Valve asks users not to modify the Steam Deck SSD

Dbrand accessoreis for Steam Deck
(Image credit: Daniel Rubino)

What you need to know

  • Responding to a PC Gamer article covering a Steam Deck SSD modification, Valve designer Lawrence Yang warned it can significantly reduce the console's lifespan.
  • A modder named Belly Jelly explained via Twitter how they chose a low-power replacement and that the thermal pad is intact but agrees with the potential risks.
  • Although the Steam Deck uses a standard M.2 SSD, Valve has always urged users not to modify the console.

Valve's handheld Steam Deck is more of a portable PC than a console and uses mostly standard components. Taking to Twitter to share their adventures in storage replacement, modder Belly Jelly documented the process of replacing the factory-fitted M.2 2230 SSD with a physically larger M.2 2242 variant. Sacrificing airflow is an obvious downside, though the thermal pad apparently still covers the new solid-state drive. Clarifying they specifically chose the replacement for its low power draw, the Steam Deck seemed to boot up just fine and installed games as usual.

Nevertheless, Valve has always advised against modifying the Steam Deck, citing the potential to shorten the console's lifespan and the danger of physical harm when working around the precise design. Lawrence Yang of the Steam Deck development team strongly advised against this practice, explaining how the console is unsuitable for components that may draw more power and generate extra heat.

Though it's not the first attempt to replace components inside the Steam Deck, this modification drew significant attention due to its potential to raise the temperature inside the console. Aftermarket fans are available for confident customers who wish to boost the cooling potential of the handheld, and more parts will likely appear in the future, thanks to Valve's openness to working with third-party manufacturers like iFixit. Attempts to permanently increase the onboard storage of the console are trickier, especially when the Steam Deck offers microSD expansion as a faster solution.

Reaching out to Yang on Twitter to concur with their warnings, Belly Jelly agreed that any modifications on a Steam Deck are done at the user's own risk and are still a work in progress. You can take every step with care, but not every homemade mod goes to plan. Causing permanent damage to your console isn't worth the risk for a few extra gigabytes of storage.

Rather than risking any damage to your new console, stick with some of the best Steam Deck accessories to enjoy its full potential in a safe way. If you're curious about the specifics of the hardware inside Valve's handheld, you can also check out our detailed Steam Deck review.

Ben Wilson
Channel Editor

Ben is the channel editor for all things tech-related at Windows Central. That includes PCs, the components inside, and any accessory you can connect to a Windows desktop or Xbox console. Not restricted to one platform, he also has a keen interest in Valve's Steam Deck handheld and the Linux-based operating system inside. Fueling this career with coffee since 2021, you can usually find him behind one screen or another. Find him on Mastodon to ask questions or share opinions.