The Steam Deck’s internal hard drive can be upgraded, both internally and with external storage. For the internal option, you’ll need to purchase an NVMe M.2 2230 SSD separately, and prices right now are sky-high due to demand. What that means is if you do opt for the cheapest version, you aren’t stuck at 64GB forever.
Just if you do decide to upgrade, make sure you’re using the right drive. Not every M.2 SSD will work on the Steam Deck and installing a larger (length-wise) drive could damage the Deck.
How Much RAM Do I Really Need?
In the past two decades, I’ve owned four custom-built PCs. Each new build, I’ve doubled the memory: 2GB DDR, 4GB DDR2, 8GB DDR3, and 16GB DDR4. With my latest rig, I was tempted to splash out on 32GB, or even 64. But in the end, after a lot of research and soul-searching, I settled for 16GB.
I’m glad I did. It’s more than enough memory for my day-to-day gaming requirements, and I give my PC a lot of heavy lifting to contend with. Despite being over two years’ old, this beast still runs AAA titles smoothly.
Use A MicroSD Card
If you’re not willing to open up your Steam Deck and potentially compromise your machine, taking advantage of the Steam Deck’s SD card slot is a great way to increase its storage. All three models of the Steam Deck are designed with SD card slots. Depending on the model, you may even be able to fit in multiple cards to tap into a sizable external storage.
Note that the Steam Deck’s SD card slot is sized for microSD cards, not their fully-sized counterparts. This significantly narrows down your options, but there’s still plenty of cards on the market that can suit your needs. With a wide variety of compatible microSD cards to pick from, if you know what to look for, you should have no problem picking out a card that offers good value for money.
So I bought (tentatively, if nothing goes wrong) the $399 64GB model… why?
On my main desktop PC, I’m already playing most of my games off an external portable 5400 RPM mechanical hard drive. And that’s perfectly fine for me. Sure, initial load times to boot the game are bad for a few large titles, but once I’m playing, loading screens aren’t too bad. I have experienced an NVMe SSD, and it’s great, but it’s not necessary. I’m not a spoiled 14-year-old that thinks 5-second loading screens are unbearable. The 64GB eMMC drive is somewhere in between for speed, and I’m satisfied with that. Of course, I won’t be storing many Steam games on there anyway: as I’ve convinced myself above, I’d just as well store my library on a micro-sd card (a 256GB card can be found for $40, compared to the +$125 upgraded tier), even if loading times would still suffer. Loading times just aren’t a deal-breaker for me.
But playing my Steam game library isn’t why I want a “Steam Deck.” I want it to play MY games. As in, the games I made myself and sell on Steam.