After reports flooded the internet a few days ago showing users how to easily upgrade the Steam Deck's 2230 SSD to a bigger 2242 drive, a Valve employee has taken to Twitter to shut down the mod as quickly as possible due to reliably concerns for the device. According to a Tweet by Steam Designer Lawrence Yang, (opens in new tab) modding the Steam Deck to run larger SSDs than 2230 will result in a significantly shorter life span of the Deck due to overheating problems.
Yang says the internals around the M.2 slot is very sensitive to additional power requirements and thermal pad modifications. As a result, the charge ICs can get very hot if you relocate the nearby thermal pads. Additionally, Yang says larger M.2 drives traditionally draw more power than the 2230 models, which isn't optimal since Valve didn't design the Steam Deck for more power-hungry SSDs. These two factors combined will significantly reduce the life of the Deck.
Last week, Twitter user Belly Jelly shared a tutorial on how to upgrade the Steam Deck's built-in SSD to a slightly larger 2242 drive. The most incentivizing part of the drive mod is its low difficulty, with the modder saying there is very little work needed to make the transition. This mod is easy to carry out since it requires almost no additional effort from the end-user, and it should also be easy to accomplish for inexperienced modders.
Hi, please don’t do this. 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. https://t.co/Kmup7Zov13June 25, 2022
The mod consists of moving the cables and thermal pads around to accommodate the larger drive. The heat spreader will bend a little bit, but it isn't severe enough to cause any immediate issues. Belly Jelly stated that the drive does not collide with the motherboard or put additional strain on cables.
It is probably why Valve responded so quickly about this mod and warned against its use Since there is a high chance many gamers will try this mod on their Deck.
But thankfully, there is very little reason to upgrade the Deck's M.2 drive in the first place. Valve has already implemented an SD card slot into the Deck for storage expansion purposes. Even though SD cards are technically slower, we found in testing that the SD card solution is perfectly adequate, and frame rates are identical to running games on the internal M.2 drive.
They made a product that is normally $1500 for $400
They released a video on how to take it apart and change components even before it was released.
They released a list of replacement parts available to basically anybody.
Yes they had to make it small, duh, and that means that the list of drives you can use is extremely narrow because everything is extremely close to each other and can be influenced by nearby stuff.
That is probably the most bad faith way you could spin this. Valve has been very accommodating with the Deck's user reparability and upgradeability. The only reason you might want to do this mod is because the RESELLERS that sell 512Gb and up 2230 drives are charging outrageous prices for them since the Deck increased their demand and 2242 drives are about $50-$70 cheaper.
Every manufacturer does this, be it a mass market item like Nintendo or a flagship class cellphone like the Galaxy S22 series, both of which faced lawsuits and investigations, Steam is no different.
The thermal and power envelope of the whole device is really tight, so the advice they give out is absolutely important. Could have they made it so it accommodates bigger drives? Yes, but then the device itself would have been way more expensive: you need different cooling, a bigger battery and a thicker dissipation area for everything, not even taking into account a potential re-design of the PCB and case.
Everyone in tech knows that smaller = costlier. There's a reason why laptops are more expensive than whatever equivalent desktop you can buy and so on. Then Valve managed to pack the equivalent of a compact laptop into a hand held device under $600. Check the market for the other handheld devices and compare. See if any of them offers a 2280 NVMe and costs under $1K, if it exists.
Do I think the Steam Deck can be thicker and accommodate a 2280? Maybe. I personally want a bigger battery and if that means making the Steam Deck thicker, heavier and still sacrifice the 2280 NVMe, I'd give Valve my blessing, because storage is NOT the weak point of the Steam Deck, not by a long shot.
Do M.2 2242 use more power than a M.2 2230?
From what I see they do not. https://overclock3d.net/news/storage/micron_has_launched_the_world_s_first_2tb_m_2_2230_ssd/1