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Best PS4 external hard drives for 2018

GamesRadar logo GamesRadar 04/12/2018 Andy Hartup
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It's a great time to pick up the best PS4 external hard drive you can afford, right now. Most PS4 HDDs go on sale before Christmas, so you can often save a stack of money on a hard drive with more storage, and better compatibility with your console. Right now, the Seagate 4TB Game Drive is $99.99 (£78) at Amazon, saving you a cool 23% on the regular sticker price. Seagate is a reliable name in external hard drives, and 4TB is all the storage you need to last you for years of downloads. If you have a PS Plus subscription, this will allow you to download and keep about 50 full-sized games without having to delete them when you inevitably run out of space on your console. That's at least a couple of years of PS Plus games. But there are loads more advantages to having a PS4 external hard drive... 

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You can also take your gaming life with you, wherever you go. The best PS4 external hard drives just plug into your console's USB port, and they're pretty small too (most are about the size of a smart phone), so it's handy to just pop it in your bag and take it with you. Crucially, an external HDD allows you to add extra storage space to your PS4 automatically, so that when you install games or DLC they automatically live on your (usually much larger) external hard drive. They're pretty easy to set-up too. The Seagate HDD we list here has a guided set-up, which takes a couple of minutes, but even if the drive you choose doesn't go that extra mile, the process of making an external drive compatible with your PS4 is very simple. Go to Settings > Devices, then find the entry for USB Storage Devices. Select the drive you have plugged in, and then format it as Extended Storage. All your games and update files will now download to your external hard drive. It's that easy. The toughest decision is choosing how much storage you want - we recommend 2TB-4TB, depending on how much you want to spend.

We test all the PS4 external hard drives we use, transferring files, carrying them around, and plugging them into all kinds of devices. Basically, we do the stuff you'd do, day to day, so you know if we recommend something we've actually used it.

Best PS4 external hard drives

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Thanks to a recent drop in price at retailers like Amazon, this whopping 4TB drive is currently the best PS4 external hard drive you can buy. It has great transfer speeds, so is ideal for moving games, save data, and footage from/to your PS4, and the fact it's 4TB means you're unlikely to run out of storage space this side of PS5. Yeah, it's that spacious - you can easily get our entire suite of the best PS4 games on there. The patterned design even makes it look a little like the PS4. There's a white model and a black one, matching PS4 console colors, so you can pick something up that looks an awful lot like a mini-companion for your console. Definitely the HDD to buy now, unless you're looking to spend money on an SSD drive, in which case... look below.

Alternatively - Grab the 1TB drive from Amazon in the US, for $52.99 (saving you 31%), or from Amazon in the UK, for £47.99 (saving you 26%).

a close up of a device: PS4 external hard drive © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. PS4 external hard drive

The Canvio Basics is a neat little HDD. While it's not quite as sturdy and reliable as the WD My Passport, it's still great value for money, and is plenty durable for every day use. You don't get the same range of colors, but this is a PS4 external hard drive that will double your storage for less than $50 / £40, and that's a genuine bargain. It's easy to set-up, simple to manage, and it's small enough to fit in a pocket or a section of a laptop bag. Sat next to your PS4 it's nice and discrete too. There are even 2TB and 3TB models, which you can still pick up for less than $100 / £90, so if you need a little more space, these are great options too.

Alternatively - If you want more space, get the 2TB Canvio Basics for £55.77 (save 20%) from Amazon UK, or for $59.00 (save 13%) from Amazon US.

a close up of a computer © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.

Increase your storage again with this ridiculously well priced 6TB offering from Seagate. It's slick, slim and you can get versions from 2TB upwards - although this 6TB model represents the best value for money. There's no need for any mains cables either, just plug and play, and USB 3.0 will keep things transferring speedily. The price is kept low by the fact this is a standard HDD, so read speeds won't be as fast as the SSD hard drives like the Samsung. If you get a 6TB drive... that'll probably store between 80-100 PS4 games, so you'll never need to worry about space again.

a close up of a black device © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.

If you're keen to get an SSD, to take advantage of the incredible read and copy speeds they give you (this one manages up to 440MBps read and write speeds, which is FAST), this Adata SD700 is the one to buy right now. The 256GB version is normally sub $80 / £80, which is great, but you can currently get the 512GB model for about 30% off the normal price. Here's the link to the best offer. The Adata drive has one of the sturdiest casings of all HDDs, and it's actually waterproof, dust-proof and shock-proof. So, if you're carrying your HDD around to work or your friends' houses... this tough little cookie will store everything very safely. It's fairly light too, not that most HDDs on this list weight much, but it's another benefit to consider. Sure, you can get more storage with regular HDDs, but this is a great price for an SSD.

a close up of a computer: PS4 external hard drive © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd. PS4 external hard drive

Yes, it's expensive, but this is technically the best PS4 external hard drive we've tested. The difference in price is down to the fact this is an SSD (solid state drive), which essentially means it does everything faster. That means quicker loading times for you, and faster transfer speeds between drive and PS4. It's different for PS4 but SSDs generally offer 3-4 times the read-speed (although don't expect to such a huge difference with game loading), and 3-4 times the file transfer speed over standard HDDs. They're more reliable, with a lower read fail-rate, although this is a pretty marginal benefit. It's silent too, as there are no moving parts in SSD hard drives. If you're spending this much money, it's worth considering the 1TB model and the 2TB model... although you can expect an eye-watering increase in price. As a rough guide, you'll get between 12-15 full-sized games on here, if you assume download sizes to be between 30GB-50GB. If you throw in DLC and updates for persistent online games like Destiny 2, Elder Scrolls Online etc then you may want to start thinking about 1TB. The SSD makes a difference overall, but you really pay for it.

Best PS4 internal hard drives

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If you want even more storage, Seagate's FireCuda 2.5" 2TB drive is ideal for quadrupling the space on your PS4 and it ups the speed too with its hybrid drive functionality. It's a case of balancing up how much you think you'll really appreciate the speed boost but the FireCuda is ideal in terms of size and is priced competitively for a SSHD drive. While it's not fully solid state, you'll definitely notice the difference in speed so if you're not too worried about your budget, the 2TB FireCuda is one of the best  PS4 hard drives around.  Say hello to storing endless videos of your Fortnite Battle Royale near-misses. 

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If maxing storage and affordability is a bigger priority than improving access speed, you’re not going to do better than Seagate’s 2TB Laptop HDD. This drive gives your PlayStation 4 quadruple the storage capacity that it came with, which should keep you knee deep in PlayStation Plus games well into the foreseeable future. The main downside with this drive is that unlike Seagate’s 1TB SSHD, this drive is a traditional hard drive spinning at 5400 RPM, which is the same speed as the stock PS4 hard drive. This means that, while you’ll have plenty of space for games, they’re not going to load or install any faster. 

© Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.

The Seagate 1TB Gaming SSHD offers some of the improvements granted by a full SSD (shorter load times, faster installs, etc) without the enormous markup. The caveat, of course, is that since this SSHD does also rely on a physical disk spinning at 5400RPM, the improvements may not be as dramatic as with a traditional SSD. In practice though, this isn’t that huge of a concession to make for the money you’re saving, as different games will/won’t take advantage of your drive’s enhanced capabilities on a case-by-case basis. Regardless, this drive will double your storage capacity and in many cases increase performance, which are great benefits to walk away with for less than $100/£100. 

a close up of a computer © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.

From a technical standpoint, solid state drives are superior to hybrid and traditional disk drives in every way. Read/write speeds are much, much faster, power consumption is lower, and since solid state drives have no moving parts, they’re immune to many of the common ailments that so often malign disk drives. SSDs are fast, efficient drives that provide huge theoretical performance boosts while simultaneously reducing the number of possible complications over time. The catch, of course, is in the cash.

SSDs have the worst storage-to-budget ratio of any type of drive, meaning that you’ll pay a lot more money for a lot less storage. In a PC, this is usually an acceptable trade due to the proven performance enhancements associated with an SSD. In a PlayStation 4, however, these enhancements are less of a guaranteed constant. They definitely exist, but the degree to which they exist will change on a game-by-game basis. Only you can decide whether the cost of entry is worth the peace of mind that comes with having the highest potential for performance. The Samsung 850 EVO is a great choice and for the ultimate PS4 hard drive upgrade you can also pick up a massive 2TB version of the Samsung 850 EVO... or even a 4TB version if money is no object! 

a close up of a device © Provided by Future Publishing Ltd.

The WD Black 6TB is your gateway to nigh unheard-of amounts of storage, provided that you’re willing to drop some coin and increase the size of your console. The WD Black is a 3.5” HDD, which means it’s the type of drive normally found in a desktop computer, rather than the laptop-sized 2.5” drives the PlayStation 4 was designed for. This means that it won’t actually fit inside the PlayStation, and will instead have to live on the hood of the console in an external enclosure -- specifically, the Nyko Data Bank. This enclosure wraps over the top of the console and routes its SATA/power connections through the PS4’s 2.5” drive bay, allowing for the installation of a 3.5” drive.

PlayStation 4s with a model number below CUH-1200 can accommodate drives up to 4TB in capacity, while PS4s with a model number above CUH-1200 can handle up to 8TB. We selected the WD Black 6TB over an 8TB drive as a comfortable compromise between capacity and price, but if cost is no object, the Seagate Enterprise 8TB is also a tremendous hard drive. Regardless, this endeavor is primarily recommended for those who plan on buying and simultaneously installing several hundred games. The average consumer, while sure to appreciate the luxury of such an enormous drive, can likely get by without it.

Gallery: Best tech of 2018: Phones, tablets, smartwatches, laptops, games and more [Pocket-Lint]


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