Portable Steam Machine Running SteamOS Linux Uses AMD Graphics

Written by Michael Larabel in Valve on 11 August 2015 at 01:06 PM EDT. 27 Comments
While all of the initial Steam Machines use Intel CPUs with NVIDIA graphics, a portable Steam Machine gaming device that hopes to ship next year and run SteamOS will be using AMD graphics.

The Smach Zero was a device talked about last week at Gamescom in Cologne while now it's getting a bit more attention this week. The Smach Zero will be powered by an AMD G-Series "Steppe Eagle" SoC feature 4GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, 5-inch 720p screen, HDMI out, WiFi, and Bluetooth connectivity. It's an interesting little device from the hardware perspective. Of course, it's going to be running Valve's Debian-based SteamOS.

It was revealed this weekend at Gamescom that pre-orders will start in November at $299 USD while the units aren't expected to ship until Q4'2016 -- yes, more than one year away. Details were revealed in the YouTube video below.

The Smach Zero is packing in some interesting hardware for being a handheld gaming device running Linux, but it will be interesting to see what the performance and battery life are like. The Steppe Eagle SoC features an AMD GCN GPU but this SoC isn't the fastest thing out there and the Catalyst Linux driver could cripple the capabilities of the device for running new Steam titles. However, at least the device isn't shipping for another year so there's much time for AMD to further improve the Catalyst driver for running the latest Steam Linux games -- or perhaps even getting the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver into good enough shape that it could be used for shipping on the Smach Zero. It will be interesting to see what comes about with this portable Steam Machine.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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