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PlayStation5: Internal Storage Expansion Finally Coming
Sony prepares for PS5's system software 2.0 launch, here’s what it will offer to consumers
It’s no secret that the PlayStation5 lacked a few key features when it launched worldwide last November, but it was one in particular that gamers have been complaining about the most: the option to expand its storage space. Sure, PS4 games can always be played directly off an external HDD or SSD, but PS5 games can only be installed in the system’s internal SSD which offers “just” around 650 GB. It was OK at first - there were not too many PS5 games that required a lot of storage space - but as months went by it became clear that Sony would have to keep its promise soon and “unlock” the M.2 SSD internal storage slot it built into the PS5, so consumers can have as many new games as they like installed at any given time.
This is exactly what Sony is preparing to do. The PS5 system software 2.0 update - currently offered in beta form to players in the US, Canada, Japan, UK, Germany and France - will become publicly available at some point over the next two months and its main feature is none other than the activation of said internal storage slot. The company also published the first support page about the subject because, well, things do not seem to be as straightforward as just dropping in any old M.2 SSD model out there, like it is on the PC.
The fine details of the compatibility requirements Sony has set - as well as the whole process of the upgrade and management of these internal SSDs - probably deserve an explanatory article all on their own, so here’s the gist: the PS5 needs M.2 SSDs that are of a certain speed or better, are of certain physical dimensions and are accompanied by a heatsink. These are all required in order for these M.2 SSDs to at least match the data transfer speed of the internal SSD of the PS5, to fit in the expansion bay comfortably and to not take a performance hit (get throttled) while handling intense workloads.
All three requirements in tandem render the current list of M.2 SSDs that work with the PS5 quite short. These are the only 6 models confirmed to make the cut so far, all of them of the M.2 NVME 4.0 variety: Seagate FireCuda 530 (heatsink version), Western Digital Black SN850 (heatsink version), Gigabyte Aorus NVMe Gen 4 7000S, Patriot Viper VP4300, Samsung 980 Pro (requires a heatsink) and Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus (requires a heatsink). Digital Foundry has published a more detailed report on this, as well as direct Amazon links to models of 1TB for all of the above.
It’s fair to say that these M.2 SSDs are not exactly cheap, but most of them are in the same ballpark with the proprietary storage expansion card of the same capacity (1TB) that Microsoft is offering for the Xbox Series S|X at the moment. In time competition among the various SSD manufacturers will drive prices down while, for those that can afford larger sizes, some of the aforementioned models are already offered in capacities of 2TB or even 4TB. Microsoft is expected to lower the price of its own storage expansion cards at some point, of course, but as these are only manufactured by Seagate it will take more time to happen. Sony will probably be having an advantage in that respect by the end of the year, provided that more M.2 SSDs are confirmed to be compatible with the PS5 in the meantime.
The PS5 system software 2.0 update will offer a few other features too. It will introduce, for instance, 3D audio support for built-in TV speakers using the DualSense controller to measure the acoustics of a room. The Control Center interface will be offering more personalization options and PS5 users will be able to view or write messages to friends/parties from the Game Base. The Friends tab is also being updated with better management options and the ability to see how many friends are online. Sony will also be taking care of a nagging issue with the PS4 or PS5 versions of games: different versions will now appear separately in the home screen or game library and each game’s title will be clearly labeled for PS4 or PS5. A noteworthy update then, so all we need now is a release date!