(Pocket-lint) - The Valve Steam Deck is available in several different models, with the main difference being the size of the internal storage. The storage options range from 64GB eMMC to 512GB NVMe SSD and represent how much space you have to install games.
With the size of modern triple-A games though, you might need additional storage. We'd highly recommend it in fact as we managed to fill up our 256GB Steam Deck with just four games. Even if you're only planning on playing smaller Indie games, purchasing additional storage will help boost your install options.
It's worth noting that the Steam Deck's microSD card slot tops out at around 100MB/s so you don't need the fastest card around. You also will find that the internal storage is much faster. So keep these microSD cards for your less important games that you don't mind watching load screens for.
Below, we've listed some of the best memory cards for the Steam Deck with a selection of options both budget and high-end.
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Best Steam Deck memory cards in 2022
- SanDisk 512GB Extreme microSDXC
- Samsung Evo Select 256GB microSDXC Card
- Samsung PRO Plus 512GB microSDXC
- SanDisk 512GB Ultra microSDXC
- Gigastone 512GB microSDXC Card
Best Steam Deck microSD card: Our top pick
SanDisk 512GB Extreme microSDXC
- Nippy speeds
- Reliable storage
- Larger sizes are pricey
This SanDisk microSD card is our choice when it comes to extra storage for your Steam Deck. It offers great read speeds (up to 160MB/s) and though that's not as fast as the internal storage on the console it's still a good balance of speed and storage size.
512GB is also a good boost of extra storage space for your Steam Deck, though if you can stretch to it the 1TB model is worth considering too.
Alternative microSD cards we'd also recommend
We think the above microSD card is probably the ideal pick for most users, but there are other options worth considering as well.
Samsung Evo Select 256GB microSDXC Card
- Super speeds
- Sometimes inconsistent reading
If you're looking for something more affordable then this Samsung drive is worth considering.
It's not as fast as our top choice with 130MB/s read speed, but should still provide a great experience in terms of additional storage.
We did notice an odd inconsistency compared to the SanDisk options we tested, but nothing major - often the card will just need popping out and clicking back in and it'll format correctly.
Samsung PRO Plus 512GB microSDXC
- Fast and reliable
- Also works with tablets and drones
- No 1TB option
The Samsung PRO Plus is slightly faster than the Samsung Evo Select which might not be necessary here. But you also get solid performance and a microSD card that's designed to with drones and other demanding devices.
These are excellent microSD cards designed to give you great performance and great gaming fun too. Alas, there's no 1TB option.
SanDisk 512GB Ultra microSDXC
- Fantastically affordable
- Range of sizes available
- Not as fast as other options
The SanDisk Ultra microSDXC range is an excellent choice if you're looking for an affordable alternative to our top pick. Though the read speeds aren't as fast, they're still good enough for the console.
This is one of the most affordable options around and yet will give you reliable and solid performance that you can rely on while gaming.
Gigastone 512GB microSDXC Card
- Affordable option
- Only just fast enough
This Gigastone microSD card is designed specifically for gaming and will work with both the Steam Deck and Nintendo Switch.
We found it was just about fast enough for the Steam Deck (100MB/s) and works well plus has the added bonus of a 5-year limited warranty.
How to choose a memory card for your Steam Deck
If you've just got your Steam Deck it might be hard to know whether you need a microSD card. We certainly found we needed one for our 256GB model as it's far too easy to fill up that much space with just a few games. If you've bought the 64GB version we'd suggest that a microSD card is going to be a must-buy and a big one as well!
Do I need a microSD card for my Steam Deck?
Unless you're only planning to have a handful of indie games for your handheld console, then owning a memory card is pretty much a necessity. Steam Deck verified games can vary wildly in storage size. Even simple single-player games like Stray (for example) can take up to 10GB or more.
It's worth checking your Steam library to see how much storage space your favourite games will take up. You can also browse through the "Great on Deck" verified list to double-check how much space you might need.
We found that games like Forza 5 can take up over 100GB so it's far too easy to fill up the internal storage.
Which microSD cards work on Steam Deck?
Any microSD card will work with the Steam Deck. The Steam Deck has a maximum speed of 100MB/s on its external card port, so you don't need to go faster than that, but you will want speeds close to it though. We'd recommend getting the biggest card you can afford to avoid disappointment.
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