It seems like Valve has quietly modified a component of its popular Steam Deck gaming console without making any official announcement.
As discovered by foreign media hardwareluxx.de, the Steam Deck variants equipped with 256 and 512 GB of capacity are now shipping with a new NVMe SSD with PCI-Express 3.0 x2 interface in comparison with the original models featuring PCI-Express 3.0 x4, resulting in maximum bandwidth reduced by half.
After the media coverage, Valve responded on the matter, indicating that there is no difference in performance between the units except in “extremely rare cases“.
“Many Steam Deck components come from multiple suppliers for improved redundancy and production capacity,” Yang tells me. “One of our SSD suppliers provides PCIe Gen 3 x4 NVMe SSDs, while another provides a x2 (2 lane) SSD.
“Our team has tested both components extensively, and determined that there is no impact to performance between the two models.”
As stated by Valve, the write and read speeds would be the same, so loading times or gaming performance should not be affected. Although the company indicates that there is no loss of performance, but in some cases, there may be a difference in performance, such as in file transfer according to the specs sheet on the Phison website.
The most striking thing is that Value downgraded the storage interface without announcing it, so if you have bought Steam Deck recently there are chances that it might also have PCI express 3.0 x2 SSD. Though, you can check it easily by the below simple steps;
- Hold down the power button
- Select Desktop Mode
- Look for Device Viewer in the Applications Menu search bar.
- Under Devices, go to Storage Drives
- Select the Hard Disk Drive.
In the right panel, it’ll have a code. The review model of PCGamer is equipped with a Phison ESMP512GKB4C3-E13TS drive using Phison’s Gen3 x4 –E13 controller. If it includes a code like -E08 then it’s Phison’s Gen3 x2 controller running on a Gen3 x2 interface.