The second major PS5 system update is rolling out globally today and adds a wealth of new software features to the console. The flagship addition is definitely the ability to upgrade the console’s internal storage, but the system update also brings UI improvements and a few small, but much-appreciated, tweaks.
The full list of new features is outlined on the PlayStation Blog, but the ability to upgrade the console’s default 825GB of internal storage is definitely the most noteworthy. This is update finally unlocks the PS5’s previously dormant expansion slot and allows owners to add an additional PCle 4.0 M.2 SSD, which native next-gen games can be played from directly.
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While the console utilizes some smart tech to make the stock 825GB SSD stretch pretty far, being able to add a second fully functional internal drive to the console is a big deal. Of course, you can’t just shove any drive in the console. You will need to ensure that your additional SSD hits Sony’s fairly strict benchmarks.
These requirements range from a storage size that must fall between 250GB and 4TB, a read speed of at least 5500 MB/s, and Sony strongly advises you attach a heatsink to the SSD to avoid your console from running dangerously hot. Hard drive manufacturers like Western Digital and Samsung have already announced compatible drives, but they’re definitely on the pricey side — a 1TB WD Black SN850 SSD will cost you about $250.
This latest PS5 system update has been in beta since late July, which means that a select group of users has already tested out all these new features including the SSD expansion functionality. Tom’s Guide was fortunate enough to gain beta access and was able to experience adding an additional SSD to a PS5 first-hand.
The process is a little involved and requires you to be comfortable wielding a screwdriver, but it can be completed in just a few minutes. Once installed, having an additional SSD in your console allows you can store dozens of native PS5 games at once. And you won’t need to worry as much about clearing space to store upcoming games with bloated file sizes like Call of Duty Vanguard.
If you’re put off by the eye-watering prices of compatible M.2 SSDs, then you can still use a standard external HDD hard drive to store PS5 games. This feature was added in the first PS5 system update back in April, but the key difference is that games stored on an external HDD can’t be played directly from that drive. Adding an additional internal SSD removes that limitation.
But that’s not all
The ability to add more internal storage space isn’t the only new feature added in the latest PS5 system update. In fact, this software patch brings with it several smaller improvements that make a big difference to the overall user PS5 experience.
This update fixes one of the console’s most annoying issues. The PS5 UI now makes a clear distinction between native next-gen games and PS4 titles being played through backwards compatibility mode. To some, this might not sound like much of an upgrade. But anyone who’s accidentally downloaded a PS4 version of a game instead of the PS5 one will appreciate this tweak. PS5 games have been given a white label, and PS4 games a black one, so confusing the two is now virtually impossible.
The system update also includes a much-appreciated overhaul of the PlayStation Trophy system, which makes tracking achievements much easier, as well as further Control Center customization, 3D Audio support for built-in television speakers, and expanded Remote Play features for streaming PS5 games to a mobile device.
It’s a pretty significant update overall. Adding a feature that was much needed now that the console is almost a year old and the file size of flagship games can often hit more than 100GB, but the smaller additions also shouldn’t be overlooked either. It’s excellent to see that Sony is continuing to refine the console's feature set and UI in order to make gaming on PS5 a more streamlined experience.
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Rory is an Entertainment Editor at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics but with a particular focus on gaming and streaming. When he’s not reviewing the latest games, searching for hidden gems on Netflix, or writing hot takes on new gaming hardware, TV shows and movies, he can be found attending music festivals and getting far too emotionally invested in his favorite football team.