PS5 storage analysis concludes: Spend less, get same gaming performance

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After nearly a year of questions and confusion, PlayStation 5 owners can finally add to the console’s very high-end storage via Sony’s latest firmware update, which has led to extensive testing in the console. nature over the past week. Perhaps the most important test to date has yielded some potentially interesting news: you don’t need to spend too much money on compatible SSDs like many feared before.

We’ve highlighted Digital Foundry’s coverage of PS5 storage and performance in the past, and founder Richard Leadbetter returned to the topic on Tuesday to confirm that any compatible PS5 player will deliver seemingly identical performance when running native titles for the console (and vice versa). compatible too).

In order to upgrade the storage capacity of the PS5, the minimum requirements for a compatible drive are that it must be NVME M.2 format and PCIe 4.0 speed, as well as meet certain dimensional and technical requirements for s ” insert into the console storage expansion bay. Beyond these requirements, compatible SSDs have a wide range of storage amounts (up to 256 GB) and speeds (in terms of sequential and random read / write operations, which can have a significant impact on general performance of an average computer).

A much cheaper solution?

While Sony recommends that any PS5-compatible SSD have a sequential read speed of at least 5,500MB / s, Digital Foundry has found that the lowest drive currently available, the Western Digital SN 750 SE at 3,200MB / s and 250GB, performed exactly as well in a series of in-game load and performance tests as the console’s internal drive or Western Digital’s beefier 7,000MB / s SN 850 model. With the 250GB SN 750 SE currently priced at around $ 55, the price difference from the $ 200 SN 850 is a big step forward.

To put the memory of the PS5 to the test, Leadbetter mainly used Ratchet and Clank: Rift Apart as a reference. The game is considered the most memory-intensive on PS5, with instant loads of entirely new worlds, a benefit of the current generation that enjoys higher-speed storage. Surprisingly, he found that the effects of in-game performance on frame rate during his most grueling scenes were indistinguishable between the underpowered SN 750 SE, Sony’s internal drive, and the SN 850, with a variation of “literally a single frame” between the performance of each drive. . In other words, the less powerful SSD resulted in no additional frame rate issues in gameplay.

Charging times: Almost identical

The SN 750 SE performed almost as well in the load time tests in Rift apart. When cold-launching the game from the PS5 dashboard, the cheapest SSD had a loading difference from start to main menu of two to three seconds, with the internal drive of the PS5 loading at seven seconds, the SN 850 coming in at just over eight seconds, and the SN 750 taking almost 10 seconds.

Digital Foundry also made several direct comparisons of the skipping load differences between a number of save files. He found that, for loading into the game, no drive had more than a fraction of a second difference, with each drive taking around 1.5 to two seconds to load each save state. Additional load tests with Ghost of Tsushima Director’s Cup gave similar results.

Tests of copying PS5 games from the console’s internal drive were dismal, with the apparent downside of using a cheaper SSD. Here, the SN 850 far outclasses the SN 750 SE. The 60 GB Ghost of Tsushima copied to the high-end player in just 49 seconds compared to seven minutes with the SN 750 SE, while Marvel Avengers, a 96 GB installation, transferred in 1 minute 17 seconds with the SN 850 against 3 minutes 26 seconds with the disk underpowered. (Also note: the 55GB 250GB SN 750 SE does not include a heat sink, which means you have to install one yourself.)

Moving PS4 and PS5 games to the PS5’s internal drive was also much slower, with backward compatibility. Cyberpunk 2077 on PS4 and PS5 Avengers take about seven minutes to come back. Leadbetter attributed this to what appeared to be an unknown bottleneck somewhere behind the scenes.

The history of using PC compatible hardware for storage dates back to 2004 when the Nintendo DS was released with storage compatibility for standard SD cards. Sony’s track record of adding scalable storage solutions to its consoles dates back to the PS3, which was compatible with both standard and solid-state hard drives. In 2017, the company added external storage options up to 8TB via USB to the PS4, eliminating the need to open up the console to install a higher capacity internal drive.

Microsoft has also made drive performance a priority this generation with the so-called Xbox Series X Speed ​​Architecture, which the company has committed to making “100GB of game assets instantly available to the developer” through the. Console m.2 PCIe 4.0 SSD. , as well as reducing the input lag. For now, Xbox owners looking for a cheaper solution than Seagate’s expensive proprietary memory card – currently only available in a $ 220, 1TB size – are stuck trying this hack.

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