In the never ending console vs. PC debate, consoles have a major weakness: storage space. The Nintendo Switch has the least amount of storage available, but that only barely improves for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. With the push to digital downloads and increasing game (and update) size, storage space is more valuable than ever. Even with a disk, the data has to be saved somewhere.
The PlayStation 4 has 500GB of storage space. This fills up fast, especially with popular, frequently updated games such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, which is gaining some infamy for those notoriously large updates. If your PS4 is running low on space, external hard drives are the best solution.
Even if your PS4 isn’t low on space, moving games from the device to external hard drives is a good way to hold onto your games for the upcoming PlayStation 5. It is unknown what the PS5 will require when it comes to external hard drives.
Sony’s official support for the PS4 has some requirements for external storage:
- The PS4 system must have system software 4.50 or newer
- The external storage must have a USB 3.0 or later
- The storage must have a minimum of 250GB and a maximum of 8TB capacity
- Only one storage device can be connected at a time
- The device must be connected directly to the PS4
Sony also stated that only some content can be saved on an external drive, including add-ons and applications, even if the application is already on the system. It cannot store saved game data, themes, or videos clips or screenshots.
Even without the saved game data or the screenshots, it will still save a lot of space on the system.
To set up the external hard drive, you will need to format it and change the application install location in settings. From the PS4, go to Settings, Devices, and to USB Storage Devices. Select the device and click Format as Extended Storage.
After you’ve set it up as extended storage, in the Storage section in Settings, press the options button and select Application Install Location. Select the option for Extended Storage. Your applications will download to the extended storage instead of the main system.
Sony expects players to use extended storage and has formatted the PS4 to accept them. There are a lot of options on the market for a variety of prices, and a number of similarities between the products. Most are designed for varying levels of portability.
Seagate is a top brand for hard drives, both internal and external. Seagate has two officially licensed PlayStation external drives. One is a bland blue and black with a small PS4 logo. The other is modeled after The Last of Us 2. There’s a third standard edition without the PlayStation branding. The officially licensed version and The Last of Us 2 version both have 2TB of storage while the standard edition has four. It’s portable, with a tough aluminum enclosure for security.
Western Digital makes a variety of external hard drives for consoles and computers. The WD Black series is designed for gaming. The capacity ranges from 2TB to 5TB, the latter of which is on the upper edge for PS4 storage. The console will only take 8TB maximum. Games take up a lot of space. And while 2TB may seem like a lot, it could go quickly depending on your number of games and how often you buy more.
It’s nothing fancy in appearance, but what it lacks in aesthetics it makes up for in strength. The drive has a durable metal cover. The strong cover is a good addition in a portable drive, protecting the data while on the move.
The Silicon Power drive takes durability to a new level. It’s marketed as “rugged” and we can see why. The external drive is enclosed inside a military-grade rubber casing containing an internal suspension system. The suspension system will add an extra layer of protection if the drive is dropped. The case is water resistant to protect against those accidental spills, and it has an anti-slip and anti-scratch surface. If travel and portability are part of your concern, or perhaps you’re just extra concerned about protecting your data, this is a prime case option.
The drive itself ranges from 2TB to 5TB. It is compatible with PS4, Xbox One, Windows, Mac, and Linux devices. It will need formatting, as all external drives will, for PS4.
Western Digital’s My Passport external hard drive is a compact little drive. The small size is great for those with less space to devote to bulkier drives. It comes in three colors: black, blue, and red. Not all three have the same sizes available, however. The black ranges from 1TB to 5TB while the blue and the red only come in 2TB or 4TB.
Unlike the Black series, this hard drive wasn’t designed with gamers in mind. It doesn’t matter in the end as both the Black and the My Passport will need to be formatted on the PlayStation 4 in the exact same way. You are potentially saving some money with this one since it lacks the gamer marketing.
The small drive fits in the palm of your hand. It lacks the bulky protective case that Silicone Power added to its external drive, which makes it a little more fragile. Western Digital does have a Black series with a stronger metal casing. The My Passport series isn’t fragile, but it isn’t as protected as it could be.
The Toshiba Canivo Basics is a standard external drive. It isn’t anything special visually, unlike the WD or the Seagate drives. Although still portable, the drive itself isn’t designed for maximum protection like the Silicon Power or Western Digital options. It does however have a deal that comes with a carrying case if travel is a main concern. There are four capacity options, ranging from one to 4TB. Whichever size you choose, the drive will need to be formatted in the PlayStation’s settings menu prior to use.
Toshiba has a few other series that have longer warranties, other colors, additional backup and security features, but this is a good, bare-bones drive for those just looking for extra storage.
This article includes affiliate links, which may provide small compensation to Dot Esports.