The moderator made Steam Deck run an external graphics card

According to ETA PRIME, he has only made AMD graphics cards work with Steam Deck and only with Windows.

Steam Deck is above all a computer, Valve once said. Although its own maintenance is not recommended, it is possible and the standard connectors provide opportunities for interesting solutions.

Modera ETA PRIME has released a video on her YouTube channel in which she modifies Steam Deck to use an external graphics card. Of course, a video card with a direct PCIe x16 connection cannot be installed on a handheld console-sized computer, but since the M.2 is basically just a different type of PCIe connector, you can connect an M.2> PCIe x16 adapter and a video card to it. The slower connector causes an extra bottleneck, but works.

According to ETA PRIME, only AMD’s graphics cards would seem to work with Steam Deck, and even then using an external graphics card requires the use of Windows. Because the built-in M.2 interface is enabled for the video card, the operating system is installed on the microSD card and the games are on the SSD with USB-C interface. The Radeon RX 6900 XT was chosen as the graphics card for the tests.

In 3DMark Fire Strike, Steam Decks scored 4,340 points as standard, while the RX 6900 XT scores 16,357 points, more than 2.5 times. In the Time Spy test, the difference was more dramatic, with the Aerith, or Van Gogh, processor scoring only 1,722 points, compared to 10,395, or six times, when the RX 6900 XT held the graphics controller. When comparing graphics points alone, the differences would, of course, be even greater.

On the gaming side, Steam Deck, along with the Radeon RX 6900 XT, runs The Witcher III with an average performance of about 108 FPS with 4K resolution and Ultra settings. In the GTA V, performance averaged 73 FPS at 4K Very High, but in the Elden Ring, the processor bottleneck raised its ugly head. Performance averaged 46 FPS at 1080p with maximum settings and about 42 FPS at 4K with the same settings. Also in the Cyberpunk 2077, the processor caused problems with performance varying in places between 40 and 80 FPS at 4K resolution. In God of War, the same story continues: with 4K Ultra settings, performance averages 37-42 FPS, and when scaled from 540p Low to 1080p, the average FPS remains virtually identical, with the graphics card load remaining halfway even at 500 MHz 2D clocks.

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