Rumor mill: Valve already confirmed it’s laying the groundwork for a Steam Deck successor. A new report says AMD is working on an APU with its latest architecture that could power the next version of Valve’s handheld, and it sounds like a significant upgrade.
Sources within AMD have told Moore’s Law is Dead about a new mobile APU the company is developing, calling it a successor to “Van Goh” which powers the Steam Deck. Valve previously said its customers have responded favorably to its handheld’s most expensive variant and may want a higher-end model, so this doesn’t sound too far-fetched.
The new chip is supposedly a smaller take on AMD’s Phoenix Point APU which combines the company’s upcoming Zen 4 CPU architecture and RDNA 3 GPU architecture. The SoC – supposedly codenamed “Little Phoenix” – has the same number of processor cores, threads, and Computer Units as Van Goh. Much of the performance improvement would come from Zen 4’s and RDNA 3’s efficiency gains over Van Goh’s Zen 2 RDNA 2 hardware. Little Phoenix’s die is smaller than Van Goh’s, but its CPU may boost to 4GHz as opposed to the current model’s 3.5GHz.
The report also says the new hardware will feature a 128-bit LPDDR controller, but doesn’t confirm whether Valve might stick with the Steam Deck’s LPDDR5 RAM or upgrade to LPDDR5X which is on the way. One of the most important unknown elements is the TDP profile, as battery life is always a concern.
A new Steam Deck based on Little Phoenix could arrive late next year, but Moore’s Law is Dead speculates it could be 2024. The current Steam Deck’s demand still outstrips supply, so Valve has little reason to replace it soon.