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How And Which SSD To Install In The PlayStation 5

At launch, the PlayStation 5 had 667 GB of storage space for games, and there was no way to increase this value. For some, this was enough, others had to constantly delete something in order to install and play something else. The sizes of modern games are such that even on such a drive, only a few of them can fit.

The latest software update enables storage expansion with an optional PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD. If these letters don’t mean anything to you, keep reading and find out what kind of drives you can put in your console.

How much disk space do you need?

The PS5 can handle storage capacities between 250GB and 4TB. If you already have a console, then you probably understand whether you have enough space or not, and if not, how much you lack. If you are only going to buy a PS5 for yourself, and even more so for someone else, it is difficult to know in advance how much disk space will be required.

PS5 games are slightly smaller than their PS4 counterparts. It is 30-100 GB, except for a few very large popular games. If you love Call of Duty games, the multiplayer version of Cold War and Warfare/Warzone is 307 GB. If you also install the single-player Warzone-Modern Warfare-Cold War game, two-thirds of the PS5 storage is gone. If you’re not a fan of the series, chances are you can fit 6-10 games in storage.

You should also take into account the speed of your Internet access. If you have a slow connection, you will not be able to delete and download games again every time. If it takes about 8 hours to download 100 GB of data and during this time you can hardly use the Internet for other things, it’s not pleasant enough. In this case, it is better to store games locally.

It makes no sense to buy a minimum drive of 250 GB. It costs not much less than a 500 GB drive, and there is not enough space for modern games in it. If money isn’t an issue, a 2TB drive might be cheaper per gigabyte and more affordable when other models aren’t on sale. 4 GB drives are not recommended because they cost more per gigabyte compared to the 1 TB and 2 TB versions.

One last note: The PS5’s 825GB drive has 667GB of free disk space since the rest of the space is taken up by the operating system and cache. When you add an additional SSD, all its capacity will be at your disposal.

What about external SSDs?

External SSDs are much cheaper than internal ones, but their functionality is limited. They connect to devices via a USB connector and are only suitable for running games on PS4 or only for storing games on PS5. This is an option if you have slow Internet access. It will be faster to transfer games from an external drive to an internal one than to download again. You can also keep more PS4 games nearby.

Due to such limitations, it makes no sense to buy the fastest model of an external SSD. True, you should not take an HDD either, because they are too slow. Any sufficiently capacious portable SSD from popular manufacturers, such as the Crucial X6 and Samsung T5, will do.

Which SSDs are compatible with PS5?

Officially it says support for M.2 Socket 3 (Key M) Gen4 x4 NVME SSD, but there are nuances in this description. Sony puts forward requirements for speed, cooling and size of drives.

SSDs must have a sequential read speed of at least 5500 MB/s. Tests have shown that drives capable of 4800 MB/s also work with the PS5. Using them with games like Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart with frequent access to drives does not lead to problems. Drives without Gen4 x4 support will definitely not work with the console.

However, there is a risk when using a drive with a speed less than specified in the specification. If problems do not appear now, this does not mean that they will not be in the future. The difference in price between slightly slower drives and faster ones is small.

Cooling and size issues are more complex. With most drives in the form of “bare” strips, there should be no problems. The console fits models with a width of 22 mm and any length, such as 30 mm, 42 mm, 60 mm, 80 mm and 110 mm. Most drives are 22mm wide and 80mm long.

If desired, you can install a drive with a width of 25 mm in the system, but this value is together with cooling. Sony claims that SSDs require efficient heat dissipation, which is aided by heatsinks. They are the ones who cause most of the problems.

The maximum slot height is 11.25mm, of which only 2.45mm can be “below” the drive. This prevents some popular Gen4 drives with heatsinks from being installed, such as the Corsair MP600 Pro and Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus. Perhaps in the future, such restrictions on the size of radiators will become ubiquitous. In the meantime, only a couple of drives with a heatsink fit here.

In NVMe drives, only the controller, which gets very hot, really needs cooling. Most SSDs have memory chips on one side. If they are on both sides, the controller is most likely on top, as this is better in terms of heat dissipation. Thus, almost any drive you choose in the store will do. You can search the Internet for “NVME heatsink for laptop”. Gaming laptops have even less space than the PS5. In addition, such radiators are cheaper than radiators that are starting to appear on sale marked “for PS5”.

A conventional copper heatsink is attached to the SSD case via a thermal interface with an adhesive base. It does an excellent job and during the stress tests of the PC, the temperature of all the metal components protected by it was normal.

When choosing, you need to make sure that the dimensions of the radiator are not wider than 25 mm and not higher than 8 mm, taking into account the thermal interface. You also need a method of installation without unnecessary complications.

Which SSD to install in the PlayStation 5

Now we will recommend several specific models of drives.

Best PlayStation 5 Drive: Patriot Viper VP4300

This manufacturer may not be the biggest name, but it has been in the computer market for a long time. The Viper VP4300 is an excellent choice for the PlayStation 5. It has a sequential read speed of up to 7400 MB/s. A thin heatsink is installed on the case, so it meets all installation requirements. In this list, this drive comes first because of its low cost. Available in 1TB and 2TB versions.

Best Budget Drive for PlayStation 5: PNY XLR8 CS3040

If you are not the owner of a personal computer, then you might not have heard of the PNY brand. He also has a decent history and reputation thanks to work for at least three decades. The XLR8 CS3040 is an excellent value for money option. True, you will have to add cooling yourself, since PNY cooling will not work for the PlayStation 5.

For some, this may be a problem, but the prices compensate for this shortcoming.

Also, great options:

WD Black SN850

SN850 easily connects to the PlayStation 5, it has a higher sequential data read speed than necessary, and 6.5 mm heatsinks are installed. Available in 500 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB capacity options at good prices. At the same time, the cost per gigabyte for the 1 TB and 2 TB versions is less compared to the 500 GB version.

Seagate FireCuda 530

The manufacturer assures that this drive with a heatsink is suitable for the PlayStation 5. True, the prices are not the lowest. The 500 GB version costs $160, 1 TB is $260, 2 TB is $540, and 4 TB is offered for $1,000. It’s not drastically more expensive than recommended prices for other drives. Perhaps in the future the difference will become even smaller.

Samsung 980 Pro

Samsung sells the 980 Pro drive without a heatsink installed. But he has a good reputation for reliability and cost at the level of WD, Seagate and other members of this list.

Crucial P5 Plus

The Crucial P5 Plus is another budget drive that falls short of the “Best Budget SSD” award. It does not have a heatsink, so you have to buy it separately.

Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus

This manufacturer sells quite a few drives under the Rocket brand. Of these, only the Plus model meets the requirements of the PlayStation 5, so make no mistake. The radiator here is too big for the console, so you have to purchase it separately. Sabrent usually sells drives at low prices, but at the moment there are no noticeable discounts.

How to install a drive in the PlayStation 5

Connecting an SSD to the PlayStation 5 requires the latest software release dated September 15, 2021. Installation is quite simple. Requires a #1 Phillips screwdriver or a Phillips screwdriver, but others may work.

It is necessary to turn off the console, unplug it from the outlet, remove the stand and turn the case over. If you have a regular PlayStation 5, this side has a disc drive. If you have a Digital Edition, there is no PlayStation logo on this side.

Sony has a video on removing the outer cover from the console case.

It is necessary to carefully lift the opposite corners and move towards the flat end of the console. It takes a little effort and dexterity. If it doesn’t work, instead of applying extra strength, it’s better to change the grip and try again. If you try too hard, you can break the cover.

When the case opens, you will see a rectangular piece of metal with a screw in it. If you unscrew it, the compartment for installing the drive opens.

Inside there are five holes that are numbered according to the standard length of the drives. Hole number 110 has a metal insert and a screw inside. It is necessary to unscrew the screw, unscrew the insert with your fingers and place it in the corresponding hole. Estimate by eye what hole is required for your SSD. Most likely it will be hole 80.

Next, install the drive. The slot is located on the edge, next to the number 30. Drives are installed only on one side and no effort is required. If the drive doesn’t slide into the slot easily, don’t overdo it. Align it and install.

Once the bracket is in place, take the screw you removed from the insert, align it with the notch on the end of the drive, and press down to seat it against the insert. It is necessary to turn the screw a few turns, without tightening it too much.

Replace the metal cover and screw it on, then put the plastic cover back on. When you turn on the console, you will be prompted to format the drive, which you need to do.

After that, we can say that the expansion of the storage of your game console is completed and you can start downloading games to it. Regular built-in storage may remain the highest priority. There should be stored the games that you run most often.


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