Want to get The Witcher 3 and Grand Theft Auto V running at 60 fps in 4K on the Steam Deck? You can, as long as you’re willing to spend a lot of money to Frankenstein Valve’s latest PC gaming device in the process.
Tech modder and emulation enthusiast ETA PRIME did just that recently, in an attempt to make the most powerful Steam Deck yet, and posted the results on his YouTube channel (via VGC). Unsatisfied with the device’s existing specs, he decided to see how much he could upgrade them. After failing to get an Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 or 3090 to work, ETA settled instead on a Radeon RX 6900XT.
The results were still impressive, but they came at a steep cost, requiring him to add a plug-in power supply to fuel the new power hungry GPU, which is itself bigger than the entire Steam Deck.
To get this “overkill” upgrade working, ETA used an M.2 Dock to attach the graphics card externally, and plugged the whole thing into a desktop PC power supply outputting 750 Watts (complete with some tape to keep it all together). The setup was then fed into a 4K display and managed to output games like The Witcher 3 and GTA V at over 60 fps on ultra settings.
Because of the CPU bottleneck, however, newer games ran a bit rougher. Elden Ring still ran at roughly 45 fps in 4K and on high settings, while Cyberpunk 2077 was, in ETA’s words, “all over the place.” The final game he tested was God of War, which consistently hovered around just over 40 fps.
All-in-all, the experiment is anything but cheap. The Radeon RX 6900XT starts at $1000 direct from retailers. Add in the cheapest model Steam Deck ($400), power supply ($100) and M.2 slot ($85) and you’re already talking close to $1,600. That’s enough to get you a more powerful pre-built gaming PC, but what fun would that be?
“This isn’t something I would recommend doing,” ETA said at the end of the video. “The Steam Deck is meant to be portable. This was just a test to see if it would work and yea it definitely works.”