With Sony providing a comprehensive breakdown of the PlayStation 5 architecture, we finally have some answers to question Mark Cerny left lingering all the way back during GDC in March. Top of the list has been how Sony is approaching expandable storage, which we now know will support a wide range of consumer SSDs.
Earlier this year Mark Cerny confirmed that Sony would allow PS5 players to expand upon the internal SSD storage using off-the-shelf NVMe SSDs, a vastly different approach to Microsoft who have instead partnered with SSD manufacturers to create proprietary SSD expansion cards.
Sony’s approach allows for more flexibility in how you expand your PS5 storage but is constrained by a list that the company approves beforehand. That’s to ensure that the SSD you purchase matches the minimum 5.5 GB/s bandwidth, only afforded by brand-new PCIe 4.0 SSDs that companies like Samsung and Western Digital have started producing.
Despite being weeks from launch, Sony hasn’t yet announced any compatible SSDs for the PS5. The teardown does, however, show how easy it will be to install once they become available. The side panels of the PS5 can easily pop off, revealing an SSD slot on the one side. That slot features support for the full gamut of SSD lengths, including 2230, 2242, 2260, and 2280 standard sizes. Cerny did mention that some SSDs will be constrained by their height too, so it’s still wise to wait on Sony’s approval before making a purchase.
The existence of the slot also confirms that you won’t be replacing the PS5’s internal SSD, which has its modules soldered directly to the console’s board. Sony has created a customer controller for the PS5 SSD, with a total of 825GB included with the console. Right now, most commercial PCIe 4.0 SSDs come in 250GB, 500GB, and 1TB variants, but that’s likely to change soon.
Sony hasn’t yet detailed if you’ll be able to use external HDDs to play backwards compatible titles, which Microsoft is supporting on the Xbox Series X/S. The PlayStation 5 launches on November 12, with the digital version retailing for $400 and the disc-based model at $500. Check out our PS5 preorder guide for notifications on stock across various retailers.