What is the Steam Deck GPU Equivalent for Gaming PC?

Steam Deck GPU Equivalent

What is Steam Deck Equivalent to?

The Steam Deck is a handheld gaming PC from Valve that launched in February 2022. It is powered by a custom AMD APU (Accelerated Processing Unit) with an RDNA 2-based GPU. The GPU in the Steam Deck is equivalent to a mobile-class graphics card, and its performance will vary depending on the game and resolution.

Steam Deck GPU Specifications

The Steam Deck's GPU is based on AMD's RDNA 2 architecture, the same technology found in high-end graphics cards like the RX 6900 XT and RX 6700 XT. While the Steam Deck's GPU is significantly scaled-down compared to these desktop counterparts, it still packs a punch, delivering impressive performance for its size and power consumption.

Here are the key specifications of the Steam Deck's GPU:

  1. 8 RDNA 2 compute units
  2. Base clock speed: 1000 MHz
  3. Boost clock speed: 1600 MHz
  4. Memory type: LPDDR5
  5. Memory size: 16 GB
  6. Memory bus width: 128 bits
  7. Memory bandwidth: 88 GB/s
  8. Ray tracing acceleration cores: 8

These specifications translate into a theoretical performance of around 1.6 teraflops, which is comparable to the performance of the GTX 1060 and RX 580, both of which are popular mid-range desktop GPUs.

Comparing the Steam Deck GPU to Equivalents

To better understand the Steam Deck's GPU performance, let's compare it to some of its closest equivalents:
  1. AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT.
  2. NVIDIA GTX 1650.
  3. Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7.

#1) AMD Radeon RX 5500 XT

This desktop GPU offers similar performance to the Steam Deck's GPU, making it a good comparison point.

#2) NVIDIA GTX 1650

This laptop GPU is also comparable to the Steam Deck's GPU, and it is more power-efficient for use in a handheld console.

#3) Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7

This integrated graphics chip is found in some high-end laptops, and it can provide similar performance to the Steam Deck's GPU at lower resolutions.

Comparing the Steam Deck GPU to Mobile GPUs

The answer is: In terms of raw performance, the Steam Deck GPU is roughly equivalent to the AMD Radeon RX 560M, which is a mid-range mobile graphics card. However, the Steam Deck is also more efficient than the RX 560M, thanks to its 7 nm process technology. This means that the Steam Deck can provide similar performance at a lower power draw, which is important for a handheld device.

GPU Base Clock Boost Clock Memory Transistor Count
Steam Deck 1000 MHz 1600 MHz 16 GB LPDDR5 2,400 million
AMD Radeon RX 560M 900 MHz 1375 MHz 4 GB GDDR5 1280 million
NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1050 Mobile 954 MHz 1455 MHz 4 GB GDDR5 640 million

As you can see, the Steam Deck GPU is slightly faster than the RX 560M, and it is significantly more powerful than the GTX 1050 Mobile. However, it is important to note that these are just theoretical numbers, and the actual performance of the Steam Deck will vary depending on the game and resolution.

Comparing the Steam Deck to Mid-Range Desktop GPUs

Based on benchmarks and real-world performance, the Steam Deck's GPU performance falls within the range of mid-range desktop GPUs from previous generations. It's comparable to the Nvidia GTX 1050 Ti or GTX 960 and slightly outperforms the AMD RX 560.

It's important to note that direct comparisons between desktop and handheld GPUs can be misleading. Handheld devices often benefit from more efficient optimizations, leading to improved performance compared to their desktop counterparts. Additionally, the Steam Deck's operating system is tailored for gaming, further enhancing its performance.

Exploring Alternative Desktop GPU Equivalents

In addition to the GTX 1050 Ti and GTX 960, other desktop GPUs can be considered as potential equivalents to the Steam Deck's GPU. These include:
  1. AMD Radeon RX 570.
  2. AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT

1) AMD Radeon RX 570

Slightly more powerful than the GTX 1050 Ti, offering improved performance in demanding titles.

2) AMD Radeon RX 6500 XT

The newest entry in this group offers comparable performance to the GTX 1050 Ti and slightly better performance at higher resolutions.

Performance Expectations for Different Games

The Steam Deck is capable of running a wide variety of games, but its performance will depend on the game and resolution. Here are some general performance expectations for different games:

Indie Games and E-sports Titles

Most indie games and e-sports titles will run smoothly on the Steam Deck at 720p or 1080p resolution.

AAA Games

AAA games will require some compromises to run smoothly on the Steam Deck. You may need to lower the graphics settings or play at a lower resolution.

Ray Tracing

The Steam Deck does not support ray tracing, so you will not be able to play games that require this feature.

Overall, the Steam Deck is a powerful handheld gaming PC that can run a wide variety of games. However, its performance is limited by its mobile-class GPU. If you are looking for the best possible performance, you should consider a gaming laptop or desktop.

To accurately assess the Steam Deck's GPU performance, comparing it to similar desktop GPUs is essential. While the Steam Deck's GPU is custom-built for the device's specific needs, it shares architectural similarities with existing desktop offerings.

Real-World Performance Examples
To give a clearer picture of the Steam Deck's real-world performance, let's consider some specific examples:
  1. CS:GO: The Steam Deck can maintain a smooth 60 frames per second (FPS) at 1080p with medium to high settings
  2. The Witcher 3: At 1080p with medium settings, the Steam Deck can achieve around 30 FPS, with occasional dips in demanding areas
  3. Red Dead Redemption 2: At 720p with low to medium settings, the Steam Deck can maintain a steady 30 FPS


While the Steam Deck's GPU might not match the raw power of high-end desktop GPUs, it's a highly capable gaming chip that delivers impressive performance for its size and form factor. Its optimization for handheld gaming and its ability to run demanding titles at decent settings make it a compelling choice for gamers seeking a portable gaming solution.

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