If you’re like me, you didn’t have all the coin in the world when the Steam Deck was up for pre-order or purchase. As much as I wanted the bigger version, at least I was only sacrificing space in buying the lowest model in the 64gb. At least I could install a micro-SD card, right? Well, with gaming getting to the point where SSDs are required, and micro-SDs are just not cutting it with speeds. However, Western Digital has a fantastic option available to give you the bytes you need.
As soon as you open the box, you know you need to be careful. It’s the only thing in there, and it’s tiny; 1.18″ x 0.87″ x 0.09″ in dimension. Thankfully, it’s very well packaged, with a plastic seal over the top that hilariously reminds me of a TV dinner. The SN770M was nestled nicely in its molded plastic home; no rattling around the package. More good news, this SSD is designed to work with many portable devices, so if you want to upgrade your ROG Ally or a laptop, this is a good choice for versatility.
Then comes the most stressful moment of my life – opening up my Steam Deck. This is cheaper than buying one new, and it’s bigger than anything offered by Valve, but one mistake and I’m out $400. Our own Editor-In-Chief Ron Burke has done this before, and his explanation of the process is fantastic, so I’ll link it here. In any case, I played Alan Wake 2 for review this week and taking apart my Steam Deck was still the scariest thing I’ve done so far.
Once you’ve followed our steps to get inside the Steam Deck and remove the previous drive, it’s WD time. This is the easy part, and it was as simple as pressing the SN770M into the slot, then putting the screw into place. Boom, done. If you can get comfortable doing all of the work of opening up your devices, WD’s drives are a cinch to install.
After the stressful part was done and I put everything back together, it was time to see if the drive worked. Nothing would be more annoying than having to take everything apart again. In the BIOS, it showed the “WD-Black SN770M” was my main drive, with 2TB at my fingertips. The plug and play nature of the drive is one of my favorite parts, and while it’s something plenty of drives possess, I can only speak for WD’s being immediately accessible.
Following the lengthy recovery process for the Steam Deck OS, I was back in and ready to game. Part of the benefit of this new drive isn’t just space, of which there is a ton, but speed. WD advertises 5150MB/s of sequential read speed and 4850MB/s of write speed. While I don’t have the necessary tools to chart these things to the nth degree, the eye test shows this is a blazing fast M.2 drive.
Testing “Deliver Us The Moon” on my stock 64gb, the initial boot up lasted nearly three minutes. Most of your first boots tend to take a moment as Steam gets everything in place. The subsequent boot only took eighteen seconds, so a definite improvement. With WD’s SN770M installed, my initial boot was only thirty-nine seconds, with the follow up clocking in at only eleven seconds. Playing the game was a different story, as starting a new game only took seven seconds on both. All I can gather is that it’s either already pre-set from the boot, or starting a new game is just well optimized. Either way, the 2TB SN770M is a clear winner.
The second test I used involved transferring files. This was a bit of a tough test to run, partially because of the desktop OS, but also because the SN770M is so ridiculously fast. It was seriously moving files before I could get a reading. Once I finally moved a 3.8GB video file, I had the time necessary to check it, but even then it moved almost too quickly. Looking at my timer, all 3.8GB moved over in 2.83 seconds. These speeds are insane in general, but it’s awesome to have them portably on your Steam Deck.
Lastly, let’s talk about warranties. The WD_Black SN770M has a limited five year warranty. Honestly, I was stunned. Most electronics these days seem lucky to have more than 90 days, let alone five years. Obviously it’s limited, so there will be stipulations, but having that extra benefit in your back pocket can come in handy, especially since you’re using it with a device it’s specifically designed for.
David Burdette is a gamer/writer/content creator from TN and Lead Editor for Gaming Trend. He loves Playstation, Star Wars, Marvel, and many other fandoms. He also plays way too much Call Of Duty. You can chat with him on Twitter @SplitEnd89.
WD_Black SN770M NVMe SSD
I was worried about swapping out my Steam Deck SSD, but Western Digital made it an easy choice. With plug and play ability, lightning fast speeds, and a five year limited warranty, this is a great pick for those looking to upgrade their Steam Deck or portable device.