I'm late to the game as far as the Steam Deck goes. I originally had one pre-ordered but canceled it last minute because I wasn't sure that my wife and I would put it to use. We'll the recent anniversary sale was enough to push us over the edge and pick one up. Being a little late to the party, however, means there are a lot more accessories available. Today I'm going to check out a few Steam Deck accessories to find out if any are must-have pickups for your new Steam Deck purchase or an upgrade ahead of summer where you might be traveling.
Article Name: Steam Deck Accessory Roundup 2023
Written by: Wes Compton
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Even before I ordered our Steam Deck, storage upgrades were part of the plan. Valve has three different models and the storage capacity is one of the main differentials between the models. The base $399 model has an eMMC 64 GB drive, the mid-range model is $529 and has a 256 GB NVMe SSD, then the highest-end model is $649 and has a 512 GB NVMe SSD. That last model does come with etched anti-glare glass and has a different carrying case from the other two models. There are also profile and keyboard themes as well but those aren’t important to me. The 64 GB drive wouldn’t be anywhere close to what we needed for storage and its speed wouldn’t be great as well. But even going up to the high-end model would still be tight on storage. So going with the base model and upgrading the SSD was the plan.
Valve didn’t design the Steam Deck for storage expandability, but it wasn’t long after the launch that people figured out how simple it could be. The biggest holdup however is the drive size that it needs. It is an M.2 connection but it requires an M.2 2230 which is much shorter than the standard M.2 2280 drive. The large drive size can fit, but Valve designed its cooling and power demands around the smaller 2230 drive size. Up until recently, there were only a few options on the market but now most companies are starting to have an option, mostly in their OEM lines, however. I originally was going to go with a Sabrent drive but at the last second, I came across a new model on the market that caught my eye. The Sabrent can be found at up to 1TB but Micron has their Micron 2400 NVMe which is available in a 2TB capacity. Currently they are still hard to come by unless you pay the higher prices from iFixit. But as of right now, you can get them on Newegg for $224.95 vs the iFixIt $299 price tag.
The Micron 2400, with it being an OEM drive, came in a completely different packaging most likely designed for shipping the drives in bulk. It was a large white box filled with foam with the drive inside in a static protective bag. Not being a retail model, it doesn’t have a package that can be hung up or displayed but it did have a sticker with the model information on the box.
The drive reminds me of the first time I took a look at an M.2 drive. Not long before that, everything was 3.5-inch drives and then SATA SSDs. But M.2 was so small it kind of just blows your mind. The smaller 2230 size of the M.2 does the same thing again with the drive being just barely longer than it is wide. The Micron 2400 has all of the components on just one side and in true OEM fashion, the sticker is packed full of information but lacks any of the flash that a retail drive has. You just have the tiny Micron logo in the top left corner to let you know who makes the drive and then the model name and capacity right at the top. The back of the drive also has a sticker on it as well but what surprised me the most was even with this they went with a black PCB.
Now the SSD isn’t the only storage available on a Steam Deck, it does have a MicroSD card slot on the bottom edge as well. For most people, this is what you are going to use for most of your storage simply because you can swap them out. The Steam Deck supports UHS-1 MicroSD cards which means that the total speed is limited to 100 MB/s. Even with the fastest cards, this is still going to be slower than even the base eMMC SSD however which is capable of around 250 MB/s and significantly lower than an NVMe SSD. So like with a computer where you might use an SSD for your favorite games but a large capacity hard drive for other games, you will want to consider what games you install on which drives. With the UHS-1 limitation for a MicroSD card, we had a lot of options available. This let me go with a brand that I trust, SanDisk which is owned by Western Digital.
I wanted the largest capacity possible and to be able to utilize as much of the 100 MB/s speed cap as possible. The largest MicroSD cards available right now at 1TB and the SanDisk Extreme fit the bill with write speeds of up to 130 MB/s and read speeds of 190 MB/s it is faster than what the Steam Deck Is capable of doing. The SanDisk Ultra would also work as well and is slightly cheaper.
The packaging for the SanDisk Extreme has the drive featured on the front with the clear packaging. You get the drive as well as a MicroSD to SD card adapter as well. SanDisk lists out the drive speeds as well as the capacity over on the right. Then they have icons in the top right corner showing some of the potential uses like to recording 4K footage on a drone or action cam. The entire back of the packaging is mostly filled with small print legal information. They do have the certification logos down at the bottom as well as showing all of the different speeds it is capable of. The big one however is the gold circle showing the limited lifetime warranty.
The drive itself has the red and gold theme of the SanDisk Extreme lineup. The top half has the SanDisk Extreme branding then the capacity is in the bottom half. MicroSD cards are still amazing at how small they are and for reference, I even put it next to the tiny M.2 2230 drive as well.
Installing the MicroSD in the Steam Deck doesn’t need to be shown, but because we are digging inside of the Deck I need to wait until we do that before installing it. I will also touch on the installation of the SSD as well later in the installation section so don’t miss that.