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The best PS5 SSD in 2021 - a guide to your potential options

PS5 SSD
(Image credit: Future/Sony)

Ever since we found out how small the default storage of Sony's new console would be, we've been trying to find the best PS5 SSD to install in the expansion bay. However, we're also waiting for Sony to unlock it as a feature via an update. We've recently heard a report that we'll actually be waiting until summer before this feature arrives though.

So if you have been able to buy a PS5 you'll need to hang on a bit longer or read on for some other options. It's clear that SSDs are now the way forward in terms of all storage - console, PC gaming, or even for home use. As the quality drives on our best SSD for gaming guide show, the performance, speed, and reliability you get from them - along with their dropping price levels - means they offer a terrific upgrade over their HDD contemporaries and competitors.  

What if you want to upgrade your PS5 SSD, though? We've already seen the slot within the PS5 that will house an extra NVMe SSD, but not only will we have to wait until summer (apparently), but Sony is still yet to officially confirm which SSDs will be supported on PS5. But we're expecting the likes of Samsung, Crucial, and WD will be supported.

Because there have been a few false starts (even though WD initially stated that its SN850 drive would be compatible, it later retracted the statement), it's safer to wait until we have solid confirmation one way or another. The SN850 is still likely to be the best bet in the long run, for example, but as Mark Cerny himself said, you're better to wait until such a list is revealed so we can make a safe decision. 

Nonetheless, if you're keen to get a PS5 SSD now, there are some potential candidates, although buying one now is a gamble. We've outlined some of these SSDs in this guide. Again, just have a backup plan in case you want to swap it out later. Maybe you'll have one of the best gaming PCs to put it into down the line, for instance.

Want to play it safe? We know that PS5 external hard drives are a great option along with PS4 external hard drives, and we've rounded up a list of some external SSD options below as they can be used to store PS4 games on PS5 at least.

Best PS5 SSD - external options

There are plenty of great external PS5 SSD options right now and it's hard to not recommend going the SSD route now even if it's more expensive.

However. It is very important to note that these external PS5 SSDs are currently only able to store and run your PS4 games library. As things stand, you cannot install PS5 games on your external drive, even just as a holding bay for storage. This is a little annoying but given the quality of the PS4 back catalog and the fact that this will probably be changed with an update down the line, it's something we can live with for now. And don't forget an SSD will still outperform an HDD when providing this service.

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WD Black P50

(Image credit: WD)
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WD Black P50

(Image credit: WD)
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WD Black P50

(Image credit: WD)
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WD Black P50

(Image credit: WD)
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WD Black P50

(Image credit: WD)

WD_Black P50 Game Drive

A robust, quality and speedy drive that's the best external PS5 SSD

Excellent speeds
Great design
Robust build
Purpose-built for gaming
A little pricey

Probably the best external SSD drive we've tested in a while, the P50 is the best PS5 SSD right now, because it has it all: a quality, cool design, a robust build, and exquisite speeds often reserved for those drives within the best gaming PCs and on best SSD for gaming lists.

On the outside, the P50 is a military metal-styled, rectangular drive featuring sleek molded metal and the traditional WD_Black aesthetics and markings. Its USB-C port can be used on your devices as either a USB-A or USB-C connection and in our testing, we got the same speeds through either port so it shouldn't matter which you have free or available, or if you change the device it's used with during its lifetime. There's a small but clear LED indicator on one of the short ends which is always a help, but one small downside is that it does get a little warm when in use so it'll pay to keep that in mind when positioning it.

When it comes to speeds, what you're told you're getting and what happens is pretty much bang on. It's incredible performance for an external SSD and the stated speeds of 'up to 2000MB/s' were on the money in our testing. Real-world performance-wise, the P50 gives you everything a high-quality external SSD should do: games were loaded incredibly quickly, files were retrieved in the snap of a finger, and the performance levels were incredibly consistent. It's a surefire SSD that will rapidly improve your gaming experience by far reducing the time looking at loading screens and increasing the time when you're actually playing. A true winner.

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(Image credit: Samsung)
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Samsung SSD T5 500GB

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(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung SSD T5 500GB

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(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung SSD T5 500GB

Samsung SSD T5

A great SSD from one of the biggest names in storage

Very reliable
Speedy
Versatile - great for PC too

The Samsung T5 has long been a recommendation of ours for one of the top PS4 SSDs you can get and it retains that level of high recommendation in the context of an external drive when considering the best PS5 SSD. This is a drive that prioritizes quality in performance and reliability, and it demonstrates this by offering read and write speeds of up to up to 540mb/s.

In its design and build, the Samsung T5 is compact, durable, and sleek. Its durability (combined with a case) makes it ideal for carrying around if you're on the go between the places you play - at least, it will be when we can do that again. Plus, it's much smaller than you think at the size of a smartphone. 

The only eyebrow-raiser that the T5 brings is that it is a premium product, and that's often reflected in its price. Luckily, we are still seeing regular deals and discounts on it. And hey, paying the price for having one of the very best PS5 SSDs in your arsenal of peripherals is worthwhile. In fact, an SSD that prioritises speed and performance is what you want and you get it plentifully here. As external PS5 SSDs go, it's as close to a no-brainer as it gets.

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SanDisk Extreme Portable

The best hard-wearing, accident-proof PS4 SSD

Very hardy and durable
Great speeds
Neat and tidy design

If you're looking at getting the best-protected PS5 SSD to keep that drive extra safe (and why wouldn't you?), then the SanDisk Extreme Portable is a strong contender. This will be able to withstand any sort of accidents and is the perfect contender for those of us who are accident-prone, or who prefer to make extra sure about the protection our devices have. Its rugged-ness is proven with it being water and dust-resistant to the IP-55 standard, and it has a shock-resistant core for extra durability. 

It performs well too, offering that sweet, sweet SSD performance and speed despite the protective shell, with its speeds challenging the likes of the Samsung T5. And it is really compact, with a fit-it-in-your-pocket size. 

The safety and durability comes at a premium though and adds a bit more to the price of the drive, but it's definitely worth it when all things are considered. The protection and durability of this SSD are excellent. And if you want some extra reassurance, you could even go for the Extreme Pro variant - but be prepared to see the cost rise significantly.

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(Image credit: WD)
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WD My Passport SSD 1TB

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WD My Passport SSD 1TB

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WD My Passport SSD 1TB

WD My Passport SSD

A top PS5 SSD option from a proven name

Great read/write speeds
Good value for SSD
Versatile - great with PCs too

If you have half an eye on versatility and multi-platform use down the road, then the WD My Passport SSD is a good offering - and of course, it is a great PS5 SSD in its own right, coming from proven manufacturers of quality units. The My Passport SSD will offer write speeds of about 300Mbps, and read speeds of 390Mbps - substantially faster than its HDD brother, the My Passport, which can offer larger capacity for your money but only gives read and write speeds of 120-130 Mbps.

While this does have an excellent role to play as a PC external SSD, it's worth noting that if you want to do this, you'll have to reformat it each time you want to use it as an SSD for your console or PC. It can't, unfortunately, be both at the same time. However, the My Passport SSD's PC-pedigree does offer some flexibility and adds some versatility to this drive. For example, it's compatible with All The USBs, including being USB-C ready, and it has an automatic backup system and a handy password protection and hardware encryption security double whammy. 

Generally, this is a quality SSD for your PS5 from a trusted maker of drives that we have no trouble recommending.

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OWC Envoy Pro Elektron

(Image credit: OWC)

OWC Envoy Pro Elektron

An underrated, fast, and tiny SSD

Excellent speeds
Great design
USB versatile

OWC has quietly gone about its business of making neat little hard drives in recent times, and the Envoy Pro Elektron is no exception to this. It's a fast SSD that'll provide you with a reliable connection over USB-C or 'regular' USB ports and has a chic aesthetic to go with its small and robust build. That really is it in a nutshell.

A big plus to the Elektron is that it is just really neat, small and tidy - I have small hands and it's smaller than my palm! Which is incredible really, even if it does border on 'so small I might lose it in my pocket' size. However, it's chic aesthetic means it can look slick next to or on top of any gaming machine, and looks can deceive: it's waterproof, dustproof, and crushproof. Tough.

Importantly, it's got those beautiful SSD speeds to boot. Testing in both USB ports on a PC, the Elektron gave us readings of 469 MB/s read speed, and 462 MB/s write speed. These numbers are solid, but in practical terms they translate to the ability to speedily transfer games and saves between console generations, and as a great place to run games from itself. A neat little package.

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Silicon Power PC60

(Image credit: Silicon Power)
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Silicon Power PC60

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Silicon Power PC60

(Image credit: Silicon Power)

Silicon Power PC60 Portable SSD

A tiny, light and reliable portable SSD

Great portable design
Robust but light
Reliable enough speeds

Another neat, small, and light option, this underrated little drive from Silicon Power could be a great addition as a PS5 SSD. It too will fit in the palm of your hand, and it might even be small enough to go on a bunch of keys too - well, a big bunch of keys perhaps. Its petite, featherweight design oozes portability so is great for those looking to the future for when we can move around more freely and take our games and data on the go. 

Meanwhile, the USB 3.2 connection is fast and neat, and as well as for PS5 or PS4, this is ideal for any device that'll take it. If you're looking for a compact PS5 SSD, then this is it. 

Silicon Power claims that the speeds can reach impressive levels of up to 540mb/s read and up to 500mb/s write, which would be very excellent. And while our tests (through CrystalDiskMark on the PC) didn't quite reach those levels thanks to our results of 468mb/s read and 322mb/s write, this is still solid enough for a little PS4 SSD that will happily sit next to or near your console, silently providing you with a quality service. An excellent little PS5 SSD.

Best PS5 SSD - internal options (TBC)

Remember the big caveat here: Sony has not revealed the SSDs that have received its stamp of approval yet, so these are not guaranteed to be your best bets for internal PS5 SSDs. On the other hand, they are the most likely candidates if you're super keen on adding one to your arsenal and can make use of one in a PC in the interim.

WD SN850 SSD

(Image credit: Western Digital)

WD Black SN850 1TB

One of the very best NVMe internal SSD options around

Terrific SSD performance
Was briefly said to be fully PS5-compatible

This is probably the best option if you really had to buy an internal PS5 SSD right now. This was the Western Digital model that was briefly stated as fully compatible and a great fit for the PS5 before that information was pulled from the internet. 

But we wouldn't be surprised if that really is the case when the truth comes out; its performance is such that it's got all the hallmarks of a quality internal PS5 SSD. Sharing all that makes WD's other SN variants great (but, you know, at a higher price), it's a supreme drive that may not break the bank. 

Utilising that awesome 'next-gen' PCIe Gen 4 technology, the 1TB model can claim to reach basically ridiculous speeds of up to 7000mb/s read and 5300mb/s write speeds. I told you, it's ridiculous. The 500GB model is often at a great price too, but you can go big with the 2TB model to make sure you're covered for hopefully the entire PS5 lifespan.

Samsung 970 EVO

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung 970 EVO Plus

A great PCIe 3.0 PS5 SSD option (hopefully)

Samsung SSD tech
Exquisite performance

Now, it's strongly speculated that Samsung SSDs will be very near the top of the pile when it comes to Sony's much-anticipated approved list. And if we had to guess, then the 970 EVO Plus would be the top pick of the Samsung bunch. 

Without stepping up to the PCIe 4.0 gen level, this PCIe 3.0 drive is a brilliant one to consider as Samsung's gusto and performance is hard to beat.  The 500GB variant is still the most attractive due to its price point, perhaps, but the 1TB version will continue to drop in price. 

This is a potential PS5 SSD that will become even more attractive when PCIe 4.0 Gen drives are the new norm - it'll just mean the still-very-excellent PCIe 3.0 drives will be incredibly affordable and still offer awesome performance.

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Crucial P1 500GB and 1TB SSDs

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(Image credit: Crucial)

Crucial P1

Solid performance, price, and capacity

Solid speeds
Reputable makers
Great value

The Crucial P1 is another top PCIe 3.0 SSD that could prove an incredibly competent companion to you and your PS5 setup. The main draw to the Crucial P1 is the value to performance factor. In short, it might not be quite as bombastic in its speeds as the Western Digital and Samsung choices above, but for the price you get a wonderful drive that will still offer capacity on an all-important, reputable SSD. 

Because of the cost, this would also be a great purchase to go into to a cheap gaming PC build down the road if you're on a tight budget for that or need something cheap as a backup. And that might be a good selling point for it really: if you're desperate to take a punt on what might be a PS5 SSD drive at a relatively low expense, and you have a backup plan to use it elsewhere if need be, then this is good little drive.

I'm one of the Hardware Editors for GamesRadar+, and I take care of a whole host of gaming tech reviews, buying guides, and news and deals content that pops up across GamesRadar+. I'm also a qualified landscape and garden designer so do that in my spare time, and lean on it to write about games' landscapes and environments too.