Steam Deck vs Nintendo Switch OLED: The Zen 2-powered gaming PC from Valve is a performance beast but there is still plenty of room for a future Switch Pro
There has been a considerable amount of fanfare surrounding the arrival of the Steam Deck, the new handheld gaming PC from Valve Corporation. Buyers can choose from three configurations of the device, with arguably the base model not being a great option for hardcore gamers. Due to its form, the Steam Deck has constantly been compared with the Nintendo Switch (OLED model), and although it’s reasonable to do this, it needs to be remembered that the two gaming machines aren’t really direct competitors.
|Steam Deck||Nintendo Switch (OLED model)|
|CPU||Custom AMD Zen 2 APU 4C/8T 2.4-3.5 GHz||Nvidia Tegra X1 4x Cortex-A57 @1.9 GHz + 4x [email protected] GHz|
|GPU||AMD RDNA 2 with 8 CUs @1.0-1.6 GHz||GM20B Nvidia Maxwell architecture 1,267 MHz|
|Memory||16 GB LPDDR5 @5500 MT/s||4 GB|
|Storage||Base model: 64 GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1)||64 GB eMMC|
|Mid model: 256 GB NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)|
|Top model: 512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4)|
|Expandable||Yes: microSD/microSDXC/microSDHC||Yes: microSD/microSDXC/microSDHC|
|Display||7-inch LCD 1280x800||7-inch OLED 1280x720|
|Video output||Handheld: 720p @60 Hz||Handheld: 720p|
|Docked: 4K @120 Hz or 8K @60 Hz||Docked: 1080p via HDMI|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 5.0||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.1|
|Battery||Li-ion 40 Wh||Li-ion 16 Wh|
|Battery life||2-8 hours (depending on activity)||4.5-9 hours (depending on the game)|
|Dimensions||11.7 in x 4.6 in x 1.9 in (298 x 117 x 49 mm)||9.5 in x 4 in x 0.55 in (with Joy-Con attached; 241 x 102 x 14 mm)|
|Weight||1.475 lb (669 g)||0.71 lb (322 g); 0.93 lb (422 g) with Joy-Con controllers attached|
|Release date||December 2021||October 8 2021|
|Price||Base model: US$399/€419/£349||US$349.99/€364.99/£309.99|
|Mid model: US$529/€549/£459|
|Top model: US$649/€679/£569|
As can be seen in the above table, the pure power of the Steam Deck can easily overwhelm that of the Nintendo Switch OLED. The handheld gaming PC from Valve offers a similar compute performance to that of the regular PS4: The Steam Deck can produce up to 448 GFLOPS (FP32; CPU) and up to 1.6 TFLOPS (FP32; GPU) whereas the PlayStation 4 can offer a theoretical peak of 1.84 TFLOPS (GPU) with the CPU part managing 102.4 GFLOPS. In layman’s terms, the Steam Deck is something of a Zen/RDNA-powered beast.
But as interesting as a comparison between the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch OLED is, it’s unlikely this new arrival will send any Switch Pro or Switch 2 development off the rails. Apart from being targeted at different gamer demographics, Nintendo can also rely on its huge library of first-party titles featuring storied characters such as Link, Mario, and Kirby to keep fans loyal to the brand. The Nintendo Switch console is still selling in huge amounts, and while not everyone was best pleased at the unveiling of an OLED model instead of a Pro model, the endearing popularity of the console bodes well for the likely success of a future Nintendo Switch Pro or Switch 2.