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.