Western Digital have announced a PS5 compatible SSD (probably)

Now that we know how to install an expansion SSD into the PlayStation 5, we just need to know what NVMe SSDs we can put there. Following on from the Samsung 980 Pro, Western Digital have announced the WD Black SN850, a second drive that could be PS5 compatible.

In fact, they’re pretty confident of this fact, labelling it as being PS5 compatible… with an asterisk to give them a bit of a get out.

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The SN850 is WD’s first PCIe 4 drive, delivering read speed up to 7000 MB/s, which more than surpasses the raw 5500 MB/s of the PS5’s built in SSD. It goes up to 2TB in size, but that comes at a steep costs. The smallest 500GB has an MSRP of $149.99, 1TB is $229.99 and 2TB is $449.99.

They’re prices that match those of the Samsung 980 Pro, and means that you can expect a 1TB expansion of the PS5 storage to cost around £220.

That is, of course, if Sony approve the drives for use with the PS5. Sony showed us where you can install an SSD in the PS5 as part of their console teardown video earlier this week, however the company have said that any SSD has to meet their exacting standards. Expansion SSDs must be able to surpass the raw speed of the built in drive to allow for the different processing structure of their own custom SSD design. That means they must have at least 5500 MB/s in raw throughtput, which only the emerging generation of PCIe 4 drives.

This will obviously make expanding the internal storage of the PS5 an extremely expensive proposition, though it’s expected and hoped competitive pressures will see the prices come down over the next couple of years. Considering the size of games through the PlayStation 4 generation, many gamers have expanded their storage to let them install more games at once. Where PS4 games could be run from an external drive, that’s not possible for PS5 games, where they must be installed to an internal SSD. With rumours suggesting that the internal 825GB drive presents just 664GB to users after formatting and the system functions take their slice.

It’s also very pricey to expand the Xbox Series X|S storage, which features a custom designed expansion slot and SSD form factor. At launch, Microsoft have partnered with Seagate to create an SSD expansion card, costing £220 for a 1TB expansion, despite only being a match for the Xbox Series X|S slower SSD. Though a custom design, Microsoft have said that this is a partnership for launch and they intend to have other companies producing SSDs for their consoles in future.

via Anandtech

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3 Comments

  1. That’s expensive, as expected to start with, but better than MS are offering (at least to start with). Same price for a lot more speed? But with the disadvantage of having to open up the PS5 to put it in. And the advantage of not having it stick out the back without any cooling and setting light to anything in the vicinity ;)

    It’s going to be interesting to see what effect the faster SSD in the PS5 has on multiplatform games. Loading things in the first place isn’t going to be so much faster you really notice (an extra couple of seconds?), but what’s it going to do during gameplay if it’s constantly loading things as you move around? The supposed enormous benefit of the SSD?

    Also, for anyone worried about how long the SSD lasts… They’re claiming 600TB for the 1TB drive, or 300GB a day for it’s 5 year warranty period. Can we assume the built in SSD has a similar lifespan? Except it’s only 3/4 of the size. Still means if we can end up archiving games onto a traditional external drive and copy them onto the SSD as needed, you can get away with a couple of hundred GB a day for 5 years. I think that’ll be fine.

    And hopefully it gives you plenty of warning if the internal SSD is about to die and let’s you use the extra one as a replacement. How much will you be able to fit in in 5 years time once the prices come down??

    • SSD endurance should not be a concern. The warranties on SSDs have typically been outperformed in real testing, though if Sony have gone with QLC, that is something of an unknown and rated quite a bit lower than TLC NAND. Even then, endurance is all about how much you write to a drive and you would have to install multiple 50GB games every single day for years for there to be an impact.

      • Yes, half a dozen 50GB games a day for that WD one, based on what they’ve specified. Which I guess is the very minimum.

        I don’t think it’s going to be an issue for anyone who isn’t trying to make it an issue. Same as some people have been wondering about the liquid metal cooling thing, which might have some issues if Sony hadn’t worked around them. Possibly gallium based? Which is not something you want leaking, really. Does not play well with aluminium. And makes terrible spoons.

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