Next-gen Steam Deck rivals to get big performance boost & it’s just what handhelds need

Rebecca Hills-Duty
Handheld power boost

The handheld market is likely to see a well-deserved shake-up if new performance figures boasted by AMD are accurate.

Though the market for gaming handhelds has exploded since the release of the Steam Deck, many of the devices have had one thing in common – the 7840U 780M chip combo. It’s in all the Ayaneo handhelds like the Slide and the Flip DS. Even the AMD Z1 Extreme that powers the Asus ROG Ally is just a variant on the same chipset.

Only a few handhelds such as the MSI Claw and Ayn Odin 2 have departed from this tried-and-trusted hardware, with MSI trying out Intel’s new Arc graphics tech, while Ayn settled on a Snapdragon 8 CPU.

It’s no wonder that the vast majority of people are happy to stick with the Steam Deck. Everything else is more or less the same thing in a different package. There is little excitement to that, especially when the majority of Steam Deck rivals are saddled with the bloated Windows 11 OS.

Steam Deck in use

That might be about to change, thanks to the Ryzen AI HX 370. The new APU was introduced by AMD at Computex 2024 but without any performance figures.

However, Chinese manufacturer GPD accidentally leaked some numbers when it was showing off its new ‘Duo OLED’ laptop, which is powered by the same APU.

The leak, as reported by Videocardz, showed that the Ryzen AI HX 370 is capable of matching the Cinebench 2024 benchmarks of the Ryzen 9 7950X in single-core workloads, and shoots ahead of the Ryzen 9 5950X in multicore scenarios.

For graphics, the Radeon 890M within the APU is up to 36% faster in gaming scenarios than the Radeon 780M.

This represents a massive upgrade, as the graphical performance would put it within shouting distance of powerful dedicated graphics cards like the Nvidia GeForce RTX 2050 and 3050.

We’ve already seen manufacturers and developers squeeze some impressive results out of the 7840U 780M in handheld configurations. This is especially true when paired with sufficient cooling and good optimization. With this in mind, the thought of what the next generation of handheld hardware could be capable of is awe-inspiring.

Having an entire gaming rig small enough to fit into a glove compartment is impressive enough already, and if power loads and heat can be kept low, it will only get better.