Enlarge /. This type of PCIe 4.0 M.2 SSD should work with the PS5 soon, even though this massive heat sink won't fit in the system's expansion slot.
Bloomberg quotes unnamed "people who have been briefed on the matter" to report that PS5 owners can finally expand the system's built-in memory by next summer. The planned firmware update that will enable this function will also enable higher fan speeds in the system to prevent overheating, reports Bloomberg.
For games designed for the PS5, owners are currently limited to 667 GB of usable space on the system's 825 GB high-speed NVMe drive. That's a pretty strict limit when individual PS5 games can be 50 to 100 GB or more on the high end. PS5 owners can connect a standard USB hard drive to store backward compatible PlayStation 4 games that run on the system.
Almost a year ago, Sony announced that the PS5's storage space could be expanded with certain standard M.2 solid-state drives that are shaped a bit like chewing gum. Sony said it would compare a number of these drives to ensure compatibility with the PS5's stated 5.5Gbps data transfer specification. But Sony's Mark Cerny said at the time that the announcement of these officially confirmed PS5-compatible drives would be "likely a little after the launch" of the PS5.
For the X / S line of Xbox series, Microsoft has taken a different direction, using a proprietary expansion card format to allow for additional high-speed storage. The only option currently available for this expansion card, a 1TB offering from Seagate, is priced at a whopping $ 220.
What kind of drive do i need?
M.2 drives that support the PCIe4.0 standard, which should meet the minimum data bandwidth specifications stated by Sony, currently sell for just $ 150 for 1TB. That free market price is likely to continue to fall as competition and technology advance over the years. Microsoft's storage expansion solution is now available while PS5 owners are currently waiting for theirs to be activated via the firmware update.
Enlarge /. This control panel for the PCIe memory expansion can be opened with a screwdriver.
While Sony says it will be benchmarking drives that can be certified as PS5 compatible, other standard PCIe4.0 drives will likely work with the PS5 after the upcoming firmware update. However, Sony is unlikely to allow cheaper, slower PCIe3.0 drives for the PS5.
"No PCIe 3.0 drive can meet the required specification," said Cerny when speaking about storage expansion options in March last year.
PS5-compatible M.2 drives are also limited by the size of the PS5's expansion bay (accessible under the system's removable faceplate). Many such drives that come with their own heat sinks or fans will not physically fit into the PlayStation 5. The native cooling solutions are key to ensuring that the heat sink-free drives function properly.
The whole thing promises to be a little more complicated than the plug-and-play simplicity of external USB drives or even the internal hard drive swapping on some newer consoles. However, that's the price you pay to ensure developers have access to a data loading standard that can stream data into memory at next-generation speeds.