Why should you upgrade your PlayStation 4 hard drive?

PS4 On wood table
PS4 On wood table (Image credit: Android Central)

Best answer: Regardless of the model you pick, your PlayStation 4 is going to run out of space eventually. When it does, rather than delete games, pictures, and clips to make room, it's simpler and easier to use an external drive so you can keep on playing with ease.

Why should I upgrade my PlayStation 4's hard drive?

While your PlayStation 4 might initially seem like it has all the space in the world for games, apps, and movies, eventually you're going to run out of room. Instead of deleting old saves or removing games, pictures, and video clips from your system entirely, you can upgrade your space with an external hard drive. We've got the details on how to pick the right one here!

The original PlayStation 4 and several models of the PlayStation 4 Slim only come with a 500GB hard drive. The PlayStation 4 Pro is a little beefier, carrying a 1TB hard drive (or twice as much space) but that's still very finite if you're going to be playing a lot of games. Since the OS (Operating System) takes up a fair amount of space, not everything in the hard drive is available for you to store your games. While a PlayStation 4 Slim might have a 500GB hard drive, 97GB of that space is reserved for the OS.

How much space is enough?

Quite frankly, that depends on how many games you intend to play. For example, God of War — the latest acclaimed title from Sony Santa Monica — is 38.73 GB before any patches. Factoring in the handful of patches the game has received since launch, that's over one-tenth of your hard drive on a Slim. The largest game on PlayStation 4, Rockstar's multiplatform Red Dead Redemption II, is 89.19 GB. That's almost one-fourth the available space on a 500GB hard drive!

As such, if you're going to add additional hard drive space, I'd recommend adding at least a 2TB drive. This should keep you covered if you're playing all of the big PlayStation exclusives. A compact, portable 2TB drive like the Seagate Backup Plus Slim can also easily be carried. If you're traveling and setting your PlayStation 4 up in different spots, you can easily take your games and saves with you.

If a PlayStation 4 is your main console of choice and you're not just playing exclusives but also big third-party games like Red Dead Redemption 2, then I'd say a 4TB drive is a safer choice. You'll be adding tons of space and won't have to consider deleting something for a long time.

Is it worth getting a solid-state drive?

With all of this talk about getting an external hard drive, you might be wondering if it's worth getting a solid-state drive (SSD). After all, SSDs are much faster than standard hard drives. Digital Foundry did extensive tests and found that while there are some improvements that you'll benefit from — for example, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt often loaded around 10-12 seconds faster — at the end of the day, a PlayStation 4 isn't properly set up to benefit fully from the technology in an SSD.

On top of that, SSDs are far more expensive than external hard drives. A 4TB external hard drive will go for around $90. By contrast, a 2TB external SSD can cost about $300. Is a small boost in speed worth that much extra? Usually, it's not.

Samuel Tolbert

Samuel Tolbert is a freelance writer covering gaming news, previews, reviews, interviews and different aspects of the gaming industry, specifically focusing on PlayStation on Android Central. You can find him on Twitter @SamuelTolbert