Valve’s Steam Deck has been a success so far, its (relatively) modest specs not really an issue when weighed against the size of the screen and the fact you can play it on the bus. But because it’s essentially a small PC, the temptation is always there to improve it.
Which is exactly what Linus Tech Tips has done in its latest video, taking Valve’s humble handheld and juicing it in some key areas. While the site doesn’t change the Steam Deck’s CPU or GPU, it makes some key additions and replacements elsewhere in an attempt to improve the device’s performance.
That includes removing the Steam Deck’s potentiometer-based joysticks, and replacing them with some electromagnetic ones. These have a number of advantages, including better durability (they won’t drift) and a smaller “deadzone.”
Also improved is the handheld’s storage, with an experimental 2TB SSD unit slotting neatly into the device, in a way that circumvents all of the hassle—hassle that Valve has warned explicitly against—when installing larger, more heat-intensive solutions. This gives this particular Steam Deck 3TB of storage, a ridiculous amount for such a small computer.
There’s also an extra fan helping an enormous heatsink (that protrudes straight out the back of the unit), a tempered glass screen protector, and an external battery upgrade that is not the most elegant way of prolonging the Steam Deck’s screen time, but is incredibly satisfying since it attaches to the back of the handheld via magnets.
The end result is a device that looks less like a gaming handheld and more like something a 90s sci-fi movie would have actors use to hack a locked door. But as you can see in the video below, the results—focused mostly as they are on durability, longevity and quietness—at the end speak for themselves.