Sony PS4 is arguably the best gaming console out there. Many even believe it to be the best gaming console of the century due to all the advantages it has over other gaming consoles. How great is the PS4 exactly? Well, that’s a debate for another day, but today we’ll be discussing one of its shortcomings that hopefully can be improved in the future. As of now, it’s a shortcoming, and it’s related to storage.
The PS4 has an upper limit on the storage capacity. In the initial version, it was 500GB, but with the new version, it has been increased to 1TB. However, many users believe that this HDD capacity isn’t enough to handle the storage needs of a regular user, let alone the needs of an enthusiastic one, which arises the need of PS4 hard drive upgrade.
Why the Stock Size Isn’t Enough
The stock PS4 hard drive storage of 500GB or 1TB (depending on which version you have) is probably the only shortcoming of PS4, considering the mammoth size of the latest games available, which makes 500GB very limited storage.
Even with purchased disc games, you need to carry out installation before you can play it and the storage that comes with the PS4 is woefully inadequate, especially if you’re a heavy consumer of PS4 titles. It doesn’t take much calculation to know that you’re probably looking at less than 12 AAA games installed before you run out of stock drive.
What’s the Recommended Upgrade Size?
The recommended PS4 hard drive upgrade size should be 2TB for the internal hard drive, while users should be able to use the old drive as an external drive. You’re probably wondering how one can possibly use an internal drive as an external storage device. The answer to this is an external hard drive enclosure, but that’s a discussion for another day.
Why is it that bare laptop drives cost more than their enclosed counterparts? Is it because of the transfer speed issues? Well, the truth is that the slow drive that is standard with the PS4 will lead to nothing but heartbreak. However, you do have some ways to take care of your hard drive size problem.
Why 1TB Isn’t Enough
Let’s get one thing straight, raising the PS4 internal hard drive space from 500GB to 1TB isn’t the solution to the problem. It can be considered a temporary fix, but that’s all that it is.
Sony’s problem isn’t that of proprietary profit making. It’s not selling PlayStation branded hard drives that are priced twice of what you’ll have to pay to get the same hard drive from a retailer.
The problem is only going to get worse as game developers are adding more and more titles to satisfy the younger generation and their expectations and to keep up with the market competition. When top PS4 titles take up 50GB of space and their patches take up 15GB more (we are looking at you, Witcher 3), you’ll understand why it’s in your best interest to get a hard drive update as soon as you can.
Oh and we completely forgot to mention the smaller digital titles, apps, patches, music, pictures, videos, and the DLC content that will also be taking up some (read: a lot of) space.
Yes, Sony did introduce a 1TB model later, but what about those who have already purchased the older model and what about those who simply can’t afford it?
Upgrading Isn’t Difficult
It’s not like upgrading your PS4 hard drive will require you to scale the Mount Everest or fight ten ninjas at a time. When looking for a compatible hard drive that fits the PS4 HDD specs, all you really need to worry about is the thickness. Just make sure it’s not thicker than 9.5 mm. While you can somehow fit the thicker 12 mm drivers into your PS4, it’s a very tight fit and can lead to noise transmission, vibration, and heat-up through the chassis. Therefore, it’s best to stick to the recommended 9.5 mm and 7 mm standards. To get the ball rolling, you’ll need to plug in your external drive over USB.
Another thing worth pointing out is that you can totally reuse the Seagate enclosure by housing your stock PS4 drive after removing it from your PS4. Quite simply, you’ll not be sacrificing your 500GB for 2TB but instead repurpose your 500GB as a portable storage unit. Just make sure that the upgrade for your PS4 hard drive shouldn’t be less than 2TB.
The eSATA vs USB 3.0 Debate
eSATA is the standard for an external hard drive and is faster than USB 2.0, but it’s not supported by the PS4. While USB 3.0, which the PS4 supports, may not be better than eSATA, it at least manages to bring things up to par with nominal differences when it comes to performing transfer functions.
Computer-based gamers are able to play Steam-based games using external hard drives without incident, and that’s why we believe that Sony should provide support for gaming directly from the external drive. As of now, you can only connect an external hard drive for backup purposes.
It’s true that the PS4 should be able to run games off an external hard drive that is tethered with USB 3.0 and in that case, the Seagate ST2000LM003 is very useful. It’s the recommended hard drive if you’re thinking of upgrading your PS4 hard drive.
Upgrading your console’s hard drive without losing your files isn’t difficult. All you really need is a screwdriver, an external backup, and a new internal drive. If you’re one to look ahead and want to solve this problem once and for all, you can even upgrade to 4TB with the Sony software upgrade version 3.5.
Step by Step Guide to Upgrade Your PS4 Hard Drive
Unlike the Xbox One which can be easily upgraded by simply connecting an external USB 3.0 drive, the PS4 will require you to take out at least one part of the console. Before you can replace your hard drive, you would want to make a backup and here’s how to do it. You’ll need to connect an external drive for the backup and after that is done, the rest of the steps are pretty easy and simple.
Backing Up Your Data
- Launch the Settings app from the PS4’s main menu.
- Select the System option, go down to the “Backup and Restore” button, and enter the Backup PS4 submenu.
- Once you select that, your console will start scrutinizing the drives and you’ll be shown how much space is being taken up by saved data, settings, installed apps, and captures.
- Make sure your external drive has enough space to carry out the backup. On the other side of the display, you’ll be shown how much space will be left on your external drive after the backup finishes.
- If you don’t want to back up your applications and games since you can easily download them from the PS Network again, you can uncheck the Applications option and save space and time.
- After having chosen what part of your console data you want to back up, just click on Next.
- At this point, the console may notify you that the trophies can’t be backed up, but that’s not a problem because the trophies are synced over the PS Network.
- If you want to make sure that the trophies are synced properly, you can go back, run the Trophies app, and make sure that everything is in order before starting the backup.
- After making sure everything is synced, you can select OK and start the backup.
- Now you can give your backup a descriptive name and once you’re ready to perform it, just simply click the “Backup” button.
- Now you’ll be able to see a screen that will say “Preparing to backup” and you’ll be shown a progress bar.
- Of course, this part of the process will take up a lot of time and depending on the external drive’s speed and the size of your backup, it may even take hours to complete.
- Once the console is done backing up your data, it’ll indicate so and alert you that the PS4 will now restart.
- Make sure your controller is on and press the “Ok” button on the screen.
- Once the reboot is set, you’re now ready to replace your internal drive with a new one.
Replacing the Hard Drive
If you have completed the backup or chosen to skip it, you can move to the next step. You’ll need a USB flash drive to install the latest PS4 updates on the new hard drive that you’ll be inserting.
Make sure the hard drive is on the exFAT file system when you place it in your PS4. After you have placed the hard drive and turned on the PS4, it will detect the drive. However, since it lacks the files you need to boot the system, you’ll need to plug in the external hard drive to restore the data as well as a USB drive to transfer the PS4 update files unless, of course, you want to rollback.
Now you can connect the PS to the PSN, download your titles again and sync your trophies. You can continue your PlayStation experience without having to worry about storage issues anymore.
The Best Hard Drive for Upgrade
The recommended hard drive for an upgrade is the 2TB ST2000LM003 hard drive that was also previously mentioned in the article. It holds an impressive Amazon rating and over a thousand customers have reviewed it positively. It comes with a 3-year warranty and the easy installation and faster load and boot times as compared to the stock hard drive present in the PS4 make it a worthy replacement for your stock HDD. If you want to consider other great hard drives for PS4 check out our Top 7 Best PS4 Hard Drives article.
It’s a no-brainer purchase considering the fact that the PS4’s lifespan will be following the same 10-year promise as was the case with the PS2 and PS3. That means you’ll be needing a lot more storage with the future titles. Continuing with the same storage means many titles will become inaccessible, so it’s better to be prepared and secure your gaming legacy.
2TB storage not only gives you enough room to manage all the gaming titles, but it also means you can keep a vast collection of TV shows, music and movies easily. The last generation of consoles including PS3 and Xbox 360 were able to last a long time, and it appears the same will be the case with the PS4 and Xbox One.
The Seagate ST2000LM003 is able to beat the stock PS4 drive in all of the tests. Remember when we raised the question, why laptop drives are more expensive than the standard ones you get in the laptop? Well, this is the reason why. These drives are faster and deliver much better write and load speeds. They even result in better texture streaming while gaming. Once you have upgraded, you’ll notice how much faster your PS4 has gotten and the shorter boot times are hard to miss really.
Testing the new hard drive with several AAA games show that the speed boosts in benchmark tests translate into a reduction in the loading time in most of the games. However, these results are variable and some titles are able to benefit more from faster hard drives. In case you want the fastest loading times, consider upgrading your PS4 HDD with an SSD, see best picks and how to do it on our Best PS4 SSD Upgrades article.
A PS4 hard drive upgrade will soon become a necessity. Consequently, Sony will undoubtedly launch a new PS4 model with 4TB of internal storage to boost sales, which becomes all the more imminent considering the new upgrade has increased the maximum PS4 hard drive size to 4TB. While the main purpose of upgrading your hard drive is to get more space, it also improves speed in loading and booting and enhances the performance of some games.