How to install a PlayStation 4 hard drive

GameSpot editor Peter Brown demonstrates how to swap out standard hard drive for solid state drive, which we found improves speeds.

Like the PlayStation 3 before it, the PlayStation 4 allows users to swap out its 500GB hard drive if they so choose. But how does it work? Is it a challenge? GameSpot editor Peter Brown breaks down the process in a new video walkthrough, providing step-by-step directions on what it takes.

The only tool users will need to swap out the PS4's hard drive is a Phillips screwdriver for the removal of several screws. Check out the full video walkthrough below and look for more walkthrough videos from GameSpot today and throughout the week.

Download speeds varied slightly between the provided PS4 hard drive and the solid state drive used in our video for smaller games like Resogun, but were largely consistent. However, once Resogun was installed, it loaded much more quickly, taking about 10 seconds on the SSD compared to about 20 seconds on the standard hard drive.

The PS4 officially launches on Friday, November 15 in North America for $400. The system will be released in Europe on November 29 and in 32 countries in total in time for the holidays.

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Eddie Makuch

Eddie Makuch is a news editor at GameSpot, and would like to see the Whalers return to Hartford.
149 comments
Hurrystream
Hurrystream

In a perfect world an SSD will do about 280 MB/s Read and 260 MB/s Write on SATA II. Whilst a 7200 RPM HD will do about 210 MB/s Read/Write. Of course this is bench-marked on a PC so that might not be the case at all for the PS4, in which case it can only be slower. 

So if you got the cash sure go for the SSD, but if your poor get the HDD and know that the difference isn't that huge and you can still buy some food.

Wish they had SATA III on the PS4. Oh well.

kademan15
kademan15

Why do I have to download the PS4 update on my computer?

kademan15
kademan15

Why do I have to Install the PS4 update on my computer?

da_nibbler
da_nibbler

what happened to your embedded videos on the site all of a sudden? getting "embed" this video HTML and video is not loadable....

ACWH
ACWH

Really disappointed they used a 5400 rpm drive. It wouldn't have killed them to use a 7500 rpm one...

lostn
lostn

Does every disc based game have to be installed like on X1?

theKSMM
theKSMM

As I said in another thread, I value capacity more than speed in my game consoles.

Sure, installing this SSD saves ten seconds on each startup of the game, but how long does it take to delete and re-install games once your hard drive is full?  That's a bigger headache to me than waiting 20 seconds for a game to start.

So given the choice, I'd rather install a higher-capacity hard drive than a faster one.

Karchy
Karchy

I will wait with my next gen purchase until SSD is standard, BECAUSE IT SHOULD BE!!

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

Nice video, I  wanted to know if there was a way to change the drive without voiding the warrenty (official dismantle vid didn't show any other ways of getting to the hdd bay) and now I do, thanks.

On another note, not sure it's gonna be worth installing an expensive ssd for non downloaded games, since you're losing space and the games will have been developed to run using the default drive anyway, so I'd opt for putting a 7200rpm larger drive in it myself.

arqe
arqe

So when you fill 500gb and wanted the change your Drive , how do you carry the installed games / files to the new one ?

Need to swap Drives all the time or just re-download everything ?

PSYCHOV3N0M
PSYCHOV3N0M

I wanna hear it from Sony themselves if the PS4 truly benefits from a SSD unlike the PS3 which benefitted more with traditional hard drives instead of SSD's.

GH05T-666
GH05T-666

Thanks for the video, its nice and easy!

I don't no if I would change mine to a SSD, I was thinking 1TB or 2TB 7200RPM Hard Drive upgrade


wexorian
wexorian

i'm more curious how to install new brain in to people's head.

mythical_gamer
mythical_gamer

ugh, ill just pay 170$ to someone at tigerdirect to do it

Muljo
Muljo

From the PS4 FAQ: "PS4 is equipped with a 5400 RPM SATA II hard drive. Users can choose to install a new hard drive so long as it complies with these standards, is no thicker than 9.5mm, and is larger than 160GB."  

So I get the thickness and the GB size but are there other standards I still have to comply with?  Like it has to be SATA II?  Or does that part not matter?  Besides a standard HD and SSD are there other types/specifications I should watch out for?  I'm not tech savvy at all so if someone could help me out, I'd appreciate it.  

xhawk27
xhawk27

Seems a lot of work for 10 secs. Also Samsungs SSD drives are very expensive. What are they using 256gb drive that sells for almost $300 on newegg. 

nycprocess
nycprocess

Glad the X1 will support externals. 

Jdzspace
Jdzspace

well, i've got my 1TB SSD en route and the update downloaded to my flash drive just ready to go for Friday

jopython52
jopython52

I would like to know about The Playroom too. Will it be downloadable from PSN?

vortex2044
vortex2044

Sorry. Double post. Stupid phone.

vortex2044
vortex2044

So does it reinstall "The Playroom" on the new HDD? Or is it gone for good once you swap out drives?

randomkidlol
randomkidlol

No point in putting in an SSD since SATAII will bottleneck the speeds.

A 7200RPM drive is sufficient.

contrapro
contrapro

You need to get the update onto a USB, you can use a computer to download it directly to a USB drive but you dont need it on your computer at all

GodOfSyn
GodOfSyn

@ACWH 

Those were my intial thoughts too, but to keep the heat and noise down they decided on the lower rpm, then again there are more important stats when it comes to hard drives than the RPM's, I mean to me its shocking its only 10 seconds slower to load a game than the SSD, it should be closer to a minute longer really....

jrnewquist
jrnewquist

@theKSMM Here's something: with a fast drive, you miss the loading screen content.  Some games actually put important stuff there, like hints or maps.

Karchy
Karchy

@theKSMM the startup is just an example! ALL loading processes benefit from the SSD. The HDD is the slowest component in the system. A boost of 50% is priceless!

lostn
lostn

@JimmeyBurrows Delete the games you no longer play and you'll be fine.

Replacing HDD cannot void warranty since Sony said it's a feature. If it did, they wouldn't bother telling you you can do it.

vortex2044
vortex2044

Replacing the hdd in the PS3 and the PS4 does not void the warranty.

lostn
lostn

@arqe Use a disk cloning program like Acronis. 

On PS3 you could just insert an external hdd and backup the HDD onto that, then change the HDD and transfer it all back over from the external.

KainsLegion
KainsLegion

@arqe the important thing is that your saved games can be backed up on the cloud.  However, if you wanted to play a game you had already played on other hard drive, it would have to be re-installed or re-downloaded if purchased digitally.  But is that really that bad to have to re-install something?  Its not like it takes hours to install..  And some of the games allow you to start playing before the install/download completes.  If you think you will fill up 500gb fast, I would upgrade sooner than later so you don't run into that point where you have 10 games you wish were on your new larger hard drive.

superepic1
superepic1

@PSYCHOV3N0M Does it matter? SSDs are too expensive at the moment. You would need at least a 500gb one so it would end up costing more than the console

KainsLegion
KainsLegion

@Muljo Watch out for Hybrid hard drives.  Faster than HDD but cheaper than SDD.  They are a combination of the two in one.  Look them up.  I am hoping to see or hear of someone testing a hybrid out and if their are noticeable speed differences.  I wont be purchasing SDD as they are just too expensive right now.

Muljo
Muljo

I guess the biggest thing I need to know is the length.  From the vid it looks like it's a 3.5 in. hard drive but I can't confirm this anywhere.

Masterchief5525
Masterchief5525

@xhawk27 very expensive? Samsung has a 1TB SSD for 600, that's a great price at the moment. Plus their drives are some of the best at the moment too.

lostn
lostn

@nycprocess Externals are far slower than internals. Not a tenable speed to have games installed on IMO. 

I'd rather have the ability to swap out the internal for something faster or bigger.

Though ideally, I'd like both options. The external would be for my media.

seraos12
seraos12

@nycprocess  yaaa... the external hd together with the power brick and kinect will for a Megazord on your living room XD

lostn
lostn

@randomkidlol SSD on SATA2 is still far far faaaaar quicker than a 7200RPM drive.

Zloth2
Zloth2

@randomkidlol Ah so that's it!  I wondered how a game was supposed to take 10 seconds to load off an SSD.  It should have been pretty close to instant.

theKSMM
theKSMM

@KainsLegion @arqe It's worth noting that the ability to save games in the cloud will require a PlayStation Plus subscription.

lostn
lostn

@superepic1 @PSYCHOV3N0M The 500GB can put 10-20 games on it. Do you actually play all of those at a time, or are you done with one, then move onto the next and never go back? I rarely play more than 3 games at a time, and if it's single player games, only one at a time. The other two I only play in MP. 

You can get a 128-256GB SSD for not that expensive, and just delete games as you stop playing them. Of course, if saving on loading time isn't that important to you, then you can buy a cheap 1TB HDD instead.

lostn
lostn

@KainsLegion @Muljo The hybrid drive is a 3.5" drive and will not fit into the PS4.

Also, it is no substitute for an SSD in terms of speed. All it is is a HDD with a small amount of SSD for caching. The most used apps will be cached to the SSD proportion (Windows will adapt to your usage). I think it will have no benefit at all on console even if it was able to fit.

Tubatica
Tubatica

@Masterchief5525 600?  For that you can get another PS4 and 3 full priced games.  I'm all for speed but an upgrade like that is not practical IMO

lostn
lostn

@KainsLegion @lostn Well alright then. But it doesn't change my point. SSHD is useless in a console. It's not very useful in a PC either. On a PC I would buy a HDD and spend a bit more and get a 120GB SSD to go with it. Or even a 64GB if you can't afford a 120GB. It will be much better than an SSHD. 

KainsLegion
KainsLegion

@lostn Obviously SSD is better than all, but my wallet protests them.

You are incorrect on one thing, there is in fact a 2.5" drive; seagate has a 1TB SSHD that can be found on NewEgg.  For the majority of gamers it would have little to no benefit in a PS4, but to those who use it for other applications and features beyond just gaming, then the 8GB NAND would come in handy.  That being said, I digress till I can see some bench mark tests.