After getting used to 1TB drives as standard in the PS4 Pro, Xbox One X and the upcoming Xbox Series X, the PS5 is downsizing to an unusual 825GB. It’s a weird number, one that doesn’t sound great to regular gamers. But don’t worry: you’ll be able to upgrade the storage later on, as long as you’re prepared to wait.
During the GDC-esque livestream early Thursday morning, chief PS5 architect Mark Cerny explained how Sony’s custom design for their SSD meant that 825GB was the ideal size. However, Sony understood that some gamers would want more storage than that, so similar to the PS4 and PS4 Pro, the company came up with a mechanism for upgradeable storage.
Right now, Sony is doing compatibility testing on a range of “certain M.2 SSDs” – that’s M.2 NVMe drives, to be clear – that people can buy off the shelf. But don’t buy one just yet. Not only does Sony need to ensure that the drives have enough bandwidth to account for the difference between their customised, proprietary SSD and a drive you could pick up online, but they also need to make sure the drives can physically fit in the space available.
“When games hit beta as they get ready for the PS5 launch at year end, we’ll also be doing some compatibility testing to make sure that the architecture of particular M.2 drives isn’t too foreign for the games to handle,” Cerny said. “Once we’ve done that compatibility testing, we should be able to start letting you know which drives will be able to physically fit, and which drive samples have benchmarked appropriately high in our testing.”
In other words: you’re not stuck to 825GB storage, as long as you don’t mind paying an extra few hundred bucks (because you’ll need a PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive, not the older PCIe 3.0 models). But you’ll have to wait until 2021 sometime until Sony has fully completed their compatibility and speed tests, after which point there’ll be a list of drives you can buy from. If you grab a NVMe drive now, you’ll run into two problems: it might not be fast enough, and it might not even fit, so don’t spend a dime on a spare PS5 drive just yet.
All those drives are likely to get more expensive between now and then, thanks to the current shocks running through the global supply chain. And the prices of those select drives will probably spike even further as manufacturers take advantage of the scarcity problem. But hey, at least you have the option, right?
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