The best Steam Deck SSD won't necessarily be the fastest drive on the planet. That's because the Steam Deck is limited by what it can accept, specifically: It needs an M.2 2230 SSD. We have an article digging into the details of upgrading the Steam Deck SSD, and with the Steam Deck 64GB on sale for $349, it's more a matter of finding a cost-effective upgrade solution.
M.2 2230 SSDs do tend to cost quite a bit more than their 2280 counterparts, especially for the 2TB models. But there are a couple of great deals happening right now on both 1TB and 2TB drives. It's the perfect upgrade for a Steam Deck that may otherwise be low on storage capacity.
Both of the above drives use QLC NAND. If you were planning on sticking one of these into a higher performance laptop, that might matter, but game downloads will still be limited by the Deck's wireless connection speed rather than SSD performance. That means even "slow" QLC NAND drives will work just fine, though large game updates might be a bit slower.
The Solidigm P41 Plus uses a Silicon Motion SM2269XTF controller paired with (formerly Intel) Solidigm 144-Layer QLC NAND. It's effectively the same hardware as the larger Solidigm P41 Plus 2280 drives we reviewed, just in a smaller package. Sustained write speeds dropped below 100 MB/s in our Windows testing, but we typically saw download speeds of around 30 MB/s on the Steam Deck, regardless of what SSD we installed.
It's a big step up for 2TB of storage, but the MP44S packs the same Phison E21T controller and 176-layer Micron QLC NAND as most other 2TB 2230 drives, and it costs about $20 less than the next-closest option. We tested the Teamgroup MP44S 1TB drive earlier this year, and found relatively mediocre performance under Windows use on our desktop system, but in the Steam Deck it was generally comparable to other drives.
Note that the Steam Deck is limited to PCIe 3.0 speeds, but it's forward compatible with PCIe 4.0 drives — they'll just have lower peak throughput on the Steam Deck than they might otherwise see. For Valve's gaming handheld, our experience is that the specific SSD model was far less of a factor than the storage capacity on tap, and 1TB lets you keep far more games installed than the SSD options Valve offers.
For more savings, check out our up-to-the-minute Cyber Monday tech deals live blog. There you'll find the latest deal news and buying advice from our editors all day and night.
Also, see our lists of the best Cyber Monday SSD deals, Cyber Monday GPU deals, Cyber Monday CPU deals, Cyber Monday gaming laptop deals, Cyber Monday monitor deals, Cyber Monday 3D printer deals and Cyber Monday PC hardware deals overall.
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Jarred Walton is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on everything GPU. He has been working as a tech journalist since 2004, writing for AnandTech, Maximum PC, and PC Gamer. From the first S3 Virge '3D decelerators' to today's GPUs, Jarred keeps up with all the latest graphics trends and is the one to ask about game performance.