WD Black SN850 SSD
The obvious choice
The WD Black SN850 now comes in a model with a heatsink, meaning it’s easy to just use it in your PS5. It loads games just as fast or faster than the PS5’s drive, providing a seamless experience. The prices are in line with other competing models, though there’s no high-end 4TB option.
Compatible with PS5Fast loading speedsComes with a built-in heatsink
Lack of higher-end 4TB options
The Seagate FireCuda 530 includes a heatsink, so it’s also usable within the PS5. Games load just as fast or faster than if they’re installed directly on the PS5’s internal drive. There’s even a high-end 4 TB option, though it’s expensive and extra hard to find.
Compatible with PS5Fast loading speedsHigher-end optionsHas a heatsink
High-end models are hard to find
With the ability to upgrade the internal storage of a PS5 using an approved NVME SSD, there’s a couple of different options leading the pack, including the WD Black SN850 and Seagate Firecuda 530. Both of these models are among the best PS5 SSDs currently available. We’ll break down the differences and what you need to know, but we’ll go ahead and let you know: with the general electronic component shortage right now, both of these SSDs are fantastic, and outside of a handful of specific situations, you’re going to be set either way.
WD Black SN850 vs. Seagate FireCuda 530: What’s the difference?
Before we continue, it is imperative to note that both of these SSDs have models that include a heatsink, which we’re comparing. While you can buy a drive without a heatsink — you’ll usually have an easier time of it, and it’ll be a little more affordable — we strongly recommend not using a drive without a heatsink in your PS5, as the extreme heat can cause degraded performance.
The WD Black SN850 and Seagate FireCuda 530 are overall extremely similar. Both SSDs have similar pricing, read and write speeds, and even physical size, as both fit the requirements for an SSD to go into the PS5’s internal SSD bay.
Swipe to scroll horizontallyHeader Cell – Column 0 WD Black SN850Seagate FireCuda 530Storage sizes500 GB, 1 TB, 2TB500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB, 4 TBPrice (500 GB)$150$150Price (1 TB)$250$260Price (2 TB)$360$510Price (4 TB)N/A$970Read speed7000MB/s7000MB/s
While these SSDs are rated at the same speed, when installed in the PS5, the actual read speed will be a bit lower than 7000MB/s. However, both drives exhibit extremely close results in our tests so far, where we examined how quickly games were loaded to the main menu and to actually playing the game. Here are the tests we ran for the WD Black SN850 from the PS5 home screen to the main menu of a game:
Swipe to scroll horizontallyLoading Speed TestPS5 (SSD)WD Black SN850 (SSD)Deathloop17.61 seconds16.66 secondsGenshin Impact23.58 seconds21.93 secondsGhost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut7.28 seconds6.75 secondsGod of War III Remastered24.39 seconds24.28 secondsGod of War 201825.42 seconds25.26 secondsRatchet and Clank: Rift Apart13.82 seconds12.42 secondsResident Evil Village8.84 seconds9.01 seconds
From the main menu of a game to actually playing it:
Swipe to scroll horizontallyLoading Speed TestPS5 (SSD)WD Black SN850 (SSD)Deathloop10.48 seconds11.18 secondsGenshin Impact7.89 seconds7.67 secondsGhost of Tsushima: Director’s Cut2.58 seconds2.51 secondsGod of War III Remastered10.66 seconds10.71 secondsGod of War 201816.67 seconds17.09 secondsRatchet and Clank: Rift Apart2.11 seconds1.98 secondsResident Evil Village2.96 seconds2.86 seconds
Meanwhile, here are the tests we ran for the Seagate FireCuda 530 from the PS5 home screen to a game’s main menu:
Swipe to scroll horizontallyLoading Speed TestPS5 (SSD)FireCuda 530 (SSD)Ghost of Tsushima7.34 seconds7.14 secondsControl Ultimate Edition8.88 seconds8.64 secondsNo Man’s Sky16.18 seconds17.59 secondsStar Wars Jedi: Fallen Order52.57 seconds51.98 secondsRatchet and Clank: Rift Apart7.92 seconds7.81 seconds
From a game’s start menu to playing the game:
Swipe to scroll horizontallyLoading Speed TestPS5 (SSD)FireCuda 530 (SSD)Ghost of Tsushima3.66 seconds3.71 secondsControl Ultimate Edition10.44 seconds10.13 secondsNo Man’s Sky16.98 seconds17.16 secondsStar Wars Jedi: Fallen Order17.84 seconds17.83 secondsRatchet and Clank: Rift Apart2.34 seconds2.31 seconds
WD Black SN850 SSD vs. Seagate FireCuda 530: What these differences mean for you
(Image credit: Jennifer Locke / Android Central)
As you can see from the numbers above, both drives are more or less going to deliver similar experiences. Depending on the exact game or situation, there might be slight differences, and in general, both drives seem to load games around a half-second faster than the PS5’s internal SSD. That’s not a difference you’re going to notice in practice when playing a game.
Far more important is what these drives mean for your storage space. The PS5 includes an 825 GB ultra-fast internal SSD, of which around 667 GB is usable. Games can be stored on an external hard drive, but only backward compatible PS4 games can be played off external drives. So if you’re hoping to play any of the best PS5 games, they need to be installed on the internal SSD.
With the ability to add an SSD to your PS5, that’s changed. Because these internal drives simply need to be formatted by the PS5 and don’t have to store the operating system, you get the storage you pay for. So if you add a 2 TB drive, you’re getting 2 TB more space for games.
As the average game can take up 50 GB or more, adding more space will become even more important over time with future PlayStation Studios games on the way.
Which PS5 SSD should you buy?
(Image credit: Samuel Tolbert / Android Central)
Essentially, the most significant difference is that if you’re willing to spend almost $1,000 on an absolutely massive amount of space for your PS5, you’ll want to go for the Seagate FireCuda 530. In any other situation, there’s just no practical difference to justify buying one model over the other.
Indeed, the biggest mark against both the WD Black SN850 and Seagate FireCuda 530 is the general component shortage, which means that it’s tough to find either drive reliably in stock. However, if you have the cash, buy the SSD that you see available, and you won’t be disappointed.
A great choice
The obvious choice
With the WD Black SN850, you’re getting guaranteed storage that’ll greatly expand how many games you keep stored on your PS5. You’re limited to 2 TB at maximum, though, which is something to keep in mind.
The Seagate FireCuda 530 is another awesome choice for upgrading your PS5 storage. It’s also the way to go if you want a 4 TB drive, though be warned: You’ll be paying a lot for it.