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Best M.2 SSD for Expanding PS5 Storage – CNET

Once you actually manage to snag your own PlayStation 5, which has been particularly elusive, you probably can’t wait to try your hand at as many next-gen games as possible. And nobody wants to be stuck having to pick and choose which paltry few games you can fit on the limited storage prebuilt into the PS5. Now, you won’t have to — Sony unlocked the PS5’s extra internal storage drive slot, which wasn’t available at launch. With that extra space, you can beef up your console’s current storage capacity. Just grab the best M.2 SSD for your gaming needs. As long as you have a compatible drive, you’ll experience the benefits of that extra storage boost.

Before the mass availability of solid-state drives, and before the beta, you could still add an external drive for PS4 games, but only play PS4 games from it. You could store PS5 games on a portable SSD, but you couldn’t play them. 

Read more: PS5 Review: Exclusive Games Power Sony’s Sky-High Space-Age Console

However, it can be hard to find a superfast M.2 drive right now, especially one with a built-in heatsink. That’s an essential feature to prevent overheating, so if your solid-state drive doesn’t have one, you’ll have to add it manually. We’ve made some suggestions below to help with that process.

We’ve tested several drives, including the 4TB Seagate FireCuda 530, which we installed in this how-to feature and you can find those transfer time results below. 

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Install an M.2 SSD in your PS5 with a heatsink upgrade


Dan Ackerman/CNET

I recently got my hands on a big 4TB Seagate FireCuda 530, which includes a built-in heatsink, a requirement for an internal PS5 drive. The 1TB version is usually around $250, while the 4TB version is upward of $900. Note that due to its popularity, this particular Seagate FireCuda drive has frequently been out of stock, so grab one when you can. 

After I installed and set up 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, 30 seconds. Returnal, around 50GB, transferred in about 40 seconds. 

This is the PNY heat sink and cover combo, which makes it easy to install an M.2 drive that doesn’t have its own heat sink. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The drives above have all been tested, and you’ll see there’s not a lot of difference in performance between them. The most notable thing is that writing to the M.2 drive is a lot faster than writing back to the internal PS5 drive. 

PS5 M.2 file transfer time (in min:sec)

Console to M.2 M.2 to Console
Seagate FireCuda 530 (4TB) 1:05 6:00
Samsung 980 Pro (1TB) 1:08 5:56
Corsair MP600 Pro LPX (2TB) 1:04 5:54
PNY XLR8 CS3140 (1TB) 1:16 6:11
Spider-Man: Miles Morales (39GB)
Seagate FireCuda 530 0:33 2:57
Samsung 980 Pro 0:31 2:53
Corsair MP600 Pro LPX 0:33 2:54
PNY XLR8 CS3140 (1TB) 0:40 2:53

Below are some additional drives and accessories that we have not tested yet, but should all work fine.