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Valve's 'SteamPal' handheld console specifications, launch window and estimated price emerge

A 'SteamPal' prototype supposedly looks like a wider Nintendo Switch. (Image source: NotebookCheck)
A 'SteamPal' prototype supposedly looks like a wider Nintendo Switch. (Image source: NotebookCheck)
According to multiple sources, Valve is planning on releasing a handheld games console and as early as Q4 2021. The device, codenamed SteamPal, will reputedly run Linux using an AMD Van Gogh APU. The SteamPal is expected to launch for US$399.
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According to Ars Technica, Valve is developing a handheld games console to rival the Nintendo Switch. While details on the upcoming device remain limited, Pavel Djundik, the creator of SteamDB, has noticed a few references for it in Steam's code.

In September 2020, Valve added the term 'Neptune' to Steam code and the string 'Neptune Optimized Games'. Initially, 'Neptune' was believed to be the codename for a new controller. However, Valve has now linked 'Neptune' to 'SteamPal', a name that Ars Technica asserts is the codename for Valve's console.

References to 'Neptune' and 'SteamPal' in Steam code. (Image source: SteamDB)
References to 'Neptune' and 'SteamPal' in Steam code. (Image source: SteamDB)

Apparently, the SteamPal will utilise the Switch's form factor, albeit a much wider version of it. Hence, the SteamPal, not its final name, could resemble the ONEXPLAYER that One-netbook brought to Indiegogo this month. The SteamPal will have a 'thumb-sized touchpad' though, along with two joysticks, unlike any Windows-based handhelds. It will also have a USB Type-C port that can output to an external monitor, a given for handheld consoles these days.

Ars Technica has ruled out Valve using NVIDIA hardware in the SteamPal, insisting instead that the company will source an SoC from AMD or Intel. The website stresses that Valve built the SteamPal with 'Linux as a likely target', presumably using its Proton compatibility layer.

Rumour has it that Valve will use a Van Gogh APU, although AMD is alleged to have cancelled this series. If this is the case, then the SteamPal will feature Zen 2 cores, a Navi 2-based integrated GPU and LPDDR5 RAM support. The same rumour asserts that Valve will release the SteamPal with a 7/8-inch display in Q4 2021 for US$399. Unsurprisingly, Valve will market the SteamPal as being capable of running Steam Libraries.

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Alex Alderson
Alex Alderson - Senior Tech Writer - 4167 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2018
Prior to writing and translating for Notebookcheck, I worked for various companies including Apple and Neowin. I have a BA in International History and Politics from the University of Leeds, which I have since converted to a Law Degree. Happy to chat on Twitter or Notebookchat.
contact me via: @aldersonaj
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2021 05 > Valve's 'SteamPal' handheld console specifications, launch window and estimated price emerge
Alex Alderson, 2021-05-26 (Update: 2021-05-26)