PS4 External Hard Drive (HDD) Buying Guide [2017]

ps4 external hard drive

Few serious gamers are unfamiliar with Sony PlayStation-4. After all, PS4 is a much improved version of Sony’s first three video game consoles, the PlayStation 1 to 3. Loyal PlayStation fans appreciate PS4’s improvements from PS3, such as the redesigned console controllers, better independent game development, increased hard drive capacity, and improved integration of PS4 external hard drives. Since its North American launch on November 2013, Sony has sold more than 40 million units, and has shipped over 43 million consoles worldwide.

Despite PS4’s numerous exciting features, most gamers find its insufficient storage capacity a serious flaw. The first line of PlayStation-4 only has only 500GB internal hard drive (HDD), certainly not enough to store all the games and content that users want. Imagine saving the entire Final Fantasy series (or at least those available for PS4) or Call of Duty but having only half a terabyte of storage space. It’s disappointing, to say the least.

In response to user comments, Sony has recently released an updated version of PS4, this time with capacity up to 1TB. While Sony does a good job of listening to its users and improving their products, a 1TB internal HDD is still not enough for avid gamers, especially those who also play media files with their console.

Improving Your PS4 External Hard Drive Storage Capacity

Fortunately, whether you’re a seasoned gamer or just starting out, you do not have to be limited by PlayStation-4’s inadequate storage capacity. Users now have several options to increase the size of their external hard drive for PS4. These are the following:

Upgrade the internal hard drive of your PS4
Get an external hard drive for PS4.
Upgrade your internal hard drive and get additional storage with an external hard drive.


Top 4 Desktop External Hard Drives for PS4

If you do not need to bring your files with you every day, you can choose a desktop external hard drive. PS4 consoles can be stored in a strategic location and connected to the unportable HDD, so it is easy to boot up any game you want to play, anytime.

PS4 Desktop External HDD Comparison Table



1. WD My Book
 WD my book 4TB black
While the new version of WD My Book Desktop External HDD is praised for its sleek and classy design, this is not its only good point. This external hard drive also features automatic backup software. My Book is a great backup device for Playstation-4 and other game units because it is equipped with USB 3.0 connectivity, allowing you to easily move your files from your console to the HDD. My Book also comes in 3TB, 4TB, 6TB, and 8TB storage capacity, giving you a wide range of options for your storage needs.

2. Seagate Backup Plus
This desktop external HDD is a top choice for many gaming enthusiasts, and for good reasons. Tests showed that Seagate Backup Plus has one of the fastest file transfer rates among leading desktop external HDDs out in the market today. One added feature that users love is its two USB ports, which allows them to back up files into the HDD while using it as a charger for a smartphone or tablet at the same time. With a sturdy size of 7.1 x 1.6 x 4.6 inches, this backup drive can store up to 8TB worth of games, and comes with free 200GB OneDrive Cloud Storage for two years.

3. Seagate Expansion
If you’re looking for something easy to use, then desktop expansion HDD is perfect for you. Simply plug into your PS4 and start transferring files from your internal HDD to external. The Expansion also sells at a relatively lower price for 8TB storage capacity (compared to WD My Book’s and Seagate Backup Plus’s). Minor disadvantages are a slightly slower transfer speed, no automatic backup software, and shorter warranty (one year). However, reviewers praise it for its sturdy housing, fast transfer speeds, and fair price, especially for the 5TB model.

4. WD My Book Duo Desktop
If you need masive amouts of space and ability to customize your storage device this is the hard drive for you. WD My Book Duo has two internal hard drives inside that you can easy take out and swap to upgrade your storage capacity or just change the My Book Duo stored data. It also features two USB 3.0 ports meaning that you can add another external drive to it in series or maybe even another My Book Duo. Another cool thing is that you can configure your hard drive for more speed (default setting: RAID 0), data protection (drive mirroring: RAID 1) or operate as two independent drives (JBOD).


Top 4 Portable External Hard Drives for PS4

A portable external hard drive is perfect for people with an active lifestyle. Since it is very lightweight, it is easy to carry in the bag. While you may not need to move your backup often if it only contains PS4 games, you can still consider the portable version if you want your files ready for access anytime you need them. One major plus of portable external hard drives is that they don’t require an additional power cable.

Best PS4 Portable HDD Comparison Table



1. Our Top pick - Seagate Backup Plus Ultra Slim

ps4 external hdd seagate
This portable hard drive comes in a very sleek and classy design. At 0.298 lb and 4.468 x 2.992 x 0.378 inches, it is one of the slimmest and most lightweight portable HDDs available in the market. With a capacity of up to 2TB, you can transfer your files at up to 120MB per second. It uses an USB 3.0 interface which is compatible to Playstation-4 and other digital devices, and surely is one of the best external HDDs out there.

2. WD My Passport Ultra
 WD My passport 2TB

One of the highlights of My Passport is its automatic and cloud backup, which not only allows you to save your important games to the drive but also allows to use Dropbox. This portable HDD offers extra protection to your files with its password protection feature, although this isn’t really important if you do not have any personal file you need to keep (unless you’re very possessive of your games). Transfer rates are very similar to Seagate Backup Plus Slim. The WD external HDD has a sleek and modern design that comes in variety of color choices.

3. Seagate Expansion

The Seagate Expansion HDD is a good choice if you wish to add additional storage space for your console. The Seagate Expansion can store up to 4TB of data, and weighs almost double of the Seagate Backup Plus Slim, at 8.3 ounces. Like its desktop version, it does not have backup software and only offers a one-year warranty. Still, it is cheaper, and runs faster than the two other portable external hard drives.

4. Samsung T3 Portable SSD
If performance is what you seek then the Samsung T3 Portable SSD may be just the right portable external hard drive for you. Speeds on this thing is amazing, average HDD is no match for T3 It has three versions of 250GB, 1TB and 2TB making it perfect even for massive games. Samsung T3 has USB C type cable so you don’t have to worry about plugin it in correctly.

Choosing an External Hard Drive for PS4

There are two types of external hard drives available for PlayStation-4. These are the desktop (unportable, 3.5-inch drives inside) external hard drive and laptop (portable, 2.5-inch drives inside) external hard drive. Desktop HDDs are designed to remain in one place for long periods of time and therefore are heavier and bigger in size. Laptop HDDs, on the other hand, are best used to store files that you need on the go, because they are quite handy and convenient to carry around.

Of course, using either version comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. To help you decide the best external hard drive for PS4, check out the list below:

PS4 Portable External Hard Drive

PortableNo need for a power outlet
Unlike the desktop variety, laptop external hard drives are very light and transportable, making it an ideal gadget for people always on the go. For example, the Seagate Backup Slim weighs only 4.8 ounces and is less than half an inch thick. Because it is very thin and light, you can easily place it in your bag and carry it with you throughout the day.
A laptop external hard drive gets its power from the USB port of the laptop or PC that it is connected to (or, in the gamer’s case, the PS4 console). This means you don’t need to worry about looking for another power outlet; all you need is to plug the cable to the USB port, and you can start transferring files immediately.
More expensiveFragile
Portable External HDDs are generally more expensive per byte. For example, let’s compare the prices of two of WD’s best external hard drives, the desktop variety WD My Book and the laptop version WD My Passport Ultra. A brand new WD 4TB My Book sells for around $130 while the WD 4TB My Passport Ultra costs like $160. In essence, you’re paying an extra $30 for the convenience of having your files with you wherever and whenever you want them.
Unfortunately, because laptop external hard drives are designed to be light and portable, they tend to be more fragile compared to the desktop variety. You have to exert extra effort to make sure you do not drop your HDD, because it can easily get corrupted. And it’s hard to extract backed-up files from corrupted hard drives, isn’t it?

PS4 Desktop External Hard Drive

Heavy dutyCheaperFaster speeds
A desktop external hard drive is durable and is less likely to be damaged or corrupted than its laptop counterpart. It is sturdy and made of tough casing—usually metal or plastic—and its bulky size discourages users to keep moving it from its usual spot. The less the HDD is moved, the less likely it is to get damaged.
The desktop version is the more economical choice for most PS4 users if they are not too concerned about mobility issues. For example, the Seagate Expansion 4TB Portable External HDD costs $116.95 in Amazon, but you can get the Seagate Expansion 4TB Desktop External HDD for a lower price of $109.99. Same brand, same storage capacity, but the desktop version is a few dollars cheaper than the portable one.
Desktop hard drives can transfer files faster than the laptop variety. Most desktops operate at 7200 rpm (rotations per minute), while laptops run at 5400 rpm. Faster rpm means faster file transfer times, which means desktops beat portables with at least an 1800 rpm difference.
BulkyNeeds a power cable to run
Unportable external hard drives are bigger and heavier than portable ones, making it inconvenient to transport it from one location to another. For instance, the Seagate Backup Plus weighs 1.9 pounds and is 7.1 inches long, which makes it hard to fit into a regular-sized bag and then carry around the whole day.
Similar to a desktop computer, you need to plug a desktop external hard drive into a power socket for it to function. It does not have its own power source, and you cannot charge it because it does not contain batteries. This means you can’t instantly access your files anywhere, and you need to look for a power socket before you can turn on your hard drive and start transferring files. Portable External Hard Drive.

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Uses of PS4 External Hard Drives

Once you decide to buy an external hard drive to store your PS4 games and other files, you can now start the actual file transfer. External HDD can be used in the following ways:

Also, make sure you have downloaded and installed the latest PS4 firmware update

  1. As a drive to install your games and apps
    • To set up your external hard drive, connect your hard drive to the USB port of your Playstation-4. Both desktop and portable HDDs have a USB 3.0 connectivity interface, which is compatible to PS4 and other game consoles.
    • Format your external hard drive through the console by going >Settings>Devices>USB Storage Devices>”Your external HDD.”
    • Now just click “Format as Extended Storage” and follow the steps.
    • You are done! Now you can install your games and apps directly on your external HDD.
  2. As a backup for the games in your console.
    • To start the backup process, connect your hard drive to the USB port of your Playstation-4. Both desktop and portable HDDs have a USB 3.0 connectivity interface, which is compatible to PS4 and other game consoles.
    • Go to Settings and open the System folder. Click on Backup and Restore and then to Back Up PS4.
    •  Select which items you want to back up and click Next.
    • Click the Back Up button and wait for the system to restart. This should take only a few seconds. The backup will initiate once the system restarts. Make sure you don’t turn off your PS4 during backup as this may cause the files to be corrupted.
  3.  As a media file player.
    1. Download the PS4 Media Player from the PlayStation online store and install it in your console.
    2. Connect your external HDD to your game console and load up the PS4 Media Player.
    3. A Media Player menu will pop up on screen, and from there you can select which media file you want to access.

To Sum up about PS4 external hard drives

Upgrading your internal HDD to a bigger storage capacity has its advantages, but so does buying an extra PS4 external hard drive as drive to install apps and games on and as a backup. It is up to you to decide which option fits your needs better. After system software update 4.5 you can install and play your games on external hard drive, making external HDD an easy way to increase PS4 storage capacity. Do you want instant access to all your games? Do you want the convenience of being able to bring all your files without bringing the rest of your console with you? Just remember: As a gamer, it is important to have a backup of your files, in the event that your Playstation-4 crashes. No gamer wants this to happen, but it’s always better to have a backup of your files and be safe.



    • PS4 supports an external hard disk drive that has a minimum capacity of 250GB and maximum of 8TB. Anything within this range will work just fine. On average PS4 game takes about 45GB of your storage capacity. You can do the math yourself. Some will do just fine with 1TB HDD and some may need more storage. A great choice is 2TB external HDD – it’s not too expensive and offers a fair amount of space.

  1. I have a couple external hard drives that are USB 2.0. Is it possible to use one of those portable drives on the PS4 or does it have to be USB 3.0? Would there be a significant drop in speed? Would it be possible to even play games saved on a hard drive with USB 2.0? Thanks in advance.

    • Sony claims that you have to use a USB 3.0 storage device or later. Max speed you can get from USB 2.0 is about 48MB/s where USB 3.0 can reach speeds as high as 600MB/s. That’s a significant difference. That’s why only USB 3.0 is supported.

  2. So it is not possible to install games on external HDDs ? I thought this what software update 4.50 was all about to allow installation and playing from the external drive once its connected to your PS4

    • You thought right. After 4.5 System Software Update, you can use your external USB drive as a primary storage drive for PS4 so you can play games from it.

    • Have you formatted your drive? Make sure you have downloaded and installed the latest PS4 firmware update. It’s worth checking if your external HDD is plugged directly into the console.

  3. good day is the seagate 8tb backup plus hub supported for ps4 pro after updating to firmware 4.50 has anyone tested these external drivers before telling people to buy ??

    • Seagate Backup Plus Hub is not on our list as we have not had it in hands and tested it. However, it should work as it meets the requirements.

  4. I have a Seagate USB 3.0 Backup Plus Hub 8TB External Hard Drive and right now my PS4 is telling me that it will not Format. Sony says that all HDD’s must be in FAT32 format but the Seagate Backup Plus Hub 8TB HDD only allows me to Format as NTSF or exFAT Formats and no Choice for the FAT32 Format. is there a way to Force the HDD to be Formatted as FAT32

  5. I purchased:
    WD 6TB My Book Duo Desktop RAID External Hard Drive

    My Ps4 recognizes it but will not format as ‘extended storage’ (changed to exFat) and still doesn’t work. Keep getting error code CE-41899-1


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