Replacement SSDs 'could cause problems' in the Steam Deck, Valve warns

The Steam Deck's M.2 2230 SSD was carefully chosen and designed specifically for the handheld, and Valve warns not to replace it.

Published Sun, Oct 10 2021 12:16 PM CDT   |   Updated Wed, Nov 3 2021 11:45 PM CDT

Valve warns gamers not to use any M.2 2230 SSD to upgrade their Steam Deck storage--in fact they don't even want you opening up the system yourself.

Replacement SSDs 'could cause problems' in the Steam Deck, Valve warns 46 |

The Steam Deck is basically a PC, and like a PC, users can swap out parts. It's not just a PC, though: it's also a handheld with a very delicate assembly and incredibly tight fits. Valve says that all of the Steam Deck's components have been chosen to specifically fit and work well with every other part, and this goes double for tech like the custom SSD assembly (well, it's a custom heat sink design).

Valve tells gamers that the Steam Deck doesn't necessarily play nicely with other consumer-grade parts. The SSD isn't soldered and can be swapped out, but Valve says replacing the built-in M.2 drive with an off-the-shelf product could cause issues in four separate ways.

"Please note that before attempting an SSD replacement, an off-the-shelf SSD could cause problems."

  1. Power consumption - An off-the-shelf SSD can draw more power than the original drive, which could cause overheating and reduce battery life.
  2. Electromagnetic interference - Our SSD is very close to our wireless module and was specifically chosen and tested to not interfere with Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. An off-the-shelf SSD might have a different emissions pattern and could compromise wireless performance.
  3. Mechanical - We place components on the motherboard underneath the SSD, and a different one might mechnically interfere with these components, especially during vibration.
  4. Assembly - At least one screw which holds down the thermal module onto the APU is also used to hold down the shield can. Removing this screw can impact the thermal performance of the thermal module.

With all that being said, Valve still plans to make replacement parts like SSDs available to consumers, repair pros, and tech enthusiasts post-launch.

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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