Qualcomm partners with Razer to launch a Snapdragon-powered handheld gaming dev kit

Polycount

Posts: 3,005   +589
Staff member
What just happened? With the upcoming launch of Valve's Steam Deck firmly in everyone's mind, companies like Razer and Qualcomm are taking note of growing consumer interest in powerful but portable PC gaming devices. That's why the two companies have partnered to develop an all-new handheld gaming machine. Or rather, a dev kit for one. The device will run the first generation of Qualcomm's freshly-announced Snapdragon G3x silicon.

The device doesn't have a slick codename right now, so Qualcomm is just calling it the first "Snapdragon G3x Handheld Gaming Developer Kit," which doesn't exactly roll off the tongue. But that's fine. Neither Razer nor Qualcomm is trying to sell this to the average user, so a flashy product name isn't necessary. The announcement leaked a couple days ago, and we've just been waiting for the official reveal since.

So, if this gadget isn't for ordinary gamers, what is its purpose? As with any dev kit, it's intended to help game and hardware developers create products well-suited for the portable gaming market, which will likely grow substantially in the coming years.

That's especially true if the Steam Deck and its competitors sell enough units to catch the eye of developers. Given that the Steam Deck received so many reservations that Valve had to push back its estimated launch date several times, we doubt that will be an issue.

At any rate, the device is wide, rectangular, and equipped with a pretty standard array of buttons: two joysticks, a d-pad, two shoulder buttons, two triggers, four labeled face buttons, and three additional buttons for Start, Select, and one more option that we can't make out the name of.

Regarding its other physical attributes, the device boasts a 6.65-inch OLED display with a 1080p resolution and support for "up to" 120hz refresh rates. It also has a built-in 5MP webcam designed for streaming, supporting 1080p, 60 FPS recording. Additionally, you'll find two microphones nestled on the left and right sides of the display for audio capture.

Though we imagine most users will game with headphones or earbuds, the unit does contain "4-way speakers" that supposedly provide "fantastic audio." Qualcomm says the ergonomics are solid, too, but we wouldn't be able to confirm that without trying a unit ourselves.

What about under-the-hood hardware? Obviously, it features a Snapdragon G3x as mentioned before (which contains an unspecified Adreno GPU) but other details such as RAM capacity are still up in the air. The device does have a USB-C port, DisplayPort over USB-C functionality, Bluetooth 5.2 support, and a 6000mAh battery.

Interestingly, Qualcomm says the G3x Gen 1 Gaming Platform will support cloud gaming, Android gaming, PC gaming, and even Android app usage from the same device. This is obviously not impossible to achieve on a normal PC (far from it), but if switching between all those functions is seamless, Qualcomm might have something special.

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Dimitriid

Posts: 2,090   +3,995
How are they going to support "PC gaming"? It's just not even close to possible on ARM unless this chip can greatly outpace the M1 from Apple and even then it would still translate into significantly worst performance than the Steam deck.

But who honestly thinks Qualcomm and Razer can compete with what Apple has achieved with Rosetta 2 for gaming? I would need a building sized X to doubt button on that.
 

kapital98

Posts: 396   +356
How are they going to support "PC gaming"? It's just not even close to possible on ARM unless this chip can greatly outpace the M1 from Apple and even then it would still translate into significantly worst performance than the Steam deck.

But who honestly thinks Qualcomm and Razer can compete with what Apple has achieved with Rosetta 2 for gaming? I would need a building sized X to doubt button on that.

Marketing slang for "games that have already been ported to Linux & Mac"...
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 2,090   +3,995
Marketing slang for "games that have already been ported to Linux & Mac"...
Porting to Linux & Mac is usually only done for x86 the chances of finding a game that's ported to Linux or Mac AND also has an ARM version as well is so small I am not even sure it exists yet.
 

Shadowboxer

Posts: 2,071   +1,650
I mean if we want mobile PC gaming we are going to need those games to run on ARM. X86 is too inefficient away from the wall. I don’t think Razer have the weight to get developers to port their games though. But it’s certainly possible. This new snapdragon part is an order of magnitude faster than what’s in the switch and that has quite a few full fat experiences at 720p 30fps. If you can get PC games running at 1080p60 they will look amazing on a small OLED screen. I’m optimistic.

We also have the fact that the personal computer industry is about to move to ARM. Apple already have and windows have their own ARM CPUs in the works. This will help put pressure on devs to port their games to ARM.