Despite being a cutting-edge, next-gen console, the PlayStation 5’s lack of storage is a problem. If you’ve been lucky enough to own a PS5 since launch, then you’ll be well aware of the lack of available solutions at the time.
Things have gotten better, however. You can now transfer your game data to and from an external SSD, although you won’t be able to play PS5 games that are stored on this drive.
Another solution to the PS5’s storage woes is to install an NVMe M.2 SSD into the console. While you’ll have to install some beta firmware, an SSD is will give you more room for data and let you play games that are stored on the drive. 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.
If you’re looking to install an SSD into your PS5, here’s everything you need to know, along with a few suggestions for compatible drives.
This article has been retimed since its original publication.
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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 removable heatsinks won’t be compatible — not because they’re too high, but because the underside of their heatsinks is 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?
PCIe 4.0 NVMe drives have been on the market for a few years now. However, only a few 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. For example, some drives like the Corsair MP600 Pro are fast enough, but they won’t work unless you replace the cooler with something smaller.
Here are the best options right now:
Seagate FireCuda 530 SSD
Released last year, the Seagate 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, with transfer speeds of up to 7,300 MB/s.
Where to buy the Seagate FireCuda 530 SSD
- 500GB: Amazon Australia ($168.95) | The Good Guys ($249) | Mwave ($229)
- 1TB: Amazon Australia ($305.79) | Bing Lee ($389) | Mwave ($329)
- 2TB: Amazon Australia ($594.62) | Bing Lee ($749) | Mwave ($639)
WD Black SN850 SSD
Mark Cerny himself has already bought a WD Black 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 that the SN850 is compatible with the PS5, with reading and write speeds of 7,000MB/s and 4,100MB/s, respectively.
Where to buy the WD Black SN850 SSD
- 500GB: Amazon Australia ($163.51) | Mwave ($195)
- 1TB: Amazon Australia ($240.59) | Mwave ($299) | Scorptec ($354)
- 2TB: Amazon Australia ($441.16) | Mwave ($639) | Scorptec ($629)
Samsung Pro 980 SSD
Samsung’s 980 Pro NVMe drive is fast enough — 7,000 MB/s read, 5,000MB/s write — with the added bonus of being one of the cheaper options across storage sizes.
The heatsink only comes with the 1TB and 2TB version of the SSD, so you’ll need to install an aftermarket heatsink if you pick up the 500GB version.
Where to buy the Samsung Pro 980 SSD
- 500GB (No heatsink): Amazon Australia ($149) | Mwave ($149)
- 1TB: Mwave ($249) | PC Case Gear ($259) | Scorptec ($269)
- 2TB: Mwave ($449) | PC Case Gear ($459) | Scorptec ($499)
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 an 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 $33. Another option is the icepc M.2 graphene copper heatsink, which will cost around $25 from Amazon Australia.
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.