It seems that there are some final preparations being done in the run-up to the hotly-anticipated Steam Deck, which is being released towards the latter parts of next month. With the likes of Half-Life 2 receiving a UI update that makes it more suitable for the handheld PC, these remaining few weeks are an opportunity for Valve to utilize the time left and make sure its upcoming device is as good as it can be. On top of everything else, it looks as though the portable system may be getting some new drivers, which could improve the overall battery life.
According to a recent report from PC Gamer, the company is making attempts to increase the power of the Steam Deck. In particular, the device’s Linux developers are working on some changes to the RADV, or Radeon Vulkan, driver, which could make it so the battery is even better than was originally advertised. The report links back to a blog post on Phoronix, in which the author discusses the work done by Valve’s Samuel Pitoiset, who has been “working on some changes” to Variable Rate Shading.
It seems that, with the newest drivers installed, the VRS technology will be adjusted on the fly, depending on whether the device is using AC power or battery. Last year, it was unveiled that the Steam Deck would last two to eight hours on battery, depending on a number of circumstances. Such factors take into account exactly what the user is doing, such as playing a game or just browsing, and that by lowering the settings to 30 FPS, something like Portal 2 will be able to last for up to six hours.
With just under a month to go, many are eagerly awaiting its arrival, after it was initially delayed. It was supposed to be released in December 2021, but had to be pushed back a bit. It was announced recently that the Steam Deck would officially be launching on February 25, just a couple of months after the original launch window.
While the Deck was originally compared to the Nintendo Switch, it seems as though Valve has tried to steer public perception away from that idea. It does look kind of similar to Nintendo’s hybrid console, but given that Valve’s is essentially a handheld PC, pre-built with SteamOS and capable of playing Steam games, but is also capable of utilizing peripherals such as mouse and keyboard, it’s looking like the Deck could usher forward a new era of mobile gaming.
The Steam Deck is due to launch on February 25.
Source: PC Gamer, Phoronix