Earlier this week, in the unfortunate shadow of CES 2022, Micron released a 2TB M.2 2230 SSD which might just be the perfect upgrade for anyone out there interested in a beefier Steam Deck (opens in new tab).
The reveal came during the announcement of Micron’s new 2400 SSD (opens in new tab), which uses what the company is boasting to be the "industry's first 176-layer QLC NAND". You can also find this new Micron NAND inside Crucial drives (opens in new tab). Micron claims this means they can make SSDs smaller with greater performance. Those in this new series of 2400 SSDs have several configurable options when purchasing which include capacities from 512 GB to 2 TB as well as sizing options, which include M.2 2042, 2280, and of course 2230.
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This is the first time we’re seeing a PCIe 4.0 SSD in the 2230 form factor with a capacity this large, which is huge for portable PC Gaming. They also seem to be pretty great when it comes to power consumption, keeping the highest capacity drive idling at 50% less than the previous generation, coming in at under 150 mW, which meets Intel’s lofty Project Athena goals (opens in new tab).
The other impressive factor with these new tiny SSDs is a nice speedy sequential read speed of up to 4500MB/s. Micron says the new tech allows for 24% lower read latency, and can offer up to 23% faster read times, task depending. The write isn't so great ranging from 1800 to 4000MB/s depending on the storage. but given this feels like a gaming solution, prioritising the read times is a smart idea. Most gamers aren’t too fussed about it taking a little extra time to install over getting nice fast loading speeds.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we see these cropping up in ultra slim gaming laptops in the near future, and they sure do make a nice upgrade piece. For something like the Steam Deck that's set to release in February (opens in new tab), which specifically needs single-sided 2230 SSDs, Micron’s newest efforts might be the only really viable option available at the moment. They might even work with Xbox Series X|S (opens in new tab). That being said, given there’s no mention of temperature, real world examples, we’d like to see these in action before recommending them outright.