Valve refutes claim that Steam Deck new SSDs are a downgrade

Steam Deck

A new report found Valve has recently swapped their choice of SSDs for the Steam Deck going forward, raising fan concerns of a potential downgrade.

Hardwareluxx first reported that 256 GB and 512 GB GB models will ship with two different options for SSD:

  • the 256 GB NVMe SSD (PCie Gen 3 x4 or PCIe Gen 3 x2)
  • the 512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4 or PCIe Gen 3 x2)

The changes to the Steam Deck hardware have been in effect since May 28th and not many have appeared to notice, especially since Valve made no public statement about the changes. Intial reports on these changes showed concern that the halving of connections from a 4x to 2x on the PCI-Express 3.0, which could limit the speed of SSDs.

However, Steam Deck designer Lawrence Yang explained (via PCGamer) that the choice to change the SSD was made to help avoid supply constraints.

Valve’s reasoning for the Steam Deck SSD change was made in an attempt to secure supplies for Steam Deck manufacturing, so that they can ship as many Steam Deck units out as possible as quickly as possible.

Valve also noted the changes were determined to have “no impact to performance between the two models” of SSD.  Yang continued saying that any differences would only happen except in “extremely uncommon cases”

This news comes shortly after Valve’s announcement that they plan to double shipments of Decks every week.  Yang said “one of our SSD suppliers provides PCIe Gen 3 x4 NVMe SSDs, while another provides a x3 (2 lane) SSD.

“Our team has tested both components extensively and determined that there is no impact to performance between the two models,” Yang said.

I can only hope that Valve can be trusted to have properly tested these new components and new Steam Deck buyers are not left to worry over whether or not they have lost the technology gamble. We’ll see in our forthcoming hardware tests on our Steam Deck units.

Valve’s recently launched Steam Deck is now available, and in three flavors: $399 (64GB), $529 (256GB), and $649 (512GB), over on the Steam store.

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Tyler was a former Niche Gamer contributor.