The PlayStation 5 is particularly elusive, but once you manage to get your hands on one, you’ll be burning to play as many next-gen games as you can grab. But nobody wants to be stuck choosing this over that, deciding which paltry few games you can manage to fit on the PS5’s limited prebuilt storage. Fortunately, you won’t have to since Sony has unlocked the PS5’s extra internal storage drive slot. It wasn’t available when the PS5 launched, but now you can access that extra space to beef up your console’s current storage capacity. Just grab the best M.2 SSD for your gaming needs. Once you snag a compatible drive, you’ll experience all 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.
Samsung’s high-end M.2 drive was a logical first choice for a lot of PS5 modders… but the original version didn’t include a built-in heatsink, which is required for operation. Sure, you could buy a separate one and attach it, but that’s a few extra steps.
Conveniently, this excellent Samsung 980 Pro SSD is now available with a heatsink, which makes it an all-in-one package. There are two current configurations, a 1TB model and a 2TB model, with the price roughly doubling for the larger model.
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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.
You’re receiving price alerts for Seagate FireCuda 530 (Heatsink, 500GB)
Corsair recently announced this PS5-compatible M.2 drive. This particular SSD comes with a heat sync. We’re currently testing the 2TB version and will update this soon with more details from our hands-on testing. A 1TB drive sells for $145, while the 2TB is $290.
Normally I’d stick with M.2 drives with built-in heat sinks, so make the entire upgrade process easier. But I’ll make an exception for this PNY XLR8 drive, because PNY also makes a separate PS5 SSD cover panel, complete with built-in head sink.
Just slot the slim M.2 drive in the slot, then screw the new cover panel over it and you’re all set. The 1TB drive is around $140 right now, and the cover is an extra $20. We’ve tested the drive and added its transfer time scores to the chart below.
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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.
Besides the Samsung and Seagate versions, this Western Digital drive is probably the most popular M.2 choice for the PS5. It also includes the needed heatsink built in, which I frankly recommend as a much easier way to get your console storage upgraded.
The WD Black comes in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB sizes, although I can’t see going through all the effort required to open the PS5 and install these for a mere 500GB of extra space, especially with some games getting close to 100GB in size. 1TB seems like the best bang for your buck, as the 2TB drive costs more than the PS5 itself.
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This is the original Samsung 980 Pro 1TB drive that needs a separate heatsink. If you’ve got one and can attach it, it’s a less expensive option and easy to find. In fact, the price on this model has even dropped by a few dollars.
The advantage of adding an M.2 internal drive to your PS5 is that you can both store and play PS5-native games from it. Regular external hard drives can store PS5 games, but not play them. (Both store and play PS4 games.)
If you’re going down the add-your-own-heatsink route, this is one of the most popular parts for PS5 owners. Gamers have reported that it’s a perfect fit for the PS5’s M.2 slot, especially when paired with the Samsung 980 SSD.
To attach a heatsink like this, you usually need some thermal tape to connect the heatsink to the drive. In this case, there’s an included thermal pad that sticks the two parts together. That’s important because without the right kind of thermal management, the M.2 drive could get too hot in the tightly constricted PS5 internal drive slot.
We update this list regularly, and below are answers to some of the most common PS5 M.2 SSD questions.
Does my M.2 drive need a heat sink?
Yes. Sony requires a heat sink (basically a chunk of metal) to dissipate heat and prevent the drive from overheating. Some M.2 drives include a built-in heat sink, others need to attach manually via tape or adhesive.
What games will run from a PS5 M.2 drive?
Unlike an external drive connected via USB-C, an internal M.2 drive can both store and run PS5 and PS4/PS Plus games. An external drive can store both, but only play PS4/older games.
How we test PS5 M.2 drives
To test these M.2 SSD drives for the very specific purpose of storing and playing PS5 games, our primary concern is data transfer speed. All the drives compatible with the PS5 will play and load games seamlessly. The only time you’re likely to notice the drive in action is when transferring full games either to or from it.
To test the speed of these drives, we downloaded specific games onto the PS5 internal drive, then transferred those games to the newly installed M.2 drive. Then we transferred the same games back to the internal SSD. The games we use for this test are Final Fantasy VII Remake, at 81GB; and Spider-Man: Miles Morales, at 39GB. We used a stopwatch to time the transfers and listed each result in the chart above.