PS5 games are only going to get more and more complex and larger in size. Sony offers a healthy 1TB of storage in their consoles, and it’s powered by a fast NVMe SSD to achieve true next-gen loading speeds.
But the internal SSD only has around 670GB of usable space. That’s only 4 installs of Call of Duty Warzone! Sony is aware of this, and that’s why they have included expandable SSD storage built right into the PS5.
While the PS5 can’t play PS5 games off the external hard drive, you can use the external hard drive to play PS4 games directly or swap PS5 games in and out of the main SSD.
We have listed below the 5 best external drives out there under different price points, so you can choose what fits your needs and budget.
1. Crucial X6/X8
Crucial offers two very attractive portable SSDs with their X6 and X8. The former is the cheaper option, but it still offers solid performance for the price.
The Crucial X6 comes in 4 different storage tiers: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB. The 500GB tier SSD is the cheapest and offers 540MB/s of sequential read speeds. Every other storage tier offers sequential reads of up to 800MB/s. The X6 starts out at $60 for the 500GB variant and goes up to $360 for the 4TB model.
The Crucial X8 steps it up with up to 1050MB/s sequential read speeds thanks to its USB 3.1 Gen-2 connectivity. The X8 comes in both a 1Tb and 2TB model, with them costing $105 and $190 respectively.
The Crucial X6 and X8 are fast and durable portable SSDs that offer the best balance of price, speed, and size. The PS5 will not take advantage of the extra speed the X8 offers, so you might as well get the biggest X6 you can afford.
2. Samsung T5/T7
Samsung has always had a reputation for being one of the best SSD manufacturers out there. After taking a look at their T5 and T7 external SSDs, it’s no wonder why.
The T5 is more of a budget offering, with sequential speeds of up to 540MBps and storage tiers starting from 250GB up to 2TB. The T5 starts at $83 for the 250Gb model.
The T7 is the much more blinged-out cousin of the T5, with almost twice the sequential read speed at 1050MBps and storage tiers of 500GB to 2TB. The T7 also uses the faster USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 connectivity over the T5’s USB 3.1 Gen 2. The T7 starts out at around $80 for the 500GB model and goes up to $220 for the 2TB variant.
Both SSDs are equipped with Samsung’s world-class flash storage and come with added security features like AES encryption and password protection, though none of this is applicable to the PS5.
3. SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD
The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is the best of both worlds, offering solid performance for a price that’s easy on your wallet.
SanDisk offers two storage tiers for the Extreme Portable SD; a 500GB model for $120 or 1TB for $200. On top of this, it also boasts a sequential read speed of 1050MBps. All this is packed into a compact and durable enclosure that is certified to protect the internals from any drops.
SanDisk has even gone the extra mile and added IP55 water and dust resistance to the Extreme Portable SSD. So, rest assured your games will be safe and sound.
If you’re shopping on a budget for a very durable and fast SSD, the SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is just what you need.
4. WD Black P50 Game Drive 4TB
Western Digital offers a much more premium solution for storing your PS5 games with their P50 Game Drive. We tested the high-end 4TB model that starts at an eye-watering $600!
But what you get for the price is super-fast and reliable storage (4TB of it) in a sleek black enclosure that’s stealthy and won’t stick out like a sore thumb in your living room.
If you want to spare no expense and expand your PS5’s storage that will last you a very long time, the WD Black P50 Game Drive is worth checking out. But the premium you’re paying will not translate into better performance.
5. WD My Passport
The WD My Passport offers clean aesthetics at a much more digestible price. This external HDD is slower than the SSD’s above in transfers and load times for PS4 games, but you’ll get more TBs per dollar, perfect if you’re more into archiving.
With a 3-year warranty and a reasonable price per TB, the WD My Passport is a solid choice if you’re looking for a portable SSD that looks clean enough to fit in with your PS5 setup.
The WD My Passport starts at $90 for the 500GB model and goes up to $670 for the 4TB model (we don’t recommend getting the 4TB My Passport as it’s not as good of a value unlike its other storage tiers).
What Can You Do with an External Hard Drive for PS5?
With an external hard drive connected to your PS5, you can store so many more PS4 and PS5 games than you could with just the built-in storage.
You can play your PS4 games right off of the external drive! Unfortunately, this is not possible on next-gen games for the PS5 because of Sony’s strict enforcement of all the new games needing to be run on the internal SSD to access full throughput on the SSD.
The good news is that you can still store any PS5 game on the external drive and move it onto your main SSD when you need to play it. This is super convenient and is a lot less time-consuming than downloading it over the air.
External HDD vs SSD for PS5
PS4 games will load much faster on an external SSD.
For PS5 games, the main difference will be in speed when transferring games back and forth. The much higher speed of the SSD will really come in handy. With that said, you don’t need to get the fastest external SSD out there since the PS5 only supports speeds up to a certain limit.
The biggest advantage external HDDs have over SSDs is the price per TB. The slower storage technology allows you to buy a lot more capacity for the price if you go with a hard drive. If you like having your entire game library downloaded, an external hard drive would be a solid investment.
External SSD vs M.2 Expansion on the PS5
M.2 expansion storage does allow you to play PS5 games directly on expanded storage. Installing an M.2 requires popping off the outershell of the PS5 and and installing the SSD in the dedicated M.2 slot.
USB Extended Storage Requirements for the PS5
Sony put in place some limitations for what kind of external storage you can use with their latest console. This is mostly to make sure you get the best gaming experience without any hitches.
Any external storage that you use must be SuperSpeed USB 5 Gbps or later. You can’t also use any drives with a capacity less than 250GB (although I doubt anyone would), and the upper limit is capped at 8TB. You should get the biggest size SSD you can afford as game sizes and your game library are only going to get larger over time.
With all that said, not every external storage drive will be compatible with the PS5. It’s really up to the manufacturers to ensure that they comply with all of Sony’s regulations. Plus, you cannot use your external storage if it’s plugged in through a USB hub. If more than one external storage drive is connected, you can only use one at a time.