AMD's new mobile CPU might be just what Steam Deck 2 needs to keep up with increasingly fierce competition

Steam Deck
Senaste Steam Deck uppdateringen lägger till en funktion fans har bett om. (Image credit: Steam Deck)

Steam Deck’s mobile CPU is well known for its incredible efficiency but it seems that AMD’s latest mobile processor, the Ryzen 7 8840U, finally has it beat.

One of the most impressive factors concerning the Steam Deck is how it can deliver excellent performance at a 10W power limit, which other portable PC gaming handhelds like the Asus ROG Ally or the Lenovo Legion Go haven’t been able to match. This is due to the Steam Deck’s Aerith AMD APU which was built on Zen 2.

However, the AMD Ryzen 7 8840U processor, which has just been released, scored benchmark testing results that appear to confirm its triumph over the Aerith AMD APU. According to Batman Arkham Knight test results from Twitter / X user Cary Golomb, the new processor has 7% more frames per second (fps) than Steam Deck’s current model, with the former getting 51.7fps and the latter 48.3fps. 

And this is still at 10W by the way, which means that the battery life efficiency is still there but with higher performance.

AMD has a clear lead 

It's a nice little uptick in performance but not so much that Valve should rush out and integrate the chip into any future Steam Deck 1 models. However, what it does mean is that by the time Steam Deck 2 rolls out, we could be looking at an improved chip that maintains the Steam Deck's efficiency while delivering superior performance. 

And, considering how competitive the PC gaming handheld market is right now, having at least four hours of battery life would give Valve a massive edge over other devices.

The Ryzen 7 8840U also poses a challenge to Intel’s Meteor Lake chips. AMD claims that its chips are way more energy-efficient than Intel’s, with the Ryzen 7 8840U having about 81% better performance per watt at office productivity tasks than Intel’s Core Ultra 7 155H. We'll have to see about gaming performance, but with the MSI Claw, Intel's first foray into the PC gaming handheld market, on the way, any advantage in efficiency could be a major point in AMD's — and Steam Deck 2's — favor.

So even though the gap between the Aerith AMD APU and Ryzen 7 8840U is pretty narrow, it’s exciting to see Team Red continuing to improve on its mobile chips, and I look forward to seeing what the tech giant cooks up by the time Steam Deck 2 rolls around.

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Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.