Everything Should Be As Easy to Upgrade As the Steam Deck (2023)

Once I purchased the Steam Deck a couple of years in the past, I was skeptical. I used to be prepared to threat shopping for solely the most affordable model doable—a $400 handheld with a measly 64 GB of storage. Now, I do know I like it. I’ve used it for tons of of hours already, caught with restricted, slower storage. If I have been to rectify this error, I would have to purchase an entire new console. Or at the very least, that is what different devices have educated me to imagine. Not this time.

I’ve a protracted historical past of upgrading my units myself, after I can. The desktop PC I take advantage of each day has been ship-of-Theseus’d from the same computer I built over 20 years in the past—by no means absolutely changed, however upgraded, piece by piece, through the years. Throughout that point, it is more and more grow to be the exception to the rule. Till the Steam Deck got here alongside.

Elusive Upgrades

I used to switch the battery in my early smartphones once they bought outdated, respiration new life into dated {hardware}. Now, few telephones permit this with out cracking open the entire thing. My first MacBook had area on the underside to improve its RAM. Now it’s baked right into the M-series processors. I wouldn’t be capable to improve it, even if it weren’t difficult to access.

Which is possibly why I felt so completely happy to study that my Steam Deck is, in actual fact, extremely straightforward to improve. Sources like iFixit, which advocate for a consumer’s proper to restore their very own units, have guides that present easy methods to do particular upgrades on completely different devices.

The information for upgrading the Steam Deck’s storage is refreshingly simple. Unscrew and take away the again panel, take away the board defend, come out a cable, and unscrew the outdated storage. Put your new SSD as an alternative and reverse the method. Finished. 

It’s not fairly as straightforward as changing the battery in your TV’s distant, however it was quicker so as to add extra storage than it was to reinstall Steam OS. All informed, the method took possibly an hour. As a substitute of paying $130 additional for a special Steam Deck—or worse, shopping for an entire new one for $530—I paid $20 for a cheap SSD on eBay. Minus the price of a good hamburger and half the size of a typical video essay on YouTube later, I can now set up extra video games on my Steam Deck, in much less time and with shorter loading screens than I had earlier than. This doesn’t need to be a novel expertise.

Restore on the Horizon

It additionally won’t be, for for much longer. Earlier this yr, the European Union voted to cross new rules that may require smartphones to return outfitted with user-replaceable batteries. At the moment, making an attempt to replace a battery on a recent iPhone requires specialty instruments and technical know-how, and might nonetheless lead to warnings that you just’re not utilizing “real” components, even when utilizing official Apple batteries.

By 2027, that sort of barrier to changing a battery gained’t be authorized within the EU, although the knock-on impact will seemingly result in producers complying globally. We already noticed a similar effect occur when the EU passed a law requiring all telephones, tablets, and cameras bought within the area to have a USB-C port. It’s simply extra environment friendly to make one mannequin that the corporate can promote in every single place.

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