Is your PS4’s internal hard disk drive holding you back? Do you want to have significantly more games installed but lack the area to support them? You’re not by yourself. More folks are buying our games digitally nowadays, and even the ones that ship on Blu-ray disc can install 50GB or even more of files. Monsters like Red Dead Redemption 2 can consume up to 105GB of your important hard drive, that is a problem when the typical model only has 500GB to play with, a few of which has already been occupied by system software. Even the 1TB hard disk drive of the PS4 Pro struggles when met with the files required by today’s most graphically-intensive games.

Of course, you can always substitute your PS4’s existing internal hard disk drive with a higher-capacity 2.5in HDD – and even an SSD or hybrid drive in the event that you wanted slightly faster loading times. However, you don’t need to switch drives merely to get more capacity, as the PS4 also supports external USB 3 hard disks for use as extended storage. Just plug one in and you’re all set. You don’t have to transfer any data or lose your existing space.

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How to opt for the best external hard disk drive for your PS4
What should you search for in a PS4 hard disk drive?
Interface type: Any USB 3 drive of nearly every size will continue to work; 250GB may be the minimum capacity and an impressive 8TB the utmost. Neither the PS4 nor PS4 Pro support USB 3.1 gen 2 or USB Type C, so don’t worry about spending extra on a drive that sports these newer interface standards.

Portable or desktop? For convenience’s sake, we’d recommend taking a lightweight external hard disk drive. The portability isn’t actually that useful, however the one USB 3 connection will handle both data transfer and power, and that means you won’t need an external power.

Right now, there are just two reasons to pick a desktop external hard disk drive. First, they can set you back larger capacities: even the largest lightweight drives max out at 5TB, while desktop drives rise fully 8TB maximum capacity. You’d need to have an enormous games library, though, to create a deciding factor. Otherwise, some desktop drives have a 7,200RPM spindle speed, where lightweight drives usually only manage 5,400RPM. This may mean slightly better performance, and slightly shorter loading times.

Anything else? Drives must be linked right to your PS4 – not really a USB hub – so ensure you have a USB 3 port available. Both original PS4 and the newer PS4 Slim have two USB 3 ports at the front end, as the PS4 Pro comes with an extra USB 3 port at the trunk. You’ll need one absolve to hook up and charge controllers or hook up the PSVR control unit, so bear this at heart.

How much space for storage do you need?
You can only just have one extended storage drive linked to your PS4, which means you really want the largest drive you are able. Games nowadays can consume vast amounts of space for storage, so unless you’re exclusively thinking about playing Fortnite or Minecraft, you are going to need a sizable external drive.

Here is a look at a few of the current top-selling games for PS4 on Amazon, and just how much room they take through to your hard disk drive (including low-storage games such as for example Fortnite, for reference):

1TB is a sensible minimum, but we’d advise choosing 2TB as there’s not really a vast price difference between your two and you’ll have sufficient space for a fairly sizable games library. However gamers should jump right to 4TB. You’ll have sufficient space to download free PlayStation Plus games and take good thing about those tempting PlayStation store special deals, while still spending significantly less than £100 on the drive itself.

Could it be worth spending extra on an SSD?
Simply by using a conventional external hard disk drive can increase loading times. On the PS4 Pro, for example, we’ve seen enough time taken up to load a saved game from the title screen in God of War reduced from 45 seconds to 41 seconds just from plugging in Seagate’s PS4 Game Drive – and that’s not the most effective USB3 HDD at all.

However, there are more significant speed gains you can aquire from using an SSD. With a SanDisk Extreme Pro connected, the God of War saved game loaded in only 32 seconds. Loading a Horizon: Zero Dawn saved game took 59 seconds with the Seagate Game Drive but 26 seconds with the SanDisk external SSD. That’s much less time spent looking at the loading screen, and it could change lives in games that pause to load new areas or in games where frequent deaths and reloads play a significant role (like your average Dark Souls).

The issues with SSD, of course, are price and capacity. 500GB external SSDs are creeping in below the £100 mark, but also for a 1TB drive you’re looking at £100 to £150. That’s not ideal when at under £100 you might have a 4TB hard disk drive to fill with PS4 games.

If loading times really drive you crazy, then our recommendation is always to splash out £100 on an interior 2.5in 1TB SSD and fit that within your PS4, then use an external drive to store almost all of your games library. You may easily move games between internal and external storage, meaning you can run the games you’re playing now from the faster SSD and keep your other favourites on the external HDD for when you wish to play them.

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The best external hard disks for PS4

  1. Seagate Expansion USB 3.0 Portable: The very best all-round hard disk drive for PS4
    Price: 2TB, £60; 4TB, £85 | Buy now from Amazon

If you’re buying a simple, slimline lightweight drive, Seagate’s Expansion USB 3.0 Portable is hard to beat. It’s got a sleek design with a cool, textured finish and good performance. In previous tests, we’ve measured sequential transfer speeds of 125MB/sec read and 127MB/sec write, with random read/write speeds of just one 1.44MB/sec and 1.42MB/sec, so that it is among the finest options for shorter loading times beyond an SSD or hybrid drive. It’s a good, reliable and whisper-quiet drive, and the perfect way to improve your console’s capacity without splashing out much cash.

Key specs – Type: Portable HDD; Connectivity:USB 3; Spindle speed: 5,400RPM; Size: 122 x 81 x 15mm

  1. Seagate Expansion USB 8TB Desktop: The very best high-capacity hard disk drive for PS4
    Price: 8TB, £126 | Buy now from Amazon

If 4TB isn’t enough for your massive games collection, then Seagate’s Expansion Desktop drive offers you the excess capacity you crave. It includes 8TB of storage – the utmost the PS4 can cope with – even though it doesn’t have the 7,200RPM spindle speed of some desktop drives, it’ll still offer you better performance than your average lightweight drive. Actually, its 160MB/sec transfer speeds will shave a couple of seconds off the loading times of demanding PS4 titles. True, you don’t have the capability of an individual cable for data and power but, to pay, you do get yourself a far higher convenience of your money, costing significantly less than some 4TB lightweight drives. If your games library keeps on growing, it is the drive you want connected to your PS4. Just be sure to don’t power it off whenever your PS4 is active – your console won’t enjoy it one bit.

Key specs – Type: Desktop HDD; Connectivity: USB 3; Spindle speed: 5400rpm; Size: 179 x 119 x 41mm

3.WD_Black P10 Game Drive: The high-performance hard disk drive for PS4
Price: 2TB, £90; 4TB, £130; 5TB, £135 | Buy now from Amazon

Western Digital’s Black type of HDDs has always had an excellent reputation with PC gamers, but that is its first foray in to the console gaming world. Not merely do you get rugged construction and a cool, professional design, but you have significantly more choice in terms of capacity, with 5TB drives designed for just over £100. Unless you mind putting away a mains socket, the P10 can be purchased in larger 8TB and 12TB sizes as a desktop hard disk drive.

Meanwhile, performance is on par with WD’s MyPassport Ultra drives, with sequential read/write speeds of 133MB/sec and 129MB/sec – pretty good given that it’s an easy drive and the P10 is really cheaper. Element in that it’s also less expensive than Seagate’s and WD’s PS4-specific drives, and the WD_Black P10 is a gaming drive that’s worth the tiny extra.

Key specs – Type: Portable HDD; Connectivity: USB 3; Spindle speed: 5,400RPM; Size: 118 x 88 x 21mm

  1. WD My Passport Portable Gaming Storage for PS4: The best-looking hard disk drive for PS4
    Price: 2TB, £78; 4TB, £120 | Buy now from Amazon

Both Western Digital and Seagate manufacture gaming drives for Xbox One and PS4, which imply that they’re made to complement your console, that you’ll pay a tiny premium. There’s no real benefit regarding easy setup or performance, but WD’s textured top and bottom panels, and the blue edge, replicate the colours of a switched-on PS4. Place it together with your PS4 or Pro and it’ll blend right in with the hardware. Speeds are in the same ballpark as the standard MyPassport (designed for £15 less), but if you’re pleased with your PS4 then that is one drive you won’t want to cover behind it.