While you’ll have to install some beta firmware, the update means PS5 owners finally have a solution to a lack of space. With many games hitting or surpassing the 100GB mark, and the PS5’s “Other” section taking up more space than most games, an NVMe upgrade is well overdue.
Sony’s Mark Cerny was clear from the outset that PCIe 4.0 NVMe drives would be the only ones capable of supporting the next-gen console’s speeds. But the latest restrictions also mean a lot of existing PCIe 4.0 drives with heatsinks won’t fit in the console.
This article has been retimed since its original publication.
What are the requirements for NVMe SSDs with the PS5?
Here’s the full list of requirements any NVMe SSD needs to meet to be compatible with the PS5:
Sequential read speed: minimum 5500MB/s recommended
Form factor: 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 or 22110
Size with heatsink: 110 x 25 x 11.25 mm
Heatsink size below SSD: 2.45mm
Heatsink size above SSD: 8mm
The above/below sizes matter because some NVMe drives with removeable heatsinks won’t be compatible — not because they’re too high, but because the underside of their heatsinks are too thick. And ideally, you want to have a heatsink if possible: thermal throttling can massively reduce the performance of your NVMe drive. That’s the case on PC, and it applies just as much to your PS5 too.
What NVMe SSDs are compatible with the PS5 so far?
PCIe 4.0 NVMe drives have been on the market for over a year. At the time of writing, however, only two drives have got the official seal of approval — although it’s possible many others will work if you’re prepared to go through the effort of installing an aftermarket cooler to the NVMe drive. (Some drives like the Corsair MP600 Pro are fast enough, but they won’t work unless you replace the cooler with something smaller.)
Here’s the best options right now:
Announced for Australia last week, the FireCuda 530 comes in two variants: one with a heatsink and one without. Seagate has confirmed the heatsink is slim enough to fit with Sony’s guidelines.
It’ll be available later this month from Shopping Express, Scorptec and Mwave. The 500GB model will be priced at $239, while the 1TB, 2TB and 4TB models will cost you $399, $819 and $1499 respectively.
If you’d rather get the version without a heatsink — and install your own afterwards — it’ll cost you $199/$349/$729/$1429 for the 500GB/1TB/2TB/4TB.
Mark Cerny himself has already bought a SN850 with the heatsink. The SN850 has been a popular NVMe drive in Australia, with the heatsinkless version frequently going on sale over the last year. Western Digital has already publicly confirmed the SN850 is compatible,
MWave has the best prices on the SN850 with a heatsink so far — most retailers in Australia are only selling the heatsinkless version. It’ll cost you $215 for the 500GB model, $366 for the 1TB stick and $766 for a 2TB drive. Only the 500GB model is in stock right now, however.
Samsung’s 980 Pro NVMe drive is fast enough — but as you can see, it doesn’t ship with a heatsink. The advantage here is that the 980 Pro is cheap enough that the cost of an aftermarket heatsink will still be cheaper than some of the other drives.
What aftermarket coolers are compatible with the PS5?
This is a case where you’ll want to do a bit of math and double check the height and width of everything. Remember, the entire NVMe drive has to fit within 110mm x 25mm x 11.25mm, which includes the cooling unit. So if you’ve got a NVMe drive like the 980 Pro which is 80.3mm x 22.6mm x 0.23mm, you need to make sure the cooler fits within that range.
One heatsink that will fit — using the rubber bands or screws — is the ELUTENG M.2 2280 heatsink, which will set you back around $37. Another option is the icepc M.2 graphene copper heatsink, which will cost $23 from Amazon after shipping.
A lot of heatsinks right now aren’t really built for the small PS5 enclosure. Expect this list to grow massively over the next year, though. Heatsinks aren’t hard to install, whether you’re using screws or heat-resistant rubber bands like the one above. Components manufacturers are likely to offer plenty of variety to capitalise on the need for PS5 storage, which should keep the price of officially branded PS5 compatible NVMe drives down too.