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PS5 software beta finally allows owners to upgrade the internal hard drive

PS5
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

The first PS5 software beta is rolling out to select users today and adds a range of new features to Sony’s next-gen console. Among them is the much-requested ability to upgrade the console’s 825GB internal hard drive, new UI enhancements and additional customization options. 

Sony has announced a series of recommendations to help users acquire a compatible drive. You’ll need an M.2 SSD that’s PCle Gen 4 with a read speed of 5,500MB/s or faster. The likes of Samsung and Western Digital currently sell drives that hit those benchmarks but also cost an eye-watering price. A 1TB Samsung 980 Pro SSD costs $229, which is only $70 less than an Xbox Series S console. 

Sony is also keen to stress that using the now unlocked M.2 SSD slot will likely result in your console running dangerously hot. Hence the need for a drive with “effective heat dissipation such as a heatsink”.  If you’re unsure what all of the above means, it’s perhaps worth waiting for a manufacturer to release an official-licensed drive so you can slot it in without worrying about its compatibility.  

While the PS5 does make use of some smart tech to make the 825GB internal SSD feel much bigger, it’s still relatively small when you consider that high-profile games often take up more than 100GB of storage space. Therefore the ability to increase the internal storage capacity of the console will be welcome to any owners with a large collection of games. 

The first significant PS5 software patch was released in April and did add the ability to store PS5 games on an external hard drive. However, you can’t play native PS5 games from an external storage drive. Adding an additional internal SSD won’t have that limitation, although Sony does note that game performance might suffer if you’re playing off anything but the console’s original drive. 

Aside from allowing users to upgrade the console’s hard drive, the PS5 software beta also includes 3D audio support for built-in television speakers. As well as a load of improvements to the console’s UI and new customization options for the Control Center, Game Base and Friends list. The console will also do a better job of distinguishing between PS5 and PS4 games by labeling games more clearly on both the home screen and in the game library.

The PS5 software beta program allows users to test out features before they are available as part of an official system update. Currently, select players in the U.S., Canada, Japan, U.K., Germany and France have access to these features, but once thorough testing has been done, all PS5 owners will have access. Expect an official PS5 update with these upgrades in the coming weeks.  

Rory is a staff writer at Tom’s Guide based in the UK. He covers a wide range of topics including tech news, deals, gaming, streaming and more. When he’s not writing hot takes on the latest gaming hardware and streaming shows, he can be found watching a borderline unhealthy amount of movies and being thoroughly disappointed by his terrible football team.