PlayStation 4 – Upgrading to a 2TB Hard Drive

It wasn’t very long ago that I thought that my 80GB PS3 held more storage than I would ever need for console games. After all, most of the data was still kept on the Blu-rays, and only saves and game updates were stored there otherwise. It wasn’t until downloadable games took off that I realized that I would need an order of magnitude or more space to house all of this data.

I was pleased that Sony elected to put a 500GB hard drive in the PS4, as I’m sure it’s more than sufficient for many gamers. I think I’m still in the minority as someone who has completely transitioned away from optical media to downloaded instead, however, so the rub is that while 500GB holds quite a few games, it’s not enough for a long-term collection. Sure, I could get in the habit of deleting games I wasn’t currently playing and re-download them later if needed. But that’s the kind of nuisance I do not want.

Another good thing that Sony did with its current-generation hardware, as it did with the last one, is use standard 2.5” laptop drives. This stands in stark contrast to Microsoft, which decided to use upgradeable but proprietary drives on the Xbox 360, and an inaccessible and un-upgradable unit in the Xbox One.1

Before this last year, the largest 2.5” drive that wasn’t a nonstandard thickness (which can happen, evidently) was 1.5TB, which is actually pretty decent in my mind. But I had heard of a 2TB drive at the desired thickness was due last year, so I put off any thoughts of upgrading until that product was released.

Unfortunately, purchasing one as a raw drive has been surprisingly difficult. For whatever reason, Samsung hasn’t been making them directly available, but another solution presented itself. Seagate created an external drive using that Samsung 2TB one inside. YouTubers by the dozens have posted how-to videos explaining the steps necessary to liberate said drive from its housing without damaging anything, so I patiently waited for the drive to reach the right price. That was last week when it fell to $80. So I ordered it and took the plunge.

Popping the enclosure open was perhaps the hardest thing I had to do in the whole process, as the retaining clips are fairly stubborn. But once I did, everything else was smooth. The first step was to back up my PS4 with all of its game installations, saves, and captured footage to an external drive. This is a feature that was only just added for version 2.5 released earlier this week, so the timing was perfect. Prior to this, you could not back up the installations, which would have made me re-download everything. This process took some eight hours, since I had 362GB to copy using a USB 2.0 connection. Thankfully, I was able to set this up before I went to work and it was about done when I got home.

Next up was opening the PS4. The glossy panel on the top the device pops off with only a small amount of effort, and once in, the hard drive mounting bracket can be released from the console chassis by removing one Phillips head screw.

Removing the hard drive from the mounting requires the removal of a further four screws that secure it at each corner, but this is all pretty straightforward as well.

Old drive out, new drive in. Once the PS4 was put back together, I only needed to make sure I had a USB drive with the latest firmware (about an 800MB download) plugged in. I started the PS4 in safe mode (you have to hold the power button down 7 seconds to reach it), and the console mostly did the rest with regard to the installation.

After that, I was able to go into the Settings menu of the PS4 and ask it to restore from my external backup. This took a further three hours to complete, which I let happen overnight. When I booted it the next morning, it let me know that it had completed everything and switched itself to Rest Mode to conserve power — A+ for that, Sony.

Aside from having to re-log in using my PlayStation Network credentials, it looked identical to what it was before the hard drive upgrade. Except now it has 2TB of space instead of a half terabyte.

If you’re toying with the idea of doing this yourself, rest assured that it’s not difficult at all.  Here is a link to Amazon for that very external drive if you’re feeling handy.

1. I believe Microsoft’s workaround is for consumers to attach external drives that will allow for installations there once the need arises. This is a nice solution, but I’m not in love with idea of leaving another peripheral in my entertainment center all the time, especially if it requires its own independent power source.

Written by Michael

8 April 2015 at 8:00 pm

Posted in Games

Tagged with , , , ,

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