The Valve Steam Deck is expected to begin shipping in December to customers who pre-orders the handheld gaming computer for $399 or more. But ever since introducing the Linux-powered PC with a custom AMD processor this summer, Valve has been getting a lot of questions.
So the company has published a FAQ with some answers. Among other things, we’ve learned that you can run non-Steam games on the Steam Deck, if you opt for the priciest model you’ll get a slightly better display, and you the computer supports dual booting.
The Steam Deck ships with Steam OS, an operating system that’s based on Arch Linux with a custom user interface, Valve’s Steam game client, and Valve’s Proton software, which allows users to play many Windows PC games on Linux.
But the Steam Deck is a full-fledged computer capable of running different operating systems, and according to Valve’s FAQ, the BIOS won’t block users from installing multiple operating systems. That means you could, for example, install Windows or Ubuntu alongside Steam OS and decide which to run at startups.
Don’t want to use up precious disk space, or just want to poke around an operating system before deciding whether to install it? The Steam Deck also supports booting from a microSD card, which means that you could install an operating system to removable storage.
Speaking of microSD cards, if you use them with the Steam Deck while it’s running Steam OS, the operating system will format the cards to the ext4 file system. That means they probably won’t be readable by a Windows computer unless you use third-party software.
Other interesting tidbits from the FAQ (some of which have been previously reported):
- The Steam Deck will not support external GPUs.
- You can use the Steam Deck as a PC controller through Steam’s Remote Play software.
- You could plug in a VR headset if you wanted to, but the Steam Deck isn’t optimized for that use case.
- Connecting a dock doesn’t boost performance, it just gives you more ports.
- All Steam Deck models have IPS LCD displays, but only the 512GB model has “an additional anti-glare etched treatment applied to it.”
- The Steam Deck has dual LRA motors for haptic feedback, with one under each trackpad.
If you haven’t already pre-ordered a Steam Deck, you’ll have to reserve a place in line: Valve says it currently doesn’t expect new orders to be available until after the second quarter of 2022. But pricing remains the same as it did on day one:
- Steam Deck with 64GB of EMMC storage for $399
- Steam Deck with a 256GB NVMe SSD and carrying case for $529
- Steam Deck with 512GB NMVe SSD, case, and anti-glare glass for $649