Unlike its Xbox rival, the PlayStation 4 allows the hard drive to be easily replaced. With simple guides available online on how to do it, the one remaining question is which drive to use.
Why would you want to replace the hard drive? Depending on the model of PlayStation 4 that you have, it would have come with either a 512GB or 1TB mechanical hard drive inside. With many games taking up 50GB+ of room, it doesn’t take long for the drive to become full. A 2TB drive is more suitable for all but the most casual gamers.
The other thing to consider is speed. The provided hard drive is an off-the-shelf mechanical drive. However, a solid-state (SSD) or hybrid hard drive (part mechanical drive, part solid-state) will give you a much improved lick of speed, particularly when it comes to starting games. If you’re lucky to have a PlayStation 4 Pro this is even better as it has a SATA 3 interface, allowing a much improved rate of speed if an SSD/hybrid drive is used (the one bundled in your case is a humble SATA 1).
However, a 2TB SSD? That’s going to cost you twice the price of the PlayStation, so is not for the faint hearted. Also, with Sony quite tight-lipped as to what its operating system does and doesn’t support, it’s not known whether the PlayStation 4 specifically supports SSD. They work, yes, but support for SSD-specific technologies such as TRIM is uncertain, and that may dramatically shorten the life span of your very expensive drive.
The best replacement hard drive for a PlayStation 4
My recommendation, therefore, is to use a 2TB “hybrid” drive. This is a 2TB mechanical drive (albeit SATA 3), coupled with an 8GB SSD. These work by offloading the most accessed files onto the SSD. Seagate is the popular choice for replacement PlayStation drives, as it often has hybrid drives available in the right capacity and physical size. And that’s the other thing you have to consider: physical size. The PlayStation 4 requires a 2.5in drive with a height not exceeding 9.5mm.
So, after all this, what is my recommended drive? It’s the Seagate FireCuda – a 2TB 2.5in hybrid drive. It’s 7mm high and comes with a five-year warranty.Amazon even markets it as “for PC and PS4”, so you can have some confidence it’s been designed with the console in mind.
Tests performed show that the FireCuda takes a few loads of a game to reach its full speed potential, as files are eventually moved to the SSD components. Eurogamer found that after five plays of Battlefield 1, load times dropped from almost 110 seconds on the supplied drive to 50 seconds. And this is on a standard PlayStation 4, not the SATA 3-equipped Pro model, which will see even further speed improvements.
At around £85, the FireCuda isn’t cheap. A standard non-hybrid hard drive of the same size and capacity would cost £55, so that’s a £30 premium for the additional speed. Only you can decide whether £30 to halve loading times is worth it. Personally, I think it is.