Aside from the weird tribal patterning Jsaux has decorated the HB0604 M.2 Docking Station with—potentially to distinguish it from the previous, more affordable model (the Jsaux Steam Deck Dock (opens in new tab))—the JSAUX M.2 Steam Deck Dock is an absolute marvel. While JSAUX is not the only company to have slapped an M.2 slot into a Steam Deck dock, it was one of the first. And coming from a trusted manufacturer for $130 / ~£90, with a spec that matches and improves on the official dock’s features, it’s not a bad buy. Though if you’re expecting blistering transfer speeds, you will need to temper that expectation.
That’s sans SSD, though there are a couple of package options. One includes a 1TB SSD for a total of $200 / ~£166, while the one I’ve got my hands on comes with a 2TB SSD, the maximum capacity. The larger SSD will set you back $270 / ~£225.
What super tasty SSD did I get for $140 on top of the Dock’s base price, you ask?
It’s actually a Lexar NM610 Pro NVMe SSD. No, I’d not heard of them either. It’s a PCIe 3.0 drive, which is the fastest this dock supports.
The SSD is rated to 3300MB/s sequential read speeds and sequential writes of 2600MB/s. That’s almost as fast as the often $200 PCIe 3.0 Sabrent Rocket of the same capacity and would be a smashing saving on top of the dock… if that were actually the case in testing.
JSAUX M.2 Steam Deck Dock specification
Connectivity: 1Gbps ethernet, 2x USB Type-A 3.1, 1x HDMI 2.1
Features: M.2 slot, rubber grips and feet, tribal decoration
Price: $130 / ~£90 (opens in new tab)
Downloading KDisk Mark revealed the SSD comes closer to 2050MB/s reads and just 490MB/s write speeds, though, in actual real-world testing (transferring game files from the NVMe drive to the Deck), I saw those speeds topping out at just over 9Gbps. That checks out since the Steam Deck’s USB Type-C connection only goes up to 10Gbps.
Essentially, whatever SSD you stick in there, you will be limited by the Steam Deck itself. Don’t splash out for a super high-speed SSD you won’t be able to make the most of.
As long as you don’t mind forgoing supreme SSD speeds, the dock itself is a smart merging of storage with a practical, sturdy docking station. It’s not an unattractive piece of kit, though the tribal markings on the top are a little edgy. Still, it’s one of the more durable since it’s made of milled aluminum. The Deck does lean back in the dock a little, which gives me minor anxiety as it pushes on the USB connection. You’d think it would mean there’s space to dock with a case, but even with the same company’s case installed on the Deck there’s not.
As for the spec, it actually gives Valve’s own dock (opens in new tab) a run for its money.
The official Steam Deck dock offers three USB Type-A 3.1 Gen1 ports, a DisplayPort 1.4, and HDMI 2.0. The Jsaux Dock, on the other hand, forgoes the DisplayPort, and although it comes with just two USB ports, they do match the official dock’s specs. On top of that, the Jsaux M.2 dock comes with an HDMI 2.1 port that supports 4K at 60Hz, or 1440p at 120Hz. Perhaps a little overkill for the Deck, but appreciated nonetheless.
Bundled along with the Dock, you get some Deck skins and a little portable stand. Additionally, the Jsaux dev team has written a script that mounts the SSD automatically to the Deck—a valuable extra if you’re not well-versed with Linux. However, the actual process of mounting and getting it to auto-mount isn’t so difficult. There is the tiny issue of being unable to dismount and move the Deck around while in-game, should you be running one directly from the M.2 drive. You’re essentially tethered to the Dock until you close the game and unmount, but this dock is meant to sit on your TV stand and stay there for good.
The main limitations here are posed by the Deck itself, and other small niggles aside; the Jsaux M.2 dock is a great piece of kit with hardly anything to complain about. It improves on the official dock’s HDMI spec and adds M.2 compatibility, which makes it easy to look past the weird tribal pattern on the top—you don’t see it anyway, once the Deck’s in there.
I would recommend going for the $130 / ~£90 base dock, as you can most certainly bag a 2TB version of the best NVMe SSDs (opens in new tab) today for less than $140. And while the base dock might feel a little expensive against the official dock’s $90 price tag, Jsaux has essentially set the standard for Steam Deck docks with storage, and that certainly makes the additional $40 feel well spent.
Of course, since the Steam Deck was released, a few companies like Sabrent have come out with smaller form-factor SSDs with higher capacities, which you could theoretically swap out. Then grabbing a cheap but good dock like the Sabrent 6-Port Docking Station (opens in new tab) would save you a pretty penny. But for those who dock often and are after convenience above messing up their Deck’s warranty, the JSAUX M.2 dock is where it’s at.
Source: PC Gamer