The best PS4 hard drive upgrades to buy in 2016

The best PlayStation 4 Storage solutions from practical to ludicrous

Running out of hard drive space? No worries, you can easily swap out your PlayStation 4’s hard drive and stick in a new, bigger, speedier option in no time. But which is the best hard drive for PS4?

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. 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 or the PS4 Slim, it's not difficult to do at all. There's no hardware modding necessary - the PS4 just takes 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

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
No 2TB model available
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 1TB Laptop HDD ST1000LM035

Double your storage and stay under budget

Capacity: 1TB | Storage Type: HDD

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.

4. 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! 

5. 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.


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.
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