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best sd card for steam deck

7 Best SD Cards for the Steam Deck – 2023

Gamers all over the world have eagerly anticipated the release of the Valve Steam Deck.

Promising to transform the way we game on the go, the Steam Deck guarantees you’ll be able to play your entire Steam library anywhere, anytime.

While the hardware included in the Steam Deck handles the bulk of the heavy lifting for gamers, it’s a good idea to get your hands on an SD card to extend the storage capacity of this portable system.

Grab one of the best SD cards we’ve highlighted below and you’ll be rocking and rolling in no time!

Important SD Card Terms to Understand

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of highlighting our favorite Steam Deck SD cards, first let’s go over a couple of important terms you’ll want to understand when buying this kind of storage.


When you see the SDXC abbreviation on a microSD card you are considering, it simply means that this card has “Secure Digital Extended Capacity” capabilities.

The bottom line is that these kinds of cards can handle storage capacities of anywhere between 32 GB and 2 TB all while using the exFAT file system.

All of the cards on our list are SDXC cards.

Explaining SDXC rating on an SD card

Speed Class

The Speed Class designation for SD cards lets you know what the rock bottom minimum write speed of a card is.

Speed Class categories are broken down as follows:

  • Class 2 – Minimum write speeds of 2 Mb per second
  • Class 4 – Minimum write speeds of 4 Mb per second
  • Class 6 – Minimum write speeds of 6 Mb per second
  • Class 10 – Minimum write speeds of 10 Mb per second

Most cards have an older speed class printed on them inside a “circle” or a UHS class printed inside a “U-shape” that corresponds to this number. Since the introduction of faster cards (which use the “V Rating”), nowadays this class is outdated and less important to know.

Explaining speed class on an SD card

V Ratings (V30, V60, and V90)

The “V Rating” on an SD card identifies the card’s video resolution and recording capabilities. The higher the V Rating is, the higher the minimum baseline of sustained writing speeds that card can guarantee.

  • V30 – Minimum of 30 Mb per second writing speed
  • V60 – Minimum of 60 Mb per second writing speed
  • V90 – Minimum of 90 Mb per second of writing speed

Due to affordability, most of the cards on our list are larger-capacity V30 cards.

Explaining v-rating on an SD card


If you see this designation on the SD card, it means that the card is capable of “Ultra High Speeds”.

You can expect these SD cards to have a bus interface speed (data transfer rate) of up to 104 Mb per second, which is significantly faster than non-UHS-I cards.

Although it is possible to buy even faster cards (such as UHS-II) that have potential read and write speeds of up to 312MB/s, this is overkill for the Steam Deck.

That’s because the Steam Deck uses an older SD card slot, which is limited to a UHS-I bus SD card.

For this reason, all of the cards on our list have the UHS-I rating.

Explaining UHS-I on an SD card

What is the best SD card for the Steam Deck?

1. Lexar PLAY 1TB MicroSDXC Card

Specifically designed for use with portable gaming systems, the Lexar microSD card is ready “right-out-of-the-box” to dramatically increase the storage space you have inside your Steam Deck.

With 1TB of space, you’ll never have to worry about your Steam Deck reaching full capacity with games you want to play on the go. Instead, you’ll always have room to add at least six or seven games on the card alone – if not more – to add to the internal storage of the Steam Deck.

The lightning-fast write speeds (of up to 150 Mbps) guarantee the data transfer of new games onto the card ASAP. The same number lets you enjoy sky-high read speeds, too. As a result, you’ll be able to play all of your favorite games seamlessly and with almost no load times, whatsoever.

Currently, this is the most suitable microSD Card for the Steam Deck.

2. SanDisk 1TB Ultra MicroSDXC Card

Engineered with mobile devices in mind, The SanDisk Ultra has more than enough performance to handle professional cameras shooting 4K video and recording it in real-time. That also means it has all the power and speed you need to maximize the capabilities of your Steam Deck, as well.

With read and write speeds of up to 120 Mbps, you’re not only going to be able to get new games onto the SD card in no time flat – but you’re also going to enjoy improved gaming performance. This is something that will become clear when you start to load up your favorite games.

You’ll also like that this is an SDXC card, too, which means you’re going to enjoy improved storage space across the board, as well as improved storage performance.

Reviews are already out for this card and its performance with the Nintendo Switch, and they are all glowingly positive. You should be able to expect similar – if not even better – performance when you plug this SD card into your Steam Deck.

3. PNY 1TB PRO Elite MicroSDXC Card

PNY has always been a brand known for putting out quality components, and this SD card is no exception.

Gamers are going to be happy with this Class 10, V30 card that’s for sure. The SDXC rating means it has plenty of storage space of 1 TB for your gaming library, and the Class 10 and V30 ratings mean it’s one of the quickest cards on the market – in the read and write departments.

One of the coolest features of this card is the A2 App performance. It allows apps to be run straight from the card itself, speeding up the process and cutting down on lag.

Solid, reliable, and as durable as they come, you won’t have to worry about this PNY card falling apart any time soon, either. It’s magnet proof, resists shocks, and heavy drops. Furthermore, it won’t slow down in extreme temperatures and is 100% waterproof, as well.

It doesn’t get more robust than that!

4. Amplim 1TB MicroSDXC Card

If streaming speeds are a priority for the additional storage in your Steam Deck, then this Amplim card is the way to go.

The fastest SD card out of all the Steam Deck options on this list, you’ll see read speeds that touch 170mb/s on a regular basis, and write speeds north of 100mb/s as well. The other cards we’ve highlighted here are also pretty quick, but nothing touches this card for pure speed alone.

The V30 rating means you’re going to be able to get games to load in the blink of an eye. Moreover, the card architecture is set up to make sure that you never have to see load screens again. This is almost SSD performance in an SD card form factor. That’s tough to top.

You’ll also find this card to be flexible in the compatibility department. Sure, it could live permanently in your Steam Deck with no ill effects – but another device is likely going to need it one day, too. Fortunately, this SD card performs just as well in a Nintendo Switch, a laptop, or a mobile.

Not bad, right?

5. Amazon Basics 1TB MicroSDXC Card

Amazon might not have the same kind of name recognition or “cache” as some of the other brands on this breakdown, but they still make it into our top seven best SD cards, all the same.

For starters, this card has incredible compatibility with all different kinds of devices – and is “future proof” enough to be used with the Steam Deck, too.

Foolishly fast, you’re looking at read speeds that hit 100mb/s easily. That’s quick enough to guarantee no more load times in your favorite games. Imagine Skyrim (or Assassins Creed: Valhalla) without any load times. Boom!

Write times are nothing to shrug at, either. You’ll be able to push 80mb/s pretty regularly with this card in your device. Furthermore, with this kind of write speed, you’ll be able to download games from your Steam Library and have them ready to play fairly quickly.

The only bottleneck here will be the speed of the Wi-Fi connection you have to grab those games in the first place. All in all, this is another solid option for your Steam Deck.

6. Samsung EVO Select 512GB MicroSDXC Card

About the same speed as the Amazon Basics card highlighted a moment ago, this Samsung SD card is pretty much everything you’d want from the South Korean giant at half a terabyte in size.

Fast, reliable, and secure, you won’t have to sacrifice even just a little bit of performance with this top-tier card. When you have this tucked inside your gaming hardware, you’ll be able to get games on your card in no time at all – and then boot those games in record time, too.

For read speeds, you’re going to see around 100mb/s on a routine basis. Write speeds are also up there – touching 90mb/s consistently. This is a UHS, U3, Class 10 card after all…

7. SanDisk 400GB Ultra MicroSDXC Card

Though you are going to have to sacrifice some storage (400 GB on this card compared to 1 TB with other options), you get just as good overall speed and stability. Despite being last place, SanDisk Ultra SD cards are about as much of the “cream of the crop” as these kinds of cards get.

In terms of speeds, we’re looking at up to 120 Mb per second for writing, as well as read speeds that are exactly the same. That’s just about perfect for the UHS-I bus limitations of the Steam Deck.

But how does this equate to pure performance for gamers? Well, the fast write speeds mean that you can get new games onto your SD card in the blink of an eye. It also means that any new data that needs to be written to the card is going to be added almost instantly.

Moreover, your games are going to boot up right away, your saves are going to load in immediately, and you’ll be able to move through even huge open-world games without having to load up new parts of the in-game universe every now and again!

Frequently Asked Questions

Can the Steam Deck use SD cards?

The Valve Steam Deck features a UHS-I bus slot that supports UHS-I microSD cards. UHS-I provides max transfer rates up to 104 Mb/s, which it can meet under specific conditions. Due to being backward compatible, newer UHS-II and UHS-III cards can also be used.

Can you add storage to Steam Deck?

Valve has confirmed that external storage can be added to the Steam Deck in the form of microSD cards. That allows you to store several games on multiple cards and quickly swap between them as you would with traditional game cartridges.

We hope you found a Steam Deck SD card on this list.

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