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The best PS5 SSDs of 2023

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Choosing the best Solid State Drives (SSDs) for the PS5 is an exciting task because there isn’t much difference between them. I found that all the drives had very similar performance, copying games to and fro at about the same speed. The differences came in installing the drives and how cool they remained under pressure.

The SSDs I reviewed here are designed specifically for use in the PS5. Sony doesn’t recommend installing an SSD without a heatsink because it will get very hot, and heat will kill your SSD over time. So, get one that has a built-in heat sink or an optional heat sink that provides more surface area for this heat to dissipate.

This heavy combination means it has plenty of metal to absorb the heat and the ribbed heatsink has plenty of surface area to dissipate the heat. That gave the best thermal performance in my tests, with the heat of the top plate reaching just 3.2 Celsius (37.9 degrees Fahrenheit), while the heat sink was only a few degrees hotter, even after an hour of intense data transfer. That means the heat sink does an excellent job of keeping the SSD as cool as possible.

Installing this drive is simple: remove the PS5 cover, unscrew the SSD bay cover, install the SSD and use the small screw to secure it. The heatsink then fits into place above it. (Use the longer screw included with the heatsink to secure it.) It fits neatly against the case and will keep dust and dirt out.

Large heat sink dissipates heat effectively

Samsung knows a lot about SSDs, which shows in the 980 Pro, a simple but effective SSD that does a great job of adding more space to your PS5. The drive is an M.2 2280 drive that supports PCIe 4×4 and comes with a 5-year, 600TB TBW (Total Bytes Written, a way the manufacturers measure how heavily the drives have been used) warranty.

This SSD comes with an attached heatsink and an aluminum fin that covers the SSD drive’s top, so you won’t see any chips on the board. This fits into the SSD drive bay neatly but still leaves some space above the drive. You can replace the cover that fits over the drive bay or leave it open for ventilation. You don’t need that much ventilation, though; the drive reached a maximum of 6.9C 44.5F) in use, which should not be a problem.

Installing the drive is simple: remove the PS5 bay cover, snap it into the slot, and use the screw to hold it down; that leaves about a third of the bay empty.

The attached heat sink won’t slip or fall off

The Western Digital Black SD850 is the only SSD we tested that offers a dominant feature in the world of PC gaming components: a blinky LED light. For this drive, a small LED under the heat sink blinks slowly when the drive is in use. (Whether that appeals to you, especially when hidden under the PS5 cover, is another matter.) This SSD performs well, copying games and other data at a decent speed and without getting too hot. The temperature never rose above a very reasonable 39 F (3.9 C).

The SD850 has a heat sink attached to the drive, which covers all the data chips. This is a bit larger than the heatsink on the Samsung and leaves less room above for airflow, but the heatsink is not solid; there are channels in the body for air to pass through. This heatsink performed fairly well.

Again, the installation was simple. After removing the PS5 drive bay cover, the SD850 snaps into the M.2 slot, and a single screw holds it tightly. Depending on your taste for blinking lights, you can put the cover back over the drive bay or leave it off.

The Seagate Gaming FireCuda 530 has a fancy name, but it’s a standard SSD with a built-in heatsink. It’s the only SSD with a metal heat sink that completely covers the drive, wrapping all of it (except the end that fits into the M.2 socket) in a metal frame.

You might assume this would keep it cooler than the rest, but surprisingly that isn’t the case. It isn’t a big problem, since it did a good job keeping the drive coo, but it was a little bit warmer than some others, hitting a maximum of about 41F (5C).

The FireCuda 530 was as fast as the other drives and easy to install. Once you have removed the drive bay cover, you snap the drive into place and install the single screw that holds it there. This is a little awkward because of the larger heatsink.: I had to find a screwdriver with a longer, thinner shaft to fit than the one I usually use.

Large heat sink protects drive

The Aorus Gen 4 7000s wins the prize for the fanciest-looking drive; the heatsink that covers the drive has chrome and anodized metal highlights that make it look like a racing car. Whether you need this in a drive that will be hidden most of the time is a good question, but it is certainly nice looking.

The heatsink fulfills its purpose: the raised ridges and grooves provide plenty of surface area for dissipating heat, but most of the heat seems to radiate from the exposed ridges at one end. That’s odd, but it doesn’t seem harmful. The drive worked without problems and didn’t overheat.

Heat dissipation centered around one spot

The Sabrent Rocket 4 Plus is a two-part package: the Rocket 4 Plus SSD, plus the PS5 heatsink. (Make sure that you get the right package which includes the heatsink because the drive won’t perform well without it.) The SSD is a standard M.2 PCIe 4×4 drive with a 5-year warranty, but don’t forget to register the drive with Sabrent. The warranty only runs for two years if you don’t.

The heat sink has an interesting design, with a black anodized heat spreader on top and a large aluminum heat block that fits on top of the drive. Like the PNY drive, this is designed to replace the PS5 drive bay cover, sealing the bay from dust and dirt while still conducting heat away from the drive. It’s a nice design, down to the Sabrent logo swoosh on the top in shiny metal.

Sabrent also included a small screwdriver, which is useful if you don’t already have one. It is also pretty simple to install: snap the drive into place, remove the cover from the thermal pad, and put the heat sink in place so it sits on top of the drive. Those who like logos will also be pleased to see that it uses the original PS5 screw to hold the heat sink in place, so you can still see the PS5 icons on the screw head.

Nicely designed heatsink Includes small screwdriver

Kingston’s Fury Renegade SSD is advertised as working with the PlayStation 5 but has no real heat sink. Instead, a heat spreader on the drive tries to vent the heat to the surrounding air, but it doesn’t do a great job.

The SSD gets up to a toasty 60 C (140 F). That was on the end of the drive near the M.2 connector, right over the controller chip that does the hard work of moving data around on the drive.

To be fair, the SSD’s temperature didn’t seem to affect its performance. It worked as well as the other drives, and read and wrote data without issues. However, this is a bit warmer than SSDs should generally be, and the way that heat is concentrated in one area could adversely affect the drive’s lifespan. Kingston offers the same 5-year warranty as the others, though, and you can get this drive with a heatsink if you’re worried about the temperatures.

To test SSDs for the PlayStation 5, we looked at ease of use and performance. We tested ease of use by installing the drives. (How easy was the process? Was installing the heat sink in the small space the PS5 offers awkward?) Then, we tested performance by timing how long it took to copy several large games to and from the SSDs.

The results here were interesting because there was no significant difference between the different SSDs. Over the several minutes it took to copy a large game from the built-in drive to the new one, there was only a difference of a few seconds between the cheapest and the most expensive drives.

We also tested playing games from each drive. (Did the game load slower, or did it pause during play while it was loading data?) Again, we found no significant difference between SSD drives. The games loaded as quickly as from the built-in drive, and there were no glitches during play.

Finally, we looked at the drives in use. (While copying or playing games, did they get hot?) The PlayStation 5 does not leave much room for heat to dissipate, so we used a thermal camera to look at how hot the drive got in heavy use and how well it got rid of this heat.

I am Richard Baguley. I’ve been testing and writing about technology since connecting to the internet using a 300-baud modem was the cool and new way to do things. I’m a freelance writer whose work has appeared in places such as Wired, CNet, Tom’s Guide, and, of course, Reviewed. I’ve written guides for hard drives, WiFi routers, USB batteries, and many, many other devices.

The Sony PlayStation 5 is a seriously advanced bit of kit with a lot of technology built in, including a fast Solid State Drive (SSD). This built-in SSD uses memory chips rather than the spinning glass disc that hard drives use and can hold up to 825 Gigabytes (GB) of data, which includes the software that the PS5 runs to create the user interface and access the Internet. After that, you usually have about 650GB of space left for games.

While designing the PS5, Sony realized that games would get bigger and bigger, so they included a way to add more storage, a Non-Volatile Memory Express (NVMe) M.2 port. That is the same port used to add SSDs to laptops and desktop computers. This port was not initially available to users, but an update in April 2021 offered the ability to install an SSD that can be used to store game content. This supports drives up to 4 Terabytes (TB) in size, more than four times larger than the built-in SSD.

That’s because all of these SSDs use Multi-Level Cells (MLC), where each cell (the part that stores the data) holds multiple bits of data by using multiple charge levels to indicate the different combinations of data. So, when you write a bit of data to the drive, the drive has to read the cell charge level, recalculate the cell’s charge level with the new data, then write the new charge. To read data, the drive only has to read the cell charge.

Richard Baguley is a valued contributor to the Reviewed.com family of sites.

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Category: Technology

Source: USA Today Technology

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