Valve publishes partial Steam Deck teardown, explaining why you shouldn't do it

Daniel Sims

Posts: 170   +10
Staff
In brief: This week valve posted a short video showing a partial teardown of its upcoming Steam Deck handheld PC. It mostly just shows how to replace a few parts if absolutely needed, but Valve also spends much of the video explaining why users shouldn't take the machine apart, or why at the very least, it should be left to professionals.

Valve is known to champion the open nature of PC gaming, and this video is no exception even though the Steam Deck is a device the company designed and built in a specific way. The beginning of the video explains that Valve thinks anyone who buys a Steam Deck should be free to do what they want with it, while strongly recommending they don't open it.

"Even though it's your PC, or will be once you've received your Steam Deck, and you have every right to open it up and do what you want, we at Valve really don't recommend that you ever open it up." the video says. "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."

Probably the most significant risk Valve points out is the battery. If damaged, it could potentially explode later on, which could even be life-threatening.

"So be forewarned and leave this kind of thing to professionals," the video stresses.

It then goes on to suggest that anyone who does take apart a Steam Deck should disconnect the battery before touching anything inside it (it's generally a good idea to disconnect the power source of any computer system while digging around inside it).

Valve says opening up the Steam Deck even once will permanently reduce its fall resistance. If you do want to open it up, though, the video confirms the screws on the back of the unit are self-tapping screws embedded in plastic bosses. They can be screwed on and off just fine but strip easily.

Valve created the teardown video to specifically show how to remove and potentially replace the thumbsticks and the SSD. All Steam Deck models use M.2 connectors for their storage, even the 64GB non-SSD model. Again, Valve doesn't recommend doing so because the thumbsticks are custom and the company specifically chose the Steam Deck's SSD for a few reasons.

A different SSD may have additional power consumption and heat output which could adversely affect the battery. Because of its location, a differing SSD could also mess with the Steam Deck's wireless capabilities and the motherboard. Valve recommends using an SD card to expand the Steam Deck's storage, and it confirmed in July that games could boot off an SD card.

In the video, Valve also confirms that it'll announce a source for getting replacement Steam Deck parts "in the coming months," including the thumbsticks and SSD. The final retail model will have some differences from what's shown in the video.

Permalink to story.

 

Burty117

Posts: 4,267   +2,342
What a great video "you shouldn't do this, but you can and here are the pitfalls", Very friendly and very "right to repair".

Can I also mention they haven't glued the thing together making it so much harder to do anything. There has actually been some thought put into it.
 

yRaz

Posts: 3,900   +4,148
What a great video "you shouldn't do this, but you can and here are the pitfalls", Very friendly and very "right to repair".

Can I also mention they haven't glued the thing together making it so much harder to do anything. There has actually been some thought put into it.
I can't wait for Louis Rosseman to make a video responding to this
 

Dimitriid

Posts: 1,334   +2,606
It really doesn't looks like you can get any larger size of m.2 in there but I wonder if they couldn't have designed the back cover to have a slight bump to accommodate it, along with an even larger battery.

But it leaves enough room for a revision or second version though
 

Revolution 11

Posts: 89   +100
So basically, they are saying: "don't open it".
No thats what other companies would say. Valve is saying "don't open it and your hardware will suffer if you do open it, but if you have to, this is the best way to do so".

This is the consumer-friendly way to help customers teardown their hardware. Put all the caveats and downsides and legal disclaimers in first, and then tell the customer the best way to do what they want to do.

I hope more companies adopt this kind of thinking.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,267   +2,342
No thats what other companies would say. Valve is saying "don't open it and your hardware will suffer if you do open it, but if you have to, this is the best way to do so".

This is the consumer-friendly way to help customers teardown their hardware. Put all the caveats and downsides and legal disclaimers in first, and then tell the customer the best way to do what they want to do.

I hope more companies adopt this kind of thinking.
The way I see it, if all @QuantumPhysics got out of that video was "don't open it" then it's done it's job.

If you and me got out of it "this is how to replace the SSD if it fails" then it's also done it's job ;)
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,043   +870
This video is to cover themselves. Basically if you open your device at all don’t expect any kind of warranty support. Even if the fault is unrelated to the opening of the device.

What is a bit annoying is that it voids your warranty then if you replace your SSD. That’s not very consumer friendly…
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,267   +2,342
What is a bit annoying is that it voids your warranty then if you replace your SSD. That’s not very consumer friendly…
He doesn't say that in the video, you're making that up, they say any damage caused by you opening up the device is not covered by the warranty.

The SSD is a very particular case here as if it failed within warranty, you'd get it replaced on warranty, if it's out of warranty, if you broke the device that's on you, not them.

If you replace the SSD without damaging the device while in it's warranty period, the warranty still stands as far as I can tell.
 

Sausagemeat

Posts: 1,043   +870
He doesn't say that in the video, you're making that up, they say any damage caused by you opening up the device is not covered by the warranty.

The SSD is a very particular case here as if it failed within warranty, you'd get it replaced on warranty, if it's out of warranty, if you broke the device that's on you, not them.

If you replace the SSD without damaging the device while in it's warranty period, the warranty still stands as far as I can tell.
You’re incredibly naive if you think Valve would replace a faulty deck that’s been opened. A faulty SSD on an unopened device yes. A faulty SSD on a device that has been opened they wouldn’t. They would use the excuse that it’s been opened.

Note how the screws are covered in a plastic emboss that will come off after it’s been opened once. This is basically a “warranty void if removed sticker” but those aren’t allowed in the USA so his is a way corporations get around that. They can prove the device has been opened with these. Why do you think these are necessary?

This whole video is more to cover Valve than to help consumers.
 

Burty117

Posts: 4,267   +2,342
You’re incredibly naive if you think Valve would replace a faulty deck that’s been opened. A faulty SSD on an unopened device yes. A faulty SSD on a device that has been opened they wouldn’t. They would use the excuse that it’s been opened.

Note how the screws are covered in a plastic emboss that will come off after it’s been opened once. This is basically a “warranty void if removed sticker” but those aren’t allowed in the USA so his is a way corporations get around that. They can prove the device has been opened with these. Why do you think these are necessary?

This whole video is more to cover Valve than to help consumers.
You're putting words in Valves mouth though. They haven't confirmed or denied this. Even Linus and Anthony on LTT noted Valves wording specifically doesn't say your warranty is void if you open it up, only if you break it.

I'm fully aware the vast majority of companies are all for "if you open it up in anyway, warranty is void", they all come out and say it straight away, doesn't mean Valve has to follow, this video alone proves they're trying to be different.
 

m4a4

Posts: 2,613   +3,215
TechSpot Elite
You’re incredibly naive if you think Valve would replace a faulty deck that’s been opened. A faulty SSD on an unopened device yes. A faulty SSD on a device that has been opened they wouldn’t. They would use the excuse that it’s been opened.

Note how the screws are covered in a plastic emboss that will come off after it’s been opened once. This is basically a “warranty void if removed sticker” but those aren’t allowed in the USA so his is a way corporations get around that. They can prove the device has been opened with these. Why do you think these are necessary?

This whole video is more to cover Valve than to help consumers.
Speaking of naive: they can't refuse warranty just because you opened it up. They must prove it was directly the consumer's fault (and they implied as much).

If anything, this is the most honest and pro-consumer video I've seen from a "big tech" company. It's refreshing seeing this.