All hands on Steam Deck - Valve's handheld PC

Success!! I have Steam Deck running perfectly fine with Windows 11 and Steam/Epic/Gamepass/Origin/GoG installed. I just started Telltale Batman on GoG, and Fallguys on Steam works perfectly without any tweaks. Dead Cells and Forza Horizon 4 run fine in Gamepass. I also installed Kena Bridge of Spirits on Epic. Performance is pretty good, and even Steam works slightly better in Windows than it does on SteamOS. Even if you only play games in Steam, and don’t mind paying for Windows 11 license, then installing Win11/Steam is the best way to experience Steam Deck.

Best of all, I didn’t have to run a single tweak, or extra step installing windows, and I never attached mouse/keyboard.

Steam Deck turns instantly on and off (sleep mode) with power button even after just installing windows and with no Steam on the Deck. I have left it off (sleep mode) for almost a day and the battery didn’t go down and it still switched on within a second and at the place, where I left it off. The only extra utility I had to install was SWICD to get Steam Deck controls working outside Steam, and that was also very straightforward.

Most of the online articles on running Steam with Windows have obsolete information. I’ll start a thread in hardware section here about my experience installing Windows.

Do you have access to stuff like the controller layout and power settings per game on Windows? Or resume for games?

My brother brought his over last night and it’s a very impressive bit of kit. So, first impressions!

Couldn’t believe how good games like Stray and Wreckfest looked, and how well they ran. I did some tinkering with his settings to hopefully give him more battery life and showed him how powerful the controller options were too (even if the UI/UX is totally different to the desktop version). Sable didn’t like the gyro at all for looking around–Splatoon made me want to try it out. The UI/UX experience overall felt really slick though and being able to just turn off/sleep your system is fantastic.

Tenderfoot Tactics isn’t a verified game but it worked straight out the box which is impressive. The text in-game is very small though so it’s not really viable, even with the magnifier. My brother is currently hooked on the excellent Bad North which I finished on Switch so I know it’s perfect for that kind of form factor. I enabled ‘TV’ mode for him in the options which made the UI scale nicely for the screen size.

I was expecting the Deck to convince me to order one but I think a few things give me pause. Firstly, this thing feels heavy. Like, I think you need to rest it on yourself or something. I couldn’t hold it like the Switch (elevated in front of me) without feeling it in my wrists and forearms. Secondly, the thumbsticks feel like a stretch, even for my long thumbs. This isn’t an issue for me with the Steam Controller’s, whose slightly lower position feels a bit more natural to me. This is something I’d probably get used to. Thirdly, the trackpads feel awkwardly and surprisingly close so I have to curl my thumbs inwards to use them. Contrast that with the SC’s where they’re placed so you’ve got room for extension and contraction of your thumb. I understand with the d-pad there’s only so much face space to arrange all these! Maybe I was naturally holding it too low or high or something? And finally, the back buttons (L4, L5, R4 and R5) have that stiff clicky quality of the SC’s shoulder buttons and they feel awkward to press compared to the SC’s back buttons, which always felt really nice to me.

I’m glad I got to hold it and have a play. Something to continue considering :)

I think you were holding the deck too low, i had to adjust that to make it comfortable. I have very short thumbs though so maybe that makes a difference.

Next time I get my hands on it, I’ll give that a try!

Got my deck yesterday and I was expecting to spend a lot time configuring and tweaking but most things have just worked and instead I have found myself playing games. Wasn’t expecting that.

I normally buy these things to tinker and play around with - for example I was planning on spending days configuring some ultimate emulator setup and then never touch it again.

Instead I have just been bouncing around and playing a couple of hours of Bioshock 2, some new game that looks cool called Death Trash, Grim Dawn and Desk Job. All ran great with no changes needed except picking a community controller profile for Grim Dawn worked much better for me.

Also installed Borderlands 3 from the Epic store, which was much easier than I thought it would be. That game ran with some performance hiccups however I did no changes to the settings, it was probably set on high or something.

The graphics have been better than I was thinking they would be. Bioshock 2 for example looked fantastic and ran well, though granted that’s an older title. If I stopped and got my eye super close I could see things were made up of pixels but at the normal arm length I didn’t care. The exception to this is text. One frustrating game is FFXV which looks and plays great but has tiny, tiny text for no good reason.

The controller feels decent except for the shoulder bumpers and paddles. I can use them without pain but they don’t feel right, especially the bumpers. On any other controller my pointer fingers rest naturally on them but on the deck they rest on the trigger below and I have to bring them up to hit the bumper. Don’t like.

Still in the honeymoon phase obviously but valve spent a ton of time polishing the UI and even the desktop experience. I was expecting to already be knee deep in the command line but I haven’t had to touch it yet.

If anyone wants super easy way to transfer files to Deck, Warpinator and Winpinator is a must.

Yes, you can configure per game controls. Even in-game, the Steam button brings in the big screen overlay, where you can see battery level, configure controls per game and per Steam user. Steam Deck is properly recognized in Steam with all its buttons, trackpads, gyro motion etc.

If you hit Steam button when not running Steam, it acts like the XBox home button, bringing in XBox game bar shortcuts (assuming you run a user-mode driver for Steam controller)

Instant on and off and in-game resume works perfectly fine. Windows is far ahead of other desktop OS when it comes to sleep/resume mostly because of the long years MS and intel/AMD have spent on this part of OS/hardware since Surface and 2-in-1 PCs started coming out.

Per game power config is not present though in Steam. At least I haven’t figured out yet where it is. I am planning to install AMD Radeon driver panel, which should let me set per game target FPS and GPU features like Chill and GPU clock profile. Even without doing all that, the battery life is generally good, and the fan RPM, and heat dissipation all seem to be working properly. Steam Deck never gets too warm to touch or noisy either. The default cooling profile is quite adequate.

It’s actually quite remarkable how much functional Steam Deck is with the default Win11 installation, even before Steam is installed. With Steam, it’s heads and shoulders above SteamOs/Steam combination.

This does sound great - Valve have done a great job with SteamOS, but I have noticed a few crashes and glitches here and there that I don’t think would have happened in Windows. And it would be good to install Gamepass games locally… If you do start a thread, I’d love to know the details of what was involved, any special drivers or other software needed, etc.

Now I’m all confused about whether to install Windows again! Feels like a dual-boot would be the safest option.

Interested in seeing your guide to installing Win11. Just to get an idea of what’s involved before taking the plunge.

I was looking into it earlier and found a pretty good guide. More involved than I was expecting, but doesn’t sound too bad. (Oh, and dual-booting may not be a great option unless you have a higher storage model.)

This is a pretty thorough guide as well:

It’s delivery day today. For those of you who’ve added a micro-SD card, how well does Steam handle the secondary card as storage?

You format it, and then you can choose to install stuff on there. From the library it will only install on the drive that’s defined as default, won’t ask you where you want to install, I’ve read that from the store you can pick the drive.

You can change the files later though.

All great info, thank you greatly!

Well, clearly they are accelerating deliveries. I ordered at the end of June, and just got my option to buy a 512. I couldn’t resist, especially now that I have a train commute again.

Yeah I ordered June 22nd and just bought mine, much quicker than I thought it would be. 256gig one for me