The PlayStation 5’s SSD is one of the system’s most impressive aspects, as it loads games incredibly fast and enables tricks of speed and scope that consoles with hard drives simply can’t match. It’s only 825GB, though, and 667GB of that is usable for games. If you want to play a lot of big games, that SSD will fill up fast. Fortunately, there’s a solution that doesn’t involve constantly uninstalling games to make room.
The PS5 has an expansion slot to accept M.2 NVMe SSDs, and with the right drive in that slot you can keep up those impressive speeds and features while drastically increasing space. It’s a fairly direct process, but it involves a bit of dismantling and checking specs. We performed the operation ourselves, and put together this helpful step-by-step guide that goes into a bit more detail than Sony’s own instructions.
1. Choose the Right SSD
You need an M.2 SSD to upgrade your PS5’s storage, but not just any M.2 SSD will do. Sony lists a few specific requirements for compatible drives. M.2 SSDs may vary in physical size and storage capacity, but the one you select must be fast enough to keep up with the PS5’s internal SSD. The requirements are:
- PCI-Express Gen4x4 supported M.2 NVMe SSD
- Socket 3 (Key M)
- Storage Size 250GB to 4TB
- Size 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280, or 22110
- Up to 25mm wide
- 30, 40, 60, 80, or 110mm long
- Less than 11.25mm thick (less than 8mm from above the board, less than 2.45mm from below the board)
- Sequential read speed 5,500Mbps or faster
The read speed is vital if you want good performance, and it’s the easiest stat to miss when you’re shopping for an SSD; many have read speeds between 3,000 and 5,000Mbps. We chose an ADATA XPG Gammix S70 Blade.
2. Prepare Your Gear
Before you install the SSD, you’re going to need to prepare a few things. Obviously, clear out a flat work space. Then get the following tools:
- #1 Philips head screwdriver
That’s it. You don’t need any equipment besides that.
3. Put a Heatsink on the SSD
If your SSD already has a heatsink on it, you can move to the next step. If it doesn’t, get a compatible heatsink for your SSD’s size, and install it using the instructions included with the drive and/or heatsink. The instructions may slightly vary between models, but it shouldn’t be more than removing some adhesive from the thermal layer of the underside of the heatsink and carefully pressing it onto the SSD.
4. Turn Off the PlayStation 5
This might seem obvious, but you need to manually turn off the system. Just pressing the power button puts the PS5 into sleep mode, and disconnecting the power cable from there will futz up the sleep state and the console will scold you for it the next time you turn it on. That’s not a great situation for a new SSD.
- Press the PlayStation button on the controller, then select the Power icon.
- Choose Power Off, and wait until all the lights on the console go off.
- Unplug the system and move it to your work space.
5. Position the PlayStation 5
Set down the PS5, and face it in the correct direction.
Lay the PS5 flat on your work space, with the PlayStation logo facing down and the ports facing you.
6. Remove the Side Panel
It’s tricky to remove. Don’t force it or pull up too hard. Just try to find the right angle to make it slide left.
This is one of the trickiest parts of the process, because removing that big, white panel is a bit fiddly.
- Firmly grip the upper-left corner and the lower-right corner.
- Carefully pull up the lower-right corner, while pushing the panel to the left with your right hand.
- At the same time, use your left thumb to brace the top of the panel for leverage and the rest of your left hand to ease the panel left. If you’ve found the correct angle, the panel should slide left and come off with relatively little force. If the panel won’t move, try to find a different angle to push, and adjust how much you pull up with your right hand.
The panel is secured by sideways hook-like pins that click out to the left, and no amount of upward force besides the small amount needed to lift the pins out of their notches will remove it (and you might break the pins trying). Use a bit of wiggling experimentation until you find the right way to get the panel to slide left.
7. Remove the Expansion Slot Cover
Take off the screw and the rectangular plate, and put them somewhere safe.
This is simple. Take out the single screw holding the rectangular cover near the top of the open PS5 (ignore all the other screws on the big cover to the left). Lift the cover off of the expansion slot and place it and the screw to the side.
8. Remove the M.2 Screw
Keep track of this screw. Like all M.2 screws, it has the potential to simply vanish.
Take out the small screw sitting in the expansion slot’s far-right hole. Only remove the screw and place it to the side. Keep the ring-shaped spacer where it is until the next step.
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9. Place the Spacer in the Correct Hole
If you aren’t sure how long your SSD is, hold it over the slot and see where the notch meets the hole. Then put the spacer there.
This is where the tweezers come in. Move the spacer from the right-most hole in the expansion slot to the hole marked with the correct length of your SSD. You could do it with your fingers, but for how tiny it is this is probably easier to get it aligned. If your SSD is 110mm long, the spacer is already in the right place.
10. Insert the SSD Into the Expansion Slot
After it slides into the slot, it will naturally spring up. That’s what the screw is for.
- With the heatsink facing up and the connection points facing left, align the notch on the SSD with the slot on the left.
- Gently press left, and the drive should fit in securely, and point slightly upward.
- Press down on the right edge of the drive, so that the notch on that side fits against the spacer.
11. Secure the SSD
Install the M.2 screw into the right edge of the SSD and the spacer. When it’s completely screwed in, the drive should sit securely flat in the expansion slot.
12. Cover the Expansion Slot
Replace the expansion slot cover, and screw it into place.
13. Replace the Side Panel
This is a little less tricky than removing the panel, but you still might need to wiggle and experiment with the panel’s placement before it clicks into place. Set the panel slightly to the left of where it should be on the PS5 and carefully press it to the right. If it’s angled correctly, it should securely snap back into the locked position.
14. Format the SSD
The PS5 can now be connected back to your TV and turned on again, so do that. When it boots up, it should detect the SSD and ask if you want to format it. Choose yes (it will delete anything on the drive). After a few minutes, the drive will be formatted to work with your PS5, and you can set the system to install games directly to it by default. The system will also run a speed test on your drive, so you can double-check that it’s faster than the 5,500Mbps Sony recommends.
15. Start Playing!
Your PS5 is now set up with significantly increased storage which, if your drive fulfills all the requirements, should be just as fast as the internal SSD that was already there. Have fun! And check out our list of the best PS5 games for some ideas of what to put on your new drive.