Valve shows you how to mod a Steam Deck — and why you shouldn’t

It’s not every day that a company posts a video tutorial on how to alter its hardware. Valve published on Wednesday a YouTube teardown video of its Steam Deck. This video was a complete guide on how to modify your Steam Deck hardware after its launch in December. It also gave Valve the opportunity to send this PSA: Don’t modify the console, because you’ll likely ruin it.

The video shows a Valve representative giving detailed instructions on how to replace the thumbsticks as well as the solid-state drive. The footage helps clarify what will and won’t be possible with the console once it launches at the end of the year. Because Valve’s new hand-held system resembles a gaming PC in some ways, some customers had wondered about its specs and if they could actively swap components out.

According to this video, that’s not recommended. As the narrator put it: “In one way, this is a how-to-video. In another way, it’s a ‘why you really shouldn’t do this’ video.”

Valve doesn’t recommend users open up their Steam Decks because the handheld isn’t designed for the parts to be switched out. According to the video, opening the case could cause serious damage — in some cases, you could be setting the console up to catch fire later. The video says, somewhat bluntly, that folks should leave this work to professionals unless someone is ready to take “big risks” with their property — and their “life,” in the case of damaging the battery.

The video shows how to replace your SSD and thumbsticks. However, the video also lists all possible problems that might occur. Structural integrity could be compromised, static electricity can fry parts, and a store-bought SSD may cause damage to other parts.

Customers might be interested in purchasing an SSD. Only 64GB is available on the Steam Deck at a price of $399. That caused a lot of concern, because some of the games shown in the console’s promotional video, like Control42 GB is the maximum size. Swapping the SSD, while technically possible, won’t be a simple process. Valve recommends using the microSD slot in the video to increase storage.

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