What kind of Steam Deck should you get?

One size doesn't fit all.

Screengrab via Valve

With the exciting news of Valve’s handheld Steam Deck console, prospective buyers are itching to get their hands on the hardware, which ships out this December. Along with the announcement came news that the Steam Deck will come in three different versions, each being a direct upgrade to the last. Here are the different versions, their complementary items, and differences in design and hardware.

64GB Steam Deck

Screengrab via Valve

The first and cheapest version starts at $399. It comes with the standard carrying case and 64GB of embedded MultiMediaCard storage (eMMC). While there isn’t anything inherently wrong with having a minimalist mindset for handheld gaming, some people might find 64GB too small a storage size to make the most of this console.

Additionally, eMMC storage solutions function as slow, cheap pieces of hardware to keep costs down at the expense of storage size and speed. Of course, being more affordable is exactly what this version of Steam Deck is made for, but it’s still worth taking into consideration.

All three versions of the Steam Deck allow you to upgrade your storage with a MicroSD slot and feature the same CPU, GPU, and RAM, meaning performance won’t be any different between Steam Deck versions beyond storage.

256GB Steam Deck

Screengrab via Valve

The second version of the Steam Deck runs for $529. It ships with the standard carrying case, a bonus Steam community profile bundle, and larger, faster storage.

The storage solution in this version is a 256GB Solid State Drive (SSD) using NVMe architecture. The larger size translates to more room for games, but the difference in write speeds between eMMC storage and SSD storage is decidedly monstrous, with SSD storage often reaching up to 10 times the write speeds of its eMMC counterpart.

This difference in storage capacity will have a huge effect not just on the number of games the Steam Deck will be able to store out of the box but the speed at which it can access them.

512GB Steam Deck

Screengrab via Valve

The third and most expensive version of the Steam Deck retails for $649. This version comes with an exclusive carrying case, Steam community profile bundle, anti-glare etched glass, an exclusive virtual keyboard theme, and a 512GB NVMe SSD with the fastest storage out of the three versions.

The extra storage space and speed are nice, but of course, the MicroSD slot can achieve that on the other versions. The real treat this version offers is the anti-glare glass and other exclusive goodies.

The Steam Deck ships in December and will be available for pre-order starting July 16th, 12pm CT on the Steam website. For the first 48 hours, only Steam accounts that have made a steam purchase prior to June 2021 will be eligible for the pre-order. This extra security measure aims to make scalping less intrusive.