Framework, the creator of repairable laptops with swappable components, is now stocking a part for a device it doesn't make. The company is selling M.2 2230 SSDs from Western Digital so that customers can easily upgrade the drives in their Steam Deck.
The Western Digital SN740 2230 is on sale in a 2TB capacity on Framework's store in the United States and Canada, with the company "exploring" adding them to its stores for Australia and Europe. Notably, the part isn't compatible with the company's laptop, which uses standard length M.2 2280 SSDs. As of this writing, the drive is selling for $299.99.
While M.2 2230 SSDs have been in some laptops, like Microsoft's Surface devices, for quite a bit now, they aren't nearly as ubiquitous in stores or online as physically larger drives, though it's not impossible to find them. At the very least, potential customers that can't find what they're looking for can know they're getting these drives through a reputable source.
"[I]t can be difficult to find legitimate sources for larger capacity drives like 2TB ones to load all of those games that you’re totally going to play someday," Framework CEO Nirav Patel wrote on the company's blog. "Since we order a huge number of Western Digital drives already, it’s relatively easy for us to add one more line item and stock 2TB SN740 2230 ones."
The move is admittedly a bit of a head-scratcher, though one that ultimately does fall in line with Framework's goal of repairable tech. (You have to wonder if Framework got a great deal on these drives.) Patel wrote that his company is also looking to stock other tech upgrades that can be difficult to obtain.
Framework recommends following iFixit's guide to replacing the Steam Deck's SSD. While Valve initially warned customers not to open the Steam Deck (and has opened repair centers for the device), it has also teamed up with iFixit to sell replacement parts, including fans, joysticks, screens, buttons and speakers.
Upgrading the Steam Deck's storage can save you some money. The $399 base model has 64GB of eMMC storage. Jumping to a 256GB NVMe SSD costs $529.99, while the top-tier is $649 for 512GB, though that also gets you a nicer anti-glare screen. Adding your own storage to the base model could be cheaper than Valve's prices, though it doesn't offer a 2TB drive.
For those who don't want to dig into their Steam Deck, however, the system also has a micro SD card slot.
The point is that a 2230 SSD has an identical connector interface - physically, electrically, protocol(y?) - and width and height to the longer 2280 SSDs. A 2230 will fit into the same space and connector as a 2280 (or 2245 or 2260) SSD. The only difference is where the support point for the end of the SSD (opposite the connector) is placed to support/lock-in the SSD - usually just a threaded screw-hole for the single screw that attaches to the end of the SSD (unless you use custom fancy screw-less system like some motherboards have). All that's needed for a 2230 is a point thats 30mm from the interface to lock-in the SSD as opposed to a 2280's 80mm. The fact that one would make a 22mm wide, 80mm long space for a 2280 SSD and not include screw holes along that 80mm length to allow 2230/40/65 SSDs seems deliberately - aggressively - contrarian.
It'd be like making a 5kg washing machine that only works if you put exactly 5kg of clothing in it, if you put 4 or 3 or 2 or 1 kg it just refuses to operate ...