The fine folks at Digital Foundry are back with another wonderfully tech-heavy video, this time examining the SSD options available to PlayStation 5 owners now that the console’s storage can be expanded. As it turns out, even the disk-access-heavy Ratchet & Clank: Rift Apart can be thoroughly enjoyed with the worst-performing PS5-compatible SSD on the market.
Before Ratchet & Clank’s summer launch, Insomniac Games was adamant that Rift Apart couldn’t be released on the previous generation of consoles due to its dimension-hopping gameplay. Older consoles that relied on more traditional hard drive technology just wouldn’t be able to keep up, claimed creative director Marcus Smith. (This claim conveniently doubled as a great advertisement for the power of the PlayStation 5.)
That’s not to say Digital Foundry’s findings bring these arguments into question. Rather, it’s a great indication that, as one might expect from a game released early in the PlayStation 5’s lifespan, even Sony developers like Insomniac have only scratched the surface of the hardware’s potential. I mean, the low-end SSD being used in the video (Western Digital’s SN750 SE) fails to meet the console’s recommended specs, yet Ratchet & Clank still runs almost perfectly.
As the video explains, Sony recommends SSDs achieve sequential read bandwidth of 5500GB/s, whereas the SN750 SE is only rated for 3500GB/s. Being a budget drive, it also relies on its host PC’s own RAM to speed up file operations, a feature which the PlayStation is incompatible with. That makes the drive an even worse choice for console use. Nevertheless, the game performed well.
Digital Foundry also put the SN750 SE through its paces in two other PlayStation 5 tests. First, they checked loading into an existing Cyberpunk 2077 save, which at times actually saw the low-spec SSD barely win out over the PS5’s original high-speed SSD, due to known issues between the notoriously broken CD Projekt game and the PS5’s internal SSD. Congratulations, I guess?
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More tellingly, the SN750 SE failed in spectacular fashion when it came to copying files, taking nearly 10 times as long as its beefier cousin, the Mark Cerny-approved WD SN850, to move data off the internal SSD. Yikes.
Expanding your PlayStation 5 storage might not be as simple as on Xbox Series X, you can rest assured that in-game performance won’t be a problem no matter which SSD you choose. In rare cases, like Cyberpunk 2077 and Control, it might even enhance loading times for certain games. Just keep in mind that upgrades could well be required down the line as PS5 games start demanding faster and faster storage access.
For a more detailed breakdown of these findings, be sure to check out the Digital Foundry video above as well as the accompanying article over at Eurogamer.