Essential PS5 SSD tips for getting optimal performance out of your console upgrade

Get the most out of your expansion slot PS5 SSD

PS5 SSD Sony PlayStation 5
(Image credit: Future)

Congratulations! You're one of the lucky people who have managed to get their hands on a Sony PlayStation 5. (If you've haven't yet managed to, check out our PS5 restock checker.)

The latest and greatest console from Sony is an incredible piece of kit, taking gaming to the next level while keeping true to what makes a great PlayStation. 

In our PlayStation 5 review, we found it was basically faultless: a bold redesign, powerful internals, excellent DualSense controller, backwards compatibility, the list goes on.

One key area where the PS5 can do better, however, is storage. Sony only gives you around 667GB of usable storage, which might be fine for most (or those who don't mind deleting and reinstalling games) but will stifle anyone with a big catalogue.

PC games have been able to add SSDs for years and the same goes for the PS5 and PS4 before it, with a range of custom SSDs cropping up to help.

Today, we thought we'd run you through some essential things to consider when upgrading your PS5's built-in storage with one of the best PS5 SSDs. Let's dive in. 

Find a good quality PS5-compatible SSD


(Image credit: Samsung | Seagate | Gigabyte | WD)

It might seem obvious but choosing the right SSD is essential – starting with one that is compatible and ideally built for the PS5. 

Luckily, we've already done the work to find the best PS5 SSDs. The main thing to know is that you can't just buy any old SSD (sadly), you'll need to find one that matches certain criteria. 

These are: PCIe Gen4 interface; 250GB to 4TB capacity; 5,500MB/s read speed or faster; 22mm wide; and heatsink required (included or third-party). 

Don't worry, though, because lots of companies sell SSDs that are specifically marketed as being PS5-compatible and you can pretty much rely on these matching (or even exceeding) the criteria. 

Our top pick is the Samsung 980 Pro 1TB, an excellent and super fast SSD that only needs a heatsink added. Amazon and other retailers usually have some pretty good deals going, too.

Want to know how to install a PS5 SSD? Then check out T3's PS5 SSD installation video.

Ensure you cool your SSD upgrade properly

PS5 DualSense controller with PS5 logo

(Image credit: SOPA Images / Getty Images)

The second thing to consider is keeping your brand new swanky SSD cool. As we mentioned above, you'll need a heatsink (either internal or external) for a compatible SSD.

While this might sound like a bit of a faff, it's really important for a smooth and safe experience and shouldn't be overlooked. Your SSD getting hot will degrade performance, making gaming worse. 

Some SSD options, like the WD Black SN850 1TB, even come with a built-in heatsink, so go with one of these if you don't feel like getting a third-party model. 

Install flagship PS5 games on the expansion bay SSD

Horizon Forbidden West Aloy stares at a Tallneck

(Image credit: Sony / Guerrilla Games)

Install flagship PS5 games on the expansion bay PS5 SSD as they'll likely load a bit faster (if you bought one of the best PS5 SSDs of course), while keeping your internal drive for last-gen / remasters. 

While it might take a little bit of extra work to get everything sorted, it's well worth it in the long-run, especially if you plan on having loads of games installed at once. 

Most third-party drives record slightly higher read/write speeds over the PS5's stock SSD, even though that internal one is rapid to start with. Who doesn't want extra loading speed or performance?

The Seagate FireCuda 530 1TB, for example, is the fastest SSD on our list with an incredible 7,300 MB/s read speeds. And it comes with a heatsink!

Downgrade your video captures

Gran Turismo 7 running on a PS5 SSD

(Image credit: sony)

Unless you're a Twitch streamer, you don't really need to record your exploits in 4K – 1080p will do just fine. Downgrading your video captures is a very easy way to save space when you're feeling nostalgic about that boss fight that took 500 attempts. 

Another good idea is to regularly tidy up and export any good video content onto another drive, freeing up your SSD for the important stuff: games. 

Of course, you could always go wild and get a 4TB SSD. Food for thought. 


PS5 disc digital headphone controller

(Image credit: Sony)

So there it is: some quick essential tips for making sure that you get the right SSD, install and maintain it correctly, and get to keep as many games as you want at once. 

Once again, check out our detailed PS5 SSD installation guide video to make sure you don't accidentally bork your brand new (and very precious) console. 

Max Slater-Robins

Max Slater-Robins has written for T3 now on and off for over half a decade, with him fitting in serious study at university in between. Max is a tech expert and as such you'll find his words throughout, appearing in everything from reviews and features, to news and deals. Max is specifically a veteran when it comes round to deal hunting, with him seeing out multiple Black Friday campaigns to date.