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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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mindedie Jun 30, 2022
Quoting: Comandante ÑoñardoWhat about the price difference between a PCIe Gen 3 x4 vs PCIe Gen 3 x2 SSD of the same brand?
Same stick from same manufacture from different supplier/locations have different prices (~10% or more).

Listings of PCIe 3.0 X4 all over the place: speed from 3000 to ~1000 (same NVMe or M.2), price too. Feels like everyone hiding what type of memory cells are (SLC, MLC TLC). Most PCIe 3.0 X2 at similar speeds (~900 MB/s) and price, memory cell type(?). Some x4 cheaper than x2 other more pricey (same capacity).

Make you own conclusions. Myself, x2 or x4, kinda do not care what much. External CPU cache was lottery back in the day, HDD with same serial number/date had different chips, RAM never been 100% identical and so much more. It's not like buying 8 core high performance CPU, but getting 4 core mobile one...
denyasis Jun 30, 2022
And your talking wholesale factory prices for the parts, that's set in the bids and contracts and probably locked in. Valve is probably paying the same for the various parts.
Ardje Jul 1, 2022
Quoting: pete910
Quoting: TermyBut changing it an hoping no one will notice is bound to be perceived as deceptive and not taking the customer serious...
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.
Well, obviously Valve has clearly published it. There is nothing deceptive going on.

Now there are manufacturers that do have a lot of hardware with totally different specs and you don't know what you get until you buy it.
Especially in the phone market, Qualcomm still has a patent grip on the US wireless market, as the US decided to go for Qualcomm patented protocols instead of GSM standards. And with that strangle hold, they are able to force phone manufacturers to use Qualcomm.

Netgear sells a lot of access points which have a lot of hardware revisions in the same model and series. You don't know what you get until you look at openwrt.org, and make a deal with the seller that you get that or that you are free to return it if it turns out to be different.

Valve has always been the most upfront about this. So yeah: they published it, no one cared.
KrejsyLainen Jul 4, 2022
Quoting: TermyWell, 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...

Are we sure someone has received it with a slower SSD before they updated the page? Though they probably should have sent a short mail at least saying there is an update to the specs, or provide some benchmarks that proves their claims.
As this means more steam decks will get into the hands of more people, I'm for it, but it could have been handled better.

As others have pointed out, it will hit other bottlenecks before the storage, I don't even think a SATA based SSD would be any noticable difference...
Grogan Jul 5, 2022
The lanes mean more bandwidth, not speed that you'll measure. Bottleneck that, and it becomes apparent. I don't think you will hit that with a typical NVME drive.

Ever install a video card in a x4 or x8 slot by mistake? Lots of motherboards have some of the graphics cards slots pinned like that.

You'd hardly know it, it's really subtle. It takes a game that really moves a lot of data before something even feels off. The one that made me notice is that ridiculous Borderlands 3 with its bloated (yet ugly) textures.

As for changes to hardware without notice, without changes in model number... D-Link used to burn my ass with their NIC chipsets. You had no way of knowing if you were getting a Sundance Alta chipset, VIA Rhine, or Realtek 8139 when you ordered them. This made a difference not only in what kernel driver you needed, but some of them WORKED better than others.
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