PS5 Has Already Won The Expandable Storage War

The PS5's external storage options already seem much cheaper than the Xbox Series X's proprietary storage expansion cards.

With the official reveal of the PS5’s architecture today, we finally have a good idea of what’s going on under Sony’s next-generation console’s hood. While Xbox Series X has won the teraflop battle, the PS5 is looking better than its competitor in one respect: Storage.

Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will have NVME solid-state drives handling their main storage. In English, that means you’ll be getting faster digital drives as opposed to slower physical hard disk drives. That being said, both consoles are still releasing with only 1TB of storage, which as many gamers have experienced, can run out quickly.

That’s where expandable storage comes in. If you’re a console owner, chances are you already have some kind of expandable storage hooked up already. Maybe it’s a USB powered HDD or even an external SSD; those aren’t unheard of. For next-generation consoles, there’s going to be some sizable differences in how external storage works. Xbox Series X owners looking for external SSD storage will be looking towards Microsoft’s proprietary “Xbox Series X Storage Expansion Cards.” These are essentially memory cards with an additional terabyte of SSD storage that runs the same as what’s inside the Series X.

PS5 owners, on the other hand, will have more choices when the time to add storage comes along. Rather than using proprietary storage, PS5 owners will be able to install M.2 SSDs in their console. M.2 are smaller sticks of memory frequently used in PCs. Instead of being screwed on to a motherboard, there will be a panel dedicated to attaching an M.2 SSD.

So, what makes the PS5 allowing players to use consumer-grade SSDs rather than a proprietary memory card better? The first is pricing. It’s hard to say with no official price announced, but the Series X memory card is going to be expensive. A 1TB proprietary SSD of that size is going to be expensive to produce, and that additional cost will be passed down to the consumer. M.2 SSDs, while expensive, may not reach the same price point as Microsoft’s memory card. Currently, on Amazon, you can find 1TB M.2 SSDs for around $130. By the end of the year, when the PS5 releases, those prices will likely be lower.

Secondly, PS5 users will have more choice in what SSD they use. This may not be the most important facet for all players, but for consumers, it’s endlessly important. Being able to choose which brand SSD, not to mention how much storage you want, is a benefit. Users will only be restricted to using what can actually fit inside the console. Mark Cerny, the PS5’s architect, stressed the point that not all M.2 SSDs are compatible with the PS5. While this is a bit of a drag, it makes sense as some M.2 SSDs come with massive heatsinks or fans of their own.

Whichever way you look at it, PS5 owners will have more options when it comes to storage. With access to M.2 storage solutions, they’ll have more flexibility in pricing and storage size than Xbox Series X users. If you want to learn more about what’s coming under the PS5’s hood, you can check out our coverage here. The PS5 is slated to launch late this year.


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Otto Kratky

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