Expand your PS5 storage using an M.2 SSD drive - Complete Guide

Here'a our complete guide covering everything you need to know about upgrading the hard-disk storage capacity of your PlayStation 5.

Having a console with limited storage can sometimes be annoying given the substantial installation sizes of current-gen games. The PlayStation 5 is especially susceptible to this issue given its default of only 667.2GB of usable space. No need to worry though, as you can expand your PS5's storage with an M.2 SSD device.

What Is An M.2 SSD?

An M.2 SSD device is a high-speed solid-state drive that you can install in your PS5 internally to increase the total storage capacity of the console. It is possible to install on both the standard PS5 and the digital edition PS5. Adding an M.2 SSD allows you to expand your storage capacity, which can be used to download, copy and play both PS5 and PS4 games along with use for media applications.

Plus, you can easily move your installed games between your console storage and the added M.2 SSD storage device.

Supported M.2 SSDs

Not all M.2 SSDs are supported by the PS5, so it is imperative that you confirm whether the SSD in question meets the requirements or not before buying the SSD. The M.2 SSD requirements for a PS5 console are as follows:

Interface PCI-Express Gen4x4 supported M.2 NVMe SSD (Key M)
Storage 250 GB - 4 TB
Supported Sizes 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280, 22110
Size including heat-dissipation mechanism Width: up to 25 mm
Length: 30/40/60/80/110 mm
Thickness: up to 11.25 mm (up to 9.0 mm from above the board, up to 2.45 mm from below the board)
Sequential read speed 5,500 MB/s or faster is recommended
Socket type Socket 3 (Key M)

Heat Dissipation

It is important to note that adequate heat dissipation with an appropriate cooling structure is critical if you want to install an M.2 SSD in your PS5 console. Cooling structures can include a heat transfer sheet or a more commonly used heatsink. You can either buy an M.2 SSD with a built-in cooling structure or attach them to your SSD yourself.

When you buy the cooling structures, they come with instructions on how to install them. Different brands may vary slightly, but they all follow generally similar guidelines. If you’re still unsure how to install the cooling structures, it would be best to buy an M.2 SSD with a built-in heatsink or get one installed by an expert.

There are two types of cooling structure formats: single-sided and double-sided. Single-sided formats are generally an easier fit. PS5 console supports both single and double-sided M.2 SSD devices. Sometimes the cooling structures may come with the purchase of your M.2 SSD drive.

Note that the above specified supported sizes will fit the PS5 console’s SSD slot without any issues. But, if you install a cooling structure such as a heatsink onto the SSD, you need to ensure the size meets the specified dimensions stated above. This is essential as the sizes of these cooling structures vary considerably. If you’re unsure about the size, it would be best to consult with the vendor to confirm the dimensions.

As mentioned in the requirements above, there is a leeway of up to 8.0 mm above the SSD and 2.25 mm below the SSD. Accordingly, the heatsink must not exceed these dimensions, or the SSD won’t fit in the slot.

You're out of luck if you’re considering M.2 SATA SSD, as SATA SSDs are not supported.

Firmware Upgrade

You also need to ensure your PS5 is upgraded to the latest firmware before you can install an M.2 SSD drive, or at least to version 21.02-04.00.00. One of the main features of this software update is the ability to install and expand via an M.2 SSD storage. If you do not have your PS5 firmware upgraded to at least 21.02-4.00.00, you won’t be able to expand your storage using an M.2 SSD.

You can quickly check for the latest firmware on your PS5 console by going to your PS5 home screen and selecting the ‘Settings’ icon (gear icon).

'Settings' icon (gear icon) circled at the top-right corner of the home screen

Go to the ‘System’.

'System' in the list of 'Settings' menu

Navigating to the ‘System Software’ and then choosing the ‘System Software Update and Settings’.

'System Software' menu

Here, the system will automatically check for the update. If it is available, it will say ‘Update available,’ and you can click on it to go through the installation process.

'System Software Update & Settings' menu

Installing M.2 SSD

  1. Completely turn off your PS5 console and unplug all the cables and connected devices. Give it a couple of minutes to cool down.
  2. Place your PS5 on a flat surface with the PS Logo facing down and the power button facing away from you.
  3. Use your right hand to grab the bottom-right corner edge of the console cover and your left hand to grip the top-left corner of the console cover.

    This is the power button side angle. You will be looking from the other side (back side)
  4. Lightly lift the cover while gently sliding the cover to the left, and it should come right off.
  5. You will notice a long rectangular cover over the expansion slot, secured with one screw at the top.
  6. Use a cross-head screwdriver to remove the screw and the rectangular cover.
    The rectangular cover (A) and the screw holding it in place
  7. There will be another screw at the beginning of the spacer slot, remove it as well and keep it aside. We will use it later to secure the SSD in place.

    The screw (B) and the spacer (C) in the expansion slot
  8. Hold the edge of the M.2 SSD, align it with the expansion connector and insert it. The heatsink must be facing you, which means that the cooling structure will be on top of the SSD (in the case of single-sided format).
  9. Your SSD will be in a diagonal position now, don’t worry about it. Ensure that the M.2 SSD circuit board is resting flush on the spacer and use the screw to fasten the M.2 SSD to the spacer.
    Inserting the M.2 SSD
    Fastening the SSD in place using the previously removed screw and spacer

    If your M.2 SSD meets one of the supported sizes (2230, 2242, 2260, 2280, 22110), then the SSD drive will align perfectly with the screw grooves in the expansion slot.

    The expansion slot with different sizes with the screw fit in 22110 by default
  10. Now, put the rectangular expansion slot cover back and fasten it back in place with the screw. If the cover is not closing properly, your cooling structure (heatsink) may be exceeding the stated size requirements.
  11. Put the PS5 cover back on and slide it back into place. Align the cover approximately 2 cm away from the top before sliding it back in. The cover will secure back into place, and you can confirm this with a click sound.
  12. You can now plug everything back into the console and turn it on to format, and install the M.2 SSD by following the on-screen instructions.

    M.2 SSD Storage Format Screen

Once you've done that, you can navigate to your Settings > Storage > Installation Location and set where you wish to install your games moving forward. You can select your M.2 SSD Storage from the drop-down menu.

M.2 SSD Storage Selection Screen

Recommended Compatible SSDs

There are numerous SSDs in the market that can work well with your PS5 console. The following are some of the best and recommended compatible SSDs for your PS5.

Western Digital (WD) Black SN850

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This SSD is one of the best premium options for your PS5 console. The read speed is well beyond the recommended 5,500 MB/s and stands at 7,000 MB/s which can ‘almost’ match the internal read speed of the PS5 console. This SSD is also equipped with the latest Gen4 NVMe PCIe.

Western Digital (WD) Black SN850 NVMe SSD with Heatsink

This SSD comes with and without a built-in heatsink. So, you can check which one you prefer based on your needs. The WD Black comes in three sizes – 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB.
It is also worth noting that Mark Cerny, the lead system architect of both PS4 and PS5, has endorsed WD Black SSD for the PS5 Console. If that doesn’t give you the confidence to buy this SSD, then nothing will!

Segate FireCuda 530

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Seagate FireCuda 530 is probably one of the best, if not THE best, option for your PS5 console. This SSD meets all the M.2 SSD requirements laid out by the Playstation. It has a read speed of up to 7,300 MB.s and has various storage capacities available. The Seagate FireCuda 530 is available in various sizes including 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB. 4TB actually is the maximum size your PS5 console can accommodate when it comes to SSDs. The SSD is equipped with the latest Gen4 NVMe PCIe SSD.

Seagate FireCuda 530 with Heatsink

The Seagate FireCuda also comes in two options – with a built-in heatsink and without it. The only downside of this SSD is the cost. As opposed to the FireCuda, this is where the WD Black is a reasonable option and excellent value for money. Not only does that meet the official SSD requirements (and beyond), but it is also much more affordable than the Seagate FireCuda 530.

Gigabyte AORUS Gen4 7000s

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Our third and final option is the Gigabyte AORUS Gen4 7000s that comes equipped with the latest tech and fast speed. It houses the next-gen PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD, just like the other two options. The SSD comes equipped with a nanocarbon coated aluminum heatsink and is available in two sizes – 1TB and 2TB.

Hassan Sajid

Gaming has been a part of Hassan’s life for as long as he can remember. Not only does he game well, but he also keeps his eyes open for gaming-related content to make in-depth guides and is always keen to share his game experiences. He graduated with a degree in engineering from the National University Science & Technology (formerly known as Caledonian College of Engineering). The research and technical writing skills he earned throughout his time in the university have allowed him to contribute to the gaming community by creating in-depth guides for gamers all over the world. Find Hassan on LinkedIn.
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