Valve warns Steam Deck SSD mods could reduce life of system

Instructions for how to mod the Steam Deck portable gaming system with an aftermarket SSD have been doing the rounds with mixed success. From Valve's perspective though, this is a bad idea, with one Steam Designer, Lawrence Yang, even claiming that fitting an aftermarket SSD could reduce the lifespan of the Steam Deck. The reason, he claims, is that to fit the larger SSDs, you have to remove a thermal pad, which may in turn lead to higher system temperatures, and therefore longer term damage to the underlying Steam Deck silicon.

"Hi, please don’t do this," Yang said via Twitter. "The charger IC gets very hot and nearby thermal pads should not be moved. In addition, most 2242 m.2 drives draw more power and get hotter than what Deck is designed for. This mod may appear to work but will significantly shorten the life of your Deck."

What he didn't clarify, however, was that this perceived problem stems from people fitting different size SSDs in their Steam Deck, specifically 2242 drives, rather than the 2230 stock NVMe SSDs. In theory, fitting similarly sized SSDs shouldn't be a problem, it's the bigger ones which require thermal pad removal which may face issues down the line.

However, it should be noted that the original modder has also agreed with Yang's take on the mod, so definitely proceed with caution if you're interested in doing it.

Other storage solutions include using a large and fast microSD, as robust testing suggests game load times aren't drastically different between the two.

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