Hard drives and your PS5 – 11 things you should know

The PS5’s standard hard drive can seem like quite a limiting factor given the size of modern games. For that reason, it is often that people want to increase its capacity or use an external hard drive for additional storage to save on having to download a game every time you want to play it. Well, this is possible and in this article, we explore the options available to you and the different ways you can upgrade the stock PS5 storage.

You cant install just any hard drive like on your PC, there are strict requirements for both internal and external hard drives as the PS5 hardware runs at very high specifications.

1. What hard drive does the PS5 come with?

The PS5 comes with an 875GB solid-state drive as standard, although you only have access to 667GB for game storage due to the OS of the console taking up space. This is somewhat limiting considering the bigger games come as 100GB these days, meaning you could only store as many as 6. This is why Playstation recommends buying an external drive to store the game data which you can copy across to the internal drive when you want to play the game. This is faster than downloading but still not optimal. Instead, you can upgrade the internal hard drive to one as big as 4TB giving you ample space to store all of your games and data.

2. What type of hard drive can I use in PS5?

The internal hard drive of the PS5 is an M.2 NVMe Solid State Drive. That said you cannot use just any old M.2 drive, The logic board of the PS5 is very high spec and has top-of-the-line read speeds and the hard drive you use with it has to match those specs. However, there are options available, and choosing the right one with a decent amount of storage can greatly increase the number of games available to you on demand.

Any new hard drive you buy for your PS5 will have to meet the following specs.

InterfacePCI-Express Gen4x4 supported M.2 NVMe SSD (Key M)
Storage250 GB – 4 TB
Supported sizes2230, 2242, 2260, 2280, 22110
Size including heat-dissipation mechanismWidth: up to 25 mm
Length: 30/40/60/80/110 mm
Thickness: up to 11.25 mm (up to 8.0 mm from above the board, up to 2.45 mm from below the board)
Sequential read speed5,500MB/s or faster is recommended
Socket typeSocket 3 (Key M)

In addition to these specs, you will need to use a heat sink for the SSD to keep up with the demands of the console. Some hard drives come with a heatsink built-in.

For additional information on how to fit the hard drive check out the PlayStation website for detailed instructions.

3. What hard drive will work in a PS5?

All of the major manufacturers produce an M.2 SSD that will work inside the PS5. So there are options, but with that said one of the best options out there, is the WD_BLACK SN850 NVMe™ SSD. This thing is a beast and is specced to work within the PS5 with the built-in heatsink. We recommend buying from the WD website where there are continuous deals that can be, in combination with a coupon, one of the most cost-effective places to get the SN850. Check out the WD store’s gaming section for the latest deals!

4. Can I use 3.5″ drive in PS5

You cannot use a 3.5″ hard drive as an internal hard drive with the PS5. You can use an external 3.5″ hard drive so long as it meets the minimum requirements laid out by PlayStation which is that it is USB 3.0 or higher. And even then the speed at which it can operate will determine whether the hard drive is usable as an extended hard drive or a mass/backup storage drive. Extended drives can be used to play PS4 games as well as store game data for both PS4 and PS5 games but they cannot run PS5 games.

5. Will the external PS4 drive work on PS5?

Any external hard drive that is compatible with a PS4 will work with a PS5 as an extended drive – NOTE – you won’t be able to run PS5 games from any external hard drive. That said you simply have to plug it into the PS5 and the console will do the rest. From there you can select an option to automatically install any PS4 games directly to the external drive. However, if there is a game you play regularly you will see much better loading times by installing it directly to the PS5 internal storage.

6. Can I use SSD on PS5?

You can use an SSD drive both internally and externally on the PS5. Internal drives have to be M.2 NVMe drives and need to meet the requirements listed above in #2. External SSDs need to use USB 3.0 or higher and cannot be used to run PS5 games. It is worth noting that newer SSD drives have had some compatibility issues with the PS5 because of newer driver firmware. If you have trouble running a new SSD try updating the PS5 to the latest firmware. And continue to test it after new firmware updates.

7. Can I use an external drive on PS5?

Yes, you can, You can use any external hard drive with varying degrees of success. Ensure you are using the latest firmware on your PS5 to make sure that newer hard drives with newer drives are compatible. Note that PS4 games will be playable from hard drives that use USB 3.0 or higher. Slower hard drives won’t work. And PS5 games are only playable from the internal hard drive of the PS5, Therefor it is advisable to store the game data on the PS5 and to copy it across when you want to play it. This is faster than re-downloading it.

8. Where is the hard drive on PS5

The SSD on the hard drive is located in the expansion slot inside the PS5 casing. You can access it by the following steps…

  1. Disconect all cables. Ensure PS5 is power off.
  2. Remove the stand.
  3. lay the PS5 on its side with the CD drive facing up and way from you.
  4. Holding the opposite corner of the paneling to the CD drive, pinch it, lift slightly and slide it downwards to remove the panel.
  5. Once open there you will need a screwdriver to remove screw (A) and open the expansion slot, and you will have access to the hard drive.
  6. To remove the hard drive unscrew it and tilt it at a slight angle and pull it out of the casing.
  7. To install a new hard drive move the spacer (C) and screw (B) to the correct hole depending on the sixe of the new hard drive.
  8. Push the hard drive into the slot and fasten down using the (C) spacer and (B) screw.
  9. Place the expansion slot cover back into place and fasten with screw (A)
  10. Slide the cover back on by doing the reverse of step 4.
Step 3
Step 5
Step 7

9. Do I need to format a new Hard drive for PS5?

Yes, all hard drives that have not already been formatted by a PlayStation should be formatted. This should be done by the PlayStation itself to ensure that the correct filesystem is used and works seamlessly with the console. If the console doesn’t recognize it, try using your computer to format the drive to NTFS on windows or APFS on mac first then plugging it back into the console and then formating again using the console. This is because some hard drives ship with unrecognizable file systems or even no files systems that the PS5 can load.

10. Can I use 2 external drives on PS5?

You cannot use two external drives on the PS5 at the same time. External drives can only be used one at a time and drives that have network connection capabilities (more than one USB connection) are not compatible. Not all hard drives are compatible and you will require USB 3.0 or higher.

11. Can I use a wireless hard drive on PS5?

The PS5 does not support wireless hard drives. This is because of the risk of file corruption due to interrupted read or write cycles and unreliable speeds. The minimum requirement of the PS5 for external hard drives is a USB 3.0 connection.

Bonus – How many hard drives can a PS5 have?

You can use the internal hard drive as well as 1 external hard drive on the PS5 at any given time. Bare in mind that you can only play PS5 games from the internal hard drive, while an external hard drive can run PS4 games. You can however have multiple external hard drives that store your game data, they will just need to be swapped to access different games at different times.