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Even if you were fortunate enough to snag a hard-to-find PS5 this holiday season, your gaming problems don’t end there. One of the biggest gripes about the otherwise awesome PlayStation 5 has been that modern games are so big, there’s not enough storage to hold more than a handful at a time. Some games can clock in at more than 150GB, and even fresh out of the box, a PS5 only has about 700GB of free space.
The first answer was to hook up an external solid-state drive – a cheap and easy solution, with a catch. You can play PS4 games directly from the external SSD, but not PS5 games. You can only store them there to free up space on the internal drive. But now a new version of the PS5 OS allows you to use the previously hibernating extra M.2 hard drive slot inside the PS5.
There are a couple of problems to overcome before you can start downloading all your games onto the new M.2 drive. First, you need to open up the PS5 case, undo some screws and properly install the drive. Second, the most popular compatible drives are hard to find right now. You can keep an eye on in-stock M.2 drives and prices here.
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I got my hands on a big 4TB Seagate FireCuda 530, which includes a built-in heat sink, a requirement for an internal PS5 drive. The 1TB version is usually under $250, while this 4TB version is upward of $900.
Here’s how I got the new drive installed in a matter of minutes.
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1. Remove the back cover of the PS5. Grab the top right corner while the system is lying face down and pull both out and down at the same time. It’ll pop off with a big thwack! sound, but don’t worry about it.
2. Remove the metal plate covering the open SSD slot. There’s a single screw holding it on. Fun note, the screw has the four PlayStation button symbols on it.
3. Insert the new M.2 drive into the slot. There’s a second screw sitting inside the empty bay. Remove it and use it to secure the top of the M.2 drive once it’s properly seated.
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Then just reinstall the metal plate, snap the cover back on and turn on the PS5. On booting, the console will ask if you want to format your new drive. Naturally, the answer is “yes,” and once you do that, you can go into the system settings and ask the console to automatically install new games to your new drive.
After I installed and set up the drive, I tried transferring a few games from the default drive to my new SSD. Call of Duty, which is nearly 200GB, transferred in about 2 minutes, 30 seconds. Returnal, around 50GB, transferred in about 40 seconds.
The process was easy, so the hardest part might be finding a compatible M.2 drive in stock.
Once your PS5 is ready to go, check out our list of the best PS5 gaming headsets and best TVs for gaming. Plus, here are the 10 best PS5 games you can play right now.