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While Nintendo Switch 2 should be a significant upgrade from the original, Steam Deck comparisons are a stretch

Steam Deck still on top?
Last Updated on July 8, 2024
Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch OLED
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The highly anticipated Nintendo Switch 2 is rumored to pack a significant punch, offering enhanced docked and handheld gaming experiences that even rival the popular Steam Deck. This news comes courtesy of YouTuber Moore’s Law is Dead, who recently addressed fan inquiries about the upcoming console’s performance and power efficiency.

The Nintendo Switch 2 reportedly boasts a power-efficient design, translating to improved battery life in handheld mode compared to its predecessor. According to rumors, this efficiency extends to the console’s cooling system. While docked, the Switch 2 utilizes a solution ranging from 15 to 30W, ensuring good cooling without sacrificing portability. In handheld mode, a fanless system operates at a mere 5 watts, keeping the console quiet and comfortable for extended gaming sessions.

Moore’s Law is Dead’s breakdown of Nintendo Switch 2 – Video Source: Moore’s Law is Dead

Anticipated performance for Switch 2

Moore’s Law is Dead also delves into the Switch 2’s anticipated performance. The YouTuber suggests that the console should be capable of running most games playable on the Steam Deck, with a few exceptions. While the Steam Deck’s cores might be slightly more powerful, the Switch 2 makes strides in other areas.

One key differentiator is resolution. The Switch 2 is expected to run games at potentially higher resolutions compared to the Steam Deck. Additionally, the rumored inclusion of Nvidia DLSS technology could offer a significant boost in graphical fidelity. DLSS utilizes AI to upscale lower-resolution images, providing sharper visuals without sacrificing performance.

There might be some trade-offs in terms of frame rates. For instance, a game running at a smooth 90 FPS on the Steam Deck due to VRR technology might be limited to 60 FPS on the Switch 2. Similarly, a 60 FPS title on the Steam Deck could translate to 40 or 45 FPS on the Nintendo console.

A handheld gaming console sits on a surface, its screen displaying game options and the Steam store interface. The console, likely part of the Steam Deck Beta, features joysticks, buttons, and a wide rectangular screen. An update has added Bluetooth device battery information for seamless gaming sessions.
The Steam Deck – Image Source: PC Guide

A substantial upgrade for Switch owners?

While these potential frame rate limitations might seem like a drawback, it’s important to consider the context for current Nintendo Switch owners. Compared to the original Switch, the Switch 2 represents a massive leap forward in terms of both power and efficiency. Gamers can expect a significant improvement in visual quality and overall performance, making the Switch 2 a compelling upgrade.

So, while the Nintendo Switch 2 boasts impressive upgrades, it appears to fall slightly short of the Steam Deck in raw power. Frame rates might be slightly lower, especially with demanding titles that leverage the Steam Deck’s VRR technology. This may not be a dealbreaker for those prioritizing Nintendo exclusives and portability, but gamers seeking the absolute best performance might find the Steam Deck a more compelling option.

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