The best PS4 hard drive upgrades to buy in 2017

The best PlayStation 4 storage solutions from practical to ludicrous

No one likes seeing the dreaded 'cannot download' pop up on PS4. There's nothing more frustrating than having to make your way through your precious library of PS4 applications and decide which one to wave goodbye to. The good news is that you can actually pop in a whole new PS4 hard drive. But which is the best hard drive for PS4, PS4 Slim and PS4 Pro?

Both the original standard PS4 and the new slim PS4 come with a 500GB drive built in, but after two and a bit years of installing games, downloading DLC, and grabbing free downloadables, all that space can fill up fast. Even the PS4 Pro's 1TB might need a boost if you're planning on downloading everything. Modern games often come with install size of over 40GB - that's getting on for 10% of your total space with a single game. 

Fortunately, you can expand that space to store more games on your system, get your PS4 booting up more quickly, and load games faster with a simple hard drive swap - and whether you have the PS4, PS4 Slim or the PS4 Pro, it's not difficult to do at all. There's no hardware modding necessary - all three PS4s take a laptop size 2.5" drive - and it will leave the console's factory warranty totally intact. Here's how to upgrade your PS4 hard drive or how to upgrade and change your PS4 Pro hard drive.

The challenge, then, is in selecting the best hard drive for your situation. The modern storage market comprises a more diverse group of technologies than ever before -- traditional platter hard disk drives (HDDs) are still alive and kicking, but with the recent proliferation of solid state drives (SSDs) and solid state hybrid drives (SSHDs), today’s consumer has more purchasing considerations to make than ever before. We’ve navigated the Data Storage Seas and have hauled in a fresh catch of the very best PlayStation 4 hard drive upgrades available. No matter your budget, knowledge level or reason for upgrading, we’ve got the solution you need. 

1. Seagate 1TB Gaming SSHD ST1000LM014

Best balance of price and performance

Capacity: 1TB | Storage Type: SSHD

SSD-like performance without the SSD price
Doubles storage capacity over stock PS4 HDD
5400RPM spindle speed

The Seagate 1TB Gaming SSHD offers some of the improvements granted by a full SSD (shorter load times, faster installs, etc) without the enormous markup. The caveat, of course, is that since this SSHD does also rely on a physical disk spinning at 5400RPM, the improvements may not be as dramatic as with a traditional SSD. In practice though, this isn’t that huge of a concession to make for the money you’re saving, as different games will/won’t take advantage of your drive’s enhanced capabilities on a case-by-case basis. Regardless, this drive will double your storage capacity and in many cases increase performance, which are great benefits to walk away with for less than $100/£100. 

2. Seagate 2TB Laptop HDD ST2000LM007

Loads of storage for a great price

Capacity: 2TB | Storage Type: HDD

Quadruples storage vs. PS4 stock HDD
Great storage-to-dollar ratio
5400 RPM spindle speed
Not an SSHD

If maxing storage and affordability is a bigger priority than improving access speed, you’re not going to do better than Seagate’s 2TB Laptop HDD. This drive gives your PlayStation 4 quadruple the storage capacity that it came with, which should keep you knee deep in PlayStation Plus games well into the foreseeable future. The main downside with this drive is that unlike Seagate’s 1TB SSHD, this drive is a traditional hard drive spinning at 5400 RPM, which is the same speed as the stock PS4 hard drive. This means that, while you’ll have plenty of space for games, they’re not going to load or install any faster. 

3. Seagate FireCuda 2.5" 2TB SSHD

Four times the storage at SSD-like speeds

Capacity: 2TB | Storage Type: SSHD

Four times the size of the standard PS4 hard drive
SSD-like performance
More expensive than traditional HDD

If you want even more storage, Seagate's FireCuda 2.5" 2TB drive is ideal for quadrupling the space on your PS4 and it ups the speed too with its hybrid drive functionality. It's a case of balancing up how much you think you'll really appreciate the speed boost but the FireCuda is ideal in terms of size and is priced competitively for a SSHD drive. While it's not fully solid state, you'll definitely notice the difference in speed so if you're not too worried about your budget, the 2TB FireCuda is one of the best  PS4 hard drives around.  Say hello to storing endless videos of your Destiny Crucible successes. 

4. Seagate 1TB Laptop HDD ST1000LM035

Double your storage and stay under budget

Capacity: 1TB | Storage Type: HDD

Affordable
Twice the storage of the stock PS4 HDD
5400 RPM spindle speed
Worse storage to money ratio than 2TB model

The 1TB model of Seagate’s Laptop HDD is the best option for the consumer with a rigid budget, though that bargain price tag does come with some concessions. First, since this is a 5400 RPM traditional HDD, you won’t see any speed improvements over the stock PS4 drive. You’re also paying a slightly higher price per gig on this model than on the 2TB version, though the total price of the drive remains substantially lower. Despite this, we still feel confident recommending this as one of the best PS4 hard drive upgrades, as it still allows you to double the storage capacity of your console for about the price of a new AAA game.

5. Samsung 850 EVO 1TB

State-of-the-art speed

Capacity: 1TB | Storage Type: SSD

Full SSD
More reliable than traditional HDD/SSHD
An expensive option
No guarantee of dramatic results

From a technical standpoint, solid state drives are superior to hybrid and traditional disk drives in every way. Read/write speeds are much, much faster, power consumption is lower, and since solid state drives have no moving parts, they’re immune to many of the common ailments that so often malign disk drives. SSDs are fast, efficient drives that provide huge theoretical performance boosts while simultaneously reducing the number of possible complications over time. The catch, of course, is in the cash.

SSDs have the worst storage-to-budget ratio of any type of drive, meaning that you’ll pay a lot more money for a lot less storage. In a PC, this is usually an acceptable trade due to the proven performance enhancements associated with an SSD. In a PlayStation 4, however, these enhancements are less of a guaranteed constant. They definitely exist, but the degree to which they exist will change on a game-by-game basis. Only you can decide whether the cost of entry is worth the peace of mind that comes with having the highest potential for performance. The Samsung 850 EVO is a great choice and for the ultimate PS4 hard drive upgrade you can also pick up a massive 2TB version of the Samsung 850 EVO... or even a 4TB version if money is no object! 

6. Western Digital Black 6TB WD6001FZWX

You'll never run out of storage again

Capacity: 6TB | Storage Type: HDD

Tremendous storage capacity
Faster than stock PS4 HDD
Additional accessory required
Slower than SSHD or SSD

The WD Black 6TB is your gateway to nigh unheard-of amounts of storage, provided that you’re willing to drop some coin and increase the size of your console. The WD Black is a 3.5” HDD, which means it’s the type of drive normally found in a desktop computer, rather than the laptop-sized 2.5” drives the PlayStation 4 was designed for. This means that it won’t actually fit inside the PlayStation, and will instead have to live on the hood of the console in an external enclosure -- specifically, the Nyko Data Bank. This enclosure wraps over the top of the console and routes its SATA/power connections through the PS4’s 2.5” drive bay, allowing for the installation of a 3.5” drive.

PlayStation 4s with a model number below CUH-1200 can accommodate drives up to 4TB in capacity, while PS4s with a model number above CUH-1200 can handle up to 8TB. We selected the WD Black 6TB over an 8TB drive as a comfortable compromise between capacity and price, but if cost is no object, the Seagate Enterprise 8TB is also a tremendous hard drive. Regardless, this endeavor is primarily recommended for those who plan on buying and simultaneously installing several hundred games. The average consumer, while sure to appreciate the luxury of such an enormous drive, can likely get by without it.

7 Seagate Expansion 2TB Portable USB HDD

Some (dis)assembly required

Capacity: 2TB | Storage Type: HDD

Cheaper than a laptop drive
Use your existing PS4 HDD as a USB external drive afterwards
Need to open external hard drive case and void warranty

Although external USB hard drives can't be used to expand the storage capacity of the PS4, the hard drive that hides within this unit is a perfect replacement for your console and is cheaper than a standalone internal drive. However, to get at it you will need to prise open the external case of the portable drive, which will void its warranty so make sure you're confident in your abilities before going ahead. To get inside, insert a thin blade or screwdriver in the gap where the two sides of the case meet, then twist to pop open the clips holding it together.

Once open, lift out the internal drive and remove both the foil shielding sheet and the USB connector, then follow the standard replacement process. As an added bonus, you can attach the USB connector to your existing PS4 hard drive then reassemble the case to give you an extra portable drive once you've formatted it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jordan Mallory is a freelance writer, editor, journalist, video personality and kpop aficionado, currently stationed in the heart of Southern California. When not working on his latest assignment, Jordan enjoys writing hip-hop, capturing Pokemon and meticulously plotting his escape from Los Angeles.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

GR+ news lead Louise can often be found watching horror, drinking coffee and beating you at The Binding Of Isaac: Rebirth.
We recommend