Sony plans to unlock the PlayStation 5's expandable SSD storage slot this summer, sources tell Bloomberg's Takashi Mochizuki.
The PlayStation 5's limited storage is a pain point that's caused headaches since the system launched. The PS5 console ships with a 825GB PCIe 4.0 SSD, but only 667GB of it is usable. That's not much considering games like Call of Duty Black Ops Cold War and Cyberpunk 2077 take up over 100GB a piece.
Luckily, the console has an expansion slot that supports high-end PC-grade NVMe PC SSDs, but the M.2 port is currently inactive because only specialized premium drives will work with the console. The PS5 requires expansion SSDs that match or exceed the base 5.5GB/sec I/O speeds, which are made possible by the console's custom 10-channel memory controller. Sony cautions gamers not to buy NVMe SSDs for PS5 expansion until they formally announce compatibility lists.
"We will be supporting certain M.2 SSDs. These are internal drives you can get on the open market and install in a bay on the PlayStation 5. They connect to the custom I/O unit just like our SSD does so they can take full advantage of the decompression, I/O co-processors, and all the other features," PlayStation 5 architect Mark Cerny said in March 2020.
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"Games that rely on our SSD need to work flawlessly with any M.2 drive."
"The NVMe scheme is pretty nice, but it only has two true priority levels. Our SSD has six. We can hook up a drive with only two priority levels but our custom I/O unit has to arbitrate the extra priorities rather than the M.2 drive's flash controller. And so the M.2 drive needs a little extra speed to take care of issues arising from the different approach."
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This summer, Sony will unlock the port and allow PS5 owners to expand high-end flash storage, freeing up precious space and allowing more than a handful of big games on the system at once.
The PS5 currently supports external USB 3.0 HDDs, but next-gen games can only be stored exclusively on built-in SSD. The external HDDs can only run PS4 versions of games.
We don't know exactly when this will happen, but expect Sony to detail a list of supported PCIe 4.0 NVMe M.2 drives when the expansion bay gets activated. Sony will issue out a PS5 firmware patch to turn on the port.