Running games in 4K with the Steam Deck is possible… but you need to be a craftsman

news hardware Running games in 4K with the Steam Deck is possible… but you need to be a craftsman

A tech youtuber who will stop at nothing has challenged himself to boost the Steam Deck’s performance as much as possible. His solution: Add a desktop PC graphics card to Valve’s portable console, which then isn’t really portable anymore. But the results are there!

With the Steam Deck, Valve has achieved the feat of offering a portable console capable of running Elden Ring, Dying Light 2 or even Resident Evil Village at more than 30 FPS, all in a format that fits in a small pocket. A small marvel made possible by the presence of an AMD Zen 2 processor, a GPU under RNDA2 architecture… and above all a resolution limited to 1280 x 800 pixels.

The extreme hack

But what if you really want to play in 4K? YouTube channel ETA Prime decided to tackle the issue head on and simply decided to add a Radeon RX 6900XT graphics card to the Steam Deck. A dangerous assembly, but possible, where the GPU is connected to the console’s M/2 port and the whole thing is powered by a power supply. So yes, we see you coming: “but what’s the use”? As ETA PRIME says in its video “We do it because it’s possible”.

The Steam Deck becomes an overpowered gaming PC

The Youtuber also states that he could not connect a graphics card from Nvidia, but the Radeon RX 6900XT works correctly. As a reminder, this is AMD’s high-end card at the moment, a GPU dedicated to 4K video gaming and 3D creation.

However, the “bottleneck” must be taken into account, i.e. the fact that a processor with limited performance throttles the performance of the graphics card and thus reduces the performance level in the game. Deck we clearly feel the limit with current games, which also have to rely on a good processor to run at full speed. So if it is possible to play The Witcher 3 or GTA V with more than 60 FPS in 4K, Elden Ring or Cyberpunk 2077 will be more capricious and will have to be capped at 1080p to exceed 60 FPS.

So yes, the “CPU/GPU” balance is totally inadequate here and the editing is of little interest in the medium term. But it’s also a way of showing how flexible and modular the Steam Deck can be. While we wait for a “Steam Deck 4” with an integrated 4K screen and an overwhelmed mobile GPU, we’ll have to settle for that!

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