The Steam Deck took longer than promised to arrive in our living rooms, but when it did, it turned the gaming market upside down. Valve’s console has shown that today, a handheld can be an alternative to gaming laptops. However, one of its weak points is storage. Today we will talk about what methods officially exist to expand the memory of your Steam Deck and what are the best memories you can buy for it.
- Before you buy your Steam Deck, think about how much storage you need
- How can I expand the capacity of my Steam Deck?
- The best microSD cards for the Steam Deck
- The best NVMe SSDs for the Steam Deck
Before you buy your Steam Deck, think about how much storage you need
To date, there are three different models of Steam Deck. The basic model comes with a 64 GB eMMC memory, while the rest come with NVMe SSD memories. The intermediate model equips a 256 GB drive, while the most expensive has a 512 GB SSD.
Although getting hold of a Steam Deck is difficult these days, you shouldn’t just rush for the first one you find in stock, but rather buy the model whose capacity best suits your needs. If you get the basic model, there are games that take up much more than the memory of that console, so you will have to resort to expansion methods. And, if you buy the model with SSD, you may also have to resort to constantly deleting and installing games to free up space.
How can I expand the capacity of my Steam Deck?
All Steam Deck models currently on the market allow for capacity expansion either by using a microSD card or by adding or replacing the NVMe SSD.
microSD card, the easiest solution
The microSD card is the easiest way to expand your Steam Deck’s storage . They are quite cheap and allow you to expand from about 64 GB to about 2 TB.
If you want, you can even install the Steam OS operating system on the card itself, as according to Valve, there is support for you to boot from the card itself. The only problem with doing this is that the microSD card has its limitations when it comes to reading and writing data. Therefore, we will have somewhat higher loading times than if we install our games on an SSD.
NVMe, the option for the most handy
On the other hand, you can also expand the memory of the Deck by adding an NVMe SSD to the basic model or replacing the drive that comes in the 256 and 512 GB models. For Valve, it’s no problem that you save money by buying the cheapest console and adding a 1TB SSD yourself if you want. However, the brand does not recommend that you do so.
According to Valve, the option to expand via SSD is there, but it is not designed for the end user to perform the operation. If you have experience messing around with electronic devices, the process may not be a big deal for you. That is, if you know how to assemble a computer, disassemble a mobile to change a screen or even remove parts from a laptop to change the thermal paste, it will not be difficult for you to change the Steam Deck disk. But if you are inexperienced, Valve invites you to reconsider the idea. The act of opening the console is taking a risk , as you can break the console in an attempt to improve it.
Once you are clear about whether or not it is worth doing the process, the next thing you have to know is that not just any SSD is worth it. The Steam Deck uses a type of disk that is quite a bit smaller than the one we use in our computers. Specifically, it uses an NVMe M.2 2230 SSD , and they are not that easy to find – although with the popularity that the Steam Deck is achieving, everything indicates that it will be easier to find these disks in the coming months and years.
The best microSD cards for the Steam Deck
If you don’t want to complicate your life, the best option to improve the storage of your Steam Deck is with a microSD card. Valve recommends on its official website that we use at least a card that complies with the UHS-I standard . There are no size limitations, so you can use a card with up to 2TB capacity. The reading limit of these cards is approximately 100 MB per second . Even the best card on the market will be slightly slower than the eMMC memory that comes as standard in the entry model, but it will allow you to store large capacity games like Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla or Red Dead Redemption 2 .
In this case, always go to a trusted provider. There are many counterfeits in physical stores and websites like AliExpress. If you don’t know which model to buy, these are the ones we recommend:
This card is one of the most used in action cameras and other consoles such as the Nintendo Switch. The 128 GB model starts at 25 euros, and you can buy it in versions with up to 1 TB of capacity. It is a reliable card with a very good reputation .
This model is also very well known, and has already proven to be a quality product. As usual in these cases, it is limited to 100 MB read per second. Its price is quite similar to that of Sandisk.
The best NVMe SSDs for the Steam Deck
As we said, finding an SSD for the Steam Deck will not be that easy. Finding a 1TB model is next to impossible, so buying the 512GB model from the Steam Deck isn’t such a bad idea after all. If you want to level up the eMMC model, these are the best SSDs you can find at the moment:
Samsung PM991 512GB
Samsung is a brand that makes some outstanding SSDs. The PM991 is the highest-capacity M.2 2230 we’ve been able to locate, and you might find it on Amazon with any luck, though you won’t find it in stock right now. However, keep this model in mind, as several users have already tried it and confirm that it works correctly on the Steam Deck.
Dell M.2 PCIe NVME Class 35 2230
This drive from Dell meets the requirements of the Steam Deck, although it is not a cheap product . It can be found for a price of around 200 euros , and its capacity is 512 GB .
Western Digital PC SN530 NVMe SSD
This Western Digital option is available in different capacities ranging from 256 GB to 1 TB. At the moment its availability is quite scarce, but it is an option to take into account due to its performance and price.
KIOXIA SSD M.2 1TB BG4
At the moment, the only 1TB drive you’ll find on Amazon for the Steam Deck. However, it has very few ratings – all of them positive – and its price is also quite high.