban in Russia and China.

For example. My smart kettle has a pretty powerful STM32 CPU AIO with connectivity etc. I can use my ST LINK flasher and flash a OpenST linux on it I can run various programs, hook up many different displays and types of them. My smart kettle now is a Personal Computer then?

No it is still a kettle for boiling water. Someone like you want the line so blurred it just defeats the real idea. That thing is proprietary console with proprietary HW and Software with very limited usage areas besides gaming. Many fridges now have proper OS, automatics and screen... so it is a PC then? No it is a fridge, yet it can even run Excel sheets. I am calling things what they really are. Toys are toys ie console.

Don't venture into stupid calling things they ain't like calling a smartphone a personal computer. It just ain't one in the mindset. Most laptops, even soldered ones can be upgraded if you wish, the software recognizes either RAM, CPU or other things despite being soldered on. The classic system, because of the modular UEFI BIOS will work with different configurations as long one exists.
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#20
Valantar
Ferrum MasterYou still don't get the idea. You may cling to abstract definitions, but this particular product is a console and period. It will be sold as such even, unless they are willing to get sales ban in Russia and China.

For example. My smart kettle has a pretty powerful STM32 CPU AIO with connectivity etc. I can use my ST LINK flasher and flash a OpenST linux on it I can run various programs, hook up many different displays and types of them. My smart kettle now is a Personal Computer then?

No it is still a kettle for boiling water. Someone like you want the line so blurred it just defeats the real idea. That thing is proprietary console with proprietary HW and Software with very limited usage areas besides gaming. Many fridges now have proper OS, automatics and screen... so it is a PC then? No it is a fridge, yet it can even run Excel sheets. I am calling things what they really are. Toys are toys ie console.

Don't venture into stupid calling things they ain't like calling a smartphone a personal computer. It just ain't one in the mindset. Most laptops, even soldered ones can be upgraded if you wish, the software recognizes either RAM, CPU or other things despite being soldered on. The classic system, because of the modular UEFI BIOS will work with different configurations as long one exists.
Wow, this is some out-there reasoning. I mean, I kind of get the single-purpose marketing thing, but the rest? Not even close. I agree that the use case is the chief, but not the only determinant of categorization. But that isn't what you have been arguing up until now - you've been arguing that hardware differences make this a console and not a PC. Yet the hardware differences to thin-and-light laptops are essentially zero, except for the presence of built-in controllers. But no. You can, with trivial effort, use this as a linux PC. There is no more proprietary hardware or software than the average PC, at least that we know of. Yes, the APU is bespoke, but it's built from standard blocks matching other parts on the market, just configured differently (and arriving a bit early when speaking of RDNA2 and LPDDR5).

You know what that makes this? A gaming PC. Sure, a specialized one, but it's a PC that is first and foremost used for gaming. It's no more limited in its functionality than a huge DTR gaming laptop is compared to a thin-and-light. Many different subsets of what constitutes a PC are possible without them no longer being PCs.

And no, this isn't sold as a console. Have you looked at the product site? The one with

"All-in-one portable PC gaming"

in huge letters?

You don't need to hack or modify this to use it as a PC, you just need to learn how to exit the stock full-screen Steam UI. It's a built-in function. If most users won't want or need to do that, that doesnt' change that this is built-in functionality.

The Steam Deck is a portable PC in a non-traditional form factor. It runs slightly unusual but still industry standard X86 CPUs with standard feature set GPUs compliant with all current major APIs, and runs a fork of Linux with a desktop environment available. Even if 99.999999% of users only ever use it for gaming, it's still a gaming PC. Just an unconventional one.
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#21
Ferrum Master
ValantarThe Steam Deck is a portable PC in a non-traditional form factor. It runs slightly unusual but still industry standard X86 CPUs with standard feature set GPUs compliant with all current major APIs, and runs a fork of Linux with a desktop environment available. Even if 99.999999% of users only ever use it for gaming, it's still a gaming PC. Just an unconventional one.
ie a Console. You still can't distinct a square from a circle then. Not even more understanding devices utilizing a conventional UEFI with stemming into IBM PC compatible from where the actual term BIOS came from and a complete alternative incompatible Bootloader firmware that that actually this news topic is about un you do not understand.
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#22
Valantar
Ferrum Masterie a Console. You still can't distinct a square from a circle then. Not even more understanding devices utilizing a conventional UEFI with stemming into IBM PC compatible from where the actual term BIOS came from and a complete alternative incompatible Bootloader firmware that that actually this news topic is about un you do not understand.
Again: no. Consoles are locked down, run proprietary operating systems, and might be based on conventional hardware, but none in recent history has had anything resembling standard overall system architectures. Xbox One, Series X and S, PS4, and PS5 all run standard CPUs and GPUs architecturally, but have proprietary chipsets and system architectures, do not run regular BIOSes, have proprietary bootloaders, proprietary, closed-source OSes, do not necessarily support standard APIs, etc. The Switch is a relatively standard mobile architecture, true, but it runs a completely proprietary bootloader and OS, the major purpose of which is gameplay. It's hackable, but as you say, so is a smart kettle. None of these are advertised as PCs, or anything resembling general purpose computers. The Steam Deck, from what we know, runs a bog-standard laptop configuration with some slightly made-to-order parts, a fork of Linux with access to a standard desktop environment, supports the installation of Windows - i.e. it's not locked down, requires no hacking - is advertised as being a handheld, portable gaming PC, has explicit mentions in marketing of doing anything a PC can do, etc. See the difference? Until someone can demonstrate otherwise, there is no reason to assume the Steam Deck is anything but a relatively standard laptop architecture in an unconventional form factor.

You're vicariously arguing that what makes a PC is dependent on either hardware specifics, software/firmware specifics, or the use case, and jumping between these as your arguments are countered. The truth is clearly a combination of each of these factors. A PC is a general purpose computer that to some degree conforms to commonly accepted standards in PC hardware, software and firmware - but there is huge variation within the term 'PC'. Marketing it for a specific purpose does not make it less of a PC unless it also fails to meet the expectations in other areas - such as a locked down OS, inability to install applications freely, etc. But failing any one of these criteria doesn't mean it isn't a PC - that's too simplistic. It takes a combination of factors. Are Chromebooks PCs? I'd say they're an edge case, as they are locked down yet run standard laptop system architectures (though there are also mobile-based ones). IMO, the locked-down nature makes them not quite qualify, but they are very close. The Steam Deck is clearly more of a PC than that, with its combination of access to a standard Linux desktop and the ability to install Windows if you want. But calling it a console is simplistic and reductive.
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