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What’s the difference between the PS5 console storage, M.2 SSD and external SSD?

Although you can use an external solid state drive with your PlayStation 5 or PlayStation 5 Digital Edition, it is limited in features when compared to the other SSD types that the game console supports.

You can take a look at this comparison guide at Seeking Tech to see what are the main differences between the console storage, M.2 SSD and external SSD.

Quick Summary

The internal console storage of the PlayStation 5 offers the most features as you can store and play both PS4 and PS5 games. Furthermore, it is also the only storage option that can store system data, save files as well as screenshots and videos captured when playing games.

With a PS5-compatible M.2 solid state drive, you can also store and play both PS4 and PS5 videogames although the save files, screenshots and recorded videos will be stored on the internal console storage instead.

For an external solid state drive, you can also store PS4 and PS5 games. However, only PS4 games can be played directly from the external storage. Furthermore, the save files, screenshots and video clips will be saved on the internal console storage.

So, if you are looking to expand the storage capacity of your PlayStation 5 or PlayStation 5 Digital Editon system, then we recommend getting a M.2 solid state drive as you will be able to play PS4 and PS5 games directly off of it.

If you are only planning to use an expansion drive for PS4 games, then you can get an external SSD instead.

PS5 Internal Console Storage vs. M.2 SSD vs. External SSD

You can take a look at our comparison table for the internal PS5 console SSD, M.2 SSD and External SSD below.

 PS5 Internal Console StoragePS5-Compatible M.2 SSDPS5-Compatible External SSD
ConnectivitySoldered on to the motherboardM.2 slot of PS5USB port of PS5
Sequential Reading Speed5,500 MB per second5,500 MB per secondUp to 2,000 MB per second
Storage Space825 GB250 GB to 4 TB250 GB to 8 TB
Storage ContentPS4 games

PS5 games

System files

Save files

Saved screenshots

Saved videos
PS4 games

PS5 games
PS4 games

PS5 games
Playable GamesPS4 games

PS5 games
PS4 games

PS5 games
PS4 games

Connectivity

When it comes to the console storage, the default internal solid state drive of the PS5 is completely soldered on to the motherboard of the game console. As a result, it can’t be removed.

For the M.2 solid state drive, you need to use the M.2 slot of the game console, which you can find by removing the outer case. For this storage option, you will also need a heatsink that will fit inside of the docking bay of your PS5 or PS5 Digital Edition.

An external solid state drive can be connected to the PlayStation 5 system through the USB port.

Sequential Reading Speed

The External SSD option has the disadvantage when it comes to reading speed.

The console storage, as well as a PS5-compatible M.2 solid state drive, have read speeds of 5,500 MB per second.

In comparison, the fastest external solid state drives usually top out at around 2,000 MB per second. Not to mention that the reading speed of the external drive could also be slowed down due to other bottlenecks on the PS5.

Storage Space

You can take a look at the storage capacity ranges for all three PS5-compatible solid state drive types below:

  • Internal Console Storage: 825 GB
  • M.2 SSD: 250 GB to 4 TB
  • External SSD: 250 GB to 8 TB

Storage Content

The internal console storage, external solid state drive and M.2 solid state drive can store both PlayStation 4 games and PlayStation 5 games.

The console storage is the only drive that can also store the system data, save files and the media gallery.

Playable Games

You can play both PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5 games directly off of the internal console storage and M.2 solid state drive.

With an external solid state drive, you can only play PlayStation 4 games. To play a PlayStation 5 game you have stored on the external SSD, you will need to transfer the game data over to either the internal console storage or the M.2 SSD.

To see how you can safely remove the M.2 solid state drive from your PS5 system, you can check out this article.