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Saturday, April 20, 2024

Best Steam Deck SD Cards in 2023

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Steam Deck has now been available for over a year, and so far it's certainly become the handheld PC of your wildest dreams — but it's also not got much storage. With the most affordable version only having 64GB (and even some of that is taken away by the Steam-OS), and even the largest model sitting at just 512GB, you're probably going to run low on storage rather quickly.

Lucky for us, the Steam Deck comes equipped with a handy SDXC-compatible SD card slot, so expanding the storage shouldn't be much of an issue at all. If you're expecting your Steam Deck soon, you'd still be wise to look into what SD cards will suit the new system. So, to give you a headstart, we've found the absolute best SD cards for the Steam Deck right now. If you're short on time, we've also included an easy TL;DR just below for your convenience.

TL:DR – Best Steam Deck SD Cards

1. SanDisk Extreme microSDXC

SanDisk Extreme – 1TBOur Top PickSanDisk Extreme – 1TB Size: 400GB, 512GB, 1TB | Read Speed: Up to 160 MB/s | Type: SDXC17% off $179.99$149.99

In our opinion, the SanDisk Extreme 1TB Card is absolutely the best SD card for the Steam Deck. It's not exactly cheap, but you're paying for a premium product and that means you'll need to pay a little extra to get that solid performance.

Cards like this are built with portable devices like the Steam Deck in mind, so you're getting 1TB of extra storage, and top of the range specs.

2. Lexar Play microSDXC

Lexar Play – 1TBLexar Play – 1TB Size: 256GB, 512GB, 1TB | Read Speed: Up to 150 MB/s | Type: SDXC46% off $249.99$133.99

The Lexar Play SD card is another great option for the Steam Deck, and has similar specs to our top pick the SanDisk Extreme. One thing you'll quickly notice is that compatible SD cards for the Steam Deck aren't exactly cheap.

Overall, this is the biggest downside for most of them. If price is starting to become an issue, I'd definitely suggest opting for a 512GB SD card rather than the 1TB; often enough these sit around $60-80 instead.

3. SanDisk Extreme Pro microSDXC

SanDisk Extreme ProSanDisk Extreme Pro Size: 400GB | Read Speed: 170 MB/s | Type: SDXC$67.99

On the topic of smaller and cheaper SD cards, the SanDisk Extreme Pro 400GB is another decent alternative to the larger Extreme 1TB. If you're looking for a quick and easy storage solution, especially if you're only on the 64GB Steam Deck model, this is well worth your consideration.

4. Lexar Professional 1066x microSDXC

Lexar Professional 1066x – 512GBLexar Professional 1066x – 512GB Size: 512GB | Read Speed: 160 MB/s | Type: SDXC 36% off $129.99$82.99

The Lexar Professional is another great value for money SD card, rocking 512GB of storage at a reasonably affordable price. It even offers the same rapid speeds as some of the more expensive SD cards on the market, so there's plenty of bang for your buck when it comes to this performing in the Steam Deck.

5. Samsung EVO Select microSDXC

Samsung EVO Select – 512GBSamsung EVO Select – 512GB Size: 512GB | Read Speed: 100 MB/s | Type: SDXC$84.99

What You Should Consider When Buying a Steam Deck SD Card

A key point I want to drive home here is that you shouldn't be driving out and picking up any old SD card and slotting it into your Steam Deck. There are some really important factors you need to consider, including size, speed, affordability, and overall compatibility.

You'll want to get an SDXC card, these are the fastest microSD around, and the type we've been recommending for your Steam Deck. Sure, you can find some older and larger SD cards, memory-wise, but these just won't suit the read, load, and install times you'll need. For a quick reference to what SD Card will work for Steam Deck, I'd suggest looking for 'A2' on any cards your considering.

Another thing to consider is the fact Steam Deck is limited to UHS-I, which can run read speeds at 100MB/s. This is the fastest we can go. So at any stage, your Steam Deck will absolutely run faster using the internal storage.

That being said, we'd still recommend using an SD card alongside. That's because you won't need to burden your precious SSD drive with less demanding titles, like indie or just older games, for example, instead opting to keep them on the SD drive. Just don't expect new games to run at blistering speeds when running off of your SD card. Put simply, SD cards are ideal for storage over performance.

For more on the Steam Deck, check out everything we know about Valve's new handheld PC, the 100 verified playable games on Steam Deck, and our first hands-on with Valve's handheld gaming PC.

Robert Anderson is a deals expert and Commerce Editor for IGN. You can follow him @robertliam21 on Twitter.

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