4 Best SD Card For Steam Deck You Can Use

By now, you may be eagerly looking forward to getting your Steam Deck and play your favorite game on it! And you are wondering, what is the Best SD Card for Steam Deck?

Since the launched date on February 25th 2022, gamer all around the world have been talking about this wonderful portable game console.

There are few lucky one who manage to getting hold of this device are feeling happy right now. We congratulate them and wish to hear from them more. If you are the lucky person, do share with us your experiences playing game on the Steam Deck in our comment below.

Gamer like us want to play more games and we want to store all our games on the device. But, the 3 models Steam Deck offering have limited storage capacity (64GB, 256GB and 512GB).

So, in this article we would like to share with others, which are the best SD card you can consider, to expand your Steam Deck’s storage.

Feel free to review those cards we have surveyed and give us your valuable suggestion too!

Table of Contents

What SD Cards Will Steam Deck Use

There is a microSD card slot at the base of Steam Deck you can put in the memory card. According to Steam Deck’s developer Valve Corporation, it can accept UHS-I card but not UHS-II.

UHS stands for Ultra High Speed bus and is available on SDHC and SDXC cards. The specification was specified by SD Association (SDA) in its SD version 3.01 in 2010.

Standard size SD card is too large to go into the slot at Steam Deck. Its dimension is 32.0×24.0x2.1 mm as compared with microSD card having only 15.0×11.0x1.0 mm.

UHS-I specification states that it has a bus interface speed up to 104MB/s. This allows any card with UHS-I to provide reading speed up to 100MB/s and writing speed up to 90MB/s.

Brands like SanDisk, Samsung, Lexar and PNY provide good and reliable SD Cards you can use on your game consoles. We have found some models you can consider and mentioned in more detail in the section further down below.

Although SSD run faster than an external microSD card, but the difference is only few seconds or couple of minutes, depending on the file size of the game you play.

Use SDXC card for your Steam Deck because this card uses exFAT format. This storage method allows the device to deal with large amount of data.

Steam Deck Storage Size For Each Model

There are 3 models of Steam Deck announced by Valve, namely 64GB, 256GB and 512GB. It comes with built-in SSD with the 64GB model equip with eMMC type, and 256GB and 512GB models installed with NVMe SSD.

Using internal flash memory from the SSD is faster than the external microSD card. It is also more convenient to the user, because you do not need to carry the card with you.

However, with built-in SSD you are being restricted with its storage capacity when you purchased the unit. Thus, with the microSD card slot allows you to expand your memory further with a good and reliable microSDXC card.

Although you can upgrade your internal SSD with larger one, but the process of opening the casing and installing a new NVMe SSD is a difficult task you need to think hard.

Steam Deck allows gamer to play games on the go. It is like getting the power of a PC in the palm of your hand. Valve has cooperated with AMD to design and develop this Steam Deck as a new handheld gaming PC.

The Steam Deck has a custom-designed processor by AMD, which combine a CPU and a GPU chips together. The CPU can run up to 3.5GHz and the GPU can crank to 1.6 TFlops.

Valve has released Windows 10 drivers for fans who want to run Windows on the Steam Deck. Drivers for GPU, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and SD card reader are some drivers you can find.

Factors to consider when buying SD Card

  • Before you start using your card, do format the card with SteamDeck OS.
  • The reading speed is more important than the writing speed, as it relates more to the loading speed of the game you play.
  • Most games require a lot of storage space. Thus, 1TB SD card is the ideal you should consider.
  • If you have budget constraint, at least a 512GB card will meet your gaming need.
  • Brand reputation is important because you do not want your gaming app become corrupted after few rounds of play.
  • Take notice of the promotion deals from vendors or during holiday seasons.
  • The type of device SD card going to use on is crucial too. Like Steam Deck only accept microSD UHS-I card.
  • Card with UHS-I spec will meet the slot requirement, although UHS-II card is backward compatible but it won’t give you higher speed.
  • do not use the microSD card for the Nintendo Switch. You need to reformat the card.

Playing Game On Steam Deck From microSD Card

Developer Valve has a very large library of Steam games on hand currently. Not all games will be able to run on the Steam Deck. Therefore, Valve has breaks down the game compatibility into 4 categories: Verified, Playable, Unsupported and Unknown.

The company has tested playing New World on Steam Deck with the game on the microSD card. It works fine and provide the same excitement as on a desktop PC.

Many gamer on IGN have tested the Steam Deck with various games. The comments on Steam Deck have many positive reviews, although negative reviews will always exist.

No Man’s Sky developer Sean Murray has announced the title will be able to play on the Steam Deck. Good news for all the fans.

Other games which can play on the Steam Deck include games like Elden Ring and Final Fantasy XIV. Not to mention more to come on board.

Steam Deck has Bluetooth function so you can connect a Bluetooth keyboard or mouse to it. This is a great feature allowing you to play your favorite game like on a desktop computer.

There are many accessories you can consider like USB-C hub, hub with Ethernet adapter, power bank or even adding a screen protector like iVoler Tempered Glass.

Steam Deck has a 5,313mAh battery inside, so if you wish to get an external power bank to power it up, choose one with at least power rating of 10,000mAh. Anker PowerCore Essential 20000 can charge the Steam Deck up to 4 times. Another alternative is Mi PowerBank 10,000mAh from Xiaomi.

4 Best SD Card For Steam Deck With 1TB

Here are 4 of the best microSD cards with a storage capacity of 1TB we shortlist for you. If you have limited budget, 512GB is also reasonable large for you to store your favorite games.

No 1) 1TB SanDisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I Memory Card
  • This is the fastest UHS-I card we have found. It has a fast reading speed of 160MB/s.
  • So far the highest storage capacity offer by SanDisk.
  • Based on experiment and testing, the game loading time is same as compared with running from internal SSD vs external microSD.
  • SanDisk offer lifetime warranty. This is one very good pro in getting this card.
  • SanDisk include the card adapter so you can convert the microSD into standard SD card.
No 2) 512GB Samsung EVO Select
  • This card can offer reading speed at 100MB/s.
  • Amazon has exclusive rights to this EVO Select.
  • Another alternate model is Samsung EVO Plus you may consider.
  • Samsung is a trusted brand in card storage industry. You should feel comfortable buy this brand.
  • Samsung offer 10-year limited warranty.
No 3) 1TB Lexar PLAY
  • This is another popular brand among gamer. Its reading speed can go up to 150MB/s.
  • Lexar started producing cards primarily for media and gaming. So you can trust their expertise.
  • It has a reading speed of 150MB/s, slightly slower than SanDisk Extreme.
  • TAKE NOTE: Lexar do not provide the SD Card Adapter to convert microSD card to standard SD card.
No 4) 1TB PNY PRO Elite
  • 1TB PNY PRO Elite
  • Up and coming brand in many countries.
  • PNY designed this card for Nintendo Switch. Thus, they are well aware the gaming need of console device.
  • It offers reading speed at 100MB/s and writing speed of 90MB/s.

All the cards which we have recommended here are waterproof, shockproof and X-ray proof. They are able to meet UHS-I specification, so that it utilize the full potential and capabilities of the UHS-1 slot on the deck.

We highly recommend considering card with A2 rating because it gives you higher performance. A2 performance rating has higher random read speed which is important for the game loading speed.

For a 1TB microSD card, normally you can store up to 6 or 7 AAA games on it. Here are some games which consume huge memory storage for your reference:

  • Adventure use 116GB
  • Simulators use 131GB
  • Sports use 149GB
  • Battle Royale use 231GB
  • therefore, the steam deck basis model 64GB will not be able to run these games.
  • For the 256GB model, if your store Battle Royale on the device, you left almost zero storage space to utilize.

Final Thoughts

microSD Card is very suitable for gaming application. Due to its small size, it can fit easily in most of the gaming devices in the market.

More memory cards makers are introducing 1TB. We expect the pricing for this storage size to become lower. It will be good news for gamer like us.

Ready to expand your Steam Deck with a microSD card?

Types Of SSDs
How To Move Windows To SSD
How to install SSD
How to check SSD health

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4 thoughts on “4 Best SD Card For Steam Deck You Can Use”

  1. This is nice to have an extra pair of SD cards. I usually use these an external one to keep large video files and creative projects that I have and store them into the card itself. So that way I can make room and more space for my laptop. The SD’s card have been very helpful and will continue on using these to store in more files in the fiture. I really appreciate this info you have the top 4 best SD cards.

    Reply
    • Video files will take up more space on the microSD card. 

      Typically, a 32GB memory card will allow you to store 19 videos on it, assuming you record in 4K resolution at 60fps. 

      Therefore, if you have 100 videos or more (which is common nowaday with our smartphone with us all day), you will need at least a 320GB SD card. 

      Getting a 1TB or 512GB microSD card will serve you well.

      Hope you can get your favorite memory cards soon.

      Reply
  2. Having extra SD cards are always useful and specially if you are an avid gamer. My son is the big gamer in our family and he has not been fortunate enough so far to get the Steam Deck, but hopefully he will. He normally uses SanDisk cards, I have heard a lot of good things about Samsung, so which one would you recommend as better fortheSteamDeck?

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • I personally prefer SanDisk as my top choice! SanDisk was acquired by Western Digital for $19 billion, in order to access SanDisk’s NAND technology.

      This prove that SanDisk technology is superior, and the company is well recognised in the industry as a global leader in flash storage solutions. 

      For Samsung microSD card, if you have a Samsung device then I would suggest you get one to pair with it. It won’t go wrong since the 2 items will be from the same manufacturer – Samsung.

      Recently my wife Samsung smartphone is running out of storage space. I will be getting the Samsung EVO Select for her. It should work well in her Samsung phone.

      Reply

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