There was a lot of discussion and consternation about the PlayStation 5’s storage capacity when it was announced - namely, its unusual size of 825GB, as well as the relatively low usable amount of 667GB; especially in comparison to the Xbox Series X’s 1TB drive.
Once players started downloading games upon launch this debate only intensified. Fuelled further by the initial lack of options to expand the storage, the conversation has rumbled on ever since. Thankfully now we have far more options for expansion than we did in the past. Basically, the best SSDs for PS5 were something we were pining for from the beginning.
Sony opened up the PS5 SSD bay for use back in 2021, and then the steady drop in prices of SSDs compatible with PS5s kicked in soon after. Throw in the added benefit of time, and, in 2024, we’re swimming in options to ensure we don’t have to waste any time shifting games and apps around in order to make way for the next big release.
But, in its fourth year of life, and with a potential PS5 Pro on the horizon too, is it worth buying a PS5 SSD in 2024? It does depend on a number of factors. However, that’s where we come in to help guide you through the value of adding an SSD to your setup and help you consider all the major points such as use case scenarios, value, and more.
Buy a PS5 SSD if...
You prefer to have lots of games installed and available to play at all times
It sounds obvious but increasing your console’s storage capacity simply means you’ll have more space to have more games installed at once. If you’re someone who values having a greater number of adventures to jump into at a moment's notice, a PS5 SSD is going to be crucial. With one, you won’t have to consider what games to have installed - or which ones to uninstall to make the space available.
Personally, having a couple of single-player games as well as three or so online games, the PS5’s storage rapidly fills up so I always cherish having some extra space to accommodate. Also, if your online multiplayer game of choice is Call of Duty, then you’ll already know just how much space one game is capable of taking up alone.
You indulge in the PS Plus Extra and Premium tiers’ game libraries
If you are actively subscribed to either of the top two PS Plus tiers (Extra or Premium) then you should seriously consider a PS5 SSD. With hundreds of titles from across the PlayStation generations to download and try, or keep and play as long as your subscription is active, you’re bound to fill up the PS5’s drive in no time, once again marking an SSD as a must-have.
You have a healthy budget for PS5 accessories
Despite the steady decline in price and frequent deals, an internal SSD is still an investment and still more expensive than an external USB hard drive - which is worth taking into consideration if you’re on the market for multiple PS5 accessories. Particularly so if you’re eyeing up other pricey extras like headsets and controllers or the PlayStation Portal or Pulse Explore earbuds.
For reference, you can pick up an internal PS5 SSD with heatsink for around the $100 / £100 mark at any time of the year, while 2TB models often demand somewhere north of $150 / £150, sometimes more, outside of sales season. If you can afford the investment, however, you won’t look back and the extra storage is worth its weight in gold.
You’re still actively working through the PS4 game library as well as PS5
If, like me, you’re still to get to a host of awesome PS4 games in your backlog alongside new PS5 games, then a PS5 SSD is a great tool and vehicle for having them ready to go. The combined space that even a modest PS4 game backlog teamed with a current PS5 game queue is considerable, and the key point here, so adding space to have all these games to hand in this most fruitful cross-generational world that we live in is an ideal situation.
This is pertinent in the case of the PS4 game library, as while an external USB hard drive can house PS5 games for storage (so you can move them between the console and the hard drive quicker), you cannot play PS5 games directly from an external storage source.
We’d also extend this to PSVR 2 games (and PlayStation VR games) as an SSD makes for a tidy place to keep all those other game libraries while offering speedy load times and action. (See below if you almost only play PS4 games, however.)
You want to prioritize speeds and performance from your storage
If performance, speed, and getting the most out of your whole PS5 setup including accessories is one of your top priorities then a PS5 SSD is going to be for you. A compatible PS5 SSD will offer incredibly fast loading and transfer speeds, meaning you can sort out your storage in the blink of an eye. In addition to this, you barely have to wait for games to load, or for loading screens to pass which helps to immerse you further into your favorite games
As good as some modern external storage solutions are, they cannot compete with the load times of internal SSDs so if you want the fastest, an internal M.2 drive is going to be the way forward.
Don't buy a PS5 SSD if...
You’re content working within the PS5’s own storage capacity
Some folks will be happy to work with the PS5 and it's 667GB or so straight out of the box. Be that due to a general contentedness to work within the PS5’s storage limitation, being happy to uninstall and reinstall games as necessary, or from a ‘neat and tidy’ perspective, only keeping actively-used games installed at any one time. Needless to say, it’s possible to work within the default limits. If this is you, then you may feel that adding a PS5 SSD is overkill for your use of the PS5 so isn’t necessary.
You have a modest budget for storage
Internal SSDs are the more expensive option when it comes to storage on PS5. So, if you’re working on a more modest budget for extra storage then you’ll likely find that PS5 external hard drive options (particularly of the HDD variety) offer much more bang for your buck - despite their caveats.
You can get 5TB for $150 / £150 or less now for an HDD, and you can also pick up 2TB of external SSD goodness from the likes of Crucial for less than $100 / £100 usually. Even if you’re trading away the ability to play PS5 games directly from the extra storage, and the extra performance from the high speeds, these are seriously good value options, especially if they align with how you use your PS5 and what you play.
You value portability over performance
For everything that an internal PS5 SSD offers in terms of storage and speed, it’s simply not a viable portable option. If you play your PS5 and PS4 games at multiple locations or just want to be able to take games to friends and families then an external hard drive will be the best option for you - the portability of an external drive will be more valuable than the performance of an internal PS5 SSD.
You almost exclusively play PS4 games
This factor is probably playing less of a role as each month and year passes, but it’s worth considering still. Especially if you came to PlayStation this generation but are exploring all that the PS4 had to offer as well. If that is the case then in the first instance the PS5’s storage should suffice, but if you do need more, then an external storage to store and play PS4 games will offer greater value.
Should you buy a PS5 SSD? - Verdict
As always with PS5 accessories, there are always a few factors to weigh up before committing to a PS5 SSD. Our overall opinion and advice is that the PS5 SSD is the most important and valuable accessory you can add to your PS5 in 2024. Particularly so in the face of an ever-expanding and excellent game library and the sizes of those games getting larger and larger.
Throw in the number of different games many folks are likely to want or need to have quick access to across single-player and multiplayer genres - the need for extra storage is clear. Adding extra space internally with a fast PS5 SSD is the best way to alleviate that and enjoy what the PS5 has to offer without any worry.
Having said that, there are still a few downsides to consider. If you want to prioritize portability, don’t mind working with the PS5’s storage capacity, and enjoy PS4 games a lot too, then you can definitely still get by without a PS5 SSD. We just think more storage is best, and with some tantalizing prices coming and going all the time, it’s always worth considering an internal storage upgrade.
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Rob is Deputy Editor of TechRadar Gaming, a video games journalist, critic, editor, and writer, and has years of experience gained from multiple publications. Prior to being TechRadar Gaming's Deputy Editor, he was a longstanding member of GamesRadar+, being the Commissioning Editor for Hardware there for years, while also squeezing in a short stint as Gaming Editor at WePC before joining TechRadar Gaming. He is also a freelance writer on tech, gaming hardware, video games, gardens, and landscapes and is crowdfunding a book on video game landscapes that you can back and pre-order now too.