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The Best SSD For PS5 And How To Install It

The update PS5 owners were waiting for - the ability to upgrade the SSD storage. This guide takes you through an SSD upgrade from start to finish.

PS5 SSD Storage Expansion Article.

 

The PS5 ships with 667.2GB of actual usable space once you get it out of the box, and it doesn’t take a maths wizard to realise that with games such as CoD Warzone having such a large footprint, and CoD Vanguard coming in just shy of 100GB, it will not take long to fill your PS5 SSD storage. Also, consider that families have multiple gamers in the household, and kids get bored fast. Expect kids to have at least five games on their console at any one time, and actually play them all within a few days back-to-back. I’ve seen it happen. This leaves just a small slice of the SSD storage for Dad’s games. I may be lucky to carve out 200GB - 300GB for my own games. And I bought the console; go figure.

Why You Need PS5 Storage Expansion

You can store PS5 games on an external drive but can only play them by transferring them to the PlayStation 5’s internal SSD storage. This is a workaround that PC gamers are familiar with, using a SATA HDD to store bulky games, and dropping them on to an active SSD used just for OS and games.

The biggest kick in the teeth has been that PS4 gamers were able to play games direct from a HDD or external SSD, so expansion was so much easier on the previous generation. Sony have dropped the ball but have quickly realised that with the impending game release calendar of 2021 (after a less than favourable 2020 for publishers and developers), they had to pull their finger out with an upgrade for PS5 owners.

Sony published a post on their blog to let PS5 owners know that the time had come. They needn’t worry about the next AAA title not fitting on their SSD.

Once installed in the PS5 console, M.2 SSD storage can be used to download, copy, and launch PS5 and PS4 games, as well as media apps. This allows you to increase the storage space available to you on your PS5 console. You can freely move games between the PS5 console’s storage, a connected USB extended storage device and the added M.2 SSD storage

– Sony

If you are looking for PS5 SSD Storage expansion, here’s what you need to know about the process and which SSD is best for your PS5.

Sony PS5 Storage Expansion Requirements

Finding an SSD that is compatible with the PS5 is not as difficult as you might think, but there are some hoops to jump through to make sure you get everything right. You don’t have to remove the SSD you have onboard the PS5, either, and will simply be plugging in the new SSD in an expansion slot located just under the side panels of the console.

First, let’s look at what Sony need from you in terms of technical specification.

See below requirements for the expansion SSD:

Technical Requirements

 

Requirement Details
Interface PCI-Express Gen4x4 supported M.2 NVMe SSD (Key M)
Storage 250 GB - 4 TB
Supported sizes 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280, 22110
Size including heat-dissipation mechanism Width: up to 25 mm
Length: 30/40/60/80/110 mm
Thickness: up to 11.25 mm (up to 8.0 mm from above the board, up to 2.45 mm from below the board)
Sequential read speed 5,500MB/s or faster is recommended
Socket type Socket 3 (Key M)

 

Cooling Requirements

Expanding your PS5 storage with M.2 SSD requires effective thermal dissipation; a heatsink and heat transfer sheet is recommended for this. Most M.2 SSD allows you to make this upgrade yourself, and they are available in single-sided and double-sided formats. Some manufacturers provide built-in heatsinks for their M.2 SSD, too.

If you do not have much experience, opt for a single-sided format as they are easier to fit.

The Best SSD For PS5 In 2021

All prices correct as of 21st September 2021

Best PS5 Compatible SSDs With a Heatsink

Western Digital Black SN850 500GB M.2-2280 SSD – Under £110

 

Western Digital SN850 500GB M.2-2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD.

 

The WD_Black is one of the most recommended SSDs for the PS5, owing to the nod from Mark Cerny, who is a designer and programmer and part of the development team for the PS5.

Benchmarked and tested by many reviewers, the WD_Black SN850, but the most in depth (and PS5 specific) tests we found were from NASCompares, who found the SSD to perform very close to manufacturer specs. The WD Black SN850 SSD achieved 6,457MB/s Sequential Read on the PS5, and games loaded marginally faster using the SN850 over the internal PS5 storage.

The WD_Black is also available in 1TB and 2TB capacities, with optional heatsinks.

 

Specification Details
Read Speed Up to 7,000 MB/s
Write Speed Up to 4,100 MB/s
Data Storage Life Up to 300 TBW

 

Patriot Viper VP4100 1TB M.2-2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe – Under £175

 

Patriot Viper VP4100 1TB M.2-2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD.

 

An excellent brand, the Patriot Viper provides you with incredible dependability using Phison’s powerful E16 controller and 96-layer triple-level cell (TLC) NAND memory from Toshiba. Complete with heatsink, the Viper offers ease of installation, and scores very highly against its nearest competitors using the E16 controller.

CCL Price: £162.61

Gigabyte Aorus Gen4 1TB M.2-2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe – Under £160

 

Gigabyte Aorus Gen4 1TB M.2-2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD.

 

The Aorus is great looking, there’s no doubt there, but it won’t be on display inside your PS5 so that’s not really a feature we care about here! With the reliability you automatically assume with Gigabyte, and a great price point, the Aorus is available in 1TB and 2TB depending on your needs, and uses the same E16 controller and Toshiba BiCS4 NAND Flash.

CCL Price: £152.03

Best PS5 Compatible SSDs Without a Heatsink

Seagate FireCuda 530 500GB M.2-2280 SSD – BEST VALUE: Under £105

 

Seagate FireCuda 530 500GB M.2-2280 SSD.

 

Excellent value at £105, the FireCuda 500GB is well within most budgets. With a custom heatsink thanks to Seagate’s partnership with EKWB, their FireCuda 530 series benefits from impressive cooling from a high-grade aluminium block with a “finely textured anodized finish to help maximise cooling efficiency”.

The FireCuda offers enviable performance, rated 2x faster than PCIe Gen3 NVMe™ SSDs, and maximum sequential read speeds of up to 7,000 MB/s.

 

Specification Details
Read Speed Up to 7,000 MB/s
Write Speed Up to 3,000 MB/s
4K Random Read (AS SSD) Up to 400,000 IOPS
4K Random Write (AS SSD) Up to 700,000 IOPS

 

Seagate FireCuda 530 1TB M.2-2280 SSD

 

Seagate FireCuda 530 1TB M.2-2280 SSD.

 

The 1TB version of the FireCuda 530 offers the same reliability and excellent cooling, with an improvement in read/write speeds. The 1TB gets the full potential from the PCIe 4.0 x4 generation with maximum sequential read speeds of up to 7,300 MB/s.

 

Specification Details
Read Speed Up to 7,300 MB/s
Write Speed Up to 6,800 MB/s
4K Random Read (AS SSD) Up to 800,000 IOPS
4K Random Write (AS SSD) Up to 1,000,000 IOPS

 

Samsung 980 PRO 1TB M.2-2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD – Under £140

 

Samsung 980 PRO 1TB M.2-2280 PCIe 4.0 x4 NVMe SSD.

 

If you don’t mind purchasing an aftermarket heatsink, this Samsung SSD represents amazing value, backed by the excellent pedigree of one of the market leaders. You’ll be relying on Samsung's custom Elpis controller for PCIe 4.0 SSDs and the latest V-NAND and DRAM.

The Samsung 980 PRO has benchmarked sequential read and write speeds of ~7,000MB/s and 5,000MB/s respectively, and random read/write speeds of up to 1,000K IOPS. When compared to previous generation SSDs, the 980 PRO is around 2x as fast as PCIe 3.0 SSDs and 12.7x faster than SATA SSDs.

CCL Price: £139.95

Installing Your SSD Expansion

 

Installing Your SSD Expansion – inside the PS5 Case.

Image Courtesy of Sony

 

Before you start, there’s a few recommended things: -

  • Find a well-lit room and a flat (preferably soft) surface to work on, such as a table or desk with a foam desk mat
  • Use an anti-static band or similar to ensure you can work with the SSD safely
  • You’ll need a #1 Phillips screwdriver (cross-head)

Remember: Never power on the PS5 while the cover is off the case.

Watch this video from Sony regarding fitting your new SSD:

 

 

Summary

Fitting the SSD using Sony’s tutorial is not so difficult, and you can also cut down on the fiddly work by buying a PS5 compatible SSD that already has a heatsink fitted.

For performance and pricing, we recommend the Patriot Viper VP4100, which performs the best in most benchmark categories against the other SSDs. With the Sony PS5 putting a lot of reliance on the SSD, it makes sense to go with a drive that is dependable and has the performance a next-gen console demands.