The user, through a little refinement, learned to install more capacious, affordable and cheap M.2 2242 SSD drives in the Steam Deck. The Valve engineer strongly discourages doing this.
All versions of the Steam Deck console have an M.2 2230 SSD slot for installing a 30x22 mm data drive. The slot is present even in the cheapest 64 GB model. Moreover, on the page with the characteristics it is indicated that this slot is not intended for a custom upgrade.
Technically, only the leftmost M.2 2230 SSD form factor module will work for a permitted but unauthorized Steam Deck upgrade.
The M.2 2230 SSD variant is the smallest SSD on the market. Usually it is not sold separately, as many gadgets have room to accommodate slightly larger physical SSDs. Many drives of this form factor sold are used components taken from various compact devices. Moreover, for an ordinary user, upgrading a drive to a 512 GB M.2 2230 SSD can cost $ 200, although you can find used 1 TB modules for sale for $ 150, but their support is not announced in the console.
Users were not satisfied with this situation. One of the enthusiasts decided to check if it is possible to install a 512 GB M.2 2242 SSD in the Steam Deck for $50.
To remove the SSD, you need to unscrew one screw and you will have access to the fully modular M.2 2230 SSD, which can be easily changed to other higher-capacity models, but the same format, which is 12 mm smaller than the M.2 2242.
The user was able to find a small adapter to shift the M.2 2242 mount from the stock M.2 2230 mount.
The enthusiast explained that in the end the SSD worked and was determined normally in the Steam Deck. But during assembly, he had to remove a small part of the thermal pad on the induction elements on the right, as it interfered with the installation of the adapter and SSD, as well as turn over and move the standard protection on the new SSD to the side, since it now does not completely cover the memory module.
Engineer, Steam Deck developer and Valve designer Lawrence Young criticized this refinement. In his opinion, M.2 2242 form factor drives consume more energy, heat up more, affect the overall operation of the set-top box's power supply system and shorten its service life. He also strongly advises against removing or moving any thermal pads inside the Steam Deck and changing the original layout of elements, even if this may work normally for the first time after the changes. In addition, Yang explained that there is a charger chip nearby, which generates a lot of heat and can seriously affect the operation of a larger SSD in the future.
Sources: Python.Engineering, Twitter.com