Which Steam Deck should you buy in 2023?

Which Steam Deck to Buy?

With the Steam Deck receiving its first major discount, the question on everyone’s tongue is which one to get. The 64GB or go all out with a 512GB?

We adore the Steam Deck. It’s changed how we play games and has also given us a lot of opportunities to run into the arms of Linux. While that’s all yet to come for you, the real question right now is “which Steam Deck do I buy?”

Outside of the 512GB’s anti-glare screen and storage options, the Steam Deck is the same across the board. In fact, the Steam Deck is the same across the board once you begin to realize just how easy it is to replace the SSD.

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You could very easily get a 64GB Steam Deck at the 10% discount, crack it open, and upgrade it further. Also, in all our testing, there are only slightly longer downloads when playing via a microSD card.

If you decide that the 64GB is the one for you, an SD card is going to come in handy and there are barely any performance differences until you start digging into the nitty-gritty of it all.

However, our personal recommendation is to go for the 256GB one. If you’re someone who isn’t ready to take a screwdriver to the hardware, you’ll still have plenty of storage for all the various Proton, cache files, and your games. You don’t get that anti-glare screen, but you get halfway decent storage and no nagging at the back of your brain that you’ll constantly need to delete things.

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What’s the difference between each Steam Deck?

Each Steam Deck has exactly the same specs, apart from the screen and storage. You’ll find the major differences below:

  • 64GB model comes with EMMC storage, rather than an NVMe
  • 256GB and 512GB feature NVMe drives
  • 512GB has an anti-glare screen already installed
  • The 512GB version comes with an exclusive colored carry case compared to the non-colored 256GB and 64GB versions

Should you upgrade the Steam Deck?

Yes, you should absolutely look into upgrading the Steam Deck at some point.

All in all, since we did the process ourselves, it’s changed the game – so to speak. We’re not only carrying around thirty games, but our emulation collection now lives on the microSD card to make even more room.

Some games we’re able to have on the go with a 1TB drive installed include Final Fantasy XIV and the Dead Space Remake. We’ve even got enough room for both Resident Evil 4’s upcoming remake and the original Resident Evil 4.

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eMMC vs NVMe

Embedded MultiMediaCard, or eMMC, is the drive that comes with the Steam Deck’s 64GB version. This kind of drive is often found in low-end netbook laptops or some phones. While the “embedded” bit usually indicates that it’s been fused with the motherboard, for the Steam Deck this isn’t the case.

eMMC is much slower than an NVMe drive, with the maximum speeds reaching around 330MB/s read speed and 200MB/s write speeds. When compared with NVMe drives, which even the smaller, 2230-sized drives can reach – depending on the generation – over 10 times that.

Which SSD should you buy for the Steam Deck?

We’ve already covered this in a bit more depth, but as it stands, the best choice is Sabrent’s SSD. You won’t hit the advertised speeds within the Steam Deck, but it’s the easiest one to pick up and install right now.

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