The Steam Deck 2 ought to be modular

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The mighty Steam Deck has modified the gaming PC panorama, however regardless of its success it additionally looks like a missed alternative. Don’t get me incorrect, I like the transportable powerhouse, and I’ve received no actual qualms with its general design. But with the ability to rework the hand held’s {hardware} inside and outside on a whim can be a real recreation changer, and Valve may dominate this market indefinitely by making its subsequent handheld modular.

The thought of a modular Steam Deck 2 may sound absurd, however the idea is way from new. Whereas the perfect gaming laptop computer candidates immediately aren’t notably serviceable, iconic machines just like the IBM Thinkpad as soon as featured a automotive bonnet method with element blocks stowed away inside. No screws, no messing round with fragile innards, only a easy swap that’s akin to enjoying with Lego.

It’s value noting that modularity didn’t die with IBM’s progressive ’90s tech, because the likes of Framework’s 13-inch notebooks assist to maintain the dream alive. Nonetheless, handheld gaming PCs are a distinct beast, and I’d like to see Valve take issues a step additional by making a Steam Deck that’s unapologetically modular.

In the event you’re each a tinkerer and a Steam Deck proprietor, likelihood is you’ve already cracked the hand held. As you’d most likely count on, its innards are a compact sandwich of rigorously positioned components, and Valve says it’s best to suppose twice earlier than poking round inside. That is good recommendation, as one incorrect slip might ship it to the massive gaming desk within the sky, nevertheless it virtually looks like the corporate needs to allow you to fiddle contained in the Deck, however can’t.

Making the subsequent Steam Deck’s insides extra approachable would assist it really feel like a standard rig, nevertheless it wouldn’t remove related dangers. Somewhat than catering to only savvy fanatics, choosing hot-swappable components may entice novice gamers to become involved and facilitate customisation tenfold. Valve doesn’t even should reinvent the wheel to do that, as loads of merchandise already dabble with the concept of modularity.

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Steam Deck with glowing Seagate SSD for Xbox

Modular SSD

Changing the Steam Deck’s storage with the perfect SSD for gaming isn’t diabolically troublesome, however I get why some customers could also be hesitant to attempt. Once more, Valve advises towards enjoying round with the hand held’s components, and also you’ll must manually take off the present drive’s protect to guard the Deck (yuck). So, to remove that nonsense, I reckon Valve ought to take a leaf out of Microsoft’s ebook and use one thing just like the Xbox Storage Enlargement Card.

Now, I do know what you’re considering, and I agree that Microsoft’s Xbox drives are unreasonably priced. But, if Valve comes up with one thing that prices much less, it’d present the hand held with an expandable storage methodology that’d substitute the perfect Steam Deck SD card choices, particularly if it implements an exterior case slot.

Alternatively, the Steam Deck 2 may instantly comply with within the footsteps of Framework and go for generously spaced inner modules. For this to work, you’d most likely nonetheless must carry out a much less intimidating technical post-mortem, however a minimum of you’ll be greeted with crystal-clear labeling, easy connectors, and a much less cramped surroundings to work with.

Inside modular Framework laptop with labelled parts
Picture supply: Framework

Modular battery

Prefer it or not, the Steam Deck’s battery received’t final endlessly, and it’ll run out of steam in some unspecified time in the future. You may technically substitute it, however iFixit charges the job as ‘troublesome’ (it’s simple to see why when you think about the steps concerned). Sadly, this reality will doubtless ship many Decks to an early grave, with some customers forking out for a brand new handheld relatively than risking restore.

I’m no Valve engineer, however I’d like to see a detachable Steam Deck battery that pays homage to Sony’s PSP. To swap out the bats on that retro dangerous boy, all you must do is take away a singular screw and elevate it out. Not solely would this make changing useless cells a breeze, nevertheless it’d let gamers simply add a better capability unit, which can enchantment to anybody who continually runs out of juice.

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Modular APU, RAM, and mainboard

In a means, the Steam Deck’s low specs are a part of the enchantment, however they’re nonetheless an element that’ll hamper the hand held’s longevity. Making an attempt to spice up fps on the transportable’s AMD APU will solely get tougher as time goes by, and releasing a successor with a greater chip perpetuates the cycle.

With that in thoughts, what for those who may simply stick new guts in your handheld, relatively than shopping for a completely new machine? In concept, it’d remove the necessity for a Steam Deck 3 and allow Valve to constantly sustain with opponents like Onexplayer and Ayaneo. That mentioned, I’d nonetheless desire to see a full system module, relatively than separate APU and RAM elements, because it’d save gamers having to match up acceptable specs.Ifixit tutorial image of hand removing Steam Deck screen
Picture supply: Ifixit

Modular display

Want the Steam Deck had an OLED display? Effectively, not everybody shares that opinion, because it’d doubtless drive up the transportable’s value. As soon as once more, the answer to this specific conundrum is to make the show modular, because it’d add a component of visible versatility that’s often locked into place.

I’m not saying that Valve ought to essentially promote a number of screens with out function, as even the subsequent Deck most likely received’t be capable to drive a 4K display. As an alternative, I’d like to see the choice to really stick to a lower-resolution display and probably slash the worth of the Steam Deck 2.

It’s arduous to counsel this with a straight face as there isn’t actually a precedent for it, however a Steam Deck with no display in any respect may even make sense. In any case, pairing the transportable with the perfect Steam Deck dock converts it into an inexpensive desktop rig, so you might simply ditch its built-in display altogether and use a module to clean out the hole. Sounds ridiculous? Possibly, however the thought might enchantment to thrifty avid gamers on a funds.

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In fact, modular screens are an enormous boon for repairability, they usually’d ease the blow of any unlucky mishaps. Certain, paying for a brand new display will doubtless nonetheless upset your pockets, however a minimum of you received’t should ship it away to a restore store.Steam Deck with controller sticks and buttons lying on white surface

Modular buttons and sticks

Weirdly, the prospect of modular Steam Deck sticks and buttons excites me greater than every part talked about above, to not point out it’s most likely probably the most sensible factor to implement. Altering the Deck’s format may sound like a primary change, however as somebody that’s simply delay by the texture of a handheld, it issues above all else.

In case your present setup consists of the perfect PC controller, you’re maybe acquainted with modular gamepads already. Equipment just like the Thrustmaster Eswap Professional boast magnetic button modules, sticks, and set off grips, and you’ll even swap the location of every.

By adopting comparable tech, the Steam Deck 2 may entice extra handheld lovers to the fold, particularly those who aren’t into the unique’s symmetrical stick format. It’d additionally give you a possibility to switch Valve’s touchpads with one thing else fully. If it was as much as me, I’d launch a Playdate-inspired crank, however for this reason I’m not Gabe Newell.

Finally, a modular Steam Deck 2 would assist improve the hand held’s versatility and longevity. But, it’d additionally contribute to the identical combat as Framework, as fashionable design is frequently eroding client proper to restore. By empowering customers with entry to modular components, Valve may solidify its dominance throughout the handheld gaming PC area, which in flip will profit each gamers and the platform’s future.

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