Valve confirms Steam Deck can be used as PC controller, does not support external GPUs

midian182

Posts: 7,171   +65
Staff member
In brief: We already know that the Steam Deck will have more features than your typical handheld gaming console, and Valve has just revealed another of its functions: the ability to be used as a PC controller. But one thing it won’t have is support for external GPUs, which was pretty much expected, admittedly.

In a new FAQ, Valve answers what it says are the 20 most popular questions about Steam Deck. Probably the most interesting revelation is confirmation that the handheld can be used as a controller for your PC games. All you have to do is connect the Steam Deck to your computer via Remote Play.

In addition to its touchscreen, the Steam Deck boasts capacitive thumbsticks, trackpads, extra rear buttons, a gyroscope, and haptic feedback, so being able to use it as a PC controller sounds like a potentially exciting prospect.

Elsewhere in the FAQ, Valve says that the Steam Deck will support multi-boot, meaning users can have multiple OSes installed and choose which one to boot into when powering up the machine. You will even be able to boot directly from an SD card.

Additionally, the Steam Deck will work with VR headsets. However, Valve says it is not optimized for PC VR—don’t expect its custom Zen-2 APU to provide enough power required for an enjoyable virtual reality experience.

It’s also confirmed that users won’t be able to boost the Steam Deck's graphical power by connecting it to an external GPU enclosure. Microsoft never mentioned anything about it having Thunderbolt, so this isn’t totally surprising. Valve adds that docking it won’t improve performance, and its UI is replacing Steam’s Big Picture mode—two things we already knew. You can also have multiple accounts on one Steam Deck, each with its own local save data and settings.

We recently heard that Valve has been collaborating with AMD to develop an improved Linux CPU driver that will benefit both the Steam Deck and PCs equipped with Zen 2 Ryzen CPUs and APUs, giving users a good reason to use the device's Arch Linux-based SteamOS 3.0.

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Sausagemeat

Posts: 853   +700
The main reason I’m not interested in the steam deck is the lack of support for games on other launchers (epic, uplay, Xbox game pass etc). I know you can install windows on it but that’s would be unsupported, awkward and time consuming. All things you don’t want on a portable.

It’s also enormous.

But for the small niche of users this thing is targeting it is looking pretty good. Despite Valves poor record with making hardware.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 853   +700
The main reason I’m not interested in the steam deck is the lack of support for games on other launchers (epic, uplay, Xbox game pass etc). I know you can install windows on it but that’s would be unsupported, awkward and time consuming. All things you don’t want on a portable.

It’s also enormous.

But for the small niche of users this thing is targeting it is looking pretty good. Despite Valves poor record with making hardware.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,552   +3,050
TechSpot Elite
The main reason I’m not interested in the steam deck is the lack of support for games on other launchers (epic, uplay, Xbox game pass etc). I know you can install windows on it but that’s would be unsupported, awkward and time consuming. All things you don’t want on a portable.
The irony of defending Apple's walled garden and wanting no sideloading (or competition from other stores), and then complaining that Steam's hardware doesn't support other stores well enough for you 😂
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 853   +700
The irony of defending Apple's walled garden and wanting no sideloading (or competition from other stores), and then complaining that Steam's hardware doesn't support other stores well enough for you 😂
Are you actually that limited that you can’t grasp the concept that I have different requirements for my phone and my games device?

You are either a troll or hopelessly misinformed..
 
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m4a4

Posts: 2,552   +3,050
TechSpot Elite
Are you actually that limited that you can’t grasp the concept that I have different requirements for my phone and my games device?

You are either a troll or hopelessly misinformed..
As long as you can admit to being a hypocrite/fanboy, sure.

There is no reason to complain about a specialized piece of hardware not supporting other OS's or stores better (as that would be a bonus). The only complaint that could be leveraged is that they try to lock you out of the hardware you own (and Valve isn't).

But a "do everything" device like a smartphone? Yeah, that shouldn't be locked down, letalone have people giving up that ground (and defending it). Apple doesn't care about you.
 

Kotters

Posts: 349   +241
The main reason I’m not interested in the steam deck is the lack of support for games on other launchers (epic, uplay, Xbox game pass etc). I know you can install windows on it but that’s would be unsupported, awkward and time consuming. All things you don’t want on a portable.

It’s also enormous.

But for the small niche of users this thing is targeting it is looking pretty good. Despite Valves poor record with making hardware.
What are you talking about? It's a PC with a Ryzen processor, windows will run fine.

Every piece of hardware Valve has ever manufactured is still well supported today. Where did this meme come from?
 

Irata

Posts: 1,747   +2,919
As long as you can admit to being a hypocrite/fanboy, sure.

There is no reason to complain about a specialized piece of hardware not supporting other OS's or stores better (as that would be a bonus). The only complaint that could be leveraged is that they try to lock you out of the hardware you own (and Valve isn't).

But a "do everything" device like a smartphone? Yeah, that shouldn't be locked down, letalone have people giving up that ground (and defending it). Apple doesn't care about you.

I‘d say if I pay full price for a device (I.e.it‘s not heavily subsidized like e.g. Amazon devices) I expect that I can do with it what I want *unless* staying in the walled garden gives me a full guarantee.

So, if I am limited to doing what the company ‚making‘ the device allows me to do, this would be fine if they accept any and all liabilities in case things go wrong. They don‘t do that though.
 

drjekelmrhyde

Posts: 383   +137
"It’s also confirmed that users won’t be able to boost the Steam Deck's graphical power by connecting it to an external GPU enclosure. Microsoft never mentioned anything about it having Thunderbolt, so this isn’t totally surprising."
Microsoft?
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,717   +1,787
If this was a selling point, Valve would've told us from the jump.
lol Um, what?!
"Valve has JUST revealed another of its functions: the ability to be used as a PC controller."

So the point of this article wasn't to tell you about this function? It was? But it's not a selling point?! Um....
 
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hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,717   +1,787
"It’s also confirmed that users won’t be able to boost the Steam Deck's graphical power by connecting it to an external GPU enclosure. Microsoft never mentioned anything about it having Thunderbolt, so this isn’t totally surprising."
Microsoft?
An ext GPU would be the last thing you'd want to pair with a Steam Deck anyway just based on less than flagship CPU configurations tested with an ext GPU.

Thunderbolt is an Intel product, and it doesn't work with AMD CPUs out of the box afaik. Google says one or two AMD mobos support it? I know it's not in AMD laptops.
 
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hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,717   +1,787
What are you talking about? It's a PC with a Ryzen processor, windows will run fine.

Every piece of hardware Valve has ever manufactured is still well supported today. Where did this meme come from?
Valve sells more than a niche controller? Steam Machines? Are those still supported?
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 455   +372
An ext GPU would be the last thing you'd want to pair with a Steam Deck anyway just based on less than flagship CPU configurations tested with an ext GPU.

Thunderbolt is an Intel product, and it doesn't work with AMD CPUs out of the box afaik. Google says one or two AMD mobos support it? I know it's not in AMD laptops.
Thunderbolt is part of an open consortium now, next gen AMD will support it on AM5 processors. Intel basically made it an open standard now, you could see the writing on the wall when it could carry a dp1.4 signal.
 

Kotters

Posts: 349   +241
Valve sells more than a niche controller? Steam Machines? Are those still supported?
Valve manufactured and supports their Steam Controllers, Steam Link, the Index VR Headset, the Index Controllers, and the SteamVR Lighthouses. Steam Link hardware manufacturing stopped because of the rise of software solutions and streaming sticks. Steam Controller manufacturing stopped because of a lawsuit. Both are still supported by Valve.

I'd like to see you come up with a Steam Machine that Valve manufactured; that was an initiative with hardware partners who didn't follow through. Even then, the operating system they were working on is still available and the new version is going to be running on the Steam Deck.
 

hahahanoobs

Posts: 3,717   +1,787
Valve manufactured and supports their Steam Controllers, Steam Link, the Index VR Headset, the Index Controllers, and the SteamVR Lighthouses. Steam Link hardware manufacturing stopped because of the rise of software solutions and streaming sticks. Steam Controller manufacturing stopped because of a lawsuit. Both are still supported by Valve.

I'd like to see you come up with a Steam Machine that Valve manufactured; that was an initiative with hardware partners who didn't follow through. Even then, the operating system they were working on is still available and the new version is going to be running on the Steam Deck.
Ah, the, "I'd like to see you do better" defense.

Valve should do better than hyping products they can't sell.