Valve may optimize SteamOS for the GPD Win Max 2 gaming handheld

Something to look forward to: One of the main advantages of Steam Deck is the optimization of SteamOS by Valve. Those tweaks would allow the OS to land on another, more powerful portable gaming PC, and Valve could help other manufacturers advance this emerging line of portable devices.

The creator of the recently unveiled GPD Win Max 2 says that Valve has reached out to bring the Steam Deck’s operating system to the upcoming device. Collaboration could help make it a more attractive premium alternative to Valve’s handheld gaming PC.

Valve’s SteamOS is a free Linux distro that the company encourages users to install on various devices, possibly even the Win Max 2. However, Valve has introduced optimizations to the Steam Deck software to improve the gaming performance of that particular hardware and give users more to give control. Players can download pre-cached game shaders and easily adjust refresh rates or clock speeds to conserve battery life.

Those tweaks can scale up relatively smoothly on the Win Max 2. The AMD versions of the mini laptop run on chips from the same family as those in the Steam Deck, but are more powerful. The device from Valve has a custom 4-core, 8-thread Zen 2 processor with speeds up to 3.5GHz and a 1.6GHz GPU with 8 RDNA 2 computers.

Win Max 2 should top those specs with the 4.7GHz 8-core, 16-thread Zen 3+ Ryzen 7 6800U, and a 2.2GHz GPU with 12 RDNA 2 computers. However, it costs about twice as much as a Steam Deck.

Currently GDP is planning to ship the Win Max 2 with Windows. A custom SteamOS option would encourage comparisons between native game performance on Windows and SteamOS’s compatibility layer Proton.

However, GPD says it must first send its device to Valve for testing, after which it could take six months to get an optimized SteamOS on the system. After that, Valve could promote GPD’s handheld PCs on Steam, similar to how it showcases HP, HTC, and Microsoft VR headsets alongside its own. This kind of partnership could open the door to more portable PCs in the future.