PS5 Beta Firmware Adds M.2 SSD Support for Expanded Storage, But It’s a Bit Trickier Than Expected

PS5 Beta ssd

If you’re a PS5 owner, chances are one of the main (if not the main) features you’re looking forward to the most is being able to slot in another SSD (Solid State Drive) to your console so you can expand its memory. Well, the PS5 beta firmware that’s live now for certain participants are able to do just that, though it’s a lot more tricker than expected.

First off, before we dive into the M.2 SSD stuff, here are some of the new stuf players can expect from the PS5 beta being tested now by participants according to Japanese journalist Munechika Nishida: (via Exputer)

  • M.2 SSD support.
  • UX Improvements
  • 3D Audio support for TV Speakers
  • A handful of customization options
  • Control Center can be more personalized (rearrange controls etc)
  • View/write messages 
  • Updated Friends Tab
  • PS4/5 game versions are now separated on the home screen/library
  • Trophy tracker
  • New Accolade: Leader
  • Auto recording Highlights
  • Improved Social features
  • New fonts added for editing screenshots
  • Improved Notifications

For now, the beta is only available in the US, Japan, Canada and Germany.

As for expanding your storage for the PS5, there’s some good news and bad news. The good news is, we won’t be locked to any proprietary SSD that’s being sold by Sony. The bad new? It’s a wee bit trickier than expected.

Sony has launched help and FAQ page for beta participants that are aiming to add an M.2 SSD to their PS5 console. While there’s a significant amount of info to be parsed  below that’s straight from Sony themselves, do remember that this is all from a beta, so there’s a possibility that not everything mentioned below will be the same once this update is out in the wild.

What is an M.2 SSD?

M.2 SSD devices are a high-speed solid state drive medium that PS5 beta users can install to upgrade the storage capacity of their PS5 console or PS5 Digital Edition console (separate purchase required). We recommend verifying that you’ve received a beta invitation before purchasing a new M.2 SSD.

Which M.2 SSDs can be used with a PS5 console?

It’s important that you only use a supported M.2 SSD to expand your PS5 console storage. Make sure you’re using an M.2 SSD that meets the following requirements. As this is a beta, please note the final specifications may change ahead of the official system software release.

PS5 console M.2 SSD requirements:

Interface: PCIe Gen4 x4 M.2 NVMe SSD

Capacity: 250GB – 4TB

Cooling structure: Using an M.2 SSD with your PS5 console requires effective heat dissipation with a cooling structure, such as a heatsink. You can attach one to your M.2 SSD yourself, either in a single-sided format, or double-sided format. There are also M.2 SSDs that have cooling structures (such as heatsinks) built in.

Sequential read speed: 5,500MB/s or faster is recommended

Module width: 22mm width (25mm width is not supported)

Form Factor: M.2 type 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 and 22110.
These numbers can be found on retail listings for M.2 SSD devices. The first two digits refer to the width, the remaining digits to the length.

Socket type: Socket 3 (Key M)

Total size including cooling structure:
In millimeters: smaller than 110mm (L) x 25mm (W) x 11.25mm (H).
In inches: smaller than 4.33in (L) x 0.984 in (W) x 0.442in (H).

See below for full requirements.

Length

The following M.2 SSD lengths are compatible with PS5 consoles:
30mm, 42mm, 60mm, 80mm, 110mm (corresponding to the form factor type, per above).

Width
A 22mm-wide M.2 SSD module is required.
The total structure (including an added cooling structure) cannot exceed 25mm (0.984in).

Height
The total height of the M.2 SSD and its cooling structure (such as a heatsink) – whether built-in or separate – must be less than 11.25mm (0.442in).
The height must also be in the right place, in relation to the M.2 SSD’s circuit board:

  • The size below the board must be less than 2.45mm (0.096in).
  • The total size above the board must be less than 8mm (0.314in).

(Note: millimeter measurements are the technical standard and are more precise than inches. We recommend double-checking that the total dimensions of M.2 SSD and heatsink products you’re considering meet the millimeter requirements before purchasing)

M.2 SSD with a built in heatsink dimensions
M.2 SSD with a single heatsink
M.2 SSD with double heatsinks
  • Both single-sided and double-sided M.2 SSD devices are supported.
  • M.2 SATA SSDs aren’t supported.
  • You should carefully review drive specifications prior to purchase and contact the vendor or manufacturer if you need further information. SIE cannot guarantee that all M.2 SSD devices meeting the described specifications will work with your console and assumes no responsibility for the selection, performance or use of third-party products.
  • Not all games are necessarily playable with the exact same performance provided by the PS5 console’s internal Ultra-High Speed SSD, even where the M.2 SSD device’s sequential read speed is faster than 5500MB/s.
  • The majority of M.2 SSD devices with the above type numbers (M Key Type 2230, 2242, 2260, 2280 and 22110) and without a built-in cooling structure will fit the PS5 console’s SSD slot. However, sizes for cooling structures (like heatsinks) vary greatly. If you are not sure an M.2 SSD or cooling structure (such as a heatsink) you’re considering meets the size requirements outlined here, we recommend looking for another product option or contacting the vendor or manufacturer for more information.

How to add an M.2 SSD to a PS5 console

Before you begin, you’ll need:

  • A well-lit room with a table to work on.
  • A #1 Phillips or cross-head screwdriver.
  • A small flashlight (optional).

Important: This feature is only available to beta users at this time. If you have installed your M.2 SSD in a console that does not have beta system software installed, you need to remove your M.2 SSD before you can update the system software.

Before proceeding with the installing or removing process, touch a metal-grounded object to remove any static electricity from your body. Failure to do so may cause damage to your M.2 SSD or PS5 console.

The full step-by-step guide to installing it can be seen here.
There’s also an FAQ since loads of gamers will have questions about SATA drives, and the like.

Frequently asked questions

Can I insert a SATA drive into the PS5 console?
No.

Should I remove the M.2 SSD if I send my PS5 console for repair?
Yes. Please remove the M.2 SSD before sending it for repair.

Can I format part of the M.2 SSD for use on the PS5 console?
No, you must format the entire M.2 SSD.

Is it okay to install a heatsink on an M.2 SSD with a built-in heatsink?
No. If your M.2 SSD has a built-in heatsink, we recommend against adding any additional heatsinks. Doing so may reduce the effectiveness of the built-in heatsinks.

How is an M.2 SSD different to USB extended storage on PS5 consoles?
PS5 games are playable on M.2 SSD storage.
PS5 games can be downloaded directly to M.2 SSD storage.
PS5 games can be updated on M.2 SSD storage.

Is it possible to store part of a game on M.2 SSD storage?
No.

What should I do if I experience gameplay issues when I play games stored on an M.2 SSD?

  1. Press the PS button on your controller to go to the control center, and then select Downloads/Uploads. Pause any ongoing downloads.
  2. If you are trying to play a game on disc, please wait for the full installation to finish.
  3. If you are still having issues, please move the game from M.2 SSD storage to console storage.

Do PS5 consoles support Host Memory Buffer?
No. Additionally, M.2 SSD devices that support HMB (Host Memory Buffer) may see slower-than-expected performance because the PS5 does not support HMB.

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