About a week-and-a-half ago, Valve opened up Steam Deck repair centers. My close acquaintence, Matthew Anderson (ChimeraOS contributor, based in the US), made good use out of them when the fan in his Deck was making loud grinding sounds. I’m documenting this in case you’re curious how long it takes to get your Deck back or what exactly happens after it’s been sent out, should you decide to send it for repair.

Matthew sends a ticket to Steam Support on Saturday, September 10th. Valve got back to him the following day with a pre-paid shipping label. He drops off the package the following morning on Monday, shipped via UPS to Salt Lake City, Utah. The repair center gets the device on Thursday, September 15th. Could it be that it got in the hands of Gaben?

Steam Deck repair center gets broken Deck

On Saturday, the 17th, Matthew gets an email from Steam Support saying that the repair can’t be done “due to delays or other factors.” So they send a replacement unit instead. I’m guessing it was faster just to send a replacement rather than putting the Deck on a waiting list for repairs. The next day, Valve ships the replacement via FedEx.

Steam Deck repair center can’t fix

And today, on the 20th, his replacement Deck is now in his hands. Matthew has reported the following differences with his new Deck over the old one:

  • the zippers on the case are white rather than black
  • the joysticks have a different level of resistance, in a way that’s difficult for him to explain
  • the Steam and Quick Access Menu buttons are “higher” and feel better to press
  • new laptop smell, like a Best Buy
  • the screen is brighter

Steam Deck Steam button comparison

Very similar to Gardiner’s findings, albeit the latter didn’t report on the white zippers or the brighter screen.

So the takeaway is this:

  1. Valve actually responds on weekends
  2. In case you were wondering where the repair centers are located, now you know where one of them is
  3. Valve might not actually fix your Deck and just send you a replacement instead
  4. The entire process, from filing a support ticket, to sending your Deck, to getting it back, should take around a week-and-a-half, provided that you’re in the US. Internationally, I would imagine it’s much longer

Steam Deck brightness comparison

I would say you would be better off just getting some spare parts from iFixit and fixing the Deck yourself should you run across any problem, but you’re not only paying for parts; you still have to wait however long it takes for the part to show up. So it might be best just to take advantage of your warranty and send it to a repair center.