Valve quietly downgrades Steam Deck’s NVMe SSDs to PCIe Gen3 x2

Steam Deck may now ship with NVMe PCIe Gen3 x2 SSDs, not x4

Valve updates Steam Deck page with new NVMe SSD specs.

Steam Deck, Valve’s first handheld gaming device comes in three configurations: either with 64GB eMMC attached to PCIe Gen2 x1 interface or 256GB / 512GB NVMe SSD running PCIe Gen3. At launch the company announced that 256 / 512GB variants will be using M.2 2230 modules with PCIe Gen3 x4 width. As it turns out, the company has recently updated its website to list PCIe Gen3 x2 interface width instead.

HardwareLuxx reports that this change occurred around late May. This is even before recent popular topic of SSD replacement to something more capable. Valve engineers have been vocal that although it may seem to be working, such modifications should not take place because the device was not power and thermal optimized for 3rd party NVMe drives.

Current US and German Steam Deck Specification pages, Source: HardwareLuxx

Steam Deck’s SSD topic may only get hotter now, as the company had updated official device specs now mentioning PCIe Gen3 x2 instead of 4. The Gen3 x4 interface can provide approximately 4GB / s of throughput, with half the width this means up to 2GB / s.

* Some 256GB and 512GB models ship with a PCIe Gen 3 x2 SSD. In our testing, we did not see any impact to gaming performance between x2 and x4. ”

[Steam Deck specs website]

The company had to update the product page because some Decks now ship with slower SSDs. Valve is confident that this should not impact gaming performance though. Nevertheless, it may affect performance in other, bandwidth-starved applications.

If gaming is all that matters then this may indeed not be important to such customers. However, should one use Windows 11 system and run CrystalDiskMark all day long, it will definitely not go unnoticed.

Source: HardwareLuxx, PCGamer Steam



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