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Some Steam Decks ship with an x2 SSD instead of an x4 SSD

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Valve made a change to the specifications of the top two versions of the Steam Deck last month, which it seems plenty of people (including me) completely missed. It's not a massive change but still one to be aware of as not all Decks are the same.

The Steam Deck is split across three models either with a 64 GB eMMC, 256 GB NVMe SSD or a 512 GB NVMe SSD (and the top model has the anti-glare etched screen too). Sometime around May 28th though, the SSDs shipping in the Steam Deck changed and now come in two possible editions and you won't know what you have until you get it and check.

On the specifications page, it now lists this:

  • 64 GB eMMC (PCIe Gen 2 x1)
  • 256 GB NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4 or PCIe Gen 3 x2*)
  • 512 GB high-speed NVMe SSD (PCIe Gen 3 x4 or PCIe Gen 3 x2*)

With Valve noting "*Some 256GB and 512GB models ship with a PCIe Gen 3 x2 SSD. In our testing, we did not see any impact to gaming performance between x2 and x4".

You can see the change thanks to the Wayback Machine on May 27th and then May 28th.

Really, it shouldn't make all that much of a difference, especially considering the Micro SD slot can load and run even some of the highest-end games just fine. This is quite likely one of the ways Valve has been able to ramp up production to ship more than double each week, along with the two different fan models you might also see.

Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
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25 comments
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CatKiller 29 Jun
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I understand that they're supply constrained, and they don't think it will make a difference... but they didn't think the fan model would make a difference either. Invisible SKUs are bad for consumer confidence, and bad for the one fixed target console model. It's all a bit Amazon Marketplace.
I don't think many people will complain about this, however I can see someone still might that they got an inferior product while paying the same price as the better one.

This isn't just with the Steam deck though. I see a similar thing in Dell laptops, different PCIe speeds and even different brands.
Linas 29 Jun
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Quoting: Avehicle7887I see a similar thing in Dell laptops, different PCIe speeds and even different brands.
At work we use Alienware laptops basically as portable servers to take with you in the field. People started noticing that some of them perform better than others, and once we looked more closely, we found at least 4 different SSD models by 3 different manufacturers, even though it was supposed to be the same model.
Bumadar 29 Jun
Quoting: Avehicle7887I don't think many people will complain about this.

Ooh but they will, welcome to 2022
arrjayzor 29 Jun
You can see how many lanes are being used by the ssd (or any device) with the 'lspci -vv' command.
 
sudo lspci -vv 


Look for the LinkCap and LinkSta for the ssd.
 
LnkCap: Port #1, Speed 8GT/s, Width x4, ASPM L1, Exit Latency L1 unlimited
ClockPM- Surprise- LLActRep- BwNot- ASPMOptComp+
LnkCtl: ASPM L1 Enabled; RCB 64 bytes, Disabled- CommClk+
ExtSynch- ClockPM- AutWidDis- BWInt- AutBWInt-
LnkSta: Speed 8GT/s (ok), Width x4 (ok)
TrErr- Train- SlotClk+ DLActive- BWMgmt- ABWMgmt-
Yeah there's gonna be no difference. You're gonna run up against other bottlenecks before ever maxing out the SSD. Though that won't stop the average Redditor from making a fuss over it.


Last edited by Colorblindmonk on 29 June 2022 at 2:56 pm UTC
Termy 29 Jun
Quoting: ColorblindmonkYeah there's gonna be no difference. You're gonna run up against other bottlenecks before ever maxing out the SSD. Though that won't stop the average Redditor from making a fuss over it.

Well, silently changing the specs for some is bound to annoy people. If Valve would have been upfront about it, done a blogpost explaining it and providing their benchmarks, i guess nobody really would complain.
But changing it an hoping noone will notice is bound to be perceived as deceptive and not taking the customer serious...


Last edited by Termy on 29 June 2022 at 3:49 pm UTC
Quoting: Termy
Quoting: ColorblindmonkYeah there's gonna be no difference. You're gonna run up against other bottlenecks before ever maxing out the SSD. Though that won't stop the average Redditor from making a fuss over it.

Well, silently changing the specs for some is bound to annoy people. If Valve would have been upfront about it, done a blogpost explaining it and providing their benchmarks, i guess nobody really would complain.
But changing it an hoping noone will notice is bound to be perceived as deceptive and not taking the customer serious...

But... they didn't change it and hope no one will notice? It looks like they have pretty clearly explained that they've made this switch for some units.
pete910 29 Jun
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Quoting: TermyBut changing it an hoping no one will notice is bound to be perceived as deceptive and not taking the customer serious...

Indeed,

Imagine if ford changed one of their engines from a V8 to a straight 4 ! There would be hell to pay.

Whilst this is an extreme it's the same principal and should be be illegal without it being WELL publicized. Especially to those that have pre ordered.
Izaic 29 Jun
All manufacturers are doing this now. As far as I'm concerned as long as there is no visible performance or reliability differences, it is fine.

It's when companies like dell do it without even SAYING they did it, and then it gets worse performance, that I have issues with it.
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