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To the shock of many, Valve announced the Steam Deck, a brand new mobile gaming platform, bringing Steam PC to gamers on the go. The new device is an alternative to the Nintendo Switch, except you can play the games you already own.
While the Steam Deck has garnered plenty of excitement, the Steam Deck’s onboard storage options leave a lot to be desired. When you factor in the Linux-based Steam Operating System, and the potential size of the games, the onboard memory is going to be much smaller relative to Nintendo’s device. Fortunately for us, the Steam Deck will feature a Micro SD slot to allow more room for your games. If you want to prepare yourself for the Steam Deck’s launch, here are the best Steam Deck Micro SD cards.
Before jumping into our best Steam Deck Micro SD cards list, we have to mention that we don’t have our hands on the device yet. Like you, Gaming Verdict is stuck in the reservation system, with our reservation down for a Q2 2022 shipping window.
So, why are we making this list? The Steam Deck will utilize a regular Micro SD Card slot, common to other electronics, like pro cinematography equipment, the Nintendo Switch, and drones. Due to the film and photography industries being as big as they are, many Micro SD cards are built with them in mind – less so gaming. Therefore, you’ll likely not be able to replicate the SSD or eMMC storage read and write speeds built into the Steam Deck unless you’re okay with paying for the crème de la crème.
Due to the slower read and write speeds of micro SD cards, we recommend putting your loading screen heavy games on your Deck’s main drive. It is just as important to do so as the Steam Deck Micro SD Card reader does not support UHS-II, a technology that allows Micro SD even greater read and write speeds. Installing your main games on the SSD allows them to load quicker, rather than loading from a slower Micro SD Card. As for less intensive multiplayer, indie, or side-scrolling games, installing them on a Micro SD card should be ideal.
With all this in mind, we will list the best Micro SD options on the market, giving you solid options, whether you or not you’re on a budget.
Best Micro SD Cards
The Sandisk 1TB is a worthy mention atop our best Steam Deck Micro SD cards list. Sandisk is one of the most recognizable brands in the market, with one of the largest storage capacities in the Micro SD market. SanDisk originally designed the 1TB Extreme for cameras shooting in 4K and 8K, allowing them to store large video files. It also has a fairly decent 160 MB/s read speed, making it stand out among its higher storage competitors. However, putting 1TB storage on a Micro SD is much more expensive than for an HDD or SSD, which is reflected in the price.
Why do we recommend this product? This is a great option if you want the convenience of having multiple games on the same Micro SD card and the reliability of the SanDisk brand. However, it does have a big price tag attached to it.
The only difference between this product and the one above is the file size. The 512GB shares the same storage capacity as the top-tier Steam Deck while being much more affordable. In fact, at the time of writing, buying two SanDisk Extreme 512GB Micro SD cards works out cheaper than buying its 1TB equivalent (for some reason). So if you want the same semi-decent read speeds for a Micro SD Card, along with a budget price, this is a much better option.
Lexar offers a good competitive choice for 256GB-capacity cards. The 256GB version sits in the same price range as Sandisk’s 256GB Extreme Micro SDXC, but its read speed is slightly better at 170MB/s (compared with SanDisk’s 160MB/s). If it seems like a no-brainer so far, then you’ll be further convinced by Lexar’s 120MB/s write speed, (compared to SanDisk’s 90MB/s write speed). This is an excellent option if you’re looking for a 256GB Micro SD card for your Steam Deck. However, the rule doesn’t apply to the 512GB versions, with Sandisk’s 512GB Extreme providing much better value than the Lexar Professional 512GB option with its extra $30 price tag.
With four very different options listed among our best Steam Deck Micro SD Cards, there are a number of 256GB and 512GB cards with 100 MB/s read and 70 MB/s write speeds. While they are not ideal, these cards tend to be more ideal for those on a budget. Steam recently admitted that all the games seen in the Steam Deck previews ran off the micro SD slot, so you can see that Hades, Control and Baldurs Gate 3 seem to run fine on a Micro SD card. If you prefer the cheaper options that get the job done, then go for one of the many options out there.
We hope you enjoyed us taking you through the best Micro SD cards in 2021. We’ll update this article and let you know if we find any more SD bargains for the first wave of Steam Decks that starts shipping (from December 2021 onwards).
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