The PlayStation 5 has a Storage Problem – Here’s the Best Current Solution

Jon Bitner
·7 min read

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PlayStation 5 is an incredible next-gen gaming console, but its limited storage capacity is already giving players a rough time. Both versions of the system come with 825GB of internal space, but you’ll only have access to 667GB – the remainder is required for built-in software. Games today often consume nearly 100GB of free space, so you’re bound to run into storage issues by the time you try installing your seventh or eighth game.

Thankfully, PlayStation 5 is compatible with numerous external drives, giving you a variety of options when it comes to storage expansion. However, not all products are the same – hard drives offer a cheap solution at the expense of speed, while solid-state drives offer lightning-fast load times but carry a steep price tag.

If you’re looking to upgrade the available storage on your PlayStation 5, here’s everything you need to know.

Official Internal Storage Expansion Expected Later This Year

  • Pros: Official support from Sony, closest performance to internal storage

  • Cons: Details yet to be announced, might require some technical know-how

At an unannounced time in the future, Sony will be rolling out official support for internal storage expansion. This means you’ll be able to crack open your PlayStation 5 and install certain drives that meet the strict requirements of Sony. It also means you’ll need to be confident in your technical abilities, as you’ll be removing the PlayStation 5’s faceplate and installing the expansion on your own.

The good news is, if it’s anything like the PS4, you should be able to do it yourself with a screwdriver and a little patience. Plus, we’re sure the internet will be flooded with helpful guides as soon as its a viable option. It’s a small hurdle for upgradeable internal storage that runs almost identical to the original 667GB – something you can’t do on the Xbox Series X.

We’re still waiting on the official word from Sony, but new reports suggest the feature will roll out this summer and support M.2 solid-state drives. These offer speeds nearly identical to the native drives found inside PS5 and should provide you with an excellent, alternative storage option.

USB Solid-State Drives – The Fastest Option

WD_BLACK P50 1TB External USB 3.2
WD_BLACK P50 1TB External USB 3.2
  • Pros: Fast load times

  • Cons: Expensive, can’t store PS5 games

Solid-state drives are quickly becoming the de facto storage solution for gaming. These offer lightning-fast loading speeds to rival the internal storage on PS5. Despite their speed, however, external solid-state drives can’t run PlayStation 5 games. Instead, you’ll only be able to run backward compatible PS4 games from the drive.

Sony might issue a future update that provides access to PS5 games on external drives, but for now, they’re still a great option for storing your old library of PS4 titles. This will then free up all 667GB of internal storage for PS5 games.

Unless you’re really pressed for space, however, we’d recommend waiting to upgrade until Sony makes any official announcements. Solid-state drives aren’t cheap, and since you can’t yet store PS5 games on any of them, your money might be better served on an internal expansion – if you’re willing to wait.

Need to upgrade now? There are plenty of great solid-state drives on the market, although these are some of our favorites:

USB Hard Drives – The Cheapest Option

WD 4TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive, Black - WDBPKJ0040BBK-WESN
WD 4TB My Passport Portable External Hard Drive, Black - WDBPKJ0040BBK-WESN
  • Pros: Cheap price tag

  • Cons: Slow loading times, can’t store PS5 games

External hard drives load considerably slower than their solid-state counterparts, but they come with a much more appealing price tag. This makes them an excellent choice for housing a massive library of games without breaking your budget.

In fact, if you happen to be using an external hard drive with your old PlayStation 4 or Xbox One, odds are good that it’s compatible with your new PlayStation 5.

While external hard drives aren’t the fastest choice, they’re actually the more enticing product right now because of their low asking price. Sony is bound to announce its official internal storage solution in the coming months, so purchasing an expensive external drive might not be the best idea. Instead, opt for the cheap hard drive with loads of space – and save that extra money for an internal SSD when Sony updates PS5.

Most hard drives on the market today are compatible with PS5, but these are long-standing favorites in the gaming community:

*With promo code: EMCDPGE29

Sony’s Guidelines for External Storage

Sony offers a few official guidelines when choosing a compatible external drive. If none of the above products caught your eye, make sure your prospective drive checks all these boxes:

  • SuperSpeed USB 5Gbps or later.

  • 250 GB minimum, 8 TB maximum capacity.

  • An extended storage drive cannot be used through a USB hub.

It’s worth pointing out that most external drives should work with PS5, but not everything on the market is supported. Typically, well-known products from reputable manufacturers have no problem connecting to the console, while obscure Amazon purchases might leave you out in the cold.

To learn more about Sony’s requirements – and for a detailed walkthrough of setting up your new drive – refer to the official PlayStation website.

Tips and Tricks to Maximize Your PS5 Storage Space

ps5 controller
Credit: iStock.com/Girts Ragelis

While PS5 doesn’t give you a lot of internal storage to play around with, there are a few ways you can make the most of the limited space. Here are a few tips to help organize your library and keep your drive uncluttered:

  • Store PS4 titles on external drives. Since PlayStation 5 titles can’t be stored on external drives, make sure you’re not clogging up internal storage space with old PlayStation 4 games.

  • Pick the right-sized drive. External storage drives need to be at least 250GB, but no larger than 8TB – otherwise you might run into some compatibility issues with PS5.

  • Keep an HDD and SSD around. Although PlayStation 5 cannot read two external drives at once, you’re free to swap them out as often as needed. We’d recommend storing demanding titles on a solid-state drive to take advantage of its faster speeds, while older, less-demanding ones can be kept on your external hard drive.

  • Be sure to update your games frequently. Developers are realizing next-gen space is at a premium, and some are issuing updates that radically reduce file size.

  • Regularly delete old games you no longer play – you might be surprised how much space these neglected titles are consuming. Since PS5 lets you download games while you’re away from the console, you don’t have to worry about lengthy install times if you decide you want to jump back into a title you previously deleted.

  • If you’re not cramped for space right now, we’d recommend waiting to hear more about Sony’s official internal storage options. We’re hopeful an announcement will arrive this summer, so keep your eyes peeled for details. If you truly need the space today, opt for a cheap hard drive – then use that extra money to buy an internal drive when available.

More to consider:

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