Valve Steam Deck 30FPS is baseline, not upper limit, clarifies employee: 720p screen, ZEN 2 AMD APU, and 16GB RAM to offer decent gameplay?

Valve Steam Deck 30 FPS
Shouldn’t Valve have aimed at 60 FPS as the minimum? Pic credit: Valve

The Valve Steam Deck appears to be a power-packed device that promises desktop-grade gameplay. However, gamers were concerned about Valve seemingly aiming for 30 FPS (Frames Per Second) on the 720p screen.

At $399, the Valve Steam Deck is undoubtedly one of the best in terms of value. But gamers were worried about performance. It seems Valve wants the Steam Deck to comfortably support all game titles, and 30 FPS is the bare minimum, not the standard.

Valve Steam Deck is a capable portable computer designed for gaming on the go:

The Valve Steam Deck is essentially a full-fledged computer that has the form factor of a portable gaming device. In other words, the handheld gaming console is running a Linux-based SteamOS 3.0, but it can also run other Linux Distros as well as Windows 11 operating system.

Incidentally, an optional dock will turn the Steam Deck into a desktop computer. Although there’s just a single USB Type-C port, it can accept multiple peripherals, including a monitor.

The portable gaming computer packs a special AMD APU that has the ZEN 2 cores, as well as an RDNA2-based iGPU with 1.6 Tflops processing power. The CPU has 4 cores with SMT enabled, which means there are 8 threads.

The most reassuring aspect about the Steam Deck is the copious amount of RAM. Even the $399 base variant gets 16 GB LPDDR5 RAM.

Valve is targeting 30 FPS so that every game title will work reliably, but it is not the ceiling:

With such specifications, eSports and other games from the entire Steam library shouldn’t be a problem for the handheld gaming console.

However, gamers interpreted a statement from a Valve employee as suggesting that the company is targeting 30 FPS on the handheld. This was surely concerning because the Steam Deck comes with a 720p screen.

A 1080p screen would have stressed the CPU and iGPU, which is already constrained by the portable, and compact design, with extremely limited cooling. However, a 720p screen should be a breeze as APU has to churn out way fewer pixels on the 7-inch screen with a 60 Hz. display.

Pierre-Loup Griffais, who first made the confusing statement about Steam Deck offering 30 FPS gameplay, has offered a reassuring clarification. He noted 30 FPS is the minimum that Valve is targeting with games on the Steam Deck.

When Valve claimed the Steam Deck could handle any game, there were rumors suggesting the company is limiting the frames to make the claim. However, this is certainly not the case.

AMD’s ZEN 2, and the ZEN 3 CPUs are quite efficient and powerful. But, it seems Steam Deck buyers will have to make a choice. They can either go for prolonged gameplay or much smoother gameplay.

In other words, gamers will have to choose between buttery-smooth performance or better battery life. Perhaps the second generation of Valve Steam Deck could pack the newer ZEN 3-based APUs and aim for 60 FPS minimum.

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