Having a portable gaming PC means you are bound to install countless games on it, and storage space will definitely be an issue down the road. While tech-savvy users can take the Steam Deck apart and install a new internal SSD, Valve offers an easily accessible microSD card slot for an average consumer. So, no matter what variant of the Steam Deck you own, check out the best SD cards to expand storage space on your handheld.
For those unaware, it’s pretty simple to expand the Steam Deck storage with a microSD card. You just pop open the slot at the bottom and insert the SD card, which should meet a simple requirement. Make sure you buy a microSD card that supports the UHS-1 standard, which every card on its list does. We have also included the prices for the lowest and highest storage options for each SD card. So, let’s not waste any more time and look at the 6 microSD cards you can purchase for your Steam Deck.
Best SD Cards for Steam Deck (2023)
1. SanDisk Ultra
The first microSD card on our list is from SanDisk and is widely popular among consumer electronic users. SanDisk Ultra is an affordable SD card made by the popular sub-brand of Western Digital. SanDisk Ultra has slower speeds in comparison to other memory cards on this list because of its U1 class. However, that does not change the fact that this SD card can practically run and load any game effortlessly. It’s because of the UHS-1 card slot available in Steam Deck.
As for transfer speeds, the SanDisk Ultra MicroSD card can do up to 120 MB/s without any issues. This is perfect for people that have the 64GB Steam Deck model and require a cheap card to store games. SanDisk Ultra comes in a variety of storage sizes, from as low as 64GB up to 512GB.
2. Samsung EVO Select
Samsung is a leading name when it comes to consumer electronics and mobile phones. But, they are also known to make storage solutions for electronics, and the Samsung EVO Select SD card is one such product. One of the most popular microSD cards for Steam Deck you can buy, Samsung EVO Select provides top-notch read speeds of up to 130 MB/s; sufficient for Steam Deck’s UHS-1 card slot. Furthermore, it comes in various capacities, with options up to 512GB.
Furthermore, Samsung’s microSD card is water, dust, x-ray, and magnet proof, making it really durable. The EVO Select is ideal for those who want an affordable SD card and the reliability of Samsung. You also need a microSD card to install Windows on Steam Deck. Read all the details via the linked article.
3. SanDisk Extreme microSD Card
The SanDisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card is another offering from SanDisk on this list, and it’s even better than the Ultra. This card is on the higher side in terms of read and write speeds and even offers a whopping 1TB microSD card for Steam Deck. SanDisk Extreme offers up to 160 MB/s read speeds and up to 80 MB/s write speeds, which will serve you perfectly when running games on Steam Deck. Even I use a 512GB SanDisk Extreme card and can attest to the fact that it delivers good game loading times.
The only downside of this SD card is its price. However, if you don’t wish to make any compromises and want ample storage, you should choose the SanDisk Extreme microSDXC card without any second thoughts.
4. Lexar Professional 1066x
Lexar might not be one of the widely known brands on this list, but they’re one of the leading manufacturers when it comes to memory card products. The Lexar Professional 1066x microSD card supports outstanding read speeds of up to 160MB/s and write speeds of up to 120MB/s (70 MB/s write speeds for the 64GB storage model). These speeds ensure that users can play their favorite Steam Deck games anytime they want, without any issue.
As for the offerings, Lexar sells 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB capacity of memory cards. If you want a memory card that has good read and writes speeds, we recommend you buy the Lexar SD card.
5. Kingston Canvas Go Plus
Most of you might have heard the name Kingston before. After all, they are the company responsible for popularizing the pen drives in the market, alongside SanDisk. While the company has not been that big when it comes to microSD card options, it did launch quite a handful of them. One such option is the Canvas Go Plus microSDXC card. One of the few cards on this list that are optimized for game storage, the Kingston Canvas Go Pro comes with transfer speeds up to 170MB/s, the highest on our best Steam Deck SD cards list.
Apart from that, this memory card is durable, and the company claims that it is waterproof, temperature-proof, shock and vibration proof, and X-ray proof. Furthermore, it comes with an SD card adapter, so users can use this for multiple systems. Currently, Kingston offers the card in 64GB, 128GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage sizes.
6. Samsung Pro Plus microSD Card
We have another offering from Samsung to wrap up our list of the best microSD cards for Steam Deck in 2023. The EVO Pro Plus is one of Samsung’s premium microSD cards, which is optimized for game storage and for storing bigger files. This makes it a great option for Steam Deck, with storage sizes starting at 128 GB and going up to 512 GB.
Outside of that, the card has proper protection from dust, water, x-ray, and magnets. As for its speeds, Samsung EVO Pro Plus can deliver read speeds up to 150 Mb/s, and write speeds up to 120 MB/s. If you want a card with top-of-the-line read and write speeds and reliability, this is an excellent option.
What Does MicroSD Card Classification Mean?
While researching for or buying an SD card, you might have noticed that most of these cards have some sort of markings on them. Most of them say that the cards are A2 variants, belonging to U1. What do these words and numbers mean?
Well, these are classes that determine the performance of a microSD card and are mostly done for camera usage. Since microSD cards are built primarily as photo/ video storage, these ratings help a user to understand its performance. For example — the symbol U with a number alongside it determines the minimum sustained performance of a card. For example, for 4K recording, a memory card needs to be U3 class, since U3 cards have a minimum sustained performance of 30 MB/s.
Similarly, A1 and A2 determine the app performance of the card. A1 cards have a minimum random read of 1500 IOPS and a random write of 500 IOPS. Similarly, A2 cards have a minimum random read of 4000 IOPS and a random write of 2000IOPS. Naturally, based on Steam Deck’s loading performance, the best sweet spot for a microSD card is one which has the A2 U3 rating. However, a mix of either of those options can also provide satisfactory performance.
So, which of the microSD card options in the list above look favorable to you? Did we miss out on any good Steam Deck microSD cards? Do let us know in the comments below.