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The best SSDs for the PS5
Ten months after the PlayStation 5 hit store shelves, Sony released a software update that unlocked the consoles storage expansion slot. Originally, the PS5 offered only 667GB of space for storing your games, with no way to increase that. While that was fine for some gamers (like me), others (like my son) were forced to perform a near-daily juggling act that involved frequently deleting and redownloading games due to the console's low SSD storage space and the apparent need to have constant access to every Call of Duty game.
Now, you can increase your PS5s available storage by installing a standard PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD. If that mess of acronyms has you recoiling, dont worry, youll see that its not all that complicated, and if you want to know which are the best SSDs for the PS5, you can skip to the end for our top picks.
Read more: These are the best SSDs in 2023
How much storage do I need?
The PS5 will accept internal drives between 250GB and 4TB in capacity. If you already own a PlayStation 5, chances are you have a reasonable idea of how much storage you need for your game library. If youre buying an SSD with a new PS5, or buying for someone else, its more difficult to tell what you might need for a high-performance experience.
PS5 games are a little smaller on average than their PS4 equivalents, typically taking up between 30GB and 100GB, with some notable (and very popular) exceptions. If youre a fan of the Call of Duty series, installing Modern Warfare II and Warzone 2.0 will require more than 200GB. In other words, a full Call of Duty install will take up almost one-third of the PS5s internal storage. If youre not a CoD fan, though, chances are youll be good to store between six to 10 games on your PS5 internally before running into problems.
One additional thing to consider is your internet speed. If you live in an area with slow broadband, the you can just download it again rationale doesnt really work out. At my old home, a 100GB download took me around eight hours, during which time it was difficult to simultaneously watch Twitch or, say, publish articles about upgrading PS5 SSDs. Keeping games around on the off-chance youll want to play them at some point makes sense.
Off the bat, there's basically no point in going for a 250GB drive. Economically, 250GB drives arent that much cheaper than 500GB ones, and practically, that really isnt a lot of space for modern games to live on. 500GB drives, coming in at around $80 to $140, are a decent bet, but the sweet spot for most is to opt for a high capacity 1TB drive, which should run you between $160 and $250. That will more than double the PS5 storage you have available for games without breaking the bank. (Seagates official 1TB Xbox Series expansion card, for comparison, sells for $220.)
If you have the money, 2TB drives sometimes offer marginal savings per gigabyte, and can often be found when other models are out of stock. Unless youre rolling in cash and want to flex, 4TB models should mostly be avoided, as youll end up paying more per gigabyte than you would with a 1TB or 2TB drive.
One final note: While the 825GB PS5 only provides 667GB of storage, thats largely due to storage being reserved for the operating system and caching. If you install a 1TB SSD, you'll have, within a margin of error, 1TB of storage available for games.
Can you play PS5 games on external SSD?
These external hard drives come at a much lower price point than the high-end internal SSDs, but there are restrictions on what you can do with them. An external SSD connects to your PS5 via USB, and is only suitable for playing PS4 video games, or storing PS5 titles. This is useful if you have anything but the best high-speed internet its faster to move a PS5 game out of cold storage on an external drive than it is to re-download it or just want a large number of PS4 games to hand.
Due to the limitations here, you dont need the highest-performing model, although you should opt for SSDs over HDDs for improved transfer speeds and load times. Any basic portable drive from a reputable brand will do, with the Crucial X6 and Samsung T5 being options weve tried and can recommend.
PS5 compatible SSD cards
The official answer to this question is an M.2 Socket 3 (Key M) Gen4 x4 NVME SSD. But even within that seemingly specific description, there are still more things to consider. The main requirements Sony has laid out for compatibility come down to speed, cooling and physical dimensions.
For speed, Sony says drives should be able to handle sequential reads at 5,500MB/s. Early testing showed that the PS5 would accept drives as slow as 4,800MB/s, and that games that tap into the SSD regularly such as Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart would cause no issues. Pretty much the only thing the PS5 will outright reject is one that doesn't match the Gen4 x4 spec.
In our opinion, though, using a drive slower than the specification is a risk that, if you dont already have that drive lying around, is not worth taking. Just because we havent found issues yet, that doesnt mean there wont be games that will be problematic in the future. The price difference between these marginally slower Gen4 drives and the ones that meet Sonys spec is not huge, and you may as well cover all your bases.
Slightly more complicated than speed is cooling and size. Most new SSDs are going to be just fine; the PS5 can fit 22mm-wide SSDs of virtually any length (30mm, 42mm, 60mm, 80mm or 110mm, to be precise). The vast majority of drives you find will be 22mm wide and 80mm long, so no problem there.
It should be noted that the system can fit a 25mm-wide drive, but that width must include the cooling solution. Speaking of, Sony says SSDs require effective heat dissipation with a cooling structure, such as a heatsink. The maximum height supported by Sonys slot is 11.25mm, of which only 2.45mm can be below the drive. This previously meant some of the most popular heatsinked Gen4 SSDs, including Corsairs MP600 Pro LPX and Sabrents Rocket 4 Plus, would not fit within the PS5s storage expansion slot. Since Engadget first published this guide in 2021, most NVMe makers, including Samsung, have come out with PlayStation-specific models that take care of those considerations.
That said, if you want to save some money, bare drives are often much cheaper, and its trivial to find a cooling solution that will work for the PS5.
The only component in an NVMe SSD that really requires cooling is the controller, which without a heatsink will happily sear a (very small) steak. Most SSDs have chips on only one side, but even on double-sided SSDs, the controller is likely to be on top, as manufacturers know it needs to be positioned there to better dissipate heat. So, head to your PC component seller of choice, and pick up basically anything that meets the recommended dimensions. A good search term is laptop NVME heatsink, as these will be designed to fit in the confines of gaming laptops, which are even more restrictive than a PS5. Theyre also typically cheaper than the ones labeled as PS5 heatsinks.
One recommendation is this $7 copper heatsink, which attaches to the SSD with sticky thermal interface material. It works just fine, and really, performing stress tests on a PC, we couldnt find anything metal that didnt keep temperatures under control. When youre searching, just make sure the solution you go for measures no more than 25mm wide or 8mm tall including the thermal interface material and has a simple method of installation thats not going to cause any headaches.
Now, if all of that was very boring, here are some ready-to-go recommendations for the best SSDs for PS5:
Best SSD for the PS5: Corsair MP600 Pro LPX
Best budget SSD for the PS5: Crucial P5 Plus
Another good option: Samsung 980 Pro
Another good option: Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus
Another good option: PNY XLR8
Another good option: WD Black SN850
How to install an SSD into your PS5
Before attempting to add more storage to your PS5, ensure that you have Sonys latest software installed. Once you're up-to-date, installation of a PS5 SSD is fairly straightforward. Sony recommends a #1 Phillips or crosshead screwdriver, but this isn't rocket science. Any crossed screwdriver of a similar size will do fine.
1. Power everything down to remove the stand
Begin by powering down your PS5, unplugging everything, removing the stand and flipping it over to its underside. If you have the regular PS5, thats the side with the disc drive; if you have the Digital Edition, its the side without the PlayStation logo cutout.
Sony has a video guide to popping off the outside cover here, but the gist is you gently lift up the opposing corners and slide the panel toward the flat end of the console. Theres a knack to this, and it requires very little effort or strength. If youre not getting it, rather than force it just readjust your grip and try again. A member of our video team managed to break one of the tabs on our review unit doing this in the past so yeah, dont force it.
2. Access the drive bay
Once youve got everything open, youll see a rectangular piece of metal with a screw holding it in place. Remove that screw, and youll be able to access the drive bay.
Youll see five holes inside, each numbered corresponding to the standard SSD drive lengths I mentioned earlier. The one numbered 110 will have a metal insert and screw inside. You need to unscrew the screw with a screwdriver, and then unscrew the insert with your fingers and move it to the relevant hole. Your eyes should tell you which is the right one for your drive, but its most likely going to be 80.
3. Slot in the SSD
Then take your SSD mine is a 980 Pro I bought on Prime Day with a $2 piece of aluminum attached to the top and slot it in. The slot is at the edge closest to the number 30, and SSDs are keyed to only fit in one way, so again, no force is required. If its not sliding in, dont force it. Youll notice the SSD doesnt sit flat thats fine, and is as intended.
4. Screw the drive bay back in
Once the SSD is seated, take the screw you removed from the insert, line it up with the little notch at the end of your SSD, and push down so it meets the insert. Give the screw a few turns it doesnt need to be very tight and youre done.
Replace the metal cover and screw it down, and then slide the plastic outer shell back on. When you first turn on the PS5, itll prompt you to format the drive. Do that! You have now successfully expanded your consoles storage, and can set about downloading and moving games to it. Personally, I moved all of the PS4 games I had to the new drive, along with all of my clips and screenshots. The PS5s built-in SSD is always going to be the most compliant, so Im keeping my important stuff there.
We'll be updating this guide as more SSDs come to market and onto our test bench, so feel free to bookmark it for when you need it.This article originally appeared on Engadget at https://www.engadget.com/best-ps5-ssd-expansion-upgrade-150052315.html?src=rss
Original Link: https://www.engadget.com/best-ps5-ssd-expansion-upgrade-150052315.html?src=rss