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What you need to know about upgrading your Steam Deck SSD

Person upgrading Steam Deck SSD

Key takeaways:

  • Level up your gaming vibes: Supercharging your Steam Deck with an SSD upgrade not only beefs up storage but also kicks load times to the curb.
  • Yes, it’s possible: The Steam Deck allows SSD replacement, though it’s not endorsed by Valve and may void the warranty.
  • SSD vs. microSD: Consider speed, capacity, and installation ease when choosing between SSD and microSD for storage expansion.
  • What you’ll need: To upgrade, gather tools like a compatible SSD, screwdriver, and patience, and consider risks like warranty concerns and potential damage when determining whether to DIY.

Upgrading your Steam Deck™ storage through an SSD upgrade is a great way to enhance your gaming experience by increasing the device’s capacity for games and apps. Many gamers find the standard storage options limiting, especially when they start exploring the extensive library of titles available on Steam®. But the good news is, if you notice that the amount is no longer doing it for you, you can upgrade it.

At uBreakiFix® by Asurion, we have the tech know-how to tackle any fix or upgrade. Whether you’re a seasoned gamer looking to expand your game library or a new user planning for future needs, this step-by-step guide will help you expand your Steam Deck’s storage effortlessly.

Can you upgrade Steam Deck storage?

Yes, the Steam Deck is designed with upgradability in mind, allowing users to replace the internal SSD. However, it's important to note that Valve (the console’s manufacturer) does not endorse this process, as it can be risky and may void your warranty.

What’s the difference between a microSD card and an SSD?

Both the microSD and the internal SSD are ways you can expand your Steam Deck storage space. The choice between using a microSD card and an SSD involves several factors, primarily revolving around speed, capacity, cost, and ease of installation.

Upgrading to an internal SSD on your Steam Deck could dramatically boost your download speeds and app launch times, while also increasing your storage capacity—SSDs can go up to 2 TB, compared to microSDs, which top out at 1 TB. While SSDs are in a similar price range as microSDs, installing them does take a bit more effort.

Why upgrading your Steam Deck’s SSD is a good idea

Expanding your Steam Deck’s storage with a compatible SSD allows you to store more games and reduces load times, making your gaming experience smoother and more enjoyable. It’s an essential upgrade for those who quickly fill up the existing storage space.

Which SSDs are compatible with the Steam Deck?

Not all SSDs will fit due to size constraints, and using an incompatible drive could damage your device. When selecting an SSD for your Steam Deck, ensure it’s a compatible M.2 2230 SSD.

Brands like Western Digital, Samsung, and Crucial often offer products that meet these requirements. These SSDs come in the correct size and have the proper connector and bus interface that are compatible with the Steam Deck.

Things to consider before you upgrade your Steam Deck storage

You’ll need a few things to start the upgrade party. If you don’t have these items on hand or are unsure if you have the tech know-how your Steam Deck will need, you can always bring on a game console expert to help.

What you’ll need to upgrade your Steam Deck SSD

Upgrading the SSD in your Steam Deck requires a few tools and some careful handling:

  • A compatible M.2 2230 SSD.
  • A small Phillips-head screwdriver.
  • An anti-static wrist strap.
  • A computer.
  • A wired keyboard.
  • A flash drive with at least 8 GB of space.
  • A USB-A to USB-C adapter or hub.
  • Patience and steady hands.

Risks and considerations

Before proceeding with an SSD upgrade, consider the following risks:

  • Warranty concerns. Check if upgrading the SSD voids your warranty. Valve has stated that users can replace the SSD, but it’s crucial to proceed cautiously.
  • Potential for damage. Improper handling can damage the Steam Deck or the new SSD. If you’re not confident in your ability to perform the upgrade, it may be safer to seek professional help.
  • Data loss. Ensure you back up any important data before upgrading, as replacing the SSD will involve wiping any data on the existing drive.

How to upgrade your Steam Deck storage

By upgrading your SSD, you’ll have more space for your games and potentially see improvements in load times and system performance. Before upgrading, ensure you have the right tools and a backup of your Steam Deck’s data files on a microSD card. Upgrading your SSD will erase all existing data on the device. Remember, if you feel uncomfortable performing this upgrade, you can reach out to a game console repair expert.

Preparing for the upgrade

Power off your gaming console and give it a good cleaning. You don’t want to introduce dust into your Steam Deck's system during the upgrade process. Then, make sure your console’s software is up to date. Go to Settings > System > Software Updates and Check For Updates. If there’s an update available, the Steam Deck will update its software.

If you have a microSD card in the slot, remove this before you continue.

Performing the SSD upgrade

Valve has two versions of Steam Decks that you can upgrade: the standard models and the OLED model. Depending on the kind of Steam Deck you have, your steps might look different.

  1. Power down the Steam Deck and unplug it from any power sources.
  2. Ground yourself and avoid electrical shock with the anti-static wrist strap.
  3. Using the Philip’s head screwdriver, remove the eight screws from the back of the console. Carefully lift the cover using a prying tool (or another thin item like a guitar pick) if necessary.
  4. If you have an OLED Steam Deck, carefully disconnect the ribbon running along the bottom. To unplug it, flip the little white tab up and gently pull the ribbon down and out of the holder. Then, locate and remove the screws holding the cover in place.
  5. The motherboard of OLED Steam is connected to the battery. Pull the battery tab on the right of the motherboard cover to disconnect it.
  6. Gently remove the existing SSD by unscrewing it and then carefully pulling it out of its slot. Insert the new SSD, making sure it is securely connected, and then screw it into place.
  7. Once the new SSD is in place, replace the metal cover (and ribbon inside OLED models). Then, the device's back panel. Finally, screw the panel back on securely.

After the upgrade

Once your new SSD is installed, you will need to reinstall the SteamOS or any other operating system you are using. This can be done by creating a recovery drive and following the instructions provided by Valve for OS installation.

  1. After downloading the software from the Steam Deck Recovery page, move those files over to the flash drive using your computer.
  2. Then, plug your USB-C hub with the flash drive inserted into the gaming console.
  3. Hold down the Volume Down button while pressing the Power button to access the Boot Manager.
  4. When the Steam Deck chimes, you can release the Volume Down button and plug the keyboard into the USB-C hub. Choose to boot from the EFI USB Device (your flash drive) > Re-image Steam Deck. This will initiate a full factory reset and load the Steam OS onto your new SSD.
  5. Once completed, you’ll get a prompt onscreen. Power off the console and power it back on to load in the Steam desktop.

If you've tried these steps and still need a little help, we're right around the corner. Schedule a repair at the nearest uBreakiFix® by Asurion store and our certified experts can get your device back up and running as soon as the same day.

*The Asurion® trademarks and logos are the property of Asurion, LLC. All rights reserved. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. Asurion is not affiliated with, sponsored by, or endorsed by any of the respective owners of the other trademarks appearing herein.*

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