The Steam Deck’s hardware was explained in detail by Valve’s team, as shown in a video that IGN produced. We were surprised by some interesting tidbits, including the claim that Valve has yet to find a Steam Deck game it can’t handle. Also, Valve explained how the SteamOS 3.0 operating system will allow dynamically removable Steam Libraries to be stored on SD cards and still run the games as if they were stored on the handheld’s internal storage. Depending on which Steam Deck SKU you choose, a large SD card might be the best option for users to play their favorite Steam games while on the move.
Valve already stated that there is no limit to how large the SD cards you can use to store Steam Deck data, so it will be interesting to see their approach to removable storage.
Valve acknowledges that an SD card is faster than Steam Deck’s M2 SSD. NVMe SSDs, particularly on the 256GB or 512GB models. Valve stated that they spent a lot time optimizing the system to allow gaming from an SD card.
However, not all SD cards can be considered equal. This means that we cannot assume that SD cards with higher loading times will work well.
Yazn Aldenhayyat is a Valve hardware engineer. He also shared some anecdotal results with the staff who used SD Cards on the Steam Deck.
“Of course, every game and access pattern are different. But, at the end, I believe our benchmark was to give the SD card to a bunch of people and have them use it. The overwhelming reaction was that it was great and comparable to the external truck.
Valve is looking at the possibility of preloading software games onto SD cards from other devices. This would save a lot of time. SteamOS is currently the only way to install and manage games on removable storage.
The question of how games will perform on other platforms, such as Epic or Origin, is still unanswered. What happens if the Steam Deck fills out your Steam library automatically when you insert a new card? We will not know until we actually get to play with the thing in real-world testing.