Valve has uploaded an official teardown of its Steam Deck, two months before the portable gaming console is released.
The roughly five-minute video is a walkthrough on how to not only open up the Steam Deck but how to replace the thumbsticks and SSD included with the handheld. Despite being an official demo, Valve issues a warning at the beginning noting that, while they cannot stop you from doing so, it is strongly advising you not to open up the Steam Deck for any reason.
The main reason Valve is strongly advising you not to pry the Steam Deck open is due to the console’s battery — should you puncture the battery while opening it up, there’s a chance the battery may catch on fire. Noting that if you damage the battery, the Steam Deck’s warranty will not cover anything that you break.
Valve also notes that while the screws holding the Steam Deck can be removed, they have a high probability of being stripped, meaning the screw becomes so damaged that it becomes difficult to remove, even with a screwdriver. More importantly, if you remove the screws, Valve warns that opening the case will weaken the Steam Deck’s drop resistance with “no way to avoid” it once you open up the Steam Deck.
The teardown reveals that the SSD uses an M.2 2230 form-factor slot in every configuration of the Steam Deck, including the most affordable 64GB model which includes eMMC storage. The other two models use NVMe SSDs. Valve warns that swapping the SSD inside with another may consume too much energy, make the Steam Deck susceptible to overheating, and may negatively impact other key components such as the wireless module through electromagnetic interference.
The video also demonstrates how to remove the Steam Deck’s thumbsticks, with the narrator noting it is “easy to remove,” though replacing the part will be tricky. Like the other parts inside the Steam Deck, both the SSD and thumbsticks are custom to support the functionality of the Steam Deck.
Despite this, at about halfway into the video, Valve says it plans to share more information about come about replaceable (and also compatible) parts, including thumbsticks and SSDs “in the coming months.” So, if you are brave enough to open up your Steam Deck and modify it to your liking, you will be happy to know that Valve is providing a resource of compatible parts and where to purchase them.
The Steam Deck is slated to be released sometime in December, but due to high demand, most people may receive one as early as next year. For more information on the Steam Deck, check out our hands-on preview.
Taylor is the Associate Tech Editor at IGN. You can follow her on Twitter @TayNixster.