How to Install a Larger SSD in Your Steam Deck

Valve’s handheld gaming console is designed for easy disassembly, allowing users to perform repairs and upgrades effortlessly. One notable upgrade is swapping in a higher-capacity solid-state drive (SSD), enabling users to enjoy more of the large PC games while on the go.

For PC gamers, the increasing file sizes of modern games, such as Baldur’s Gate 3 and Red Dead Redemption 2, each around 150 gigabytes, pose a challenge. This issue is more pronounced on portable consoles like Valve’s Steam Deck.

The good news is that the SSD inside the Steam Deck is upgradeable, regardless of whether you have the 64GB, 256GB, or 512GB version or are considering the new Steam Deck OLED in 512GB or 1TB configurations. By replacing the internal SSD with a larger capacity drive, users can minimize the need for constantly swapping microSD cards and games.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to upgrading the SSD in both the original Steam Deck and the OLED edition:

Step 1: Pick a Compatible Drive and Prep Your Deck

Ensure the chosen SSD is compatible with the Steam Deck, specifically the 2230 version of the M.2 NVMe SSD. For demonstration, the WD_BLACK SN770M NVMe SSD is used in this guide. Additionally, consider getting a heat sink to keep the new SSD cool.

Step 2: Ground Yourself

Grounding is crucial to prevent static electricity transfer to the SSD or Steam Deck’s motherboard. While it might not be mandatory, using a wrist strap or touching an unpainted metal-grounded object is recommended.

Step 3: Remove Your Steam Deck’s Back Cover

Remove the eight screws on the Steam Deck’s back cover, ensuring proper separation and tracking of screw sizes. Use a tool to pry the back panel away, starting at the corner. For OLED models, an additional step involves removing two screws and gently prying the motherboard cover.

Step 4: Remove the Motherboard Cover, Battery, and Standard SSD

For standard Steam Decks, remove the square of metal on the motherboard cover, unscrew it, and disconnect the battery to access the SSD. For OLED models, unplug the ribbon, remove screws, and gently pry the cover to access the SSD slot.

Step 5: Install the Heat Sink, Mount the SSD, and Plug the Battery Back In

For better SSD performance, use a heat sink. Apply thermal pads, mount the new SSD at an angle, and tighten the screw. Gently push the battery back into place.

Step 6: Replace the Motherboard Cover and the Steam Deck’s Back Cover

Reverse the initial steps, ensuring wires are out of the way during reinstallation. For OLED models, reattach the ribbon by gently pushing it back in and flipping down the white holder.

Step 7: Download and Install the Steam Operating System

To complete the process, download the Steam Operating System onto a flash drive, insert it into the Steam Deck, and follow on-screen prompts to re-image the device. Once complete, the Steam Deck is ready to load into Steam and install favorite games.

Congratulations, the SSD upgrade is complete, enhancing the gaming experience on the Steam Deck.

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