Let’s Turn the Steam Deck Into a Desktop Work PC

Need a new work PC but don’t want to shell out on one? Here’s how to turn the Steam Deck into a fully-fledged work PC that runs surprisingly fast.

Step 1: Pick a Monitor – $279.99

Photo of the UGame J4inside its leather cradle.

You’ve got several options when it comes to monitors. For the purpose of this guide, I’ve gone with the Uperfect  UGame J4.  Why that one? It outputs at 1080p and boasts a meaty 144 Hertz refresh rate. That’s wasted on the Steam Deck, but if you’re using an ASUS ROG Ally instead, that can handle 120 Hertz for certain games, so it’s good to have the option should I wish to switch it up. 

Note: I’m not using any affiliate links here, but I did ask Uperfect to give me a promo code of “RETROS30” for RetroResolve readers and they agreed. So feel free to use that code if you want $30 knocked off the price.

The UGame J4 is also a portable monitor with holes in the back should you wish to mount it. Portable monitors are, essentially, oversized tablets, complete with a tablet case that doubles as a stand (as seen above). 

That means you can slip it away when it’s not in use or you can hook it up to a monitor stand (seen below) if you want to have a more traditional experience. 

Photo of the UGame J4 attached to a black monitor stand.

Step 2: Pick the Right Steam Deck Dock – $40 or £40

Photo of the Syntech Steam Deck dock with a USB cable in shot.

If you’re going with JSAUX or Syntech, chances are the dock will be perfect for the job. I’ve tested a few out in this setup and although I love the Omnicase 2, you will need something to prop the Steam Deck up (the most expensive Omnicase 2 does come with a stand). 

To keep things looking sleek, I opted for the Syntech dock. The rounded nature means it’s not going to take up a lot of space and, much like the Uperfect monitor in portable mode, it can be thrown into a drawer if you need the space back,

This thing is super easy to set up as well. I’ve covered how to set up a Steam Deck with a dock before, but it really is as simple as plugging one cable into the Deck, one into the power supply, then the HDMI cable from the monitor goes straight into the dock. 

One thing to keep in mind, the Uperfect USB-C cable that comes with the monitor isn’t long enough to reach the power supply, so feel free to substitute that for a different, longer one.

Step 3: The Keyboard and Mouse 

Photo of the Trust keyboard and mouse set.

Chances are you’ve got a keyboard and mouse knocking around. Or maybe that’s just me? I have too many, If not, I recommend the Trust Lyra compact wireless keyboard and mouse set seen above. 

It’s stupidly easy to set up. It comes with a small USB dongle, whack that into the Steam Deck dock and it’ll just work. Both are wireless and lag-free as well. To give you an idea of how much I like these, check out the image below.

Yup. That’s me writing an article for RetroResolve with the Trust keyboard. I couldn’t give a better recommendation than that.

Photo of this article in the WordPress CMS being written.

Step 4: Controller Options – Various Prices

Photo of the finished Desktop PC setup.

To round this out, it’s worth having a controller nearby for when you want to kick back. You’ve got a few choices here. The Xbox Series X controller is a popular option due to most Windows games supporting it natively. Personally, I prefer the DualSense due to it having a built-in touchpad. That’s super helpful when you need to bring up the cursor and click on things in Linux. 

My DualSense, however, is downstairs hooked up to my ROG Ally, so I ended up going with a Switch Pro Controller that the Steam Deck fully supports. After all, I won’t need the DualSense touchpad as the Trust keyboard and mouse combo is right in front of me. 

And with that, our setup is complete. Just boot the Steam Deck then switch to desktop mode. There you can use the Discover Store to download apps like Gimp, LibreOffice, Slack, or whichever work software you could need.

Wesley Copeland
Wesley Copeland

Wesley Copeland is a gaming, tech, and toys journalist with over 10 years of experience writing online. Originally starting in video games before specializing in tech and toys, you can find his bylines at IGN, VG24/7, Kotaku, Tech Radar, Games Radar, PC Gamer, Heavy, and many more. He's also highly passionate about how tech can be used to better our day-to-day lives.