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In context: While the Steam Deck has a lot of excitement surrounding it, there’s concern over how much the 64GB of eMMC storage in the base model could be a limitation—even with the SD slot. The fact that its Linux-based operating system had taken up 24GB of that space would have been even more worrying, but Valve has now managed to shrink it down to a more acceptable 10GB.
As reported by PCGamesN, MetaCouncil forum member Madjoki shared release notes for SteamOS image 20211120.2. They show that the Steam Deck’s operating system now takes up around 10GB of space, 14GB less than its previous size.
The reduction is good news for Steam Deck buyers, especially those opting for the base model. SteamOS will now take up a more acceptable 15% of its 64GB storage instead of the previous 37.5%.
That’s pretty impressive when you consider that the PS5’s operating system takes up 158GB and the Xbox Series X’s OS comes in at 198GB, roughly 20% of the consoles’ storage. The Nintendo Switch’s OS, meanwhile, requires 4GB, around 12.5% of the base storage.
Seeing Valve shrink the OS’ size suggests it could shave even more off its bulk before the first units land in February; they were delayed from their original December release date. But buyers of the base model will still likely need to expand their storage with an SD card, given how many PC games these days are larger than 50GB.
The good news is that expandable storage shouldn’t be as much of a bottleneck as expected. You could always open the device and add your own NVMe SSD, though Valve highly recommends against it.
The Steam Deck is priced at $399 for the 64GB version, $529 for the 256GB model, and $649 for the 512GB machine. We recently saw its understated packaging and heard that Valve could be working on a new Half-Life game designed specifically for the handheld.