PS5's Expandable Storage Doesn't Use Proprietary Tech, But Don't Buy An SSD Yet

This approach is very different from how Microsoft handles Xbox Series X expandable storage.

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Sony has finally opened up about the specifications of the PlayStation 5. While we still don't know what it looks like, lead system architect Mark Cerny divulged a ton of information about the forthcoming next-gen system in a deep-dive livestream, including how it will handle expandable storage. And it's quite different from Microsoft's approach.

The PS5 comes with an 825GB solid-state hard drive, a 65% storage space increase from the base PS4's 500GB HDD. If that doesn't sound like enough space, the PS5 allows users to install non-Sony proprietary hardware, giving you the option to purchase off-the-shelf parts to slot into the system.

According to a Digital Foundry report, "NVMe PC drives will work in PlayStation 5, [but] the only problem is that PC technology is significantly behind PS5 [and] Sony needs to validate them to ensure that they will work properly." In his talk discussing the PS5, Cerny noted that Sony was testing expandable storage devices to ensure that they can physically fit into the PS5 and also deliver the required performance. The company has advised people not to purchase drives ahead of it revealing its recommendations.

Sony's approach to expandable storage differs from Microsoft's in that the Xbox Series X requires a proprietary card in order to add extra space. With the PS5, you can just purchase an NVMe PC card and slot that into the system--once Sony provides its recommendations for compatible drives.

However, similar to Xbox Series X's option to offload and boot up older Xbox games from an external hard drive in order to preserve internal storage space, the PS5 allows users to do the same. Sony said that its upcoming next-gen system is backward compatible and you can push your older PlayStation games to an external hard drive in order to save space on the PS5's 825GB SDD. Such drives can also be used to store PS5 games, but you'll need to move those to a PS5-speed SSD in order to play them.

The 52-minute livestream, which was supposed to be held during this year's Game Developers Conference before it was postponed due to coronavirus concerns, just wrapped up its technical deep-dive in the PS5. We've rounded up everything we learned from Cerny's talk, including information on the next-gen system's hard drive, its energy efficiency, and more.

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