You won't be able to expand the PS5's internal SSD storage at launch

Sony PS5 SSD expansion slot with support up to 2280
(Image credit: Sony)

Sony has confirmed that the PS5's storage expansion slot will not be ready for the console's launch next week. Following warnings from Sony for the better part of a year that users should hold off from purchasing an NVMe M.2 SSD until it offers some guidance, the company has now confirmed to The Verge that it won't have a compatibility list ready to go at launch.

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Sony revealed the storage expansion slot present on the PlayStation 5 during a recent live stream, a full-size 2280 NVMe M.2 slot capable of at least housing many of the best SSDs for gaming. Yet the company has been hesitant to offer much in the way of recommendations for storage expansion, citing other limitations we don't yet know about.

Those limitations are likely firmware-based, as the PS5 utilises an in-house custom I/O controller unlike any other. That's the key to the console's touted high bandwidth of 5.5GB/s, and while not out of the realms of many of today's PCIe 4.0 SSDs (Samsung's 980 Pro manages 6.9GB/s), perhaps there are further checkboxes necessitated before a drive is PS5-ready.

Sony did allude to a slightly later than launch availability for expandable storage during its initial tech deep-dive way back in March. A lifetime ago. That was also when it first told users to "hold off on getting that M.2 drive until you hear from us."

The PlayStation 5's 825GB internal SSD storage will offer plenty of room for games in the meantime, even if it's a little less than the touted capacity once the OS is installed and system reservations sap a little space.

The Xbox Series S was recently rumoured to come with just 364GB of usable space on its 512GB drive after such system demands, and we can now confirm that our review unit does indeed only offer 362GB of usable space out of the box. As you can read in our Xbox Series X review, the Quick Resume feature appears to be responsible for cordoning off some of that space.

At least there's confirmation from Sony that you will be able to use an external HDD or SSD to bolster that internal storage. While your standard HDD or SSD won't be able to reach the blisteringly fast speeds of the PS5's internal drive, Sony has said that it will be a great way to store PS4 games with lesser bandwidth requirements.

You'll just need to wait it out for a faster solution. There's still hope for wide-ranging compatibility across popular PC PCIe 4.0 drives, such as those on our best SSD for gaming roundup, it just might take a little bit of fiddling on the manufacturer's part to get it all humming along nicely.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, and would go on to run the team as hardware editor. Since then he's joined PC Gamer's top staff as senior hardware editor, where he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industries and testing the newest PC components.