Today, in a new post on the PlayStation website, Sony detailed how to expand SSD storage space for the PlayStation 5. The process is, at least to those who don’t have existing experience with this kind of stuff, potentially a head-spinner.
Sony first confirmed storage expansion for the PS5 back in November, and noted that it would use an M.2 solid state drive (SSD). There’s also the wrinkle that PS5 games need to run on an SSD; a mere hard drive simply isn’t technologically cut out to run next-gen games. Though it’s possible to store and play PS4 games from an external drive, for months, PS5 users have had to work with 667.2GB of storage capacity for PS5 games. (Despite an 825GB listing on the tin, some space on the system is occupied by the operating system, essential files, and a frustratingly baffling “other” field that swells without explanation.)
For now, the ability to expand a PS5’s SSD will roll out in a system update provided to so-called beta users. (For the uninitiated, here’s how to get into that program.)
First, there are some pre-requisites as to what drives you can and cannot store. You’re limited in capacity, and can choose something that sports between 250GB and 4TB of storage. The read speed needs to be at least 5,500mb per second. The module itself has to be one of five specific dimensions in length—30mm, 42mm, 60mm, 80mm, 110mm—and 22mm wide. (Sony says a 25mm drive is not supported by the PS5.) You’ll also need one with this interface: “PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD.”
Then you’ll need a heatsink, provided the drive you get doesn’t have one built in. Here’s an image—which looks like it was lifted directly from a government-issued regulatory guidebook, the most famously user-friendly type of text—detailing the recommended dimensions for a double-sided one:
And then—yes, there’s more—you’ll need to partially dismantle your console by taking off the external plates, unscrewing the expansion slot cover, carefully screwing in your SSD, adjusting the spacer within, and then reinstalling the cover and plates with some added room, of which Sony recommends about 2cm. Sony detailed this in a series of IKEA pamphlet illustrations.
Of note: Before you do any of this, you’ll want to make sure your PS5 is fully up to date. You can double-check that by heading to the “System Software” submenu under the “System” menu in your console’s settings. The “console information” option should tell you whether or not you’re on the latest version—which, again, will roll out to beta users only. After you’ve successfully installed your SSD, you should see a new field in the storage-focused areas of your PS5’s operating system indicating options for an “M.2 SSD.”
On Xbox Series X/S, to expand your SSD capacity, you plug a $219 proprietary 1TB expansion card into a slot on the console.