Someone connected a full 4K desktop graphics card to Steam Deck

The $ 400-plus Steam Deck gaming handheld do not do supports external graphics cards. Valve has been ready at this point for several months – you can not magically connect a dock and run Cyberpunk or Elden Ring at 4K. But ever since the company revealed that Steam Deck’s storage is plugged into a (relatively) easily accessible M.2 PCI-Express x4 connector, the PC gaming community has been speculating that an eGPU module could quite fit there instead.

Now, the YouTuber ETA Prime has actually done it by adding an AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT, one of the highest graphics cards on the market.

It works, it runs, it plays games in 4K with maxed-out settings at framerates, a vanilla Steam Deck could only dream of. But no, you probably should not do that at home! Not only does it somehow defeat the portable purpose of having a desktop graphics card sticking out the back – not to mention an external power supply! – but a lot of games seem to stall due to having a relatively slow CPU and only four lanes worth of PCI-Express bandwidth for the powerful graphics card.

Oh, and you can not close Steam Deck’s case either, which is probably not optimal for its longevity. And ETA Prime says that an Nvidia GPU did not work.

A Steam Deck, a stand, USB-C dongle, USB stick, eGPU, power supply and HDMI cable

It’s a lot of sets.
Photo: ETA Prime

Maybe a future Steam Deck will have a bonafide external graphics compatible connector so you can simply plug in a ready-made eGPU box? Thunderbolt is expensive and exclusive to Intel systems, but AMD’s Ryzen 6000 processors support USB 4, which incorporates the Thunderbolt 3 specification. And AMD has been working on Linux drivers specifically to allow hot-plug and disconnection of external graphics cards.

It may cost Valve more to incorporate the faster I / O required to enable a single-cable 4K graphics docking dream, but Valve may be up to it – it is publicly said that it is not only interested in to work on a Steam Deck sequel, but that was surprised at how many buyers opted for a premium $ 649 model instead of the $ 400 base configuration.

Me, I probably just want to stream my games from my desktop to the deck inside my own home. It works reasonably well.