What to look forward to: One of the main advantages of Steam Deck is the optimization of Steam OS by Valve. With these tweaks, the operating system could end up on a different, more powerful portable gaming PC, and Valve can help other manufacturers push this next level of portable gaming.
Creator of the recently announced GPD Win Max 2 He speaks Valve approached her with a request to port the Steam Deck operating system to a new device. The collaboration could help turn it into a more compelling premium alternative to Valve’s portable gaming PC.
Valve’s Steam OS is a free Linux distribution that the company encourages users to install on a variety of devices, possibly even Win Max 2. However, Valve has made optimizations to the Steam Deck software to improve the gaming performance of this particular hardware and give users more control. Players can download pre-cached game shaders and easily adjust the refresh rate or clock speed to save battery.
These settings can scale relatively smoothly on Win Max 2. AMD’s mini laptop versions run on the same family of chips as the Steam Deck, but are more powerful. The Valve device is powered by a custom 4-core, 8-thread Zen 2 processor clocked at up to 3.5GHz and a 1.6GHz GPU with 8 RDNA 2 compute units.
Win Max 2 should beat those specs with a 4.7GHz Zen 3+ Ryzen 7 6800U 8-core 16-thread processor and a 2.2GHz GPU with 12 RDNA 2 compute units. Though it will cost around twice as expensive as Steam Deck.
GDP currently plans to ship Win Max 2 with Windows. A custom Steam OS variant will help compare native game performance on Windows with Proton’s compatibility level on Steam OS.
However, GPD says you’ll first need to send your device to Valve for testing, after which it could take six months to get the optimized Steam OS on the system. Valve can then advertise GPD handhelds on Steam, similar to how they showcase HP, HTC, and Microsoft VR headsets alongside their own. This type of partnership could open the door to more laptops in the future.