Sony released Beta 2.0 last week for the PS5, and with this update came support for unlocking the internal SSD bay. This is awesome for those wanting to expand the internal storage from the 670GB available to store those PS5 games on. I was lucky enough to jump on the beta on Friday and bought a few SSDs to test out over the weekend.

I’ll cover the specs required, the drives I’ve used, with and without a heatsink, how much they cost and the installation process for both options.

Depending on the drive you go for, it’ll take between 5 and 15 minutes to do from start to finish. Yes it’s not as easy as plugging an external USB drive in, but it’s really straightforward and you’ll have no issues.

Beta

Let me start by saying that the beta I’m on here is 2.0, and although the drives I’ve tested work fine, please remember this is a beta and there’s no guarantees which will work in the future.

Here’s the version I’m on, and this is the current storage I’ve got. There’s the internal drive and I have an external SSD plugged in for my PS4 games.

 

NVMe Spec

In terms of the specs required, Sony has provided a list that the SSD needs to meet. It needs to be a Gen4 M.2 NVMe SSD, with a capacity between 250GB and 4TB and the read speed needs to be 5,500MB/s or faster.

Options

So looking around online there are at least 5-6 options available that will fit according to the dimensions of the drives. These include the Samsung 980 Pro, Seagate FireCuda 530 and the Western Digital Black SN850. Most of these drives are available with and without the heatsink.

I’ll show the two options I bought and how I installed them. Then you can decide whether it’s worth buying a heatsink separately to save some money, or spending more for a quick plug and play.

Removing the plates

The SSD slot that we’ll be using is under the rear plate, so you want to remove the plate that does not have the PS logo on it. The same side as the disc drive if you’ve got one.

Hold the top part and pull and lift at the same time, it’ll slide down. Then under it there’s this small metal plate. Just remove the single screw and you’ll see the bay here.

Let’s take a look at the drives I’ve tested out and how to fit them.

With Heatsink + Install

First up the Western Digital Black SN850 with a heatsink built in. For testing I’ve gone for a 500GB but you can get either a 500GB, 1 TB or 2 TB drive. I’ve put the prices on screen now, which are likely to change over the coming months as demand increases.

It meets all of the requirements set out by Sony, and within the last couple of days Western Digital themselves have confirmed it will work, although I’d already installed and used it before they announced this.

As it’s got the heatsink built in, it’s just a case of removing the tiny screw that’s here and slotting it in. Once it’s in just add the original screw and spacer, then refit the bay cover. This fits as expected with no issues so far.

But before I run through what it looks like on the PS5 menu and the new settings we get, let me show you the other SSD you can use.

Buy WD SN850 WITH Heatsink

 

Without Heatsink + Install

So this is also the Western Digital Black SN850 but this one does not come with a heatsink. Now technically this will fit into the PS5’s bay and it will work. However Sony recommends using a heatsink to prevent overheating, so with that in mind let me show you which heatsink I added and how easy it is.

These are the prices of the different sizes available without the heatsink, and the prices of a heatsink. I’ve gone for 2TB with this one.

The price difference between having a heatsink and not on the 2TB drive I have was about £100 at the time of ordering. And for £10 I can get a heatsink, so all in about a £90 saving for 5 minutes of work.

You can either screw the heatsink into place or use elastic bands, I’ve opted for using screws. Just add the pink thermal pad to the bottom plate, then the SSD drive, then the blue thermal pad followed by the top plate. Once done, screw the plates together making sure the SSD lines up so you can still screw it to the board later.

That’s it. Now we’ve got the same SSD setup as before but like for like, saved about £90.

Fitting it is the same as before. Line up the drive, plug it in and use the provided screw to secure it into place. Then replace the metal cover over the bay, which again fits perfectly here.

Once done we can now replace the PS5 rear plate, plug everything back in and turn it on. I’ll show you the messages you’ll get and the new settings we’ll see. Everything else I show is on both drives, they act exactly the same, it’s just the storage is different.

Buy WD SN850 WITHOUT Heatsink

 

Turning it on

The first time you turn it on we get this message which recognises the new drive and it needs formatting. Obviously we say yes to this, then it does a write test to check it’s compatible.

Now under the storage options we have the new drive, the M.2 SSD. And as you can see it shows the full capacity available.

The first thing I did was copied a few games over to the new SSD. This was pretty quick overall, I tested it on 3 games and it took about 30 seconds.

Any games you do copy over don’t show up any differently on the homescreen or in the game library. So if you have an external drive plugged in with games on, it shows that separately, but as expected the new SSD drive is still classed as console storage, so it shows up in the same place as before. Any games on this new drive are playable from it, you don’t need to move or copy it back to the console.

Another option is now available in the storage area, and that allows you to download and store future PS4 and PS5 games straight to the new drive. This option was there already for PS4 games if you had a USB drive plugged in. But now you can select the new drive for all games.

Testing

The next thing I tested out was the load times and just general playing of different games. Loading up Ratchet and Clank Rift Apart, I did a test with it loading from the menu into the game while it was on the console storage, then again on the new drive, and as you can see it made no difference at all.

I then played some other games including Cold War, WRC 9 and Spider-man. Again, everything I’ve played works as you’d expect, it’s as good as being on the internal drive.

Which one?

The ultimate question is which one would I recommend buying? Well if you want a quick plug-and-play drive I’d go for the one with a heatsink built in. It’ll cost you more overall, but if you’re worried about a 3rd party heatsink not fitting or worried you might mess it up, just get that one.

But if you’re happy to spend 5 minutes putting the cheaper option together, it will cost you less for the same result. I spent £360 on the 2TB drive with a 3rd party heatsink, but it would have cost me £450 for the one built in.

Final verdict, go for the cheapest option, then spend the savings on upgrading the storage size or some new games.

The PS5 M.2 NVMe SSDs mentioned today:

WD Black SN850 (with heatsink) – https://amzn.to/3CibW7u

WD Black SN850 (without heatsink) – https://amzn.to/3Ae9AoB

Samsung 980 Pro – https://amzn.to/2Vla5hL

Seagate FireCuda 530 – https://amzn.to/3CejCYq

Separate Heatsink – https://amzn.to/3A7fs2O

My Setup Tour – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cx6QjZGMIrE

Black PS5 Setup – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PqqGcSGNJa0