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Which internal M2 SSD and external hard drive to choose for the PS5?

Writer of content and reports on technology, sports, video games, and various fields.

Sony's PlayStation 5 is a great console, but it suffers from one major flaw: it only has 667GB of internal storage. It may seem like a lot, but at a time when most AAA titles easily exceed 100 GB, it is, therefore, difficult to have more than 4 or 5 games on your console. And juggling installations can quickly become tiresome, especially if your internet connection isn't fantastic.

FINALLY INTERNAL M2 SSDs FOR THE PS5!

The solution to this problem is therefore to increase the storage space, which was impossible when the console was released. After an initial update enabling USB external hard drives in April 2021, Sony has finally enabled the internal SSD slot with an update now available to everyone.

If the internal SSD can play all games, an external drive can only play PS4 titles and store PS5 games.

Please note that there is a list of conditions to be met for optimal operation:

  • NVME PCIe Gen4 4x SSD
  • capacity between 250 GB and 4 TB
  • minimum 5500 MB/s sequential read
  • mandatory heatsink with a maximum height of 8 mm

In practice, slower Gen4 drives work on current games, but nothing is guaranteed for future titles that will fully exploit the console's capabilities. This is why we only recommend discs according to the official specifications.

So we've chosen the best internal SSDs and the best external hard drives to store your games on your PS5.

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SAMSUNG 980 PRO: A SPEED AND AFFORDABLE SSD

The Samsung 980 Pro is one of our favorite SSDs for PCs and it's no surprise that it takes its place in this selection. Not only is it extremely fast, but it also offers one of the best prices per gigabyte on the market.

We also appreciate the 5-year warranty, even if it is unlikely that you will use it as Samsung SSDs are renowned for their reliability. A model with a heatsink exists but is charged 40 € more. We, therefore, recommend that you invest a few euros in a suitable heatsink and pay for a game with the money thus saved. If we highlight the 1 TB version here, it is also found in 2 TB.


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ADATA XPG GAMMIX S70 BLADE 1TB: STANDARD RADIATOR

You don't want to mount the heatsink on your SSD yourself? Many models with a radiator exist, but most of them are either too high or far too expensive. Adata's Gammix S70 Blade is one of the few exceptions to the rule.

Its flow rates are solid and it's very thin heatsink will pose no problem for installation in the console. On the other hand, it is more expensive than a model without a heatsink. If the difference is around ten euros for the 1 TB model, it goes up to 50 euros for the 2 TB model. Please note: a version without a heatsink is also marketed under the same name.

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SABRENT PS5 HEATSINK: THE BEST HEATSINK FOR PS5

Have you found a great promotion on an SSD, but the latter is not equipped with a heatsink? No worries, Sabrent is here for you! If SSD heatsinks are not new, the brand pushes the plug a little further here with this model which simply replaces the plastic hatch that covers the SSD.

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This not only provides a larger dissipation surface but also benefits from the ventilation of the console. So certainly at 25 €, the accessory is a bit expensive, but the game is worth the candle.

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SAMSUNG T5: THE GOOD COMPROMISE IN EXTERNAL SSD

The T5 is one of our favorite external SSDs for general use and its qualities make it a good option for PS5 use. Its first strong point is its extremely compact format which allows it to be easily forgotten.

Its raw performance is not monstrous (we barely exceed 400 MB / s in reading and writing), but it is more than enough for the use we make of it, especially given its price.

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SAMSUNG 870 QVO: A HOME EXTERNAL SSD

If the classic external SSDs are interesting, with their particularly compact format, they are however much more expensive than their desktop cousins ​​at equal capacity. However, external boxes make it possible to transform a 2.5″ disk into a USB disk very simply.

For those who are wondering: we have voluntarily excluded the use of an NVMe disk. Faster on paper, the latter brings in practice almost nothing to use and is much more expensive at equal capacity.

For this specific case, we chose a Samsung 870 QVO of 2 TB coupled to a USB box from Ugreen. The result is an external drive that is certainly a little bulkier than a Samsung T5, but just as efficient and nearly 20% cheaper. Do not hesitate to use another model of SSD if you want even more space or if you find an interesting promo. The performance will remain unchanged.

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TOSHIBA CANVIO BASICS: FOR SMALL BUDGETS

If you don't have a lot of money to spend and especially if you don't plan to play PS4 games directly on the external drive, you don't need to go broke. A standard platter hard drive will do just fine.

This Canvio Basics from Toshiba is a solid value in this area, with the good build quality and a reasonable cost per GB. Only small complaint: it uses a micro-USB 3.0 socket less practical than USB-C.

WHICH INTERNAL SSDS ARE COMPATIBLE WITH THE PS5?

Sony has published a series of criteria for compatible SSDs. We detail them here, but here is a short summary.

  • Interface: M.2 NVMe PCIe Gen4 x4 SSD
  • Capacity: 250 GB to 4 TB.
  • Cooling structure: The SSD must have a heatsink, whether it is original or not.
  • Sequential read speed: 5.5 GB/s minimum
  • Module width: 22 mm
  • Format: 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 and 22110 (M.2 type)
  • Total dimensions with heatsink: in millimeters: less than 110 mm (length) x 25 mm (width) x 11.25 mm (height).

WHAT CAN I STORE ON AN EXTERNAL PS5 DISK?

External supports come with constraints on the PS5. Indeed, some game features are dependent on the console's super-fast storage. It is thus impossible to play directly on a PS5 game installed on an external hard drive. It will therefore be necessary to copy it to the internal disk before playing.

PS4 titles, on the other hand, will be playable directly from an external drive, a particularly interesting point since the catalog of the previous generation represents a very large part of the games available at the moment.

IS THERE A LOSS OF PERFORMANCE WHEN PLAYING ON AN EXTERNAL DISK?

The answer to this question will depend on the type of disk used. In practice, however, loading times are almost unchanged if an external SSD is used. On a platter hard drive, on the other hand, loading times explode, increasing by 20 to 100% depending on the title.

SHOULD YOU CHOOSE AN SSD OR A PLATED DRIVE?

From a pure performance point of view, the question is quickly answered: SSDs are superior to conventional disks whether for copy times (for PS5 games) or loading times (for PS5 games). Their cost per gigabyte, on the other hand, is much higher.

WHAT DISCS ARE SUPPORTED?

In theory, all external USB drives are supported as long as they meet the connectivity and capacity criteria:

  • USB 5 Gbit/s support (USB 3.0/USB 3.1 Gen1/USB 3.2 Gen1)
  • the minimum capacity of 250 GB and a maximum of 8 TB

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