How to find the best M.2 SSD to expand PS5 storage

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Good news for gamers who are reaching the storage limits of their PlayStation 5 — it is now easier to add additional storage. That’s right, the PS5’s additional internal M.2 SSD slot is now open for business. Previously, this SSD option was only available to those with the beta version of Sony’s PlayStation operating system. This is no longer the case, as long as you have a compatible player.

Before that, and before the beta, you could always add an external drive for PS4 games, but only play PS4 games from it. You can store PS5 games on a portable SSD, but not play them.

Read more: PS5 review: Exclusive games power Sony’s space-age console

However, it’s pretty hard to find super fast M.2 drives right now, especially ones with an integrated heatsink. This is necessary to prevent overheating, so if your SSD doesn’t have one you’ll need to add it manually, and we’ve made some suggestions below.

Sony has listed some specific guidelines as to what disc types the PS5 supports, but no specific model recommendations. However, based on the published specs, the SSD drive options listed below should all work. We are currently testing some of them, including the 4TB Seagate FireCuda 530, which we installed in this handy feature. So when looking for the best M.2 SSD for your PS5, you’ll want to keep this in mind.

Joe Kaminski/CNET

Samsung’s high-end M.2 drive was a logical first choice for many PS5 modders… but the original version didn’t include a built-in heatsink, which was necessary for operation. Of course, you can buy a separate one and attach it, but that’s a few extra steps.

Fortunately, this excellent Samsung SSD, the 980 Pro, is now available with an integrated heat sink, making it an all-in-one package. There are two current configurations, a 1TB model and a 2TB model, with the price roughly doubling for the larger model.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

I recently got my hands on a chunky 4TB Seagate FireCuda 530, which includes an integrated heatsink, a requirement for an internal PS5 drive. The 1TB version usually costs around $250, while this 4TB version costs over $900. Note that due to its popularity, this particular Seagate FireCuda drive has often been out of stock, so grab one when you can.

After installing and configuring the drive, I tried transferring a few games from the default drive to my new SSD. Call of Duty, which is nearly 200GB, transferred in about 2 minutes and 30 seconds. Back, about 50 GB, transferred in about 40 seconds.

Samsung

This is the original version of the Samsung 980 Pro 1TB drive which requires a separate heatsink. If you have one and can attach it, it’s a cheaper and easy to find option. In fact, the price of this model has even dropped a few dollars recently.

The benefit of adding an internal M.2 drive to your PS5 is that you can both store and play native PS5 games from it. Conventional external hard drives can store PS5 games, but not play them (but can both store and play PS4 games).

Amazon

Besides the Samsung and Seagate versions, this Western Digital drive is probably the most popular M.2 choice for the PS5. It also includes the necessary built-in heatsink, which I frankly recommend as a much easier way to upgrade your console storage.

The WD Black comes in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB sizes, although I can’t see going all the effort to open the PS5 and install them for just 500GB of extra space, especially with some games reaching almost 100 GB in size. 1TB seems like the best value for money, as the 2TB drive costs more than the PS5 itself.

Amazon

If you’re going the route of adding your own heatsink, this is one of the most popular parts for PS5 owners. Gamers have reported that it fits perfectly in the PS5’s M.2 slot, especially when paired with the Samsung 980 SSD.

To attach a heatsink like this, you usually need thermal tape to connect the heatsink to the drive. In this case, there is an included thermal pad that glues the two parts together. This is important because without the right kind of thermal management, the M.2 drive could get too hot in the tightly constricted PS5 internal drive slot.


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