Steam Deck users have been surprised with an unexpected hardware downgrade. Valve's in-demand new PC handheld packs a lot of power, especially if you get one of the premium models. As you would expect, it comes with a decent SSD. With the PS5 putting so much emphasis on its custom SSD, and the Xbox Series X boasting a great SSD itself, more and more gamers are learning the importance of having a decent SSD, which the Steam Deck has, but newer models actually have a downgraded SSD compared to older models.
When the Steam Deck was released, both the 256GB and 512GB models came packing a PCI express 3.0 x4 SSD. That said, now models are shipping with the PCI express 3.0 x2 SSD, a noticeable downgrade. While this has been done, we don't know. Valve hasn't said a peep about the downgrade, but the changes have been confirmed via the Wayback Machine and the official Steam Deck website. The website shows the SSD specifications were changed in May, which means that models that have been produced since then likely come with this downgrade.
"Some 256GB and 512GB models ship with a PCIe Gen 3 x2 SSD. In our testing, we did not see any impact to gaming performance between x2 and x4," reads the website.
For now, there's some missing information, like what impact these have on models, whether this is going to be the norm going forward, and why Valve made this change. The answer to the latter most likely involves production costs, but this hasn't been confirmed one way or another.
Related Forum: PC Gaming Forum