The Steam Deck, a Nintendo Switch competitor determined to dominate the handheld gaming world, is already selling like hotcakes. The most expensive configuration, packed with 512GB of storage, won't be available until early 2023.
The new portable console, powered by an AMD APU with a quad-core, eight-thread Zen 2 CPU and an RDNA 2 GPU, captivated the gaming world as Valve boasted that the Steam Deck could play triple-A titles smoothly and efficiently.
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Valve announced that the Steam Deck would hit store shelves this December, but if you haven't reserved one by now, there's no way you'll be able to secure one for the holiday season. In fact, the 64GB and 256GB models, priced at $399 and $529, respectively, won't be available until spring of next year.
The top-of-the-line configuration, packed with a 512GB NVMe SSD and priced at $649, is sold out until Q3 of 2023. Steam Deck pre-orders kicked off at 1pm EST on July 16, but according to MakeUsOf, it sold out in 30 seconds. Scalpers, as expected, participated in the mad scramble for the Steam Deck, crossing their fingers that desperate buyers will pay double, or in some cases, triple the price.
Valve is marketing the Steam Deck as a small, full-blown PC with a controller. "It's a PC," Valve Designer Lawrence Yang told IGN. "We don't think people should be locked into a certain direction and a certain set of software. If you buy a Steam Deck, it's a PC. You can install whatever you want on it [and] you can attach any peripherals you want to it."
Steam is also releasing an official dock, which can prop up the Steam Deck while it's connected to an external display. It's also useful for wired networking and USB peripherals. It will be sold separately.
All three Steam Deck configurations, regardless of storage, have no in-game difference in frame rates nor graphics quality. Running on the Steam 3.0 OS, the models come with 16GB of RAM, and a 7-inch, 1280 x 800-pixel display with 400 nits of brightness and a 60Hz refresh rate.
Steam Deck's 40 watt-hour battery reportedly offers up to 8 hours of gameplay. Valve says you can get the max runtime if you're running lighter tasks such as playing small 2D games, web browsing and streaming games.
If you don't mind the wait, you can snag a Steam Deck by reserving one for $5 here. Valve instated this reservation fee to "ensure an orderly and fair ordering process." It gives the gaming giant a clear signal that the buyer is serious about purchasing the handheld PC, which gives them better data for sorting out the supply chain, inventory and distribution logistics.