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Why it matters: This week, Valve started to lay out some details on how Steam Deck users will get replacement parts. Additionally, iFixit released its teardown of the device, which offers some of the first details on which components will be easily replaceable.
Valve hasn’t released all the details yet on the official channels for Steam Deck repairs, but it did announce that iFixit is one of the groups authorized to sell replacement parts. The self-repair website will also offer components for the Valve Index VR headset and related items.
In its official teardown earlier this week, iFixit gave the Steam Deck a seven out of 10 reparability score. The techs noted how easily replaceable the thumbsticks are. Another plus is that users can upgrade the SSD, though they should probably increase storage through microSD cards first. Valve’s shorter teardown video last October hinted at this.
Being able to replace thumbsticks easily is essential, stressed iFixit. Devices like the Nintendo Switch and even standard controllers have proven that joystick drift is a persistent problem. The teardown also shows that the fan, heat sink, and screen aren’t too difficult to remove and potentially replace.
The Steam Deck’s most prominent issue for reparability is the battery, which other reviews noted can drain in less than 90 minutes when playing the most demanding games. Removing it is tough, and Valve warned last year that it could be dangerous.
Late last week, Valve released CAD files for the Steam Deck, allowing users to 3D print outer shell replacements. So, all in all, aside from other particularly hard-to-remove components, the Steam Deck should be reasonably straightforward to repair.