Steam Deck OLED kills the original's Aerith processor with a Sephiroth upgrade as Valve flexes its Final Fantasy 7 fandom


Steam Deck OLED is upon us, and it's got a new processor revision codenamed Sephiroth that's really showing off the depths of Valve's JRPG fandom.

Both the new and old Steam Decks make use of an APU - an 'accelerated processing unit' that combines the CPU and GPU onto a single chip. Manufacturer AMD called the APU that powered the original Steam Deck by the codename Van Gogh. But inside Valve, that APU earned the moniker Aerith, a reference to Final Fantasy 7's beloved flower girl.

Now, with the launch of Steam Deck OLED, the 7nm Aerith APU has been revised and replaced by a 6nm APU called, appropriately enough, Sephiroth, as our friends at PC Gamer note. Yes, even in the world of Steam Deck processors, Sephiroth still kills Aerith in the end.

This all might be a bit of a spoiler, but 'Sephiroth kills Aerith' is the gaming equivalent of 'Vader is Luke's father' - the kind of plot twist so widely discussed that it's tough to avoid absorbing by pure cultural osmosis. While Final Fantasy 7 Rebirth might be in line to introduce a new generation of fans to this particular heartbreak, numerous teasers suggest that the devs are thinking about subverting that original twist - or, at least, they want us to believe that might be the case.

As for the Steam Deck, you shouldn't expect to see much difference between Aerith and Sephiroth in the end. The Sephiroth-powered OLED model isn't expected to offer a massive performance leap, and the 256GB version of the Aerith-powered original is sticking around with a price drop as the new entry-level model.

The real question is what the processing unit of the "next-generation" Steam Deck 2 will be called. Personally, I'm hoping for 'Tifa,' purely because of the fireworks that the 'Tifa is better than Aerith' jokes would launch.