What’s inside the Steam Deck and is it upgradeable?

10 October 2021 12:00 Technologies

Official video to embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dxnr2FAADAs (no need for pictures, but can be screenshot-able from the video)

Although we have had the system specifications of the Steam Deck for quite a while now, we wanted to see what’s truly inside the upcoming handheld console – quite literally, too. Given the fact that it’s essentially more of a small computer than a gaming console, it has piqued the curiosity of both those who are looking forward to buying a Steam Deck and those who want to see how it compares to an actual computer.

Fortunately, Valve did not make us wait until we got our hands on a Steam Deck to learn the answer to this question; instead, they have released a video visually detailing the new console. On top of that, they even point out certain hazards that can occur if people tamper with the device, so it’s a fascinating showcase in general.

Let’s start off with the system specifications to give us a little recap of what the Steam Deck offers to the player.

CPU: Zen 2 4c/8t, 2.4-3.5GHz

RAM: 16GB LPDDR5 on-board RAM

GPU: 8 RDNA 2 CUs, 1.0-1.6GHz

Size: 11.7″ long x 4.6″ tall x 1.9″ thick

Screen: 7″ 1280 x 800 (16:10) 60Hz LCD

Weight: 1.47 pounds

Battery: 40WHr (estimated 2-8 hours)

Video output (docked): up to 4K 120Hz / 8K 60Hz

Everything is pretty self-explanatory, and the battery estimation depends on how demanding the game is that you’re running and which graphics settings you’ve chosen. A lighter game means more battery life, and vice versa.

The inside view of the Steam Deck does not reveal anything that the specifications did not already tell us in terms of the hardware, but it did end up answering a very important question that many had about the device. That question? Whether the Steam Deck is upgradeable or not, and the answer is a bit more complicated than an easy ‘yes’ or ‘no.’

Is the Steam Deck upgradeable?

Let’s break the answer down the same way Valve did in their statement. Valve claims that the Steam Deck is a tightly designed machine and that all of its components have been hand-picked with care, placed inside the system in a very specific manner.

They encourage gamers to not attempt their own upgrades because a lot can go wrong in terms of compatibility; in fact, accidentally damaging the battery can even cause it to start a small fire. For those who are experts and are willing to change parts of it, however, it is possible for certain things like the battery, SSD, RAM, and more to be upgraded.

Valve does promise that, in the future, they will offer replacement parts that will fit more like pieces of a puzzle – so if you’re not an expert but still wanted the Steam Deck to be upgradeable like a PC, then you should hold onto some of your hope and wait to see what the next few months have to offer.

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