Sony started planning out the PlayStation 5's M.2 external SSD support way back in 2018, roughly 2 years before the console launched.
There was a time when Sony wasn't sure if the PS5 would support PCIe 4.0 SSD expansion. In fact, Sony was planning support as early as 2018 before the first PCIe Gen4 M.2 SSD was on the market. While it was designing the PS5's custom 12-channel Marvell Titania 2 memory controller, the high-speed configuration, and advanced decompression tech, the games-maker took a gamble and decided to allow storage drives that technically didn't exist yet in an effort to future-proof the PS5. The gambit worked and the PS5 now supports blistering-fast PC-grade SSDs in excess of 7GB/sec.
"We knew any capacity we put into the machine as storage, one day you'll hit the capacity. We wanted to provide options. It was important for us to enable upgrade capability for users. We designed the M.2 SSD feature back in 2018. At that time, we were not sure if Gen4 SSDs were coming up or not, but we believed they were," SIE SVP of Platform Experience Hideaki Nishino said in a PlayStation Blog interview.
"We [Mark Cerny, Nishino, and the rest of the team] debated and discussed. We finally decided, 'yeah, let's do this.' This will open the door for users to expand and improve the capability of the PS5. So, that's the behind-the-scenes conversation we had internally, and I'm glad we can deliver this now for the holiday season."
Allowing for PC-grade Gen4 SSD support will ensure the PS5 has long-lasting, dependable and ultra-fast storage solutions befit of an enthusiast console. In this way the PS5 is more like a PC and while there's technically no need to pop in an ultra-fast SSD like a Firecuda 530 or a WD_Black SN850 right now, future games should leverage the full might and flexibility of Gen4 storage.
- > NEXT STORY: Halo Infinite's graphics have massively improved since 2020
- < PREVIOUS STORY: Respawn teases Titanfall 3: 'Who knows what the future holds'