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The best Micro SD cards for Steam Deck 2023

High-capacity, high value memory cards for US and UK.

Gaming on Steam Deck continues to improve as Valve polish SteamOS, developers implement game fixes and new titles are released. However, having so many good games available means that the storage space on your Deck may be filled up rather rapidly - and as such, grabbing a cheap and capacious Micro SD card to expand your storage makes a lot of sense. This is especially true given the wizardry that Valve has performed to keep game load times as fast on Micro SD as it is on the internal storage.

With that in mind, here are the best Micro SD cards for the Steam Deck, from 128GB all the way to 1TB in size. To make these judgements, we're relying on our own testing plus careful examination of each card's specs and price. We settled on recommending only A2-rated cards or better, as these denote a minimum level of random read performance, key to reducing game load times. For reference, A1 requires a minimum random read of 1.5K IOPS, while A2 requires more than double: 4K IOPS. Finally, we've listed the maximum sequential read speed for each card, another indicator of performance.

Best Steam Deck Micro SD cards UK

In the UK you’ll find that 512GB cards are the best value in comparison to everything else on the market, but 128GB, 256GB and 1TB options also make sense - and the larger cards are getting cheaper as 2023 wears on.

Buy from Amazon UK Rating, Max Read Speed Price Value
Best Value 128GB Steam Deck Micro SD Card 128GB Samsung Evo Plus A2, 130MB/s £11.99 9p/GB
Best Value 256GB Steam Deck Micro SD Card 256GB Samsung Evo Select A2, 130MB/s £22.99 9p/GB
Best Value 512GB Steam Deck Micro SD Card 512GB Amazon Basics A2, 100MB/s £42.99 8p/GB
Best Value 1TB Steam Deck Micro SD Card 1TB Integral Ultima Pro A2, 180MB/s £119.99 12p/GB

Best Steam Deck Micro SD cards USA

American retailers have a wider range of Micro SD cards than the UK equivalents, so our recommendations here are slightly different. While some choices like the 1TB SanDisk Extreme card is always a safe pick, we've also selected some Samsnug cards that hit the right price/performance notes. 256GB and 512GB are the current sweet spots, with better value than 128GB or 1TB cards, but all four capacities are viable at present.

Buy from Amazon US Rating, Max Read Speed Price Value
Best Value 128GB Steam Deck Micro SD Card 128GB Samsung Pro Plus A2, 160MB/s $15.99 12¢/GB
Best Value 256GB Steam Deck Micro SD Card 256GB Samsung Evo Select A2, 130MB/s $22.99 9¢/GB
Best Value 512GB Steam Deck Micro SD Card 512GB Samsung Evo Select A2, 130MB/s $44.99 9¢/GB
Best Value 1TB Steam Deck Micro SD Card 1TB SanDisk Extreme A2, 190MB/s $128.00 13¢/GB

More Steam Deck essential accessories

the ivoler steam deck dock

Besides an SD card and a case (which Valve helpfully provide), what's the most essential accessory for the Steam Deck? If you want to use the Deck more like a desktop computer, then a dock is ideal - it converts the single USB-C port into multiple USB ports for connecting peripherals like a mouse, keyboard and monitor, while also providing USB-C passthrough to keep the Deck charged.

While Valve's official Deck Dock is now available at a pricy £79, I've been testing an alternative from iVoler that ticks all the right boxes for a lower price. It's $35/£37, significantly cheaper, and has largely the same features as the official version. There's HDMI 2.0 for a 4K 60Hz or 1440p120Hz output, 100W power delivery, ethernet and three USB-A ports. (The official Dock has the same ports plus a DisplayPort 1.4 connector.) The dock is made from metal, holds the Deck upright comfortably and has worked flawlessly in my testing - so it's well worth considering in my view.

How to move games to the SD card on Steam Deck

So once you’ve decided on a micro SD card for your Steam Deck, just how are you moving things around? It’s really easy, with only a couple of menus to navigate.

Hit the Steam button and bring up the sliding menu, then choose settings. From here scroll down the settings menu until you get to the storage option. In this menu, you can press the Y button to initiate moving software from your internal drive to Micro SD, or vice versa. You can even press X when highlighting the two storage options to set your preferred default install location.

When you eject the Micro SD card, your games installed to that card will disappear from Steam - and when you reinsert it, the games will reappear. This unlocks the door to having different cards with different games; you could easily load up one card with your favourite multiplayer titles, and the other with singleplayer games for example. Of course, going with a higher capacity card means no swapping and an overall simpler solution.

We're looking to run some performance tests on these cards in the near future, but our experience running game load tests on PC and Switch should hold us in good stead in the meantime.

Got any questions about Micro SD cards on Steam Deck that we haven't covered here? Do let us know in the comments below, or talk to @wsjudd on Twitter.

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Will Judd avatar

Will Judd

Deputy Editor, Digital Foundry

A bizarre British-American hybrid, Will turns caffeine into technology articles through a little-known process called 'writing'. His favourite games are Counter-Strike, StarCraft and Fallout 2. Will also tweets the latest tech deals at @DigitalFoundry.

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