Valve’s announcement of the Steam Deck surprised everyone yesterday, most of all PC gamers with the components that the portable console is packing. The Steam Deck is, by all means, a standard PC made with a proprietary mainboard in a smaller form factor, which begs the question – just how much would a proper desktop PC build cost to match the Steam Deck’s power?
Steam Deck Price and Specifications
Here’s a look at what’s powering the Steam deck under the hood:
- CPU: 4 Cores/8 Threads (AMD’s Zen 2 architecture), 2.4-3.5 GHz.
- GPU: 8 Compute Units (AMD RDNA 2 architecture), 1-1.6 GHz.
- Power draw: 4-15 Watts
- RAM: 16 GB LPDDR5
- Display: 1280 x 800 (720p, 16:10 aspect ratio), 60 Hz 7-inch panel with 400 nits of brightness.
- Operating system: SteamOS 3.0 based on Linux Arch, KDE Plasma in desktop mode
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, Dual-band WiFi 2.4 and 5GHz.
- Audio: Stereo speakers with multi-channel audio via Display Port over USB-C, 3.5mm headphone jack.
- Price and storage: $399 (64 GB SSD), $529 (256 GB SSD), $649 (512 GB)
The 512 GB model also comes with an an anti-glare etched glass screen.
Steam Deck Gaming PC Build Equivalent
For this PC build, let’s assume that component prices are not as abnormally high as they are in current times due to a global chip shortage.
Starting with the core components, the CPU and GPU, Valve is using a fairly component for its APU. The CPU is a 4-core AMD Zen 2 processor, which is basically Ryzen 3 3100 underclocked from its , but the GPU is a little more complicated affair.
The graphics chip is built on the same RDNA 2 architecture from AMD that is present on its desktop Radeon RX 6000 series, as well as the PS5 and Xbox Series X|S consoles. However, the Steam Deck’s GPU is a cut-down version of the main RDNA 2 GPU, trimmed down to 8 compute units (CUs). For reference, the PS5 has 36 compute units, the Xbox Series S has 20, and the lowest-level Radeon graphics card has 28 CUs in the RX 6600M. This makes hunting down a similar GPU in the desktop space quite hard, as certain RDNA 2 specific features can’t be used on entry-level GPUs, new or old.
For this reason, we’re going with the strict fundamentals of the Steam Deck’s GPU with one that can produce a similar compute power (Teraflops). The Steam Deck’s GPU is capable of 1.6 FP32 TFlops, which is on the same level as that of the GPUs found in the last-gen PS4 or Xbox One consoles, but more efficient with future-proofed capabilities thanks to a newer architecture.
Strictly speaking, an AMD Radeon RX 560 or an Nvidia Geforce GTX 1050 will do just fine for gaming on a PC at 720p resolution, but right now the only way to get your hands on one without paying exorbitant prices is to get one from the used market. These graphics cards are hard to come by at official retailers, especially for what they’re supposed to cost.
Here’s what an equivalent PC might look like with the average cost of the build in India:
- CPU: Ryzen 3 3100 at Rs. 9,700 (comes with Wraith Stealth cooler)
- GPU: AMD Radeon RX 560/Nvidia GTX 1050 at or under Rs. 15,000
- Motherboard: ASRock A320M-HDV R4.0 at Rs. 4,000
- RAM: Adata XPG Gammix D30 16 GB DDR64 at Rs. 7,600
- Storage: Crucial BX500 120 GB (SATA) at Rs. 2,269
- Power Supply: Thermaltake TR2 550W at Rs. 3,491
- Tower cabinet: Ant Esports ICE-120AG at Rs. 2,500
Assuming that the desktop graphics card can be found for a reasonable price, this puts our Steam Deck alternative gaming PC at just under Rs. 50,000. However, unlike the Steam Deck we are still left with finding a monitor and peripherals like the keyboard and mouse.
Steam Deck India Price and Release Date
Sources in the supply chain speaking to IGN India on condition of anonymity state that if the Steam Deck does make it to India, it would with a tentative price starting at around Rs. 40,000. It’s unclear how successful it would be since the PC gaming space in India is divided between competitively priced laptops and assembled PCs.
Valve’s Steam Deck will release in December this year in the US, Canada, European Union, and UK, with “information about expanded regional availability coming soon” sometime in 2022. It remains to be seen whether the Steam Deck will make it to India officially, although IGN India has reached out to AMD, Novaplay, Valve, and Worldwide CDROMs for comment and will update this story if we hear from any of these companies.