The PlayStation 5 is a great console offering a next-gen 4K gaming experience further enhanced by the impressive DualSense controllers, but let’s be honest, the 667.2GB of usable built-in storage isn’t enough for the majority of gamers - especially popular titles like Call of Duty: Warzone measuring in at 200GB. While the PS5 shipped with a spare internal SSD bay, it wasn’t possible to use it - until now.

Sony has finally released the PS5 update that gamers have waited for since release in late 2020; the ability to upgrade the PlayStation 5’s internal SSD storage. But in stark contrast to the near-universal compatibility offered by external USB drives, the PS5 will only work with certain M.2 SSDs. 

We explain how to find a compatible SSD for the PS5, and take you through the process step-by-step, right here. 

Which SSD do I need to upgrade my PS5 storage?

This is quite an important question, as Sony has strict requirements for the M.2 SSDs that can be used within a PS5 - likely down to the lightning-fast read/write speeds required to power next-gen gameplay, and the relatively small upgrade slot available on the console. You might find that other M.2 SSDs fit into the slot, but the PS5 won’t format the SSD when booted. 

If you’re on the hunt for an SSD, you’ll need to make sure it checks all the following boxes:

Interface

PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD

Capacity

250GB - 4TB

Cooling

Effective heatsink or other cooling structure required. You can buy M.2 SSDs with built-in heatsinks, or you can install one in either single- or double-sided format. 

Read speed

Minimum 5,500MB/s

Module width

22mm width (no support for 25mm)

Form factor

M.2 type 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 and 22110

Socket type

Socket 3 (Key M)

Total size (including cooling structure)

110mm (L) x 25mm (W) x 11.25mm (H) or smaller

We’ll be using the WD Black SN850 with heatsink for our tutorial, which hits all the requirements outlined by Sony. The WD Black SN850 with heatsink starts at £120.99/$139.99 with 500GB of storage, and it’s available from Western Digital alongside third-party retailers like Amazon if you want to pick one up and follow along. 

What you’ll need

  • Well-lit table space
  • PlayStation 5 running the latest software
  • A compatible M.2 SSD
  • A Philips or cross-head screwdriver

Opening your PS5

The first step is to fully power down your PS5, as simply pulling out the cable while it’s on or in rest mode could corrupt gameplay data or cause more serious issues. You can do this by going to the Power menu and selecting shut down, or you can hold the console’s power button for three seconds. 

Once the console has completely powered down (and not in rest mode, indicated via orange LEDs) remove every cable and any connected external hard drives. If you’ve been using the PS5 prior to the upgrade, it might be worth letting it sit and cool for a while before removing the faceplate. 

If your console is cool, you’re ready to remove the faceplate and get stuck into the guts of the PS5. Lay the console flat on its side on a sturdy surface, with the disc drive positioned on the top-right of the console. If you’ve got the PS5 Digital, rest the console on its side so the PS logo is facing down. 

To remove the faceplate, place your left hand on the top-left edge of the cover, and your right hand on the bottom-right. Gently lift the cover with your right hand and slide the cover off with your left thumb. You might hear a click, but this only indicates that the faceplate has been detached and is ready to lift away. 

Installing the SSD

Now you’ve removed the faceplate, it’s time to access the SSD expansion slot, hidden behind a long rectangular metal cover that sits just below the fan on the bottom-left. To remove the plate, simply loosen the screw on the left of the plate and lift it away. 

Inside the SSD expansion slot, you’ll find a screw and a spacer. Reposition the spacer so it’ll fit with the length of your M.2 SSD, and make sure it’s in place before you carry on with the installation. Keep the screw handy, as you’ll need that in a minute. 

To install your SSD, make sure it’s aligned with the notches of the expansion connector on the right and insert it fully - you should hear a click to indicate that it’s securely in place. Be extra careful with this step, as inserting it incorrectly could permanently damage both the SSD and your PS5. 

Using the screw originally in the expansion slot, fasten down the M.2 SSD so it’s fully secure. 

Once in place, you can re-attach the metal plate used to conceal the expansion slot, securing it with a screw. 

Closing your PS5

Now you’ve installed the SSD, it’s time to re-attach the faceplate and get everything reconnected and ready for formatting.

To put the cover back onto your PS5, position it slightly away from the top-edge of the console, and slide it down into place. A loud click, similar to that when you removed the faceplate, will let you know that the plate is properly secured. 

Once that’s done, it’s just a matter of putting your PS5 back in its rightful home, reattaching the stand and reconnecting the various cables. 

Formatting the SSD

The final step is to format the SSD, and thankfully, it’s an easy process. All you’ve got to do is power on your PS5 and follow the on-screen steps, selecting ‘Reformat M.2 SSD’ to initiate the formatting process.

Once the formatting process is complete - and it shouldn’t take more than a few seconds - your console will benchmark the SSD to verify it’s fast enough for use on the console, and it’ll then be ready for storing your favourite PS5 titles. 

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