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WD Black SN850 SSD – PS5 EXPANSION GUIDE & TEST RESULTS

15 septembre 2021 à 01:13

PS5 SSD Expansion Testing with the WD Black SN850 SSD

A you are considering buying the WD Black SN850 for your PS5 because of Mark Cerny’s recommendations or because it is currently floating around for a good price online? Either way, it is currently one of the most popular choices for those looking at upgrading their Playstation 5. Whether you are looking at upgrading the SSD on your PS5 because you are running out of space or because you heard that some SSDs can increase load times for your favourite games, it is always going to be sensible to spend a few minutes reseaching before pulling the trigger at checkout before spending hundreds on the WD Black SN850 only to find out that the benefits are negligible or, worse still, actually slow your games down! Equally, you should always factor in that the PS5 is a relatively new console and games developers are still in the early stages of maximizing how much they can do with the CPU, Memory, GPU and (of course) super-fast NVMe M.2 SSD. Therefore the commitment you make on buying an SSD upgrade to your PS5 needs to also factor in that it will still perform well in the years to come. The WD Black SN850 meets a number of the key specifications of the PS5 storage bay, but then again many, MANY SSDs do. So today I want to put this SSD through it’s paces with many games to see how well it compares against the internal PS5 SSD doing the same thing. NOTE – FULL Videos of the testing of the WD Black SN850 that combined cover more than an hour can be found at the bottom of the article. This article primarily covers the load times of games and saves on the PS5 using the WD Black SN850 SSD and how they compare with the internal PS5 loading the same game. If you want to watch the full videos that cover PS5 WD Black SN850 use that feature frame rates, texture swapping, asset management and more, I recommend you watch those videos at the end of this article.

Here is the PS5 internal Benchmark for the WD Black SN850 SSD at the initialization of the system:

What Are the Specifications of the WD Black SN850 SSD?

Before we go through the load time testing of the WD Black SN850 on the PS5, it is worth taking a look at the hardware specifications. Unlike traditional Hard Drives and SSDs that were using the PS3 and PS4 that used SATA connectivity, this new generation of SSD storage using M.2 NVMe PCIe 4.0 architecture. This is a very, VERY big difference physically, in terms of maximum performance and opens up ALOT of specifications that you should keep an eye on. Aside from the capacity (i.e the amount of data the WD Black SN850 can hold in gigabytes and terabytes) the key ones to factor in when buying an SSD are the following:

  • Controller & NAND – These are the brain of the SSD (handling the transfer of data as quickly and efficiently as possible) and the physical cells on the WD Black SN850 SSD that hold the data. As long as you are using 3D TLC NAND (the industry preferred middle ground for price vs performance), you should be ok. Though the better the quality of NAND, generally the better the performance and durability long term.
  • Sequential Read – This is the reported maximum access speed that the data on the WD Black SN850 SSD can be access when accessing large blocks of data
  • Sequential Write – This is the reported maximum speed that data can be written to the WD Black SN850 SSD. As far as the PS5 architecture goes, this is much less important right now but could become important later in the system’s life as games, services and the level to which the WD Black SN850 can be accessed changes.
  • IOPS – These represent the number of individual operations the WD Black SN850 SSD can handle per second, based on the smallest size possible. Again, not strictly relevant in the PS5 right now because of the way data is largely front-loaded on modern games, but may well impact how larger and evolved worlds and multiplayer games are developed in future
  • TBW, MTBF & DWPD – Terabytes Written and Drive Writes Per Day, these indicate how much the drive is designed to withstand in activity over a 5 year or daily basis (respectively), Before the drive begins to deteriorate in performance or eventually fail. The PS5 will hardly be able to hit these kind of numbers daily BUT these figures will give you a good idea of the lifespan of the SSD beyond 5 years. Given the lifespan of some consoles can cross over a decade, the higher these numbers are, the better!

Here are the official specifications of the WD Black SN850 SSD:

Brand/Series WD Black SN850

WD Black SN850

WD Black SN850

Model ID WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Capacity 500GB 1000GB 2000GB
Price in $ 500GB – $169.99 1TB – $249.99 2TB – $549.99
PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND BiCS4 96L TLC BiCS4 96L TLC BiCS4 96L TLC
Controller WD_BLACK G2 WD_BLACK G2 WD_BLACK G2
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB 7000MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 4100MB 5300MB 5100MB
Warranty 5yr 5yr 5yr
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,750,000 1,750,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.3DWPD 0.3DWPD 0.3DWPD

So, now you know the hardware specifications of the WD Black SN850 SSD and you also know that (at the time of writing!) the WD Black SN850 is supported by the PS5 SSD expansion bay.

IMPORTANT – This article contains ALOT of gifs to demonstrate the loading times of the WD Black SN850 SSD versus the internal PS5 SSD, so the page/gifs might take an extra minute to load. Please be patient OR watch the videos of the full testing a the bottom of the page.

Testing the WD Black SN850 SSD with the PS5 – Test Parameters

All of the tests of the WD Black SN850 SSD on the PS5 were conducted in groups of 5 games at a time. In the event of a game arriving on a disc, the full disc data and all current updates were transferred over the WD Black SN850 SSD. The disc might be present, but it is only for system verification and would be an identical setup to the PS5 internal SSD that it is being compared against. The SSD was tested using the latest PS5 Beta Firmware update (3.0 or 3.1 depending on the time of testing as a further update was made available during the widespread testing) and although the supported drives when the SSD expansion feature might change, the WD Black SN850 SSD is fully functioning and supported on the PS5 at the time of writing. So, let’s get started on the testing of each game:

 

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Demon Souls Nexus Loading Test

This test was loading from the title screen to the central hub world (Nexus) of Demon Souls, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Demon Souls Archstone 2 Test

This test was loading to the Smithing Grounds of Demon Souls, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Demon Souls Archstone 1 Test

This test was loading to the first main area of Demon Souls, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Ratchet & Clank World Loading Test I

This test was loading to the starting area of Ratchet & Clank Rifts Apart, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Ratchet & Clank World Loading Test II

This test was loading to the first main transitional area of Ratchet & Clank Rifts Apart, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Borderlands 3 Full Loading Test I

This test was loading Borderlands to the Title Screen from the PS5 Main menu on Borderlands 3, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Borderlands 3 Level Load Test II

This test was loading a save game from the title screen to the Pandora World Area, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Resident Evil Village Castle Loading Test I

This test was loading the Castle Area of Resident Evil Village, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Resident Evil Village Stronghold Loading Test II

This test was loading the Stronghold of Resident Evil Village, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Hitman 3 Dartmoor Loading Test I

This test was loading the Dartmoor level on Hitman 3, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Hitman 3 Mendoza Loading Test II

This test was loading the Mendoza level on Hitman 3, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Terminator Resistance Level Loading Test

This test was loading Terminator Resistance Infiltrator Mode, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – GTA V Full Game Loading Test

This test was loading the Grand Theft Auto V from the PS5 menu to gameplay on the Single Player Mode, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Dead By Daylight Bots Test

This test was loading the tutorial Bots Mode on Dead By Daylight, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Red Dead Redemption II Campaign Loading Test

This test was loading the Blackwater Area of Red Dead Redemption II in single Player, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – No Man’s Sky Creative Mode Loading Test

This test was loading No Man’s Sky in Creative Mode from the Title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – In Rays of the Light Loading Test I, Outside

This test was loading the outside world area of In Rays of the Light, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – In Rays of the Light Loading Test II, Inside

This test was loading the underground bunker area of In Rays of the Light, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Star Wars Fallen Order Level Loading Test I

This test was loading the Kashkykk area of Star Wars Fallen Order from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Star Wars Fallen Order Trial Loading Test II

This test was loading a combat challenge, mid-game, of Star Wars Fallen Order from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Doom Eternal Level Loading Test I

This test was loading a level in Doom Eternal from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Control Level Loading Test I

This test was loading to an early area of the game from the title screen on Control, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Plague Tale Level Loading Test I

This test was loading an early Level area of Innocence, a plagues Tale from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – WreckFest Level Loading Test I

This test was loading an early challenge in Wrecckfest from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Maneater Level Loading Test I

This test was loading the first area of Maneater from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

PS5 WD Black SN850 SSD Testing – Destruction Allstars Level Loading Test I

This test was loading the first arena of Destruction Allstars from the title screen, comparing the WD Black SN850 vs the internal PS5 SSD:

 

Full WD Black SN850 SSD PS5 Test Videos

If you want to see the FULL testing of every PS5/PS4 game with the WD Black SN850 SSD, you can watch the videos below. These tests have been grouped into 5 games per video, with each game being assessed on Loading Times, Frame Rate, Texture swapping, Asset Popping and compared against the exact game being loaded on the PS5 SSD. NOTE – These videos are being edited and published throughout September and October, so if a video is showing as ‘unavailable’ below, it might not be published yet, but should be up shortly!

Brand/Series WD Black SN850

WD Black SN850

WD Black SN850

Model ID WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Capacity 500GB 1000GB 2000GB
Price in $ 500GB – $169.99 1TB – $249.99 2TB – $549.99

 

WD Black SN850 PS5 SSD Test 1

WD Black SN850 PS5 SSD Test 2

WD Black SN850 PS5 SSD Test 3

WD Black SN850 PS5 SSD Test 4

 


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This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today's content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit the NASCompares Deal Finder to find the best place to buy this device in your region, based on Service, Support and Reputation - Just Search for your NAS Drive in the Box Below

 

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Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.  

 

WD Black SN850 PS5 SSD Expansion Test

8 août 2021 à 20:00

Testing the WD Black SN850 SSD on the PS5

Yes, it’s time for another PS5 SSD Expansion Test and this time it is the drive that received one of the most high profile recommendations so far (from Mark Cerny, designer and programmer, involved in the development of the PS5 itself), the WD Black SN850. Now that Sony has enabled the ability to expand the storage of the Playstation 5 in the latest software update (in beta at the time of writing), the range of potential PCIe M.2 SSDs that PS5 gamers are able to choose from is surprisingly vast. The minimum requirements of the M.2 update are 5,500MB/s sequential read (i.e big files), no longer than 22110 in length and PCIe Gen 4 M.2 Key interface in architecture. So, that narrows things down a little, but not by a vast amount. I made a master list of current compatible SSDs for PS5 HERE with help from Reddit users, but today I want to focus on the WD Black SN850, as it is one of the most available, well priced and high performing SSDs that are supported by PS5 right now. The WD Black SN850 is certainly supported by the Playstation 5 and in today’s test, I have opted for the smallest available capacity, as whatever results are achieved by this drive are only going to be amplified/better on the higher tiers and regardless I can imagine a number of buyers who choose this drive for its great architecture, will make a saving on the capacity. Let’s take a look.

IMPORTANT – In today’s article we will be testing 4 mid-range PS5 games. Bigger and more exhaustive titles (such as Spiderman Miles Morales, Rift Apart and Demon Souls) will be tested in a FULL comparison between the 6 BIGGEST/Most Popular M.2 NVMes that are compatible with the PS5 Expansion slot. Stay Subscribed for those later this same week!

PS5 SSD Expansion WD Black SN850 – Specifications

Western Digital and its ‘WD Black’ series has been around for years! Indeed, WD was one of the very first brands to take direct-to-gamer storage media seriously, adapting the WD Black range that was originally aimed at pro-PC users and photo/video editors and shape it more towards games players. The WD Black SN850 is the latest iteration of this in NVMe (though originally released right at the tail end of 2020, ahead of many others at this storage tier), though the WD black label is carried on a large number of other data storage solutions from docks, HDDs to external drives and high-end PCIe lane media. The specifications are particularly impressive, even at the 500GB smallest capacity (though sequential read is a tad underwhelming by comparison) and only get better as you scale into the larger 2TB level at the top. The specifications are below:

Brand/Series WD Black SN850

WD Black SN850

WD Black SN850

Model ID WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Capacity 500GB 1000GB 2000GB
Price in $ 500GB – $169.99 1TB – $249.99 2TB – $549.99
PCIe Generation PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4 PCIe Gen 4
NVMe Rev NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4 NVMe 1.4
NAND BiCS4 96L TLC BiCS4 96L TLC BiCS4 96L TLC
Controller WD_BLACK G2 WD_BLACK G2 WD_BLACK G2
Sequential Read (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 7000MB 7000MB 7000MB
Sequential Write (Max, MB/s), 128 KB 4100MB 5300MB 5100MB
Warranty 5yr 5yr 5yr
Mean Time Between Failures (MTBF, hours) 1,750,000 1,750,000 1,750,000
DWPD 0.3DWPD 0.3DWPD 0.3DWPD

PS5 SSD Expansion WD Black SN850 Test – Internal Speed Test

The first test is the easiest. When you boot the PS5 with the WD Black SN850 NVMe SSD inside the expansion slot, the system will immediately identify that it is installed and format the drive. Then the system makes a performance benchmark check in order to ascertain whether the drive is suitable for PS5 Game use. The WD Black SN850 SSD achieved 6,457MB/s Sequential Read on the PS5 internal system performance test. This is only a small dip from the reported maximum 7,000MB/s, but I hoped it would be a pinch higher. Throughout my testing of SSDs in the PS5 m.2 expansion slot, the highest speed I have seen has been around 6,650MB/s reported sequential read, even on drive rated as high as 7,300MB/s, so this would indicate that the full development and fine-tuning of what the PS5 hardware can do still leaves room for growth. This is not unusual (even in previous generations of PlayStation, it took 2-3years for both Sony and Games developers to learn how to fully optimise the system hardware to its fullest degree in the lifespan of the system).

PS5 SSD Expansion WD Black SN850 Test – Moving Games

Moving games from the internal console storage and onto the WD Black SN850 SSD is very straightforward and can be conducted from the Playstation main menu, then on from the settings>storage manager menu. I moved the four games that will be used later in the article for performance and loading tests from the PS5 internal SSD and onto the WD Black SN850:

Initiating the move of these files is very easy, however when files were being transferred (much like in my testing of the PS5 and other compatible SSDs) it was nowhere near the speed I was expecting and in fact it became very apparent that the PS5 system much performs some encryption, compression or bit-checks as the files are moved. The result is that moving games from the internal PS5 SSD and onto the expansion slot with the WD Black SN850 took much, MUCH longer than I expects. This is not the fault of the M.2 SSD and more regarding the clear internal handling protocol and security of the PS5 System.

They did move however and once the games were moved onto the WD Black SN850 M.2 SSD, the data used was clearly visible in the storage manager. Let’s get on with testing the games.

PS5 SSD Expansion WD Black SN850 Loading Test 1 – Destruction Allstars

The first game to test loading times WITH the WD Black SN850 SSD on the PS5 was Destruction Allstars. Again, I started the timer from the title screen and below is the results on how the internal SSD and m.2 SSD compared:

Both games ran as well as expected, but the WD Black SN850 was able to load the game the tiniest pinch faster (under 1 sec). A good start!

PS5 SSD Expansion WD Black SN850 Loading Test 2 – Control

Next was loading the game control directly from the PS5 player GUI and to test loading the game into a save and into direct gameplay would take, comparing the internal storage to the WD Black SN850 expansion SSD.

Interestingly, once again, the WD Black SN850 seemingly loaded the game a pinch faster at 16 seconds, 1.1 seconds faster than the PS5 internal SSD. Again, a small difference, but still noteworthy. As games become more advanced in the PS5 system lifespan and the speed of storage access grows in importance, knowing you have an SSD that can keep pace or even exceed the one inside the system at game loading is going to be reassuring.

PS5 SSD Expansion WD Black SN850 Loading Test 3 – Maneater

The third game to test on the PS5 and using the WD Black SN850 SSD was Maneater. Rather than loading from the main PlayStation user interface, I opted to load the games from their own title screens, as this allowed me to not factor in the publisher and studio logos at startup that is unskippable and therefore would just hamper the comparison. Here is how the game running from the internal PS5 SSD compared with running on the WD Black SN850:

This was slightly an area of contention, as although both games loaded into the game fat (with the WD Black SN850 doing ti 1.5secs faster), they did load into different locations and this might have played a part. Nevertheless, load times were very close, and as long as they run at the same pace, that is always going to be a plus!

PS5 SSD Expansion WD Black SN850 Loading Test 4 – Wreckfest

Next up was Wreckfest. I loaded this on the WD Black SN850 and PS5 internal SSD from the title screen and quickly skipped through the options and config menus. Only off-line play was selected, to remove any server/internet connectivity delays from the equation.

Once again, the WD Black SN850 was a clear second or more after, even with the slight differences in menu transition removed from the time difference. It’s once again worth highlighting that although these differences are very small, they are all still important, as later in the system’s life, you are going to want to know that this SSD can stand the test of time and greater demands from the PS5 hardware in future titles.

PS5 SSD Expansion WD Black SN850 Loading Test 5 – Innocence A Plague Tale

Finally was A Plagues Tale. I selected this larger world title as it has a lot of world assets that need drawing very early on. The game was loaded directly from the title screen and below is both the game running from the PS5 SSD and the WD Black SN850:

For me, this was the clearest win for the WD Black SN850 SSD over the internal SSD. Although it was barely 1 second faster, it was the one where there was little to no difference in their loading side-by-side and the WD Black was clearly the faster. It’s all relative, as we are talking an odd second here or there, but it’s still good to know that upgrading your PS5 with the WD Black SN850 will not present any kind of bottleneck.

PS5 SSD Expansion WD Black SN850 – Conclusion

The WD Black SN850 is unquestionable a great PS5 SSD choice! Even without heavy market recommendations, it breezed through the preliminary testing and was even seen to exceed the PS5 internal SSD at points from a 100% even start. Clearly, the performance you have will scale depending on the capacity you choose, but even the 500GB has read performance that is more than enough to run your top tier games from. As mentioned, endurance on the WD Blck SN850, although a pinch lower than a number of other PCIe4 M.2 NVMe SSDs on the market right now (between 0.8 and 4.0 less DWPD), but is of little significance to anyone but the highest level professional gamers streamers (and even then if/when Sony open up the storage use to more than warm game storage). If you are looking for a great performing, best priced and highest recommended SSD for your PS5 SSD expansion upgrade, the WD Black is practically unbeatable!

Brand/Series WD Black SN850

WD Black SN850

WD Black SN850

Model ID WDS500G1X0E-00AFY0 WDS100T1X0E-00AFY0 WDS200T1X0E-00AFY0
Capacity 500GB 1000GB 2000GB
Price in $ 500GB – $169.99 1TB – $249.99 2TB – $549.99


Articles Get Updated Regularly - Get an alert every time something gets added to this page!


This description contains links to Amazon. These links will take you to some of the products mentioned in today's content. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Visit the NASCompares Deal Finder to find the best place to buy this device in your region, based on Service, Support and Reputation - Just Search for your NAS Drive in the Box Below

 

SEARCH IN THE BOX BELOW FOR NAS DEALS

Need Advice on Data Storage from an Expert?

We want to keep the free advice on NASCompares FREE for as long as we can. Since this service started back in Jan '18, We have helped hundreds of users every month solve their storage woes, but we can only continue to do this with your support. So please do choose to buy at Amazon US and Amazon UK on the articles when buying to provide advert revenue support or to donate/support the site below. Finally, for free advice about your setup, just leave a message in the comments below here at NASCompares.com and we will get back to you. Need Help? Where possible (and where appropriate) please provide as much information about your requirements, as then I can arrange the best answer and solution to your needs. Do not worry about your e-mail address being required, it will NOT be used in a mailing list and will NOT be used in any way other than to respond to your enquiry. [contact-form-7] Terms and Conditions Alternatively, why not ask me on the ASK NASCompares forum, by clicking the button below. This is a community hub that serves as a place that I can answer your question, chew the fat, share new release information and even get corrections posted. I will always get around to answering ALL queries, but as a one-man operation, I cannot promise speed! So by sharing your query in the ASK NASCompares section below, you can get a better range of solutions and suggestions, alongside my own.  

 

 

PS5 SSD Storage Upgrades – Why it is NOT Difficult and DOES Make Sense

3 août 2021 à 10:00

Why The PS5 SSD Storage Expansion is Easy AND The Right Way for Sony To Do It

Since Sony first enabled the SSD upgrade slot of the PS5 last week, there has been a remarkably mixed reaction to how Sony has handled the whole feature on their latest generation console. From the fact that upgrading the internal storage was disabled on day one, to how they have presented its eventual activation in the PS5 system software 2.0-04.00.00 beta, many have questioned that the upgrade choices, method, flexibility and hands-on work required by the end-user when upgrading their PS5 with an additional m.2 NVMe SSD is overly complex and unnecessarily over the top. Multiple editorial sites and avid fans of other platforms have been keen to highlight that PS5 has dropped the ball on upgrading system storage and today I want to take a closer look at this whole thing and try to explain why I think this is all nonsense! Sony most certainly hasn’t handled this perfectly, but on a hardware and futureproofing level, I would like to explain why their choices so far (at least from the perspective of someone who has keenly followed both SSD technology and Computer games for more than a decade) makes a lot of sense. Remember though, these are my own observations – no need to start a console war in the comments. Let’s begin.

PS3 DRIVE UPGRADE SLOT

PS4 DRIVE UPGRADE SLOT

PS5 DRIVE UPGRADE SLOT

Reason 1 – Installation is Easy Enough and Huge Beneficial Long Term

Installing a new SSD inside your PlayStation 5 is definitely not as tough as people seem to be suggesting. One misunderstanding people seem to be having is getting to the difficulty of shopping for a compatible SSD mixed up with the complexity of installing it inside their PS5. Sony, much like how they approached installing additional storage in the PS3 and PS4 before it, have supplied their PS5 system with an available slot that allows the end-user to install an m.2 NVMe SSD of their own choosing (rather than a 1st party only drive) without voiding their warranty. The range of supported SSDs is now currently in the 20+ and slowly getting larger as compatible drives are being approved. Sony DEFINITELY should have supplied a supported list of SSDs, but then again they did not really do that with the PS3 or PS4, which both supported SATA 2.5″ SSD/HDD media. In all three console cases, Sony provided a breakdown of the minimum specifications required and then users could choose their own SSD. The only difference of note in the case of the PS5 is the necessity of a heatsink with the SSD – which generally retail from $5-25 dollars depending on the user preference. Again, this is by no means a massive issue and although it has annoyed some users (including myself I should add!) that Sony did not provide a better list of example drives, this is still a BETA update and until a formal/full release arrives of this system software, it can be understood. As for physical installation, that is even easier, with only 2 screws needing to be removed to install your SSD and Heatsink.

Why do I think that this method of SSD has more long term, beneficial consequences? Because the SSDs and SSD slot that PS5 arrives with provides the potential to install storage that will allow game developers to develop truly incredible game worlds, as the internal storage does not bottleneck the CPU+Memory+GPU when it needs massive amounts of data, very quickly! There is of course the argument that parents or less technically minded people would much rather have a lpug in expansion card or something as simple as connecting a USB. Sadly this is just not possible in the current tech world above 4,000MB/S (see Thunderbolt 3/4 and USB 4 or USB 3.2X2) and would bottleneck the storage speed and therefore effect games performance. But why did Sony not just do the same thing as Microsoft, the XBox Series X/S and its external plug and play SSD Expansion card? Surely that is better? Well…

Reason 2 – Xbox Series S/X Plug n Play Caps Performance to 2,400MB/s

Rarely spoken about is the actual performance of the external SSD slot used by the XBox Series X/S. Much like PS5, it is using M.2 PCIe 4 NVMe SSD storage, however, unlike the PCIe Gen 4 x4 on PS5 (potential 8,000MB/s Bandwidth), it uses PCIe Gen 4 x2 (potential 4,000MB/s Bandwidth). Then after more checking you find out that the SSD has a reported performance top end of 2,400MB/s and (weirdly) a 3-year Warranty! Not only is 2,400MB/s weirdly low for a PCIe Gen 4 SSD (due to the x2 PCIe) but 3 years warranty is much less than the 5 years that practically 90% of all SSDs arrive with in 2021/2022! This shorter warranty AND lower performance throughput suggest a lower endurance too (given most SSD brands will give 5yrs and/or X number of Hours or Terabytes written as their lifespan).

Right now, this 2.4GB/s is enough for the XBox Series X/S to play the latest games, however as time wears on, games developers are going to learn to harness faster SSD technology (any modern gamer PC in 2020/2021 has PCIe Gen 4 or 3 x4 M.2 SSD slots and supports a wide variety of SSDs that can reach double or even treble of the performance of the XBox X/S SSD expansion. o, even though the Seagate Expansion Card for Xbox being plug and play seems good, it is important to understand that you are getting a much more limited drive in the long run. But why is PCIe 4×4 going to be of much use in the future? Is it just pointless over the top planning by Sony on the PS5?

Reason 3 – PCIe Gen 4×4 Ensures the FASTEST Speeds in the Future for Gaming Development

There was a time when the impact of faster storage on computer/console gaming was very small. That started changing a little around about a decade ago when SSDs starting arriving on the market that were commercially affordable and people started using them for more than their windows/mac OS. People started installing SSDs inside their Playstations and XBOX’s in order to speed up their load times, but even then, the load times only improved 3-4x in speed at most. This was because the CPUs, Memory and Graphics Cards/Processors featured on earlier generation consoles could not take advantage of the faster speeds, being already maxed out by current generation games of the time. PC gamers of course have already been using M.2 NVMe SSDs for 3-4 years already (the earliest most popular consumer example being the Samsung 960 Pro) and as they have been able to upgrade their hardware more regularly than console gamers, it has led to gaming systems that can load the same game from consoles, 5-10x faster! Now, in 2021, we have the PS5, a console with a insane level of CPU+MEMORY+Memory for a home/consumer console that can process up to 9,000MB/s (9GB/s) of compressed data – so, therefore, you WANT to use storage media that can deliver that amount/speed of data to make sure that your storage is not suddenly the bottleneck of your gaming system. Now we have whole immersive world based games that can go from system boot to in-game in 20secs?!?!?

Modern games are getting BIGGER and with better graphics! That is ALOT of data and that is where PCIe 4×4 SSDs are PERFECT at pushing as much data as possible. Right now, the latest generation of consoles are not even a year old and yet designers are already starting to learn the best ways to make the most of the systems. So knowing that the PS5 can use storage that will deliver the pace of the CPU+GPU is remarkably reassuring. But wait? If the PS5 expansion slot handling 7,000MB/s+ is such a good thing. why was the PS5 SSD expansion slot disabled at launch?

Reason 4 – M.2 Slot was Disabled till now as Commercial SSDs were NOT Fast Enough

Many users (myself included) were a bit cheesed off when the PS5 launched and when they installed their M.2 NVMe SSD were met with the following message:

Yes, as many already know, the PS5 SSD expansion port was disabled when the PS5 was first released back in Nov 2020. Why on earth was that? Well, this was largely because when the PS5 was first slated for an end of 2020 release date, it was understood that big names like Samsung, WD, Seagate and more would have their latest generation of PCIe Gen 4×4 M.2 NVMe SSDs available for consumers! HOWEVER, as many will know the last few months of 2019 and the bulk of 2020 was a hell of a troubling year for everyone! From Trade Wars between the U.S and China, to water shortages caused by Semi Conductor production demand in Taiwan, to the Pandemic and its effects on working practices, production and buying trends changing construction forecasts – YOU NAME IT, IT WENT WRONG! So when the PS5 launched at the end of 2020, there was practically no PCIe Gen 4×4 SSDs on the market (at least ones that featured superior controllers to push out the 5,500MB/s Sequential Read the PS5 demands). So, Sony COULD have left this slot enabled, but there is a large possibility that buyers would have shopped for PCIe Gen 3 SSDs (not understanding the difference) or even lesser PCIe 4 SSDs and ultimately come away (at best) disappointed or (at worst) with an SSD that a year or two down the line would be a bottleneck on the system running modern games. Therefore Sony chose to disable this slot until the PCIe M.2 NVMe SSD varieties all became more accessible. And now, with many, many different types released in the last 6 months, there are many more on offer! But is having so many SSDs and Heatsinks to choose from such a good thing?

MASSIVE Credit to u/Fidler_2K ON Reddit for the list below and provided with his permission

PS5 COMPATIBLE UPGRADE SSDs AUGUST 2021

SSD Meets Requirements to Work Notes (Important) Price as of posting
Seagate FireCuda 530 Yes confirmed by Seagate. Included heatsink works 500GB – $149.99, 1TB – $239.99, 2TB – $489.99, 4TB – $949.99It’s OOS at the moment
Western Digital SN850 Yes confirmed by Western Digital. Included heatsink works 500GB – $169.99, 1TB – $249.99, 2TB – $549.99
Gigabyte 7000s Gen4 Yes confirmed by Gigabyte. Included heatsink works 1TB – $199.99, 2TB – $399.99
Patriot Viper VP4300 Yes (unconfirmed) Included heatsink works 1TB – $224.99, 2TB – I don’t know if this ever released?
Samsung 980 Pro Yes. Confirmed by fragilityv2. Needs a heatsink 250GB – $69.99, 500GB – $119.99, 1TB – $199.99, 2TB – $429.99
Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus Yes. Confirmed by The Verge. Needs a different heatsink than the one included 1TB – $200, 2TB – $469.99, 4TB – $999.99
Corsair MP600 Pro Yes (unconfirmed) Needs a different heatsink than the one included 1TB – $199.99, 2TB – $399.99
Inland Performance Plus Yes (unconfirmed) Needs a different heatsink than the one included 1TB – $189.99, 2TB – $399.99
Adata Gammix S70 Yes (unconfirmed) Needs a different heatsink than the one included. Very difficult to remove. 1TB – $149.99, 2TB – $299.99
MSI Spatium M480 Yes (unconfirmed) Needs a heatsink Not listed yet. More Info here.
Micron 3400 Yes (unconfirmed) Needs a heatsink Not listed yet.More Info here.
PNY CS3040 Yes. Confirmed by /u/EmergencyPomelo5180 and PNY. Included heatsink is too tall. Get version without heatsink and add your own. Also, the rated read speeds are just above the minimum specified at 5,600 MB/s reads 500GB – $89.99, 1TB – $156.99, 2TB – $308.99, 4TB – $699.99
PNY CS3140 Yes. Confirmed by PNY. Included heatsink is too tall. Get version without heatsink and add your own 1TB – $199.99, 2TB – $449.99
TeamGroup T-Force Cardea A440 Yes (unconfirmed) Aluminum heatsink is too tall, graphene heatsink may need replaced. 1TB – $179.99, 2TB – $399.99
Plextor M10P(G) Yes (unconfirmed) Included heatsink is too tall Not listed yet. Product page here.
Titanium Micro TH7175 Yes (unconfirmed) Needs a heatsink 1TB – $279.99, 2TB – $489.99
Mushkin Enhanced Gamma Yes (unconfirmed) Needs a heatsink 1TB – $216.992TB – $499.99
GALAX HOF Extreme Yes (unconfirmed) Included heatsink is too large Pricing unknown, information here.
Addlink S95 Yes (unconfirmed) Needs a heatsink 1TB – $218.99, 2TB – $448.88

Reason 5 – Huge Choice Of Brands, Size and Price to Consumers is Hugely Beneficial

It should be pretty obvious to most of us, but having a wider range of choices when upgrading our technology IS A GOOD THING! Yes, many of us just want a small pool of choices to make (so 10s of options, not hundreds or thousands) but at least having the CHOICE of different prices, durabilities, brands and capacities of SSD is definitely a good thing. The XBox Expansion Card, although conveniently plug and play, is ONLY available from 1x brand (Seagate) and ONLY in one capacity, 1TB. Want more? Tough, buy another card to swap it with or start deleting stuff. Want a faster card or cheaper card, as better ones are out there or this one is suddenly higher in price? Tough. I have always applauded the PS3, PS4 (and now) PS5 for having much, much wider flexibility in SSD storage upgrade options. Imagine.

BUT – Things Sony Got WRONG with the PS5 SSD Storage Expansion Upgrade

Yes, as much as I approve of the PS5’s choice of SSD compatibility, performance, flexibility and mature attitude to enabling this upgrade slot at the best time, there are several things that I think Sony did NOT handle right about the expanded storage of the PS5. So, let’s go through the things Sony got WRONG!

Sony Not Publishing a Compatibility List Alongside the Beta

Despite Sony never really giving detailed compatibility on ALL the storage media that was supported in previous generations of their consoles, I DO think they could have been a lot more helpful on the SSDs supported in the beta firmware release. They gave vague details on SSD length, architecture and speeds, but barely any actually naming of SSDs taht people can choose to BUY! It fell largely on the shoulders of beta testers and consumers in public forums (Reddit etc) to band together and put together compatibility lists unofficially. Yes, its a beta, but still – Sony will have tested ALOT of SSDs with this firmware in Alpha before invited beta, so I think it is a poor show on their part to not help testers a bit more with drives they KNOW work in their PS5 SSD Storage upgrade slot.

Not Including a Heatsink in the PS5 M.2 NVMe SSD Bay

This is a small (physically) complaint but one that has certainly upset a few people is that given the fact the PS5 uses PCIe Gen 4 M.2 NVMe SSD, that an official heatsink should have been included. This is something I can 100% agree with, as ALL NVMe SSDs should be used with a heatsink, as they can get tremendously hot and this can be detrimental to the performance and durability long term. Heatsinks are NOT expensive (see my recommendation below) and some very good ones can be purchased for $8+, but this is definitely something that Sony should have included with the PS5, as it is a necessity to the expansion slot!

Not Explaining 5,500MB/s SSD Scarcity Being The Reason for Delaying the Feature

As mentioned, the PS5 SSD storage expansion slot was not available when the Playstation 5 was released in Nov 2020. I have already detailed above the many reasons and factors that almost certainly one/all were the reason for this – however the fact that Sony largely ignored consumers asking about this feature (especially given the noticeably smaller storage available in the PS5 by default that the XBOS Series X/S) is something that really disappointed many console owners, myself included. All they had to do was highlight any one of the reasons I mentioned earlier OR tightly the necessity for faster storage and that would have been enough. Alas, no!

 

Find my FULL PS5 SSD Storage Upgrade Guide HERE , Or I have listed the Best M.2 NVMe SSDs for your PS5 Storage upgrade Below:

Here are the Recommended M.2 NVMe SSDs to Upgrade Your PS5 When the Software Update comes out of Beta

FASTEST – Seagate Firecuda 530 Find it 

MOST AVAILABLE – Samsung 980 PRO Find it Here

BEST PRICE – WD Black SN850 (Confirmed) Find it Here

2ND FASTEST – Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus Find it Here

AORUS Gen4 7000s SSD – Find It Here

Inland Performance Plus 1TB SSD – Not Available

MSI SPATIUM M480 – Find it Here

Corsair MP600 NVMe SSD (TBC) – Find it Here

 

 

 

 


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