The Steam Deck has been reaching its limits in single-player games over the past few months. The Zen 2-core processor proves to be the limiting factor, even if it has a full 15 watts of TDP. But performance is still generally adequate.
In recent months, games have increasingly abandoned the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One (S) versions. The reason for this can be identified as the very old hardware of the two consoles, which can hardly match the requirements of the new games. At the same time, current generation titles such as Forspoken skyrocket have system requirements. Square Enix’s upcoming open world title requires a Core i7-7700 or Ryzen 5 1600 processor with AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT or Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 even for 720p resolution, with minimal detail settings and 30fps.
Digital Foundry So he analyzed how the Steam Deck handles existing titles in order to assess whether the hardware is really reaching its limits here. A Plague Tale: Requiem (Test) ran mostly satisfactorily.
CPU as a limiting factor
The game had to be rendered in 720p, with the resolution being upgraded from the 360p range. Graphical details were about the same as on the Xbox Series S, though there are trade-offs in image quality, the site writes. 30fps was “mostly” achievable, however, cities present a problem – due to the significantly increased demands on the processor.
The CPU causes more problems in Gotham Knights (test), at least in the open world and it stays well below 30fps there. Need for Speed Unbound doesn’t quite hit that mark, but it does falter sometimes. The processor was also identified as the culprit here, but the game was rated as playable overall.
The Steam Deck also has limitations in the Callisto protocol, with framerates in the “low to mid-20s” in some areas, with the same issues as last generation consoles. The deciding factor is again the processor. However, the horror-thriller is not yet running smoothly on all platforms and has started selling with a lot of problems.
The Witcher 3 in the next-gen version (testing) and Uncharted 4 (testing) ran as an example of Sony’s exclusive games porting flawlessly. Graphically, both titles are roughly on par with last generation consoles.
Performance is still sufficient
Overall, it becomes clear that Steam Deck is still fast enough for now, according to the analysis conclusion, at least when you look at the graphics options. However, with current generation titles, playback “harder“, he “become more ambitious“.
Essentially, this confirms Valve’s update plans. Work is being done on the software and Proton compatibility layer, the hardware should change at most in the areas of battery life and screen. Valve sees that upgrading the processor and graphics unit only makes sense if there is a significant performance increase with the same consumption; Finally, size and uptime also play a role. When it comes to selecting games, other requirements are placed on a handheld device than playing the latest triple A titles with the best possible quality.