Sony has revealed that it’s rolling out a beta update to the PlayStation 5, enabling its long-awaited storage expansion feature. Now gamers who have filled up the storage on their PS5’s built-in SSD and who also have signed up for the beta program will be able to install an M.2 SSD in the bay to expand the storage capacity.
This feature has been promised since the console was first revealed, and the existence of the M.2 SSD bay was shown in teardowns. A rumor earlier this year said support for this expansion would roll out in the summer, and that appears to have been correct. There are some limitations on USB SSDs that make their function as expansions to the PS5’s internal storage limited — most notably, you can’t play PS5 games from said storage. While the PS5’s built-in storage is alright, it’s not difficult to fill up given how large games are these days (Call of Duty: Warzone, for example, takes up 52GB on the PS5’s 667GB SSD).
In order to install an M.2 SSD in the bay, you’ll have to take apart your PS5. Sony recommends using “A well-lit room with a table to work on… a #1 Phillips or cross-head screwdriver… [and] a small flashlight (optional).” The entire installation process takes about 12 steps, and you can read the whole process on the PlayStation 5 support website where the update was revealed.
Unfortunately, the solution is not without its flaws. Sony has released a long list of parameters that the M.2 SSD must meet to be compatible with the PS5. Perhaps the greatest barrier for players who just want to plug-and-play is that Sony says, “Do not use an M.2 SSD without a heat-dissipation mechanism, such as a heat sink or heat transfer sheet.” As the instructions note, your SSD may not come with those parts, meaning you’ll have to purchase a heat sink separately. It’ll take a little bit of research for the player, at least until companies start specifying which SSDs are compatible with the PS5.
Xbox also offers an expansion option for the Series X console, in the form of a proprietary SSD that costs over $200 and is made to insert into the back of the console. It’s expensive and restricts player options, but on the other hand, Series X owners will know without a doubt that it’ll work with their console. This M2 update is basically the inverse of that.
The beta update is currently available to some PS5 players in the US, Canada, Japan, UK, Germany, and France. Check that your system software is updated with the newest software before you attempt to crack open the console.