When the PlayStation 5 launched, a common complaint from users was the relatively small storage space. The PS5 comes with 825 GB of storage, of which only 667 GB is usable. Back in April of this year, a new update rolled out that allowed external USB hard drives to be used with your PS5. However, this only allowed you to store your PS5 games on an external hard drive. If you wanted to play them, you had to move them over to the PS5’s internal storage.
Now, PS5 software beta users can upgrade the storage on their PS5 consoles with a M.2 SSD storage device. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of this new storage option for PS5 owners.
What is an M.2 SSD and what are its benefits?
When it comes to storage, M.2 SSDs are one of the most revolutionary advances in computer technology in the past 10 years. Not only are these storage devices for computers but also for video game consoles like the PlayStation 5. In a nutshell, M.2 SSDs are a high-speed solid state drive that you can install in your PS5 to upgrade the storage capacity.
There are several advantages that M.2 SSD storage devices have over other forms or extended storage such as USB external hard drives. This biggest advantage is speed and as a result, M.2 SSD storage devices allow you to download, copy and run both PS5 and PS4 games. Whereas USB external hard drives only allow you to run PS4 games and store PS5 games. For more information on M.2 SSD storage devices, check out Brad Moon’s article titled Everything you need to know about M.2 storage for your PC.
Can I install a M.2 SSD into my PlayStation 5?
Presently, in order to install a M.2 SSD storage device you must be registered and part of the PS5 software beta program. A special beta system software by Sony is provided to users of this program and has to be installed on your PS5. If you try installing one of these storage devices on your PS5 without the beta software, the system will not recognize the device and you could potentially damage your console.
Which M.2 SSD storage devices are compatible with PS5?
It’s important to know that there are specific requirements for M.2 SSD storage devices for PS5 consoles. You cannot use any M.2 SSD off the shelf and install into your PS5. You’ll need to use a M.2 SSD storage device that meets the following requirements:
- Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD
- Capacity: 250GB – 4TB
- Cooling structure: Using an M.2 SSD with your PS5 console requires effective heat dissipation with a cooling structure, such as a heatsink. You can attach one to your M.2 SSD yourself, either in a single-sided format, or double-sided format. There are also M.2 SSDs that have cooling structures (such as heatsinks) built in.
- Sequential read speed: 5,500MB/s or faster is recommended
- Module width: 22mm width (25mm width is not supported)
- Form Factor: M.2 type 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 and 22110.
- These numbers can be found on retail listings for M.2 SSD devices. The first two digits refer to the width, the remaining digits to the length.
- Socket type: Socket 3 (Key M)
- Total size including cooling structure: In millimeters: smaller than 110mm (L) x 25mm (W) x 11.25mm (H). In inches: smaller than 4.33in (L) x 0.984 in (W) x 0.442in (H).
Length, width and height requirements
The following lengths are compatible with PS5 consoles: 30mm, 42mm, 60mm, 80mm, 110mm. A 22mm-wide module is required. The total structure (including an added cooling structure) cannot exceed 25mm (0.984in). The total height of the storage device and its cooling structure (such as a heatsink) – whether built-in or separate – must be less than 11.25mm (0.442in).
The height must also be in the right place, in relation to the M.2 SSD’s circuit board:
- The size below the board must be less than 2.45mm (0.096in).
- The total size above the board must be less than 8mm (0.314in).
It is important to note that millimeter measurements are the technical standard and are more precise than inches. It is highly recommended to double-check that the total dimensions of a M.2 SSD and heatsink you’re considering meet the millimeter requirements.
Additional requirements and specifications
As you can see, there are many considerations that you must take into account when choosing a compatible M.2 SSD. Further requirements include:
- Both single-sided and double-sided M.2 SSD devices are supported.
- M.2 SATA SSDs aren’t supported.
- Not all games are necessarily playable with the exact same performance provided by the PS5’s internal Ultra-High Speed SSD. This is even true where the storage device’s sequential read speed is faster than 5500MB/s.
- The majority of storage devices with the type numbers (M Key Type 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 and 22110) and without a built-in cooling structure will fit the PS5 console’s SSD slot. However, sizes for cooling structures (like heatsinks) vary greatly.
Compatible M.2 SSD storage devices available at Best Buy Canada
As you can see, there is a very long list of requirements and specifications. To help you out, Best Buy Canada has a webpage of PS5 compatible M.2 SSD storage devices.
You can purchase any of these storage devices and know that they are compatible with your PS5. Remember, if you purchase a storage device that does not have a heat sink installed, you will need to install a compatible heatsink yourself. My personal choice of M.2 SSD to use in your PS5 is the WD_BLACK SN850 (Lead designer of the PlayStation 5 Mark Cerny recently commented that he is using this exact drive in his PS5 at home to upgrade storage.). Another great selection to add 1TB of storage with blistering fast transfer speeds is the Seagate Firecuda 530 with Heatsink. But as I stated above, if those two sell out, Best Buy has many more great M.2 options available online.