Is the Steam Deck more powerful than the PS5?

Is the handheld Steam Deck more powerful than the PS5?

Is the Steam Deck more powerful than the PS5? Image shows a Steam Deck with an arrow pointing to a PS5 console, on a light blue gradient background.

PC Guide is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices subject to change. Read More

Last Updated on

Valve’s portable gaming PC has revolutionized the capabilities of the handheld gaming console, but is the Steam Deck more powerful than the PS5? The world of gaming consoles is constantly evolving, but two heavyweights that push boundaries in their fields are the Steam Deck and the PS5. Both devices boast impressive specs and a wide range of gaming libraries, but which one is truly superior in terms of raw power and performance?

Naturally, a handheld console and a home console offer fundamentally different experiences. Still, as the Steam Deck is marketed as a powerful portable gaming PC, it’s interesting to see how it compares to the well-established PS5. So, in this article, we’ll compare the Steam Deck and the PS5 from various angles to weigh in on which is the more powerful of the two consoles.

Steam Deck vs PS5: Specs Showdown

Both the Steam Deck and the PS5 offer impressive hardware, but all in all, the Steam Deck doesn’t beat the PS5 in terms of power. This really boils down to the Steam Deck using an APU, whereas the PS5 sports both a high-end GPU and CPU. While an APU is more power-efficient and is proficient in many ways, it doesn’t match the performance of a CPU and GPU as separate components.

The Steam Deck features a 16GB soldered LPDDR5 memory and a 6nm AMD APU with a quad-core Zen 2 CPU, paired with an 8 compute-unit RDNA 2 GPU. On the other hand, the PS5 boasts a 16GB GDDR6 memory and an 8x Cores 3.5GHz Custom Zen 2 processor. When it comes to storage, the Steam Deck offers a choice between a 64GB eMMC or a 256-512GB SSD, with the option to expand using a microSD slot. The PS5, on the other hand, comes with a fixed 825GB PCIe Gen 4 NVMe SSD.

In terms of graphics, the PS5’s mightier GPU has 10.28 TFLOPS of computing performance compared to the Steam Deck’s 1.6 TFLOPS. On the output front, the PS5 supports up to 4K resolution and ray tracing, whereas the Steam Deck is confined to FHD, 1280 x 800. However, the hybrid nature of the Steam Deck does mean that you can stream it through a 4k gaming monitor or TV. Of course, we’ve also compared the Steam Deck to the PlayStation Portal, Sony’s dedicated handheld streaming console, to see if they’re more equally matched.

Gaming Experience: supported games and personal use-case

While the PS5 may be more powerful in terms of its internal hardware and performance, it could be said that the wide range of supported games and personal use cases of the Steam Deck put a significant amount of power in the hands of its users. The PS5 has its own dedicated library of games available on the PlayStation Store and retail outlets, and though these may be exclusive AAA titles, they often come at a higher price than those offered through the platform of the Steam Deck. Moreover, the PS5 is pretty much a single use console, which can’t be said of Valve’s versatile Steam Deck.

The Steam Deck, being a portable PC-like device, offers access to the vast Steam library, which comprises tens of thousands of games. As a special format PC, the Linux based SteamOS allows the console to act as a full desktop, in which users can install any Linux or Windows apps and games. Additionally, the hybrid gaming options mean you can play your Steam Deck as a handheld or stream it to your monitor or TV.

✓ Marla’s thoughts

Does power really matter?

Ultimately, as long as you pick the console that’s right for your needs and have fun using it (at home or on the go) the overall power of the console comes second. The Steam Deck will allow you to take the fun with you, and you may be surprised at the range of games you can enjoy with it.

Is the Steam Deck more expensive than the PS5?

Price is a crucial factor when deciding between two gaming consoles, and there’s not too much between the cost of the Steam Deck and the PS5. Let’s take a look at the price points for each console:

  • Steam Deck with 64GB eMMC storage: $399
  • Steam Deck with 256GB of NVMe storage: $529
  • Steam Deck with 512GB of NVMe storage: $649

On the other hand, the PS5 offers two versions: one with a disc drive and the other as a digital edition. The disc version is priced at $499, while the digital edition comes at a $100 discount, costing $399. Both versions of the PS5 come with 825GB of memory. So, the Steam Deck and the PS5 are pretty equally matched when it comes to their pricing, but the PS5 requires a lot of investment in separate gaming gear, such as a decent gaming TV or a 4K monitor, whereas you can play the Steam Deck straight out of the box.

Final thoughts

So, when it comes to the power of each console’s internal hardware performance, the PS5 has the edge over the Steam Deck with its separate CPU and GPU components, as opposed to a singular APU. However, when it comes to the power of versatility, the Steam Deck is undeniably the more powerful of the two. Its Linux-based OS means that the console really can act as both a gaming device and a portable PC, which is more than can be said of the single-use PS5. Ultimately, the two have fundamentally different use cases, and while you can compare the internal hardware, you can’t make too many parallels with how they’ll be used and which is better than the other.