Closeup of NVMe drive interface

Want to expand your storage space on the PlayStation 5? Before you buy any old NVMe drive, you’ll need to make sure it’s compatible with Sony’s console. We’ll explain how to determine this.

The PlayStation 5 launched in November 2020 with a few missing features, including the ability to expand the storage using an aftermarket SSD. With the September System Update released on September 15, 2021, however, all users have the capability, so make sure your system is up to date

Make Sure Your SSD Conforms to Sony’s Specifications

Sony has a range of requirements that must be met for your drive to match the specifications of the existing SSD that ships with the console. Unlike USB storage solutions which can only be used for PS4 (backward compatibility) titles, native PS5 games have much higher read and write speed requirements.

Viper VP4300 PCIe M.2 Gen4 x4 NVMe Drive

The drive must be a PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD ranged between 250GB and 4TB in capacity. Older Gen3 drives and anything that doesn’t hit Sony’s target 5.5GB/sec sequential read speed isn’t up to par.

These drives must have an M.2 form factor type of 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280, or 22110 (information that should be included in the item description). The socket type used is Socket 3 (Key M). The drive’s physical dimensions also matter, with the PS5 only having room for drive modules that are 22mm wide (25mm modules won’t fit). Length must be 30mm, 42mm, 60mm, 80mm, or 110mm.

PlayStation 5 SSD Expansion Slot

In addition to the drive module’s physical dimensions, Sony also recommends a cooling structure, such as a heatsink. Some drives come with heatsinks already attached, while others come “naked” and require you to affix one yourself. Without adequate cooling, your drive could suffer a performance penalty under load.

With the heatsink attached, the total size of your expansion drive must not exceed 110mm in length, 25mm in width, and 11.25mm in height. Note that while 25mm is the maximum width, the NVMe module must not exceed 22mm (25mm is the quoted size with a heatsink attached).

Which SSDs Work With the PS5?

If you’ve read those specifications and decided that you’d rather defer to someone else and just buy a “known good” NVMe drive, we don’t blame you. Sony’s solution provides more consumer freedom than Microsoft’s approach to Xbox Series X|S proprietary storage cards, but it introduces many more variables to trip up the average user.

Here are some drives that include heatsinks that you can drop straight into your PS5:

NVMe Drive with Heatsink

WD_BLACK 1TB SN850 NVMe Internal Gaming SSD Solid State Drive with Heatsink - Works with Playstation 5, Gen4 PCIe, M.2 2280, Up to 7,000 MB/s - WDS100T1XHE

Western Digital's WD_BLACK SN850 is fully compatible with the PlayStation 5 and comes complete with a heatsink ready to go.

Here are some drives that are up to spec, but come without a heatsink or a heatsink that is too large:

NVMe Drive Without Heatsink

SABRENT 1TB Rocket 4 Plus NVMe 4.0 Gen4 PCIe M.2 Internal SSD Extreme Performance Solid State Drive (Latest Version) (SB-RKT4P-1TB)

Sabrent's Rocket 4 Plus meets Sony's NVMe specifications but requires you to purchase and attach an aftermarket heatsink.

You’ll need to ensure that any heatsink you purchase doesn’t cause your SSD to exceed the 11.25mm height allowance. Much of the time item descriptions and user reviews will confirm or deny this, and some heatsinks like the MHQJRH M.2 2280 can be adjusted to fit.

Once you’ve picked an appropriate NVMe SSD, here’s how to install it in your PS5. The process requires you open your PS5 console, but it’s not too complicated if you follow the instructions.

Upgrading PS5 Storage Will Get Easier

Sony’s approach requires console owners to pay close attention to the hardware they are purchasing to ensure compatibility. This means more affordable upgrade paths for users provided they know what they’re doing.

Expect manufacturers to slap a “fits PS5” sticker on a box and bundle their drives with a suitably sized heatsink before long, which should make upgrading your PS5’s internal storage far more straightforward.

Get more out of your Sony console with Review Geeks’ top PlayStation 5 accessories.

Profile Photo for Tim Brookes Tim Brookes
Tim Brookes is a technology writer with more than a decade of experience. He's invested in the Apple ecosystem, with experience covering Macs, iPhones, and iPads for publications like Zapier and MakeUseOf.
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