Right now if you are on the Sony PS5 system software beta program then you already have the ability to upgrade your PlayStation 5 console with extra storage (this feature is shortly coming to all consoles in the next system software update).
Upgrading is done by removing the front case plate on the PS5 console and accessing the NVMe SSD storage bay, which is hiding under a small metal plate (secured with one cross-head screw).
Once you've accessed this bay, which takes about 30 seconds, you can then simply plug in your compatible PS5 SSD, which is what this guide is designed to help gamers with – it's been made to help you find the best SSDs for PS5.
T3 has a step-by-step PS5 SSD installation video guide that takes you through these steps, so check it out. You can access the guide by following the link in this paragraph, or by scrolling to the bottom of this buying guide.
PS5 SSDs - key criteria
For an SSD to be PS5 compatible it needs to meet the following criteria:
PCIe Gen4 interface
250GB - 4TB capacity
5,500MB/s read speed or faster
Heatsink required (included or third party)
Each drive in this guide meets these criteria, making them upgrade ready.
However, and this is a big however, it isn't quite as simple as that. There's two big things that you need to factor in to any PlayStation 5 SSD purchase – the first is that the M.2 SSD you buy can't just be any model, it has to match certain criteria in terms of speed. You absolutely cannot just buy one of the best SSDs on the market and bang it in the console, as while that drive may be very good, it might not be fast enough to be PS5 compatible.
And, secondly, your SSD has to have a heatsink and that heatsink has to be compatible with the size limits of the NVMe SSD expansion bay in the PS5. If you buy an SSD and fit it in the PS5 without heatsink then it will overheat and the speed will be throttled (thereby killing in-game performance) or, worse, the drive will fry. If you don't buy a heatsink that fits in the slot, then you won't be able to fit your PS5's casing plate back on.
Basically, you need to fulfil these criteria. Luckily, though, Sony has already supplied a very useful guide that details these criteria, and T3 has here listed all the best PS5 SSDs on the market, both with and without heatsink that adhere to them.
We've focussed on the 1TB capacity for all drives here, as we think that is the capacity that most gamers will (and for the foreseeable future, should) invest in. Anything less doesn't really seem like it is worth while, while 2TB or greater capacities are still stupidly expensive.
The result of this is that these are upgrade-ready PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD drives that will allow you to not just store more PS5 games on your console, but play them as they were designed to be played, with rapid loading times and seamless in-game transitions.
The best SSDs for PS5 you can buy today
The Samsung 980 Pro is our top recommendation for PS5 SSD without heatsink as it not only obliterates the required read speed criteria set by Sony, but it does so also in terms of data transfer rate. As you can see in this guide, there are a few drives that deliver a read speed of 7,000 MB/s or more but not all deliver that level in terms of data transfer.
And then when you factor in that this drive prices in towards the more affordable end of 1TB PS5 SSDs, it becomes evident as to why we think it is such a good buy. You get a premium drive that offers insane speeds for a competitive price point, and as it is made by Samsung, you're getting a drive from a maker with huge pedigree.
The obvious down side to buying this drive is that it does not come with a heatsink. As such, you will need to buy a heatsink from a third party. Not a difficult thing to do, but it does add on a bit more in terms of spend and installation time.
If you like the idea of ludicrous read and write speeds that smoke the PS5 criteria, but want to buy a drive that comes with a heatsink attached for easier plug-and-play installation, then the WD Black SN850 1TB Heatsink is a great option.
This is the PCIe Gen 4 M.2 SSD that Sony PlayStation bigwig Mark Cerny himself said he was going to use in his PS5, so that should really tell you everything you need to know. If this drive is favoured by the PS5's lead system architect then you know it's going to deliver.
And with a 7,000MB/s read speed and 5,300MB/s write speed, the specs back Cerny up - this is a seriously fast drive, and one that comes in a range of capacities, too. As with most with heatsink drives, though, you have to pay extra for it. This is one of the most expensive SSDs for PS5 on the market today.
This is the fastest PS5 compatable SSD on the market today, period. It delivers a world-ending maximum read speed of 7,300 MB/s, which smokes every other drive here, including our number one pick of SSD for PS5, the Samsung 980 Pro.
It also comes in a with heatsink model, too, meaning that if you drop the cash (which is a lot) then you get plug-and-play convenience, too. This drive also comes loaded with 3D TLC NAND memory for added awesomeness, too.
That heatsink on the drive is pretty much a work of art, too, with Seagate commissioning EKWB to forge each from a high-grade aluminium block and completed with a finely textured anodized finish to maximise cooling efficiency.
Capacities start at 500GB and extent right up to monstrous 4TB drives.
Basically, this is the most premium, luxe and fast SSD with heatsink for PS5 on the market today and, if your bank account can take the hit, it's a no-brainer recommendation.
Coming a little out of left field, the Gigabyte AORUS Gen4 7000s SSD is a great with heatsink model to choose if you're looking to keep your spend down. Indeed, this drive retails with heatsink for the same sort of money that other without heatsink models do at a 1TB capacity, making it a great budget buy.
It delivers lots of notable specs, too, including a rapid 7,000 MB/s read speed and 3D TLC NAND Flash memory. It's data transfer rate isn't quite as fast as other drives in this guide, but it still eclipses Sony's set criteria for the console and delivers where it really matters, read speed.
Capacities aren't quite as varied as rivals, either, but there is a 1TB drive and that is what we think most PS5 gamers should buy.
Plus, while we know you won't see it, that heatsink looks preem.
The Crucial P5 Plus is definitely worth checking out if you're looking to keep your spend down and don't mind picking it up with a third party heatsink, as it doesn't come with one out of the box.
The max read speed delivered isn't as insane as drives like the 980 Pro and FireCuda 530, coming in at 6,600MB/s, but that is still much faster than Sony's criteria demands, meaning it will work seamlessly alongside the internal storage.
This drive also utilises Crucial's own Micron Advanced 3D NAND technology and is a PCIe 4.0 NVMe drive that comes with a 5-year warranty and MTTF rating of more than 2 million hours for excellent reliability and longevity.
Band a heatsink on this drive and it's one of the most cost-effective PS5 SSDs on the market today.
PS5 SSD video installation guide
Below you can find T3's PS5 SSD installation video guide. This guide takes you through all the steps you need to undertake, step-by-step, to buy and install an SSD in your PS5. Compatibility information, what heatsink you should use, and things to look out for are covered. If you're about to buy an SSD for your PS5 then we feel it is a much watch.
The latest PS5 SSD news and opinion
7 September, 2021 - The big new development in terms of new SSD products for PS5 is that Sabrent has created a unit that, rather cleverly, combines the heatsink and the SSD expansion port cover into one thing. This means that you buy a compatible SSD for the console and then, instead of installing a heatsink onto it and then covering that with the expansion port cover, now you don't need the cover at all.
The video below shows how the Sabrent heatsink works.
Here at T3 we think this looks pretty neat. However, we also don't think it will make much difference in terms of actual performance of an SSD. We'd love to be proved wrong, but until Sabrent releases the heatsink and we can test it, we're not going to buy the hype.
There's also the issue of how well this heatsink cools under the SSD, so again, we'll hold fire on proclaiming its greatness for the time being.
From an aesthetic point of view there's no doubting that it does look pretty sweet, though, and is definitely more visually appealing than the expansion port cover. Of course, unless you run your PS5 with its side plates off, then you're not going to see that though.
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