Sabrent’s new line of Rocket NVMe 2230 SSDs has just hit the market, and many Steam Deck users wonder if upgrading the SSD in their handheld will make a noticeable difference. We put each of Sabrent’s Rocket NVMe 2230 SSDs up against the Steam Deck’s internal NVMe drive to see if it’s worth the upgrade.
The Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD transforms Steam Deck storage and portable experience. Gabe Newell approved this 256 GB, 512GB, and 1TB tiny NVMe SSDs to suit the Steam Deck’s 2230 form size. These Gen 4×4 drives cost $50, $90, and $170, yet they outperform 2280 drives for their size.
Sabrent’s Rocket NVMe 2230 SSDs outperform the Steam Deck’s NVMe drive. With some Steam Decks, Valve has degraded the inbuilt SSD. This comparison uses a Phison-controlled Gen 3×4 512GB SSD (ESMP512GKB4C3-E13TS) with 96-Layer TLC Flash memory. Despite the limited competition for compact, high-speed drives, Sabrent’s Rocket 2230 NVMe SSDs are the best Steam Deck upgrade.
- Performance in the real world beats the Deck
- Less power doesn’t drain a battery.
- Not the same at 1TB
- higher power draw
Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD Specs
The 256GB is rated to read at 4,640MB/s and write at 1,900MB/s. The 512GB, conversely, is more likely to read at 5,000MB/s and write at 3,700MB/s. The 1TB slows down a little, with read speeds of 4,750MB/s and write speeds of 4,300MB/s. And since each has 177 layers of 3D NAND flash technology, we should see real improvements over the Steam Deck’s internal SSD, no matter how many lanes RNGabe decides to give your Steam Deck. Another question is whether that will work in the real world and whether or not it could kill the Deck’s battery.
|Capacity||Form Factor||Interface||Read Speed||Write Speed||Random IOPS||DRAM Cache||Price|
|215GB||M.2 2230||PCIe 4.0 x4||4,640 MB/s||1,900 MB/s||800K||None||$50|
|512GB||M.2 2230||PCIe 4.0 x4||5,000 MB/s||3,700 MB/s||800K||None||$90|
|1TB||M.2 2230||PCIe 4.0 x4||4,750 MB/s||4,300 MB/s||800K||None||$170|
The original Phison SSD in my Deck is slow, with read and write speeds of 2,292MB/s and 1,176MB/s, respectively. Random 4K reads are 54MB/s, and random 4K writes are 235MB/s. Users of Steam Deck should look at the random performance because it mimics how the drive will be used in the real world, which is intermittent.
We put the Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD up against the Steam Deck’s internal NVMe drive, which has a Phison controller and 96-Layer TLC Flash memory. The original SSD in the Steam Deck could read at 2,292 MB/s and write at 1,176 MB/s, and it could read random 4K blocks at 54 MB/s and write them at 235 MB/s.
We found that the 512GB Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD used an average of 2W of power, which was a big step up from the original SSD in the Steam Deck. Read and write speeds were nearly 3,566 MB/s and 2,853 MB/s, respectively. Random read and write speeds were 78 MB/s and 252 MB/s, respectively. This made it so that transferring a 7GB file took only 14 seconds instead of 36.
The 256GB Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD did not improve the Steam Deck’s load times, but it did improve the power it used. The 1TB Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD used much more power, but its performance was all over the place. Some load times were cut in half, while others were made longer.
Although it doesn’t outperform its larger capacity sister, the Deck’s SSD, it does use less power. That nobody plans to lessen their influence…
I noticed that the 1TB used much more energy, but it performed similarly to the 512GB in file transfers and load times, but with somewhat less consistency. It took longer for certain games to load than with the Deck’s original SSD, while others took much longer. To say the least, its stability is lacking.
Although reading remains at 3,566MB/s, writing has significantly increased to 3,046MB/s. Random scores are still quite close to one another. Hence, the reading speed is impressive on paper but disappointing in practice.
The option is to spend $170 on a 1TB disk, which will make a dent in your budget and may reduce your battery life depending on how you use it.
Similarly, switching from a 256GB Deck to a 512GB disk would only save you $30, so even while you’ll notice speed benefits, it’s not quite as easy to suggest.
Therefore, individuals carrying the smallest Steam Deck should immediately upgrade to the 512GB Sabrent disk. Especially given that purchasing both together would save you $160 compared to purchasing a 512GB Deck. If you want to save $30 without sacrificing performance, the 256GB model is an excellent option. If you’re willing to give up some capacity, the 64GB Deck’s eMMC SSD will be easily blown away.
- What is the Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD?
Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD is a high-speed storage solution for handheld devices like the Steam Deck. It comes in 215GB, 512GB, and 1TB capacities and uses a PCIe 4.0 x4 interface.
- Is the Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD a good upgrade for the Steam Deck?
The Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD offers improved performance over the Steam Deck’s original SSD, but the performance benefits depend on the capacity and the trade-off between price and performance.
- What is the power draw of the Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD?
The power draw of the Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD varies by capacity. The 512GB capacity has an average power draw of 2W, while the 1TB capacity has a higher power draw.
- Is the Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD consistent in performance?
The performance of the Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD is consistent for the 512GB and 256GB capacities, but the 1TB capacity is inconsistent.
If you use Steam Deck and want better performance, consider upgrading to a Sabrent Rocket 2230 NVMe SSD. The 512GB and 256GB sizes are the most cost-effective, but the 1TB size is unreliable and uses more energy. Before committing, you should weigh the upgrade’s benefits against its cost.