There was a lot to take in if you were watching the official PlayStation 5 teardown video yesterday, not least the sheer size of the thing. However there was also a blink-and-you’ll-miss it moment that could prove significant, if not immediately then certainly across the console’s lifespan.
The image, which you’ll see above, was on screen for barely a second, but revealed something important about how the PS5 will deal with expanding the system storage. We already know that the console will ship with an 825GB SSD — slightly smaller than the 1TB item in the Xbox Series X — so, once the space taken up by the system and OS is accounted for, it’s likely people will need more space for their games.
As the presenter, Yasuhiro Ootori, uncovered the SSD expansion slot it revealed that the bay will accommodate just about any size of NVMe M.2 SSD. The screw slots you see in the image are for securing an SSD expansion card in place, and they’re labelled “80”, “60”, “42”, and “30”, corresponding to the length in millimeters of 2280, 2260, 2242, and 2230 cards. In a later still there also appears to be a fifth slot, roughly where you’d expect the securing pin for a 110mm-long (22110) card to be. It appears to also have a “110” label.
This covers all of the most common forms of this particular technology, and should mean that you’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to deciding on how to expand your console’s storage. In essence, any of the most common sizes of NVMe M.2 SSD, with PCIe 4 connector, will be available — though it will be best to rely on Sony’s word as to what’s compatible. This all matches up with what Sony’s Mark Cerny said back in March in his PS5 technical presentation.
One mild wrinkle, at least for now, is that any add-on SSD must at least match the data transfer rates of the console’s own internal SSD. That’s no small feat, as the onboard SSD runs at up to 5.5GB/s. Even so, at present there’s options that will fit the bill, with Western Digital announcing the Black SN850 just today, to join the Samsung 980 Evo, Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus, and XPG Gammix S70. They all come in at close to the same price for 1TB as Microsoft’s $220 proprietary solution for the Xbox Series X/S, though there’s also 2TB models if you need even more space.
As more manufacturers come to market with rival offerings over the coming years, prices are likely to fall. Given that games inexorably grow larger over time too, it appears that the PS5 expansion solution is fairly well future-proofed.