A few days ago, a user on Twitter showed how he installed a longer M.2 SSD in 2242 format into the Steam Deck. Although the heatspreader bends a bit, the handheld runs and recognizes the drive. Valve developer Lawrence Yang then warned users not to make this modification.
2242 is cheaper than 2230
Out of the box, the Steam Deck uses a 2230 format M.2 SSD, which is shorter than a 2242 format SSD. The range of M.2 2230 SSDs is not only small, they are also almost twice as expensive as the slightly longer M.2 2242 SSDs. In order to speed up write and read access and to put more memory in the Steam Deck at a reasonable price, it makes sense to use the longer model. But apart from a bent heatspreader, a thermal pad also has to be removed in order to be able to use the longer SSD.
The pcb appears to work fairly well for adapting a 2242 m2 to the steam deck, 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. pic.twitter.com/4j4LVbS0NG
— Belly Jelly (@TheSmcelrea) June 21, 2022
More heat, shorter shelf life
However, Valve developer Lawrence Yang warns users against taking this step, since the heat development of an M.2 2242 SSD is usually higher than that of the factory-installed SSD and the components in this area already get very hot. Thermal pads should never be removed and the SSD can get hotter than the design of the steam deck envisages. Even if the conversion works, it will therefore significantly reduce the lifespan of the Steam Deck, according to Yang.
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.
— Lawrence Yang (@lawrenceyang) June 26, 2022
Valve warned early on about replacing the SSD
Even though Valve showed the inner workings of the Steam Deck early on and was open to modifications and spare parts, the company had already pointed out at the time that replacing the SSD could cause problems if just any model was commercially available is acquired. Valve also referred to the power consumption and heat development on the one hand, but also pointed out that the SSD is placed very close to the WLAN module, which is why a specially selected and tested model is used that does not cause any interference. In addition, when using a different model, there could be contact with components under the SSD.