As of September 2021, Sony has finally added the ability to install your own SSD to expand the storage of your PS5. This was previously only possible with a beta firmware, released in July, when Sony also confirmed the strict requirements for PS5 SSDs. Before this, only external drives could be used on the PS5, and these were limited to playing last-gen games. Now, it's easy to add gigabytes or even terabytes of storage for PS5 games in just a few minutes - and this article shows you how.
This explainer is necessary because, unlike Microsoft, Sony isn't making its own official drives in a unique form factor. Instead, standard PC NVMe SSD drives from a wide range of manufacturers will work - as long as the drive is fast enough and physically fits inside the PS5. This should make upgrading your storage cheaper in the long run, but the requirements are a little complicated - so we've prepared this blog to recommend the best SSDs for the PS5. We've also covered the best PS5-compatible heatsinks, dug into the requirements in more detail and answered your questions - all accessible via the quick links below.
- PS5 SSD requirements
- Best PS5 SSDs
- Compatible heatsinks for PS5 SSDs
- Best external SSD for PS4 games
- Frequently asked questions
Before we get into the PS5 SSD recommendations, let's take a look at the requirements. First of all, only the fastest solid state drives are officially recommended: NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSDs with a sequential read speed of 5500MB/s or faster. (Drives this fast have only been available since last autumn.) These drives use a compact M.2 form factor and measure 22mm across, and can be anywhere from 30mm to 110mm long (most consumer drives are 80mm long, a form factor also known as 2280). So far, all pretty straightforward - but the tricky part is yet to come.
The most onerous requirement is that your PS5 SSD needs to have a heatsink or some other cooling apparatus, which needs to fit inside the shallow slot Sony has provided for internal expansion. The combined drive and heatsink need to be 11.25mm (0.442") or shorter, which rules out some drives that come with non-removable heatsinks that are taller than this. There are even specific requirements about where that height can be - there's 2.45mm of space below the SSD for the heatsink and 8 millimetres above, so heatsinks with thick bottoms (!) may not work even if their total height is within spec.
That means you'll need to either buy a drive with a short heatsink already installed - like the WD SN850 ($250/£218) or Seagate FireCuda 530 ($255/£220) - or buy a drive without a heatsink then add one yourself, before installing the newly upgraded drive into the PS5.
These drives are expensive, normally retailing north of $200/£200 for a 1TB model, but unfortunately that's not unusual for a drive of this calibre- and demand may well see these prices trend higher for a short while as everyone rushes out to upgrade their PS5. We have a full list of recommended drives and heatsinks below, but first let's look at Sony's requirements in full.
PS5 SSD requirements
|Interface||PCIe Gen 4.0 (x4) M.2 NVMe SSD|
|Capacity||250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB or 4TB|
|Heatsink||Required - either built-in or added yourself|
|Sequential reads||5500MB/s recommended|
|Form factor||2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 or 22110|
|Total size w/ heatsink||110 x 25 x 11.25 millimetres
4.33 x 0.984 x 0.442 inches
|Heatsink max height (below SSD)||2.45 millimetres
|Heatsink max height (above SSD)||8 millimetres
That's pretty much everything of note, but you can have a look at Sony's complete requirements here, which also include some guidance on the installation procedure. For what it's worth, I installed a couple of drives to check they'd physically fit, and the process is very straightforward - take off the PS5's shell, unscrew the drive cover, remove the drive screw and spacer, put the spacer in the position marked 2280, insert the drive, screw it in through the spacer, then replace the drive cover and shell. All told, it'll probably take most newcomers only a few minutes to complete, so don't be too worried about it!
Best PS5 SSDs
As you can see from the table above, there are quite a few requirements, particularly around the heatsink size, but there are a good selection of compatible drives available right now. We're still testing new drives and heatsinks as they become available, but we've already tested and confirmed that the drives below work perfectly with the PS5 and meet the company's listed requirements:
- Adata XPG S70 Blade (w/ heatsink) - £144 (w/ 18% discount)/$149 for 1TB
- Crucial P5 Plus (3rd-party heatsink recommended) - £158/$170
- Samsung 980 Pro (3rd-party heatsink recommended) - $180/£140 for 1TB
- Gigabyte Aorus NVMe Gen 4 7000S (w/ heatsink) - $189/£184 for 1TB
- WD Black SN850 (heatsink version available) - $250/£208 for 1TB
- Patriot Viper VP4300 (w/ heatsink) - $225/£210 for 1TB
- Sabrent Rocket 4+ (3rd-party heatsink recommended) - $179/£169 for 1TB
- Corsair MP600 Pro (3rd-party heatsink recommended) - $199/£185 for 1TB
- Inland Performance Plus (3rd-party heatsink recommended) - $189 for 1TB
- MSI Spatium M480 (w/ heatsink) - £165 for 1TB.
- Seagate FireCuda 530 (heatsink version available) - $255/£220 for 1TB
- PNY XLR8 CS3040 (3rd-party heatsink recommended) - £176/$145 for 1TB
- PNY XLR8 CS3140 (3rd-party heatsink recommended) - £197/$180 for 1TB
- Teamgroup Cardea A440 (w/ heatsink) - £184/$148 for 1TB
Note that the Aorus NVMe drive is listed as being 11.4mm tall, just above the 11.25mm maximum height, but I tested the same heatsink with a drive inserted and it fits just fine and doesn't prevent the drive cover from being installed. It's possible that Sony's threshold is a bit conservative, as we haven't noticed any issues whatsoever in testing the most demanding PS5 titles.
We'll add more drives to this list as we find them, so stay tuned! If we've missed one, let me know on Twitter - @wsjudd.
Compatible heatsinks for PS5 SSDs
Here are some standalone NVMe SSD heatsinks that meet the height requirements for the PS5. We've tested and confirmed the ones below work, but many others should also be fine as long as they are physically small enough!
- EK M.2 heatsink (Overclockers UK)
- QIVYNSRY M.2 heatsink (Amazon UK)
- Eluteng M.2 heatsink (Amazon UK)
- Glotrends M.2 heatsink (Amazon UK)
Some manufacturers like Sabrent have even begun work on heatsinks specifically for PS5 that replace Sony's SSD cover. You can see how that works in this YouTube video. We'll update this article once this heatsink is available, as it does look very clean once installed, but any of the examples listed above will do just fine too.
What's the best external SSD for playing PS4 games on PS5?
If you fancy an external SSD to play PS4 games, whether on PS5 or PS4, we have some thoughts on the matter.
See our full best portable SSD recommendations here for our pick of the fastest drives - or our best external drives for PS4 article here, if you'd like recommendations for slower but cheaper external hard drives as well.
We've also included quick "where to buy" links for the US and UK below if your adblocker is disabled (thanks!). Remember that these drives do work great on PS5, but you're only able to run PS4 games from external drives, even external SSDs like these.
Frequently asked questions
Is a heatsink really needed?
Only long-term testing will reveal the answer for sure, but Sony's recommendation is that you use a heatsink to ensure consistent performance. We've used SSDs in the PS5 for a few weeks now without a heatsink and didn't notice any issues, so you could always get the drive first and buy a heatsink later if you notice any stutters or slowdowns in your games. Generally, hot SSDs will just run slower, not die outright, so you shouldn't worry about it too much. That said, as heatsinks can be found for as little as £5 to £10, getting one is a relatively small extra on top of a relatively expensive high-spec drive. Personally, I'd get it just to be on the safe side.
Does [some SSD] work with the PS5?
If it meets the specifications and physically fits in the SSD slot, there's no reason why not. Remember that most drives don't come with the slim heatsinks that are required here, so you may need to ignore drives with tall pre-installed heatsinks or add a heatsink to drives that don't come with one. If you do find a drive that looks like it meets the specs, let me know in the comments or on Twitter (@wsjudd) and I'll update the article accordingly.
Does the console come with the standoff and screw?
Yes, the standoff and screw are pre-installed to suit the largest drive size the PS5 supports (22110). You'll probably need to move this to the area marked '2280', as this matches the vast majority of consumer NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSDs. The screw unscrews (surprise, surprise) and the spacer can just be picked up and dropped into place once the screw is out.
Can I leave the cover off to fit taller drives and heatsinks?
Technically, yes, but the metal cover wouldn't exist if it didn't serve a purpose. Whether that's aiding thermal transfer of heat away from the drive, preventing ingress of dust or moisture or a combination, it's best to keep this cover in place if at all possible. It's also quite a thin cover, so removing it wouldn't massively expand the number of drives that would fit.
We hope this article was useful!
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