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Valve Warns This Mod Will Brick Your Steam Deck

Modders have finally started tinkering with Valve's Steam Deck. Valve's handheld PC gaming devices started shipping at the beginning of the year and are continuing to roll out during the summer months. Steam Decks have challenged the Nintendo Switch's place as the premier portable console, even with a slew of unanswered questions and what appeared to be missed opportunities at launch. Of course, modders have been curious about how to turn it an even better machine. 

However, one of the Steam Deck's designers became concerned about modders when PC Gamer published an article about a Canadian modder called TheSmcelrea. This modder replaced the Steam Deck's standard 2230 SSD with a 2242 M.2 NVMe SSD to try to upgrade its internal storage, which goes entirely against Valve's suggestions. In response to PC Gamer's tweet of this article, Valve's Lawrence Yang quote-tweeted the post with a warning.

"Hi, please don't do this. The charger IC gets very hot and nearby thermal pads should not be moved," Yang wrote. "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."

As one commenter put it, "Do this if you want to ruin your Deck." Commenters started re-posting Yang's tweet under PC Gamer's to warn players not to change the SSD, not seeming to realize that the PC Gamer article already pointed out that the mod could be problematic.

Why switch out the Steam Deck SSD

PC Gamer's article links to a Twitter thread in which TheSmcelrea wrote about their experience modding the Steam Deck. "The PCB appears to work fairly well for adapting a 2242 M2 to the Steam Deck," the modder wrote. "It doesn't collide with anything on the motherboard or put any extra strain on any cables. However, it does make the heat spreader bow a tiny bit. The back plate reassembled without issue."

TheSmcelrea continued their commentary in a thread below the original tweet, mentioning that there's a thermal pad on top of the inductor that had to be moved, but that "it should be fine." This concerned enough bystanders that they posted it underneath relevant posts, warning other readers about potential overheating. This inductor was also the part referenced by PC Gamer, hinting that the overheating could become an issue. The article also points out that there are better ways of getting more storage without disassembling your Steam Deck. PC Gamer eventually updated the article to include Yang's warning, just in case.

TheSmcelrea later posted a comment agreeing with Yang, writing, "Mod at your own risk! I am taking risks by opening the device and working on it, and it is mostly just as a proof of concept."

So everyone's mostly on the same page about this SSD mod's potential danger to the system. All aspiring Steam Deck modders should proceed with caution.