5 Greatest MicroSD Card for Steam Deck 2023

Storage wants are going up because the variety of video games, emulators and different makes use of for the Steam Deck emerge. In case you’ve chosen one of many smaller tiers of storage in your Steam Deck, even in the event you selected the 512 GB mannequin, microSD expandable storage will help your Steam Deck simply carry far more video games, and even set up a second OS for twin boot.

What the MicroSD naming conventions imply

The Steam Deck is kind of a bit extra succesful than different handhelds you may be accustomed to just like the Swap, its expandable storage has a bit extra pace to be squeezed out. Right here’s what all these indicators on the SD playing cards imply.

A1, A2, A3

The A# pace scores confer with Software efficiency courses. The courses are decided by how minimally quick a card can get for enter and output operations (IOPS). The IOPS pace determines how briskly SD playing cards can randomly learn and write knowledge.

A1 microSD playing cards must have a minimal 1500 IOPS learn and 500 IOPS write to categorise as A1.

A2 micoSD playing cards must have a minimal of 4000 IOPS learn and 2000 IOPS write to categorise as A2.

For many Steam Deck purposes an A1 card will just do superb. Emulated video games are sufficiently small that the majority video games can simply be loaded into reminiscence as soon as with no efficiency downside. Bigger video games are normally saved sequentially, so there’s no a lot random studying and writing happening.

I might undoubtedly look into A2 in the event you plan on putting in Home windows on the microSD card, the A2 IOPS will likely be observed in that circumstance.


UHS is one other set of classification, that’s unbiased from the A classification. UHS stands for Extremely Excessive-Velocity. To be certified as UHS-I, the SD card should be capable to assist a switch pace of 104 Mb/s, UHS-II playing cards should be capable to do 312 Mb/s and UHS-III must do 624 Mb/s.

For our Steam Deck functions, the Steam Deck helps UHS-I speeds solely, so a quicker card can be wasted on the Steam Deck.

U1 vs U3

U classification refers to put in writing pace, U1 playing cards can write as much as 10 MB/s whereas U3 playing cards can write as much as 30 MB/s.

This classification is essential for Steam Deck when putting in video games however has no affect on loading or enjoying video games.

V30, V60, V90

I can’t think about how the V scores would matter for Steam Deck. The V score courses are designed for video, V30 should assist a minimal sequential write pace of 30MB/s, V60 for 60MB/s and so forth.

These write speeds are essential for cameras capturing 4K/8K video however not a lot for our handheld gaming wants.

microSDXC vs microSDHC

XC stands for xtreme capability, critically. XC simply signifies that the SD card is able to storing as much as 2TB, whereas older SDHC solely go as much as 32GB.

The Steam Deck helps SD, SDXC and SDHC, you don’t actually have to fret about this. I might recommend going for as a lot storage as you’ll be able to afford although.

5 Greatest MicroSD Card for Steam Deck 2023

Listed here are the perfect microSD playing cards for the Steam Deck.

1. Sandisk Excessive microSD

Specs: A2 class, UHS-I, U3 class, as much as 190MB/s, 32GB to 1 TB choices.

The Sandisk Excessive is a step up from the Sandisk Extremely and is nice for these Steam Deck customers who simply don’t need to wait round for video games to put in and have quick sufficient web to push the tempo.

The Excessive is roughly 20%-30% costlier than the Extremely, it’s a quicker card for writing knowledge, right here’s what it does higher than the Extremely:

  • 2x to 3x quicker putting in video games to microSD
  • Extra responsive learn/write occasions for an OS set up on microSD

Loading and enjoying video games will carry out precisely the identical after the set up.

In case you plan on doing a whole lot of installs or file motion, then the Excessive is value it, it’s a dependable and quick card that maxes out the Steam Deck’s card reader capabiilties.

There’s one other degree past Excessive known as Excessive Plus that’s overkill, Steam Deck simply can not reap the benefits of the additional pace because of reader limitations.

2. Sandisk Extremely microSD

Specs: A1 class, UHS-I, U1 class, as much as 150MB/s, 64GB to 1 TB choices.

The Sandisk Extremely microSDXC line is within the good candy spot for the Steam Deck. The Sandisk Extremely line can add as much as 1TB of expandable storage to your Steam Deck.

This A1 class card will carry out at most speeds on the Steam Deck for enjoying video games.

The one occasion the place this card can be slower can be throughout set up you probably have very quick web. An A2 card would set up a sport quicker than an A1 card, one thing to the tune of 2x to 3x quicker.

After set up although, the Sandisk Extremely will load and run video games as quick as every other card.

Sandisk backs their playing cards with a lifetime guarantee and has proven to be one of many extra dependable manufacturers in SD playing cards.

So until you’ve got an excellent quick web pace and plan on putting in a whole lot of video games to microSD, or in the event you plan on twin booting Home windows to microSD, the Extremely is definitely the perfect bang for buck.

3. Samsung EVO Choose microSD

Specs: A2 class, UHS-I, U3 class, as much as 130MB/s, 64GB to 512GB choices

The Samsung EVO Choose has comparable efficiency to the Sandisk Excessive at a barely cheaper price. The one commerce off is the model identify reliability. I’d fee Sandisk as a extra reliable model than Samsung for sd playing cards.

The opposite limitation is that the EVO Choose doesn’t have a 1TB choice.

Nonetheless, this can be a nice choice in the event you don’t need to skimp on efficiency however need to save a buck in change for much less of a sturdiness assure.

4. PNY Professional Elite

Specs: A2 class, UHS-I, U3 class, as much as 150MB/s, 32GB to 1TB choices

The PNY Professional Elite is an efficient different choice to the Sandisk Excessive. Its speeds max out the Steam Deck’s functionality and PNY has a great status brand-wise, simply not as rock stable as Sandisk’s.

Get this card if you need a quick 1 TB and the Sandisk Excessive is just too costly or out of inventory.

5. Lexar Play

Specs: A2 class, UHS-I, U3 class, as much as 150MB/s, 32GB to 1TB choices

This suggestion is simply legitimate in the event you can’t discover a Sandisk Excessive or PNY Professional Elite.

In case you’re seeking to save a buck from the 1TB Sandisk Excessive, the Lexar play is an efficient choice for the reason that Samsung Evo Choose doesn’t are available 1TB codecs.

This SD card ought to max out what the Steam Deck is able to with U3 write pace and A2 class IOPS.

Lexar doesn’t have the perfect status nevertheless, if you need that piece of thoughts, I might advocate going with the highest choose.

Easy methods to set up and format an SD card on Steam Deck

Putting in and formatting an SD card is simple.

Insert the microSD into the underside of your Steam Deck, the SD card solely goes in a method and makes use of a spring push to lock mechanism.

As soon as the microSD card is inserted, merely head over to Steam Deck settings > System and discover “Format SD Card”. Once you press this, it would wipe out no matter is on the microSD card and format the cardboard to ext4 format, a Linux filesystem format.

The microSD card will now be out there to put in video games on, in addition to in desktop mode.

Take pleasure in!

Studying a Steam Deck formatted SD card on Home windows or Mac

As a result of ext4 is a Linux filesystem, the SD card is not going to be natively readable on Home windows or Mac pc methods.

You need to use one thing like Ext2Read to view and replica Ext4 folders. There are different softwares that enable home windows to learn Ext4, however there are stories that it causes the sd card to turn into unwriteable by the Steam Deck, which you’ll then must format the cardboard once more.

Warpinator is a well-liked manner for Steam Deck customers to switch recordsdata to Steam Deck wirelessly. It requires you to put in Warpinator on each the Steam Deck and your different pc, then you’ll be able to ship recordsdata backwards and forwards no drawback.

Easy methods to transfer video games to the SD card on Steam Deck

So when you’ve selected a micro SD card in your Steam Deck, simply how are you shifting issues round? It’s very easy, with solely a few menus to navigate.

Hit the Steam button and convey up the sliding menu, then select settings. From right here scroll down the settings menu till you get to the storage choice. On this menu, you’ll be able to press the Y button to provoke shifting software program out of your inner drive to Micro SD, or vice versa. You may even press X when highlighting the 2 storage choices to set your most well-liked default set up location.

Once you eject the Micro SD card, your video games put in to that card will disappear from Steam – and while you reinsert it, the video games will reappear. This unlocks the door to having totally different playing cards with totally different video games; you would simply load up one card along with your favorite multiplayer titles, and the opposite with singleplayer video games for instance. After all, going with the next capability card means no swapping and an total easier resolution.

We’re seeking to run some efficiency exams on these playing cards within the close to future, however our expertise working sport load exams on PC and Swap ought to maintain us in good stead within the meantime.

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