The $399.99 Steam Deck only comes with 64 GB of internal storage, just enough room for a handful of bite-sized games, or one big, open-world game that has a hefty installation size. That’s not ideal, but don’t stress, as upgrading the Deck’s storage is both easy and relatively affordable.
Like the Nintendo Switch, every Steam Deck supports microSD cards for storage expansion, and those cards come in a range of capacities — many of which are regularly discounted. Whether you want a modest upgrade to 256 GB, a bigger 512 GB card, or the ultimate 1 TB boost, we have some recommendations that’ll let you get to downloading more games from the Steam store. These options meet the Steam Deck’s speed requirements (more on that below). You’ll just need to go through a quick formatting process.
Is speed important?
While some pricier microSD cards advertise faster transfer speeds than others, which should equate to faster game install times, the general consensus is that most models deliver a similar experience on the Steam Deck. Compared to running games off the $399.99 model’s eMMC internal storage, using a microSD card delivers nearly identical performance in most games (the pricier Steam Deck models use NVMe SSDs, which is faster than eMMC and microSD).
The console’s microSD card slot supports UHS-1 class cards, a spec that tops out at a 104 MB/s transfer rate. That’s quite a bit slower than the advertised transfer speed that many of today’s run-of-the-mill microSD cards boast. So, our recommendation is to focus on getting as much storage as you can afford instead worrying about speed.
Update (Feb. 27): This post was written as the Steam Deck was releasing in early 2022, and has been updated to reflect that it is has been available for about one year. We’ve also adjusted the layout and added details about the Steam Deck’s UHS-1 compatibility.