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Best SSD for PS5 2021 • Eurogamer.net

Months after the launch of the PS5, Sony has finally confirmed the requirements for PS5 SSDs. This means, once a future software update has been released, you’ll be able to install your own drive into the PS5’s internal expansion slot and vastly increase the amount of space available for PS5 games. Previously, only external drives were supported on the console, so this is a big step forward – and a long-awaited feature for owners with a large collection of PS5 titles.

Unlike Microsoft, Sony isn’t making its own official drives in a unique form factor; instead, standard PC NVMe SSD drives from a wide range of manufacturers will work – as long as the drive is fast enough and physically fits inside the PS5. This should make upgrading your storage cheaper in the long run, and you may even already have a drive in your PC that’s compatible. Unfortunately, the requirements are a little complicated, so we’ve prepared this blog to explain those requirements and recommend the best SSDs that work in your PS5.

Update (3/8): Added more compatible SSDs, including Crucial’s new great value P5 Plus.

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Before we get into the PS5 SSD recommendations, let’s take a look at the requirements. First of all, only the fastest solid state drives are officially recommended: NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSDs with a sequential read speed of 5500MB/s or faster. (Drives this fast have only been available since last autumn.) These drives use a compact M.2 form factor and measure 22mm across, and can be anywhere from 30mm to 110mm long (most consumer drives are 80mm long, a form factor also known as 2280). So far, all pretty straightforward – but the tricky part is yet to come.

The most onerous requirement is that your PS5 SSD needs to have a heatsink or some other cooling apparatus, which needs to fit inside the shallow slot Sony has provided for internal expansion. The combined drive and heatsink need to be 11.25mm (0.442″) or shorter, which rules out some drives that come with non-removable heatsinks that are taller than this. There are even specific requirements about where that height can be – there’s 2.45mm of space below the SSD for the heatsink and 8 millimetres above, so heatsinks with thick bottoms (!) may not work even if their total height is within spec.

That means you’ll need to either buy a drive with a short heatsink already installed – like the WD SN850 ($250/£218) or Seagate FireCuda 530 ($255/£220) – or buy a drive without a heatsink then add one yourself, before installing the newly upgraded drive into the PS5.

These drives are expensive, normally retailing north of $200/£200 for a 1TB model, but unfortunately that’s not unusual for a drive of this calibre- and demand may well see these prices trend higher for a short while as everyone rushes out to upgrade their PS5. We have a full list of recommended drives and heatsinks below, but first let’s look at Sony’s requirements in full.

PS5 SSD requirements

InterfacePCIe Gen 4.0 (x4) M.2 NVMe SSD
Capacity250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB or 4TB
HeatsinkRequired – either built-in or added yourself
Sequential reads5500MB/s recommended
Form factor2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 or 22110
Total size w/ heatsink110 x 25 x 11.25 millimetres
4.33 x 0.984 x 0.442 inches
Heatsink max height (below SSD)2.45 millimetres
0.096 inches
Heatsink max height (above SSD)8 millimetres
0.314 inches
ps5_ssd_expansion_slot

That’s pretty much everything of note, but you can have a look at Sony’s complete requirements here, which also include some guidance on the installation procedure. For what it’s worth, I installed a couple of drives to check they’d physically fit, and the process is very straightforward – take off the PS5’s shell, unscrew the drive cover, remove the drive screw and spacer, put the spacer in the position marked 2280, insert the drive, screw it in through the spacer, then replace the drive cover and shell. All told, it’ll probably take most newcomers only a few minutes to complete, so don’t be too worried about it!

Best PS5 SSDs

firecuda

As you can see from the table above, there are quite a few requirements, particularly around the heatsink size, but there should be a good selection of compatible drives available very soon. We’re still contacting drive makers to confirm which drives will 100% be compatible and we’re looking forward to testing out the new functionality ourselves, but for now here are drives that meet Sony’s listed requirements:

  • Seagate FireCuda 530 (heatsink version available) – $255/£220 for 1TB
  • Western Digital Black SN850 (heatsink version available) – $250/£218 for 1TB
  • Crucial P5 Plus (heatsink required) – £156
  • Gigabyte Aorus NVMe Gen 4 7000S – $199/£188 for 1TB
  • Patriot Viper VP4300 – $225/£210 for 1TB
  • Samsung 980 Pro (requires additional heatsink) – $199/£178 for 1TB
  • Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus (requires additional heatsink) – $199/£199 for 1TB
  • Corsair MP600 Pro (requires shorter heatsink) – $199/£185 for 1TB
  • Inland Performance Plus (requires shorter heatsink) – $189 for 1TB
  • Adata XPG S70 Blade (new version with shorter heatsink) – £192/$149 for 1TB
  • MSI Spatium M480 – no retailer listings yet.

Note that the Aorus NVMe drive is listed as being 11.4mm tall, just above the 11.25mm maximum height, but I tested the same heatsink with a drive inserted and it seems to fit OK, not preventing the drive cover from being installed. It’s possible that Sony’s threshold is a bit conservative, or that a small air buffer is needed for the drive to be cooled adequately. We’re leaving it on our list of recommendations for now, and we aim to test this as soon as possible.

Similarly, the Corsair MP600 Pro is fast enough to work, but comes with a 15mm heatsink – thankfully, this is easily removable and can be replaced with a shorter alternative for a minimal expense (less than £10/$10), see below.

We’ll add more drives to this list as we find them, so stay tuned! If we’ve missed one, let me know on Twitter – @wsjudd.

Compatible heatsinks for PS5 SSDs

Here are some standalone NVMe SSD heatsinks that should meet the height requirements if the information provided by the makers is accurate – we’ve ordered a number of these for final confirmation!

Watch the latest episode of DF Weekly, where Digital Foundry staff discuss the hottest topics in gaming technology.

What’s the best external SSD for playing PS4 games on PS5?

If you fancy an external SSD to play PS4 games, whether on PS5 or PS4, we have some thoughts on the matter.

See our full best portable SSD recommendations here for our pick of the fastest drives – or our best external drives for PS4 article here, if you’d like recommendations for slower but cheaper external hard drives as well.

We’ve also included quick “where to buy” links for the US and UK below if your adblocker is disabled (thanks!). Remember that these drives do work great on PS5, but you’re only able to run PS4 games from external drives, even external SSDs like these.

Frequently asked questions

Does [some SSD] work with the PS5?

If it meets the specifications and physically fits in the SSD slot, there’s no reason why not. Remember that most drives don’t come with the slim heatsinks that are required here, so you may need to ignore drives with tall pre-installed heatsinks or add a heatsink to drives that don’t come with one. If you do find a drive that looks like it meets the specs, let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@wsjudd) and I’ll update the article accordingly.

Does the console come with the standoff and screw?

Yes, the standoff and screw are pre-installed to suit the largest drive size the PS5 supports (22110). You’ll probably need to move this to the area marked ‘2280’, as this matches the vast majority of consumer NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSDs. The screw unscrews (surprise, surprise) and the spacer can just be picked up and dropped into place once the screw is out.

Can I leave the cover off to fit taller drives and heatsinks?

Technically, yes, but the metal cover wouldn’t exist if it didn’t serve a purpose. Whether that’s aiding thermal transfer of heat away from the drive, preventing ingress of dust or moisture or a combination, it’s best to keep this cover in place if at all possible. It’s also quite a thin cover, so removing it wouldn’t massively expand the number of drives that would fit.

We hope this article was useful!


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Eurogamer is a British video game journalism website owned by Gamer Network, both formed alongside each other in 1999. Its editor is Oli Welsh.

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