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I am very excited about the upcoming release of the Steam Deck from Valve. This is a Linux-based (yay!) gaming PC in the form factor of a handheld device! Release date is not until December 2021 but until then I can talk about how great this system is for a number of reasons!
You knew I was going to talk about this! SteamOS is Valve's re-invented Arch Linux based Operating System focused entirely on playing games on this handheld. With moving away from the previous attempt of SteamOS on Debian, Valve are looking at more up-to-date drivers and kernal patched thanks to the rolling-release nature of Arch Linux. This not only allows Valve to move away from Microsoft (a competitor to Steam at this point) but allow Proton (Valve's version of Wine, a compatabilty layer to run .exe and .dll files on Linux) to evolve and rapidly increase the amount of games that can run on it!
Valve promise that by Dec 21, 100% of the games on Steam will work with Proton! Amazing! However, is this going to be the case? Possibilty not. I expect almost 80%+ will work with Proton 6.X out of the box with some games having to have patches (I have some games that are tricky to get working with Proton due to thier age!).
You can check up on gaming reports of games running Proton here:https://www.protondb.com/
Another thing Valve promises to fix is the "anti-cheat" on Linux that plagues games such as Rainbow Six Siege and bans you if you are running a non-Windows/non-Mac Operating System (because people who cheat use linux?)
Because this is a PC moreover than a console, we have complete freedom (thanks to Linux ;)) to install what ever software we want! This means that you can link Mod loaders for games such as Borderlands 2 and Minecraft to the Steam library and launch such titles there. This isn't limited to mods either. You can now possibly launch games from vendors such as GOG, Epic, itch.io, etc. all in one system, on the go.
Lazy sub-title buutttt I am going to list a bunch of things this SteamDeck could be able to do out of the box
I currently don't have a great gaming laptop (it's not even a gaming branded laptop!) and with being on a tight SFE/university life mix budget I need things much cheaper. The Steam Deck comes in three flavours:
Basic Model with carrying case and 64GB eMMC internal storage (SD card storage)
Mid Model with 256GB NVMe SSD storage.
Top Model with 512GB NVMe SSD and anti-glare screen and exclusive carrying case
I am looking at the Mid Model but £459 is a hefty pricetag. Yes, cheaper than a whole new laptop and defo cheaper than building a whole new PC. I do have a Tax rebate coming in April/May from my last job and it's looking like it is a £300 return-ish...