Certain PlayStation 5 users can now install a fast internal M.2 NVMe SSD to add more storage for games and other files.
Sony recently announced it has enabled the feature for PlayStation beta users, with official support to be added in an upcoming system software update.
Many PlayStation fans were excited to see the console offered an internal M.2 slot in a detailed breakdown published by Sony before its release, indicating it could be upgraded with the same drives used in high-end PCs.
This is primarily because proprietary console storage drives like Microsoft’s Seagate Expansion Card for the Xbox Series X|S are often very expensive and offer little choice in terms of capacity.
Although the PS5 is advertised with 825GB of storage, its actual useable space is only around 667.2GB.
While this might be sufficient for a handful of games, new AAA titles can occupy between 150GB and 200GB, as higher-fidelity textures take up more space.
You can connect an external drive to the PS5, to which you can backup your games to clear up space without having to delete, redownload and reinstall them, but they can not be played until they are moved back to your internal storage.
Once installed in the PS5 console, M.2 SSD storage can be used to download, copy, and launch PS5 and backwards-compatible PS4 games, as well as media apps.
The image below shows the PS5’s SSD bay, which can be accessed by removing one of the side plates and taking out a single screw that holds down a small cover.
Sony provides a list of requirements for the SSD to be compatible with the PS5.
Firstly, it must support the PCIe Gen 4 x4 interface with a capacity ranging between 250GB and 4TB, and recommended a sequential read speed of 5,500MB/s or faster.
Supported form factors include M.2 type 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280, and 22110.
Sony also notes that the drive will need effective heat dissipation with a cooling structure, such as a heatsink.
This can either be single-sided, double-sided, or built-in, but must be within certain dimensions to fit in the bay.
If you have a supported drive and are currently a beta user, make sure you have installed the latest beta update.
Newcomers to the beta programme will have to register on this page using their PlayStation Network account and wait for an invite.
Admission is not guaranteed, however.
More detailed instructions on installing the drive, including safety precautions and dimensions for the drive and heatsink, are available on this support page.