Miscellaneous

AMD and Windows break the gaming market

The idea to combine a computer and a game joystick in one case has probably been around for a very long time. At the time she

spawned such hits as PSP and Game Boy Advance,later PSP Vita and Nintendo Switch. But if in the world of consoles the power of a gaming device is determined by one single parameter dictated by the official platform manufacturer, then in the world of Windows games everything is arranged differently. Otherwise, it cannot be called anarchy all that motley chicken coop that can be found on the market, both games and devices. Only one rule is always valid and has weight - the more powerful the device, the more games you can play on it. Again, in the world of the Windows ecosystem, the idea of ​​​​a portable game console has not yet been developed; rare enthusiast companies work on the market for such gadgets, which can be listed on the fingers of one hand. Most often there are devices that copy the logic and design of a laptop, which uses buttons and triggers from a game joystick instead of a standard keyboard. It's not very convenient, but you get used to everything, which was proved by the GPD company, which is still true to its principles. Over time, the GPD also moved on to something vaguely reminiscent of the PSP. Having looked at such a product once, one can draw a conclusion about all the products of the company, as well as its competitors, diligently riveting replicas of different quality and content. Take, for example, GPD WIN4:

With a screen diagonal of only 6 inches, GPD engineersmanaged to place in a modest size an excellent stuffing in the form of an AMD Ryzen 7 6800U processor, up to 32 GB of RAM and an M.2 drive up to 1 TB. It is not worth raising the issue of battery capacity, any experienced user will say that playing completely offline on such a device is unlikely to last longer than one and a half to a couple of hours. And the price tag for such devices is two times more than for similar laptops. However, no one canceled external batteries, and with a laptop it is inconvenient in a minibus, train or in a rubber boat for fishing. GPD has been on the market for a long time, and from its first steps it has been trying to win the hearts and wallets of those who play Windows games, but it is still little known.

Gadgets

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Over 40 FPS in any modern game is a mobile gamer's dream

Such Windows consoles have an explicitadvantage, it is enough to connect such a GPD set-top box to a home monitor, and the need for a stationary PC will completely disappear, as in any stationary game console. The GPD company and its colleagues do not have the main thing - a big name, the name of the company is rarely heard on gaming forums and other sites, in those places where parents climb, choosing a gift for a child, or for themselves. A completely different story befell the company Valve, which from the very beginning worked with the largest game aggregator Steam, which served as the success of the Steam Deck product.

The device in the maximum configuration can be bought right now in Moscow for 60,000 rubles. For this money, the user will receive the following:

  • CPU: Zen 2 Van Gogh, 4 cores, 8 threads, 2.4-3.5 GHz
  • CPU: 8CU RDNA 2, 1.0-1.6GHz
  • Ram: 16GB LPDDR5
  • Storage device: Solid State, m.2 NVMe 64GB-512GB
  • Connection: WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 5.0
  • Ports: USB Type-C with DisplayPort, 3.5mm headphone jack, microSD (UHS-I)
  • OS: Steam OS 3.0 (Arch Linux, KDE Plasma desktop
  • Screen: 7-inch IPS touchscreen 1280 x 800 pixels (16:10 aspect ratio)

There were many complaints about the screenbuyers, against the background of modern AMOLED (and IPS) used in tablets, it seems to come from the past. However, we should not forget that the Steam Deck console out of the box does not claim to be universal, it will not replace the desktop PC for those users who are not at all familiar with Linux. This is a utilitarian gaming device that lives in its own ecosystem, and therefore, it only makes sense to compare it with other generations of the same device. I'm not sure, for example, that Valve will ever allow a torrent client to be installed in their product, which in most cases will send the sanctions "prohibitors" on a long walk. Hard binding to the Steam service is, perhaps, the main plus and minus of the device, which ultimately gives zero for an inexperienced and not rich user.

Nevertheless, Valve's success is clear.According to a report from research firm Omdia, Steam Deck sales exceeded 1.62 million in 2022 and are projected to surpass over three million units in 2023. These numbers, of course, do not compare with the sales of Nintendo Switch, which in 2022 exceeded 122 million units, but this is already something, this is not a faceless unsuccessful startup that failed at the start of sales and drank all the blood of both creators and and buyers.

Behind the figures of technical characteristics indicatedat the beginning, a stable 30 FPS is hidden in the game CyberPunk 2077, which can still be considered the benchmark for such tests. This is not enough for a stationary device, but for a portable one it's just super.

There are plenty of games for Windows, Steam and Linux, onorders more than for any game console. In the case of Windows consoles, most games with a short waiting period will also run from a memory card, if we talk about unpacked games, called “Portable” on Torrent trackers, which makes such consoles even more attractive. There is a demand, which means that such devices will continue to appear, whether someone likes it or not.

ROG Ally

In April of this year, Asus announced its take on the mobile Windows gaming console. The device looks fresh, not too similar to competitors.

The dimensions of the set-top boxes, with the same screen diagonal, speak in favor of the creation of ASUS. Image source.

The Asus website is counting down to the presentation of this miracle on May 11, but something is already known.

This gaming device will initially becomes with a full Windows OS on board, the user won't have to mess around with it. Accordingly, an even longer torrent list is added to the long list of licensed games, which cannot but rejoice in the face of sanctions. Wonder what's inside:

  • OS: Windows 11
  • CPU: AMD Ryzen Z1
  • Ram: up to 16 GB LPDDR5
  • Storage device: up to 512 GB PCIe Gen 4
  • Screen: 7" IPS FHD 120Hz 500nit 7ms response time

We will find out more after the officialpresentation, now let's focus on the main thing for a game console - gaming performance. This is especially interesting, since AMD has introduced new processors with integrated graphics just now. So, we are talking about two new gaming processors AMD Ryzen Z1 and Z1 Extreme. The first and second have already appeared in Geekbench.

AMD Ryzen Z1 has 6 physical cores, versus 8 inolder Extreme version, lower clock speeds and simpler graphics. The graphics subsystem of the younger processor, based on RDNA 3 and has four Compute Units (CUs), the older one is richer, 12 CUs, as well as in the AMD Ryzen 9 7940HS processor, for example.

It is not yet known which version of the processorAsus will install its first portable game console. If the Z1 Extreme, then the user will enjoy all tasks, if the younger version, the performance will be at the level of the AMD Ryzen 5 7540U processor (and its graphics). But it's too early to get upset, as there are no real gaming performance tests for both AMD products to date. And it is not clear what place the modern graphics system Radeon 740M (similar to the one installed in AMD Z1) occupies relative to the rest, it remains to be seen. But in any case, the transition to a new architecture, including the transition to faster LPDDR5 RAM, cannot but have a positive effect on performance.

Rog Ally looks good and promises greatgaming experience. As always, not without a fly in the ointment in this barrel of honey. In this case, it's a price rumored to be as high as $2,000, depending on the RAM and storage capacity chosen.

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What's next?

So, for the first time in history, AMDintroduced processors for game consoles as a separate product. And even timed their announcement to the release of the first ready-made portable game console equipped with them. All this is similar to the implementation of a long-term plan drawn up by a group of people by prior arrangement. The market for handheld game consoles, and not only portable ones, will inevitably benefit from this, as will its customers. The arrival of a certain standard that will set the milestones between which not only eminent manufacturers, but also little-known companies can run, should eventually overwhelm the game console market. Against the backdrop of these events, the fate of Intel looks very bad, it seems that it has lagged behind the engine of progress so much that it is unlikely to catch up. On the side of AMD are new processors made according to advanced technical processes, healthy ambitions and a team that is able to bring them to life. This is just my opinion, but it seems that we will not see the Intel abbreviation anywhere except for laptops and stationary PCs in the near future. Sad? Why would suddenly?

Conclusion

2023 started off interesting, and no less interestingcontinues. Manufacturers of classic game consoles are still holding on to the old business models of making money from games rather than selling the consoles themselves, but the inevitable standardization will overtake them too, blurring the lines between Xbox and Sony, Nintendo and Steam Deck. In the end, only one will remain - a certain product in the form of a universal gaming platform, on which the user will download the games he has bought. But this is just a personal opinion.

Friends, at the same price, would you choose the morally and technically obsolete portable consoles Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch, or would you spend money on advanced Windows game consoles?