How to find the best M.2 SSD for expanding PS5 storage – CNET

Sony unlocked the extra M.2 SSD slot inside the PlayStation 5. The rules are tricky, but these specific drives should all work.
Good news for gamers who are reaching the storage limits of their PlayStation 5 — it’s now easier to add some extra storage. That’s right, the PS5’s extra internal M.2 solid-state drive slot is now open for business. Previously, this SSD option was only available to those with the beta version of Sony’s PlayStation OS. That’s no longer the case, so long as you have a compatible drive.
Before this, and before the beta, you could still add an external drive for PS4 games, but only play PS4 games from it. PS5 games could be stored on an external drive, but not played. 
Read more: PS5 review: Exclusive games power Sony’s sky-high space-age console
However, it’s pretty hard to find super fast M.2 drives right now, especially ones with a built-in heatsink. That’s required to prevent overheating, so if your drive doesn’t have one, you’ll have to add it manually, and we’ve made some suggestions below.
Sony has listed some specific guidelines as to what types of drives the PS5 will support, but not specific model recommendations. Based on the published specs, however, the SSD drive options listed below should all work. We’re in the process of testing some of them, including the 4TB Seagate FireCuda 530, which we installed in this how-to feature. So, as you search for the best M.2 SSD for your PS5, you’ll want to keep these in mind.
Samsung’s high-end M.2 drive was a logical first choice for a lot of PS5 modders… but the original version didn’t include a built-in heatsink, required for operation. Sure, you could buy a separate one and attach it, but that’s a few extra steps.
Fortunately, the excellent 980 Pro is now available with a heatsink built in, which makes it an all-in-one package. There are two current configurations, a 1TB model and a 2TB model, with the price roughly doubling for the larger model. 
I recently got my hands on a big 4TB Seagate FireCuda 530, which includes a built-in heatsink, a requirement for an internal PS5 drive. The 1TB version is usually around $250, while this 4TB version is upward of $900. Note that due to its popularity, this particular Seagate FireCuda drive has frequently been out of stock, so grab one when you can. 
After I installed and set up the drive, I tried transferring a few games from the default drive to my new SSD. Call of Duty, which is nearly 200GB, transferred in about 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Returnal, around 50GB, transferred in about 40 seconds. 
This is the original version of the Samsung 980 Pro 1TB drive that needs a separate heatsink. If you’ve got one and can attach it, it’s a less expensive option, and easy to find. In fact, the price on this model has even dropped by a few dollars recently. 
The advantage of adding an M.2 internal drive to your PS5 is that you can both store and play PS5-native games from it. Regular external hard drives can store PS5 games, but not play them (but can both store and play PS4 games). 
Besides the Samsung and Seagate versions, this is probably the most popular M.2 choice for the PS5. It also includes the needed heatsink built in, which I frankly recommend as a much easier way to get your console storage upgraded. 
The WD Black comes in 500GB, 1TB and 2TB sizes, although I can’t see going through all the effort required to open the PS5 and case install these for a mere 500GB of extra space, especially with some games getting close to 100GB in size. 1TB seems like the best bang for your buck, as the 2TB drive costs more than the PS5 itself. 
If you’re going down the add-your-own-heatsink route, this is one of the most popular parts for PS5 owners. Gamers have reported that it’s a perfect fit for the PS5’s M.2 slot, especially when paired with the Samsung 980 SSD. 
To attach a heatsink like this, you usually need some thermal tape to connect the heatsink to the drive. In this case, there’s an included thermal pad that sticks the two parts together. That’s important because without the right kind of thermal management, the M.2 drive could get too hot in the tightly constricted PS5 internal drive slot. 
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