For the better part of the last generation of consoles, I was rocking a sixty gigabyte hard drive in my PS3 system and let me tell you, it filled up fast. I used to think a single gigabyte of space was a momentous amount of storage. A vast cornucopia of unending folders and files that could go on forever. I was wrong, very, very wrong. As technology progresses, the need for data storage increases exponentially with each generation of consoles. We went from a eight megabyte memory card on the PS2 to built in hard drives on the PS3 that started at sixty gigabytes and now, at the turn of the generation, we are seeing systems with five hundred gigabytes built in.
That sounds like a lot of space, I mean, could you ever fill up a hard drive like that? Yes, and with the PS4 on the horizon, the need for storage will take another quantum leap forward. Luckily, your PS4 will include a built in five hundred gigabyte hard drive, much like the latest models of the PS3. And, just like the PS3, the hard drive in your PS4 will be fully upgradable.
What is the hard drive used for?
Hard drives are designed to store data. On the PlayStation 4, they will be used to chronicle your saved games, store your downloadable content, your music, movies, and any digital game downloads you purchase as well. Now, many of those things, especially the saved game progress, will not take up a lot of space. You could save a hundred copies of each of your saved game data on this hard drive and still probably not use a single gigabyte. Saved game data is nothing, it’s like the dust bunnies of data. Out of sight, out of mind.
Moving on to things like music and movies, these can be a little bigger depending on what you’re downloading. Music files tend to be a few megabytes in size. Now, you figure, there are a thousand megabytes in a single gigabyte. Therefore you could throw on your entire Aerosmith discography and maybe take up a gigabyte. Movies can be close to a gigabyte in size, especially if they are the high definition digital downloads, but again, these aren’t the hummers of data guzzling, no these are the appetizers. Now comes the main course.
Games, specifically the ones you download. With the PlayStation 3, Sony introduced a program called “Day One Digital.” They allowed you to purchase and download entire PS3 games, at launch, without even having to leave your living room to go buy the disc. It’s convenient, there’s no doubt, but a single PS3 game can range anywhere from five, to fifteen gigabytes in size! Not to mention that a lot of games have additional downloadable content.
If I’m scaring you, I apologize, that is not my intention. Honestly, a five hundred gigabyte hard drive is massive. Many of you will buy most of your games on disc anyway so the issue of downloading games is null and void, especially given the fact that the PS4’s hard drive can be upgraded. If you do plan on downloading your games exclusively, it may be worth it to upgrade your PS4 hard drive sooner than later. I will explain momentarily how to do so, but the reason I make such a recommendation is because PS4 games are going to be huge.
Killzone: Shadow Fall is a great example of how large these games can be. Fergal Gera, UK managing director at Sony, told eurogamer in a recent interview that, “the files themselves are getting bloody big. Killzone: Shadow Fall is an uber file, I think it’s cracking fifty gigabytes!”
Yes, you read that right, fifty gigabytes of awesome. Now I feel bad for having a heart attack when my PC games are over ten gigabytes in size. Regardless, the PlayStation 4 is bringing monster sized games this generation and while the hard drive they give you is big, the hardcore gamers out there may want to consider upgrading. I will say that the casual gamer won’t have to worry, if you’re not planning on downloading everything digital and buying every game that comes out, then the five hundred gigabytes will suit you fine. Now for someone like me, I just bought Killzone: Shadow Fall, and Knack.
Looking at the back of these game cases, it states that Killzone requires forty five gigs minimum of space, and while Knack requires thirty seven. Now whether that is an install or just space needed is uncertain yet, but this knowledge leads me to believe that the five hundred gigabytes we are getting may not be enough for long term. At least not without some major space management.
She can’t take anymore captain!: How to upgrade your PS4’s hard drive
Sony has confirmed that the PS4 hard drive is fully upgradable. While the Xbox One forces you to use proprietary Microsoft hard drives or external devices, Sony has once again chosen convenience and kindness over an iron grip on their system. When upgrading your PS4’s hard drive, remember, you cannot simply plug in an external device, it needs to be an internal hard drive.
The PS4 is equipped with a 5400 RPM SATA II hard drive, but Sony has confirmed that this can be replaced with any hard drive that is less than 9.5mm thick, and over one hundred and sixty gigabytes. This leaves you with a lot of options, so which one should you go with?
Step one: “Go big or go home”
If you’re going to upgrade, might as well go all out. Just like a thousand megabytes equals one gigabyte, a thousand gigabytes equals a terabyte. Yeah, it just sounds awesome saying it. So, I would recommend a terabyte sized hard drive for your PS4 if you plan to really set your modem on fire downloading the latest hits. Kotaku recently did an article about PS4 hard drives and recommended a type known as SSD hard drives. Now, without going into too much jargon, these drives perform faster, run quieter, and generate less heat. But, they're also expensive. The article recommends the Samsung EVO series, but a terabyte sized drive in this model is almost six hundred dollars! Which brings me to my next point.
Step two: “Don’t get swindled”
PlayStation 4 will utilize any hard drive that is no more than 9.5mm thick and over one hundred and sixty gigabytes in size. This leaves you with options, as I said above, but even with performance added in, the prices were seeing on the SSD drives Kotaku recommended are a little much. Thankfully, they also recommended a less expensive drive with similar performance. This one is also a terabyte, but is only just over the hundred dollar mark, making it a much more affordable option.
Step three: “Set it, and forget it!”
The process to swap the hard drive will be simple. With the PlayStation 3, it was a flap, one screw, and then you pull out the old one and put it in the new one. Your PlayStation will automatically format and install the operating system on the new drive. Again, when the PlayStation 4 is released, we will update this guide to be more comprehensive and detailed in terms of the exact process.
Step four: “Don’t sweat it.”
This entire process is easy, and most people may not need to ever upgrade. When the time comes, you will have all the information you need to obtain the storage you require. Right here, on this page, all of your questions will be answered. So, get excited, prepare thyself, and keep checking back for more answers to your burning questions.
Do you think you’ll need to upgrade your PS4’s hard drive, or will the space it comes with be sufficient? Where do you find your best deals and prices? Tell us in the comments!
Article by - Bradley Ramsey
Insert Date: 10/16/2013