The storage space that comes with the PS5 is only 825GB. Many players feel that it is not enough. After installing a few games, it will be overwhelmed. In desperation, it is extremely inconvenient to delete the less played games. The latest firmware of PS5 has finally added the long-awaited M.2 SSD support. Users can buy a fast enough SSD and insert it into the specially reserved M.2 SSD slot in the fuselage to expand the built-in storage space for the PS5. The game content is stored in the SSD, and the game can be executed directly like a native SSD. This time we will demonstrate the process of installing SSD, and test whether installing the built-in SSD can improve the speed.
The key points you need to know when buying an SSD
The PS5 system upgrade this time supports M.2 SSD storage, which originally has certain restrictions and not all M.2 SSDs are available. The editor tried to install an older SSD into it, but an error screen appeared.
The original PS5 system has certain requirements for M.2 SSD storage:
1) M.2 SSD needs to be PCIe Gen4 or above
2) The capacity must be above 250GB and below 4TB
If the SSD you installed does not meet the requirements, it will not be able to be used on the PS5. You need to shut down immediately and remove the SSD that does not meet the specifications before the PS5 can be turned on.
▲When purchasing an SSD, identify it as an M.2 PCIe Gen4 product
PS5 M.2 SSD installation process
Before the PS5 can be connected to an external SSD storage device through the USB port of the body, but the biggest limitation is that the user can only back up game data to the SSD, and cannot directly execute the game on the external SSD. The M.2 SSD installation method introduced this time is to install the SSD in the special M.2 SSD slot inside the PS5 host. Users can directly install the game to the SSD this time, coexisting with the existing SSD in the machine.
Step 1 Prepare the screwdriver
We need a cross-head screwdriver to open the protective cover of the SSD slot and fix the SSD to the body. It is recommended to install in a slightly larger desktop space.
Step 2 Upgrade the firmware for the host
First, users must upgrade PS5 to the latest version. You can note that the host firmware version must be 21.02-04.00.00.42-00.00.00.0.1 or above. You can open the host “Settings” screen and enter the system update page to download and install the upgrade file.
The most visible feature after the upgrade is that the PS4/PS5 logo will appear on the main screen of the PS5 game, which makes it easier for you to identify the version of the game.
Step 3 Remove the protective cover
To open the M.2 SSD slot inside the machine, first you have to open the protective cover of the machine. We need to open the protective cover on the bottom of the fuselage (the side with the disc input port and the side without the PlayStation logo). This protective cover is a bit clean, the trick to removing it is to pull the protective cover down and out as much as possible.
When you remove the protective cover, you can look at the M.2 SSD slot next to the fan slot.
Step 4 Remove the protective cover of the SSD slot
Use a screwdriver to remove the protective cover of the SSD slot. After removing the screws, the entire cover will come out. You can clearly see the entire SSD slot, which is the same as the slot on the motherboard of the computer.
Step 5 Loosen the SSD fixing screws
There is a screw for fixing the SSD in the SSD slot, lift it out.
Step 6 Install M.2 SSD
Insert the SSD you prepared into the slot. It is not fixed on the slot itself. You must use the screws you just removed to secure the SSD to the slot.
▲After inserting the SSD, it will pop up
▲You have to fasten the screws so that the SSD will not pop up
Finally, put on the SSD slot protective cover and screw back; then “snap” the host protective cover to the host, and the installation process is complete.
Step 8 Format the SSD
Plug in the power and boot, the screen will show the instructions to format the SSD. Please follow the on-screen instructions to complete the formatting.
After formatting, the screen will display the SSD data reading speed for reference.
Step 9 Set the storage destination
After the installation is complete, open the “Settings” screen and enter the “Storage”, you can select the installation location as the host’s native SSD or the SSD storage space you have added. Then you can choose to install the CD-ROM game to the newly installed M.2 SSD, or download and install the PlayStation Store game to your newly installed M.2 SSD.
In the “Storage” screen of the setting screen, you can check the current available storage space of the M.2 SSD.
Move existing games to new SSD
Users can also transfer existing games on the PS5 native SSD to the newly installed M.2 SSD. The method is to open its menu on the game logo on the main screen and select “Mobile Games and Applications”.
In the game list, select the game you want to move, and then press the “Move” button at the bottom right corner of the screen. Then confirm.
Later, you can find out whether the game is currently stored in the PS5 native SSD or the newly installed M.2 SSD in the item of the game storage location information.
▲Pay attention to the “Installation Location” in the bottom column to understand where the game data is currently stored
SSD speed test
The editor tested 3 SSDs this time, all of which belong to Gen4 specifications and are all available on the market. The SSDs tested this time include:
XPG GAMMIX S70 BLADE M.2 2280 PCIe Gen4x4 SSD 1TB
WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD GAME DRIVE 1TB
AORUS Gen4 7000s 2TB SSD
In the test, we will try to start the game from the PS5 main screen, go through the main screen of the game, and read the progress until the player can start operating the required time for the character. Although shooting the “✕” button on the PS5 controller can do the above actions, it is inevitable that there will be operating errors. The following time values are for reference only.
▲ “Three Kingdoms Warriors 5” from the PS5 main screen to the speed of entering the game operation screen, the native SSD speed is 1:11.02
▲Storing the data in M.2 SSD, we found that the reading speed of the game is basically the same
Game reading test
|Model/Test game (from PS5 main screen to full game)||PS5 native SSD 825GB||XPG GAMMIX S70 BLADE M.2 2280 PCIe Gen4x4 SSD 1TB||WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD GAME DRIVE 1TB||AORUS Gen4 7000s 2TB SSD|
|“Three Kingdoms Warriors 5” (PS4 Disc Version)||1:11.02||1:10.64||1:09.76||1:09.71|
|Tsushima War Ghost (PS5 download version)||0:28:25||0:28.13||0:27.41||0:27.74|
|Final Fantasy VII REMAKE (PS5 download version)||0:10.43||0:10.10||0:10.09||0:10.16|
We found that in terms of numbers, the SSDs tested this time are slightly faster than the PS5 native SSDs, but the actual body feel is almost the same. This also means that the built-in SSD of PS5 is also quite fast, which can be said to be a serious mistake. Comparing the three SSDs tested this time, there is almost no difference in the reading speed of the game data that players desire the most. Of course, since the writing speed of each SSD is different, there will still be some slight differences in the speed required when installing the game, but to be honest, the action of installing the game will not have a significant impact on the overall game experience of the player.
In addition, when the SSD is formatted, the PS5 host will display the game reading speed test result of this M.2 SSD. The following are the test results of 3 SSDs, for reference only.
|model||Data reading speed (PS5 host internal test value)|
|XPG GAMMIX S70 BLADE M.2 2280 PCIe Gen4x4 SSD 1TB||6297.15MB/s|
|WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe SSD GAME DRIVE 1TB||6548.59MB/s|
|AORUS Gen4 7000s 2TB SSD||6540.564MB/s|
Summary: Buy an SSD to expand the capacity of PS5, choose Gen4 and it’s OK
This time I tested several SSDs and found that their speed is a little faster than native SSDs. Unless you even copy games into the SSD faster, you can buy Gen4 models with a read speed of 7000MB/s or above. In use, we can only select the game storage destination in the system menu, which is still more troublesome (it would be better if you can choose freely during installation). However, this time Sony has opened up the use of the M.2 SSD slot. The days of being stuck in the 825GB built-in capacity have passed, and it is still an exciting thing.