Sometimes we just can’t get enough from our devices. While some of us have chosen to acknowledge their limitations and accept them as is, there are those who opt for more drastic measures such as modding in order to make certain products allegedly better. We’ve seen plenty of examples of this before, including a USB-C equipped iPhone 13, an unofficial PlayStation 5 “slim” and many others – all of which are modded by the users themselves.
One such device that consumers have learned to be somewhat customisable is Valve’s handheld gaming device, the Steam Deck. According to a report by Hot Hardware, a modder known as Belly Jelly has discovered that it is possible to fit a larger capacity M.2 2242 SSD onto the device, though he notes that doing so will cause some issues with the internal heat spreader. Despite this, Belly Jelly claims that the handheld worked fine after the modification, which enabled it to hit an average write speed of 406 MB/s.
The pcb appears to work fairly well for adapting a 2242 m2 to the steam deck, it doesn't collide with anything on the motherboard or put any extra strain on any cables. However, it does make the heat spreader bow a tiny bit. The back plate reassembled without issue. pic.twitter.com/4j4LVbS0NG
— Belly Jelly 🎸 (@TheSmcelrea) June 21, 2022
While it seems that the modder’s attempt to replace the stock SSD on Steam Deck is a success, there is a substantial risk for doing so. As pointed out by Valve hardware designer Lawrence Yang, modding the handheld with this method will significantly shorten its lifespan, as its internal cooling system is affected in the process. He warns that the Steam Deck’s charger IC can get very hot and its thermal pads should not be moved – something that Belly Jelly also noted while working on the modding project. Yang added that most M.2 2442 SSD drives draw more power and generate more heat than what can be handled by the device.
Hi, please don’t do this. The charger IC gets very hot and nearby thermal pads should not be moved. In addition, most 2242 m.2 drives draw more power and get hotter than what Deck is designed for. This mod may appear to work but will significantly shorten the life of your Deck. https://t.co/Kmup7Zov13
— Lawrence Yang (@lawrenceyang) June 25, 2022
Responding to the designer’s concerns, Belly Jelly also advised users to only mod the Steam Deck at their own risk and emphasised that his project is merely a proof of concept. “I’ve seen some people damage their devices significantly while attempting similar mods, or planning on repeating my process themselves,” he adds.
Actually, some more important information; I've seen some people damage their devices significantly while attempting similar mods, or planning on repeating my process themselves.
Do not use a double sided SSD. This will not work.
— Belly Jelly 🎸 (@TheSmcelrea) June 26, 2022
As tempting as it is to equip any devices with “better” hardware than what was originally installed, do keep in mind that modding could potentially cause irreversible damage – especially when conducted without help from qualified professionals. Furthermore, doing so will also void warranties, which will prevent users from seeking any form of compensation from brands, manufacturers, or even stores.