Playstation 5 and controller on glass table
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What to Look For in a PS5 SSD in 2021

Not every SSD is compatible with the PS5, and any storage options you choose to have a specific list of traits to work inside the Sony console. This can be confusing if you’re new to SSDs and have never had to buy one or install one yourself.

Chances are you are using a phone or computer that utilizes an SSD, or solid-state drive, for high-speed storage and overall performance. The PS5 isn’t any different with its built-in 1TB SSD. The problem is that SSDs generally come in smaller capacities than hard drives. Combined with the increasing size of video games (some reaching over 100 GBs in size), you’ll either have to be diligent about what you install or save yourself the headache and get an expansion SSD.

Sony breaks down what it expects of your SSD onΒ the company’s support page. Most of these specifications are hard to miss when buying an SSD, like the interface and socket type. But it is the SSD’s speed and size are where things get tricky.

The PS5 requires an internal SSD to have a 5,550 MB/s or faster read speed. They must also be at or under 25 mm wide and 11.25 mm thick so it actually fits in the console. Finally, your SSD needs a heatsink attached to it to withstand the high temperatures in the PS5’s case.

Here’s the problem: not every SSD comes with a heatsink. Buying and installing heatsinks on your own is possible, but it’s a barrier that many won’t be interested in overcoming, given the tight space requirements. That’s why all of the SSDs below come with heatsinks—just make sure you purchase the right version of our recommendations and you’re good!

As with most SSDs, especially M.2 ones, you should look for fast sustained read and write speeds around 5,500 MB/s to 7,000 MB/s. This leads to certain games loading in graphics faster, like open-world titles. It also means booting up games and apps will be faster, not to mention the higher transfer speeds.

SSDs measure random read and writes speeds, which in games come up more often than sustained ones. These are called input/output operations per second, or IOPS. Generally, you want these to also be fast, clocking in at above 500,000. All of the SSDs below hit these numbers easily.

So with this knowledge in hand, let’s get into our picks.

Best PS5 SSD Overall: WD_BLACK SN850

WD Black SSD Dimensions
Western Digital

Pros

  • Fast read and write speeds
  • Solid price
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • Can run hot

The WD SN850 is unbelievably fast. It’s not quite as consistently fast as the Seagate FireCuda 530, which is our pick for the fastest PS5 SSD, but it speeds through the kind of tasks your PS5 will throw at it.

It helps that WD’s SSD was explicitly made with gaming in mind. WD put most of its resources into making this SSD blaze through random read and write operations. This should make almost any type of game you play run smoothly.

Specifically, this SSD has a dynamic way of storing data before properly writing it to the SSD so that the entire process feels faster to you. This is WD’s nCache 4.0 technology for SLC caching in play. Don’t fret over the confusing names, though; all it means is that this SSD makes downloading and installing large games or apps a breeze by doing extra work behind the scenes.

Combine that with its 1,000,000 IOPS read speed and 720,000 IOPS write speed, and the WD SN850 is a robust storage solution. Finally, it will fit perfectly inside your Sony PS5, and it comes with a heatsink.

The SN850 is available in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB models.

Best PS5 SSD Overall

WD SN850

The WDSN850 PS5 SSD brings fast speeds to the PS5 at an affordable price.

Best Budget PS5 SSD: Seagate FireCuda 530

Firecuda SSD installed in machine
Firecuda

Pros

  • Fast read and write performance
  • 5-year warranty and 3-year data recovery service
  • Runs cool

Cons

  • Higher capacities can get pricey

The Seagate FireCuda is unstoppable when it comes to sustained read and write speeds. It’s simply the fastest SSD out there for the Sony PS5. Knowing that, it’s wild to say it’s also the most affordable SSD of the competition.

The Seagate FireCuda 530 is available for under $250 with its 1TB drivel and increases in price somewhat as you go up in size. That puts the price a good amount below the other SSDs that work with a PS5.

Price is an important consideration considering how much you already have to invest into the console with games and subscriptions. It would be nice if your storage solution isn’t breaking the bank on top of that, and Seagate’s SSD gives you quality while costing less.

The money you save doesn’t impact the features you get either. The FireCuda has incredibly fast sustained read and write speeds. For games, this means reading large chunks of data will be faster than many other SSDs that focus more on short bursts of action.

FireCuda’s other specs don’t falter, though: it has 800,000 read IOPS speed and 1,000,000 IOPS write speed. This SSD is also rated for 7,300 MB/s sequential read speed and 6,000 MB/s sequential write speed. All of this means that it can handle almost any type of content that you need stored or loaded quickly.

Seagate also includes a 5-year warranty as well as a 3-year data recovery service. These are the types of promises you don’t always see in budget-friendly products.

The Firecuda is available in 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB models.

Best Budget PS5 SSD

Seagate FireCuda 530

The Seagate FireCuda 530 is highly affordable and doesn't slack on pure speed or sustained performance.

Best 4TB PS5 SSD: PNY CS3040

PNY SSD installed in machine
PNY

Pros

  • Consistent performance
  • 5-year warranty
  • Runs cool

Cons

  • Not the fastest SSD out there

The value of SSDs can get weird as you go up in capacity. A 4TB SSD not only increases the price but also requires a performance to increase to match it. Thankfully, the PNY CS3040 remains a solid SSD no matter what size you get it in.

If you’re looking to stuff a ton of games onto a single SSD, the CS3040 is a great pick for both its price and strong read and write speeds. The SSD clocks in at 5,600 MB/s read and 3,900 MB/s write. Its IOPs for read and write speeds are 660,000 and 800,000, respectively.

For the price, the PNY CS3040 is unbeatable. 4TB SSDs are typically expensive and hard to find. The CS3040 is considerably pricier than the other options in this list, but it’s on the low end compared to other 4TB SSDs out there.

It’s best to think of PNY’s SSD as an investment that you won’t ever need to worry about upgrading again. With the effort it takes to install a PS5 SSD, it’s worth getting a nice big SSD so you’ll only have to do it once.

Best 4TB PS5 SSD

PNY CS3040

When it comes to capacity and performance, the PNY CS3040 is at the top of the list.

Best Fast PS5 SSD: Seagate FireCuda 530

Firecuda SSD on blue and purple background
Firecuda

Pros

  • Fast read and write performance
  • 5-year warranty and 3-year data recovery service
  • Runs cool

Cons

  • Higher capacities can get pricey

The Seagate FireCuda 530 returns in this list as the fastest PS5 SSD because nothing else can touch its penchant for sustained read and write speeds.

This SSD makes games and apps load near-instantly with its 7,300 MB/s read and 6,000 MB/s write speeds. It’s 800,000 and 1,000,000 read and write IOPS speeds don’t slouch either. All these numbers mean that when you toss the FireCuda 530 into your Sony PS5, it’ll not only work out of the box with its included heatsink, it’ll do its job as quickly as possible.

Part of the joy of the new consoles in the past was the reduced loading times. The FireCuda 530 does a great job of improving performance while boosting storage capacity.Β The budget price is nothing to scoff at, either.

The Firecuda is available in 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB models.

Best Fast PS5 SSD

Seagate FireCuda 530

The Seagate FireCuda 530 is a blazing fast SSD that will handle any PS5 game or app you throw at it.

Best External PS5 SSD: WD_Black P50 Game Drive

WD Black External SSD Dimensions
Western Digital

Pros

  • Very fast read and write speeds
  • Compact size
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • A little expensive
Warning: Please note that your PlayStation 5 cannot play PS5 games stored on an external SSD. An external SSD can be used for storage of PS5 games, however, and the PS5 can also play PS4 games stored on an external drive. If you want to have more storage that allows you to directly play PS5 games, you’ll need to install an internal PS5 SSD.

If you want to keep your SSD outside your PS5 and don’t want to fuss with the installation process, an external SSD is a good choice. The WD_Black P50 Game Drive is an excellent option for that primarily because it’s built for gaming.

The P50 Game Drive brings 2,000 MB/s read and write speeds, which is fast for an external drive. The ability to maintain that speed is essential for transferring games to your PS5 or playing PS4 games directly off the drive. In terms of IOPS (input/output operations per second) speeds, the drive hits around 3,900 read and 8,500 write speedsΒ according to reviews. That puts it above many other external SSDs and is more than powerful enough to keep up with the PS5’s demand.

The WD_Black P50 Game Drive is also priced well for how fast and compatible it is with the PlayStation 5. You won’t find other external drives that can match its speeds. For improved speeds, you’ll have to go with an internal SSD. This is the drive to get the absolute best performance for storing media and games.

We recommend the 1TB model below, but the P50 is available in up to 4TBs of storage.

Best External PS5 SSD

WD_Black P50 Game Drive

The WD_Black P50 Game Drive beats out the competition with incredibly fast speeds and a compact size.

The Best Gaming Headsets of 2021 for PC and Consoles

Best Gaming Headset Overall
HyperX Cloud Alpha S
Best Budget Gaming Headset
HyperX Cloud Stinger
Best Wireless Gaming Headset
SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless
Best Gaming Headset for PC
Razer BlackShark V2
Best Gaming Headset for PS5
Astro A50 Wireless Headset and Base Station Gen 4
Best Gaming Headset for Xbox Series X
SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless
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Tyler Colp is a freelance writer at How-To Geek. He has over a decade of experience covering gaming and technology across the internet. His work has been published on Wired, Windows Central, Polygon, and more.
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