PS4 External Hard Drive vs Internal – Quick Comparison

upgrading the internal hard drive of PS4
When a PS4 user decides to expand his game console’s storage capacity, he’ll face two options. The first is to just add an external hard drive as an extended storage, and that’s it. As for the second, which is also a very popular option, is to upgrade the internal hard drive of PS4. This leaves a wide variety of users confused on which option is better overall.

In this article I will illustrate the pros and cons of each method. Although I always keep recommending upgrading PS4 internal hard drive first. Then, if you need any more storage space, go for an external hard drive.

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of each method? That’s what we’re going to address below.

PS4 External Hard Drive Addition

external hard drive on PS4Expanding PS4 storage has not been any easier with external hard drives. You need to make sure your external hard drive is compatible with PS4 standards in order to get it work properly. Once that’s confirmed, you can enjoy it immediately. It just takes up to 5 minutes only to completely set up an external hard drive for PS4.

This method has its own pros and cons, and below I lay out the most common aspects.

The Pros

Here are the pros of this method. I could collect five of them so far.

  • The easiest and quickest way to expand PS4 storage. It only takes up to 5 minutes to get your external hard drive ready for use.
  • You don’t have to re-install PS4 system software or backup then restore your games. The internal hard drive will remain untouched.
  • It’s possible to share your games installed on the external hard drive with your friends. You cannot move/copy them to their consoles though. But you can enjoy playing your games on their PS4 as long as you have a valid license key for each game.
  • There’s no need for any kind of hardware modification. No screws removed and no cover opened. It’s just a plug-in-and-play solution.
  • Games installed on external hard drives run slightly faster than those installed on the PS4 stock hard drive.

These are the major pros of going for PS4 external hard drive. But what are the cons? Read below!

The Cons

As for disadvantages of this method, there are considerably a few. They are:

  • Being an external solution means it’s exposed, thus more unsafe and vulnerable to damage/loss than internal solution.
  • It occupies extra space on the desk/table.
  • Connecting externally via a cable adds to the risks of electrical shorts when inserting/removing the USB connector into USB port.
  • It doesn’t offer any remarkable performance improvement like the internal hard drive upgrade solution does.

That’s all what I could see from a technical perspective.

PS4 Internal Hard Drive Upgrade

Upgrading PS4 internal hard driveI’ve stated in many articles on this website that replacing and upgrading the internal hard drive of PS4 is mandatory. It’s not just for the performance improvement you’ll get, NO. Rather, it’s because the PS4 stock hard drive is not worth to exist in the first place. It’s a low-quality, cheap and outdated drive.

Also, I keep advising my readers that once you upgrade PS4 internal hard drive, think about expanding the storage capacity with an external hard drive.

But anyway. What are the pros and cons of replacing PS4 internal hard drive with a new and modern drive?

Well, let’s see below.

The Pros

There are a few pros worth to consider regarding upgrading PS4 internal HDD, which are:

  • Noticeable performance and reliability improvement. You’ll finally get rid of the cheap stock drive of PS4 and replace it with a solid drive that lasts too long. Also, you’ll notice real improvements in your gaming experience with PS4. Operating system will boot up faster, games will launch in a shorter time, shifting between game sessions is quick, and online gaming is more flexible.
  • Everything is done in-house. That means you don’t need to attach externally anything to your PS4 which might be uncomfortable in some situations. Also it means your storage device is in a safe place and not vulnerable to external factors that might damage/harm it.
  • You can enjoy up to 5-year limited warranty if you go for Seagate Firecuda Gaming SSHD. This is not possible with external hard drive option.
  • If you have the standard model of PS4, you can upgrade the internal hard drive with up to 8tb capacity. That’s, in fact, a big advantage over the other models (Slim and Pro).

That’s it so far. These pros seem very appealing especially to enthusiasts.

The Cons

Actually, the major disadvantage of this method stems from the upgrade process itself. Let’s see what cons we have here.

  • The PS4 hard drive upgrade process takes between 90-120 minutes in total.
  • You need to backup your data before removing the stock hard drive, then restore it on the new drive.
  • You have to install the PS4 System Software from scratch.
  • It’s a more expensive option than external hard drive method. That’s because you have to buy additional tools, such as a USB flash drive, a screwdriver and an external hard drive enclosure.

To savvies, these disadvantages in comparison to the advantages. And especially if you play a lot with VR, you’ll absolutely need to upgrade your internal hard drive.


Upgrading the internal hard drive of PS4 is what almost all enthusiasts do. Nowadays, SSDs are going cheap, and you can get 1TB SSD for less than $160. If you can afford an SSD for your PS4, I would recommend one. It’s not just performance what you’ll get, but also a durable, reliable storage device. You can check the our list of the best SSD for PS4 if you have made up your mind to get one. Otherwise, having a good internal hard drive for your console is also a good idea.

As for PS4 Pro users, I always prioritize getting an SSD over an internal hard drive upgrade. Why? Read the PS4 Pro SSD Upgrade guide to understand why.

At the end of the day, if you want the cheapest option that combines performance and capacity together, you can go for both methods. Upgrade your internal hard drive with a 1tb SSD or 2tb SSHD, and compensate the deficiency of storage space with an external hard drive. That’s how things go in the enthusiast world.

You may also like...

4 Responses

  1. SD says:

    Since game data is kept on the internal drive using a external drive means if it fails you wont lose your game data, and less stress on the internal means it should last longer.

  2. David J Boyer says:

    is this even with a usb 3 external SSD? cause external SSD over usb should be faster than an internal spinner any day. My non NVME external M.2 ssd on xbox is almost double the speed in load times.

    or was this just talking about a normal external 5200 drive

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *