Called “Little Phoenix”, the chip that could power a possible Steam Deck 2 would be engraved in 4 nm. Powered by Zen 4 (CPU) and RDNA3 (GPU) and benefiting from faster memory, it would offer a performance boost of at least 50% at equivalent energy consumption.
The Steam Deck is just beginning to ship with regularity when industry sources begin to hear of a successor to its processor. At the heart of the first Steam Deck of the name is a chip so far exclusive to Valve’s console: a SoC codenamed “Aerith” from the “Van Gogh” generation of AMD chips. Based on Zen 2 and RDNA 2, this all-in-one chip oscillates between 4 and 15W and allows you to play almost all current PC games at 30 fps (or more) in 800p.
The problem with the current chip being in the “almost”: in addition to the compatibility to be improved, in particular with certain anti-cheat systems which do not yet work under Steam OS, the AMD chip is at the power limit for the most popular games. more greedy. If 30 fps are well achieved on many games, the Steam Deck does not yet guarantee 60 frames per second everywhere.
After the successful experience around the Steam Deck 1 and its Aerith chip, it seems logical that Valve might want to press the accelerator. And the specifications of the “Little Phoenix” SoC promise to improve the score of its predecessor for the same power consumption.
The first progress obviously being the fineness of engraving: we would go from 7 nm to 4 nm, a node which alone allows it to consider less energy-consuming chips. And less cumbersome, and therefore easier to integrate. Then comes not one, but two generation jumps on the CPU side with a move to Zen 4. Finally, the GPU would be based on AMD’s future graphics architecture, RDNA3. The memory, it would go from an LPRRD3 5500 to two types of faster memory (LPDDR5-64000 LPDDR5X-8533).
What does this actually mean? According to WCCFtech, which raised the hare, at constant energy consumption, one could expect a 50% improvement in CPU performance and 60% in GPU performance. Enough to bring the potential Steam Deck 2 to a sufficient level of performance to no longer have to tweak in order to hunt, here and there, the few FPS which guarantee an experience without visible slowdowns.
Barely available, the Steam Deck is not going to be replaced tomorrow. And that’s good, because the “Little Phoenix” chip should arrive just after its big brother “Phoenix Point” in 2023. The first products would therefore arrive at the end of 2023 or during 2024. A timing adapted to a new version of this console / PC in a nascent but very dynamic market. It remains to wait for validation of the chip by AMD. And see if Valve will, for once, persist in hardware. In any case, many Chinese companies like AYA believe in the Switch-like format.