In a new teardown video demonstrating how (or rather, how not) to replace Steam Deck parts, Valve said that tampering with the handheld PC’s chassis to get a look inside “might mess things up, like, profoundly.” How profoundly you ask? The gaming giant said the batteries could explode, which might kill you.
That’s just one of a handful of outcomes Valve suggested during the approximately five-minute-long video. An unnamed technician walked through how to take apart and swap out the Deck’s components, like the thumbsticks and SSDs and in between sharing which screws to take out, insists that if you get one of these devices, you really shouldn’t tamper with the casing.
In fact, the technician called the how-to tutorial a, “Why you really shouldn’t do this,” video instead.
There are several reasons why Valve is urging you to not mess with the Steam Deck. Aside from potential death due to battery explosion, opening the device weakens its structural integrity, which makes it less drop resistant and more prone to breakage. Exposing the wires could also lead to contact with static electricity, bricking your handheld PC forever. Even replacing the SSD with an “off-the-shelf” one could cause problems with things like power consumption. And then there’s the usual caveat that accompanies most technology: The standard-issued warranty doesn’t cover any damage you might do.
Of course, it’s also worth noting that the Steam Deck’s prices go up pretty dramatically with the larger SSDs, so they may perhaps have some other motivation for you to keep all the screws in place.
“The Steam Deck is a very tightly designed system, and the parts are chosen carefully for this product with its specific construction so they aren’t really designed to be user-swappable,” the technician said. “Opening up and replacing parts might mess things up, like, profoundly.”
So what’s the takeaway? Don’t fuck with the Steam Deck. Of course, if it’s in your hands, it’s yours, you can do whatever you want with it. But a lot of technical know-how is required to ensure your Steam Deck doesn’t become a Steam Rock, doomed to just sit on a shelf, never to be played with again.