PS4 Hard Drive Specs – Small, Slow and Obsolete

PS4 hard drive specs

Confidently speaking, and from a technical perspective, the WORST piece of hardware in the structure of PS4 is its primary storage device featured by a mechanical hard drive. Worst in almost every aspect that can make it good. Charles Jefferies, an IT professional who works for, tested PS4 stock hard drive and stated in his conclusion that:

The Z5K500 suffers considerably when it comes to performance, however; its read performance is middle of the pack but its write performance is downright awful.

This is the opinion of experts who tested this drive. In a nutshell, it’s just a worthless drive, and must be replaced with a better one that offers solid performance and consistent reliability.

Old and Obsolete Drive

PS4 Hard Drive front lableIf you download the official datasheet of HGST Travelstar Z5K500, which is the drive model that PS4 adopts, you will wonder how HGST states that the drive is configured with SATA III interface, whereas the front label of the PS4 stock hard drive says something else that it is SATA II, as you can clearly see on the side image (click to enlarge).

Also, if you investigate it more and do additional research, you’ll find that Tech websites verifying the SATA II interface of PS4 hard drive, such as this page.

So, what’s the secret behind that?

Actually, the answer is too easy for everyone who regularly pursue the news of technology and knows how hardware manufacturers manage their production.

Simply, the initial version of HGST Travelstar Z5K500 was configured with SATA II, then, later, and for some reasons, was upgraded with SATA III interface.

Now, what should the company do with the heaps of the older versions in their stores? Simply, offer them for a very low price to a huge company that doesn’t care much about the performance of a hard drive, as long as the storage capacity goes with its desire. That’s the bargain we assume has happened between HGST and Sony.

You can easily now understand the primary reason why Sony made the process of upgrading/replacing PS4 hard drive too easy and flexible, unlike other game consoles like Xbox and Nintendo. It’s just a strong and clear indicator that Sony is telling its users to change that drive with a better one, because simply it’s not worth it.

The same thing exactly Sony has done with PS4 Pro and the 1tb version of PS4. Please read our article on PS4 Pro hard drive specs to see how that 1tb hard drive also an obsolete version with SATA II interface!

But why did Sony employ a cheap (low-quality) hard drive in its flagship game console in the first place?

Well, the answer is quite simple, and it’s based on several facts, that are:

  1. The priority of offering PS4 at a competitive price comes first, as long as the employed hard drive can do its job well enough with an adequate performance that the overwhelming majority of users won’t have to complain of. So why force buyers to pay extra money for something they don’t care much about?
  2. At the time of launching PS4 (particularly in Nov. 2013), games didn’t need high-end hardware to run smoothly, and their file size was relatively small, and a 500gb hard drive with minimal specifications was sufficiently qualified for this mission.
  3. Replacing PS4 hard drive is rather made simple and easy, so there’s no need to take an extreme position against it. If you don’t like it, just change it.

For these reasons Sony did not give big care for what kind of hard drive PS4 is using as long as it does what it’s supposed to do.

In just less than a year, users began to complain of the too limited storage space of PS4 hard drive, as game developers were releasing their games in huge file size that can exceed that 50gb limit for a single game. And in order to avoid any loss in market share, Sony was forced to release an updated version of PS4 that bore the name “1TB Ultimate Player Edition PS4“. As the name indicates, it comes with 1tb storage capacity.

So, here we have two versions of PS4: One that comes with 500gb hard drive and the other with 1tb, and we will outline below the major specifications of each drive.

PS4 Hard Drive Specifications

So, in brief, what are the specs of PS4 hard drive?

The PS4 hard drive specs are: 500gb storage capacity in the earlier version of PS4 and 1tb in the updated versions. It’s configured with SATA II interface, and designed in 2.5-inch form factor. In the table below you’ll get a better overview on PS4 HDD specs.

This table that combines the specifications of both hard drives (500gb and 1tb) in one place, so as to make it easier to compare.

Brand & Model HGST Travelstar Z5K500 (500gb model)
HGST Travelstar 5K1000 (1tb model)
Capacity (Size) 500gb (Initial PS4 version)
1tb (Updated PS4 version)
Spindle Speed 5400 RPM (both drive models)
Interface SATA II (3.0 Gbps) (both drive models)
Form Factor 2.5-inch (both drive models)
Thickness 9.5mm (both drive models)
Memory Cache 8mb (both drive models)
Warranty 2 Years Limited (both drive models)
Year of Manufacture 2011 (both drive models)

Below we will elaborate a little on the 4 basic specifications of PS4 hard drive that every user have to be aware of.


The rotational speed of PS4 hard drive is 5400RPM, which is the standard speed of modern, 2.5″ laptop hard drives. It’s important to note, though, that the rotational/spindle speed of mechanical hard drives is NOT the only factor that determines the overall speed of the drive, as there are other factors, such as data buffer (cache memory), controller solidness, power management, device firmware driver that manages how the hard drive handles data, file system, and more.

So you shouldn’t be surprised if you find a 5400RPM hard drive, such as Seagate Firecuda 2tb SSHD beats a 7200RPM drive, and computer savvies are well aware of this fact.


The size of PS4 hard drive is 500gb, offering almost 408gb of usable storage space. As for the 1tb version, it offers 861gb of usable space.

To a novice user, the 500gb capacity is too much and can last for ever. But an average user, let alone enthusiasts, know that they can quickly run out of space, considering the huge file size modern games, applications and movies are coming with.

If you upgrade to 2tb hard drive, and we recommend Seagate Firecuda 2tb SSHD, you’ll get a usable space of 1.77tb, which can serve you too long.


HDD cacheHard drive cache is often known as the disk buffer. By that name, its purpose becomes a little more clear. It acts as temporary memory for the hard drive as it reads and writes data to the permanent storage on the platters. In other words, when you try to access a content from hard disk, it takes time to find the content you need. HDD cache buffer is made from good stuff with high speed access. So when you find a content, it will save them all to cache buffer through an algorithm. And having the cache size big means you give a chance for bigger amount of data to be processed at a time, which increases the speed of the hard drive.

You can think of a hard drive’s cache as being like RAM specifically for the hard drive. The analogy actually fits very well too. Hard drives have built-in micro controllers that act to govern and process data coming in and out of the drive, much like a CPU. The cache works in conjunction with that controller to store memory as its being processed.

PS4 stock hard drive cache buffer size is just 8mb, which implies the level of its performance. Whereas, modern hard drives come with at least 64mb of cache buffer, and Seagate Firecuda 2tb SSHD comes with 128mb cache in the first tier, and 8gb NAND memory in the second tier caching.


The specifications of PS4 stock hard drive are not appealing at all, rather they are disappointing. If you’re serious about enhancing your gaming experience and want to unleash more power of your PS4, try to replace the stock hard drive with a more powerful one that can give your PS4 a big performance boost.

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23 Responses

  1. Fubar says:

    Hi there,
    the Z5K500 specsheet states it’s a 7mm-high 2.5in HDD, which I can confirm on a CUCH-2016A model. Its caddy may carry a 9mm drive, however.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Thanks for the information. The initial release of PS4 carried a 9.5mm drive though.

  2. D.Demirel says:

    There’s a misspelling;

    “…we recommend Seagate Firecuda 2tb SSHD, you’ll get a usable space of 1.77gb, which can serve you too long.”

    It says 1.77gb… it’s meant to say 1.77 Tb.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Oh, I appreciate this action from you a lot. Thanks for notifying us. It will be corrected right away.

  3. Jessie says:

    I have a PS4 SLIM CU-2016 model if I am not mistaken with a 500gb HDD. Can I upgrade my Hardisk to an SSD Hardisk? Or PS4 Slim is only for HDD?

  4. Jenny says:

    Great article! Had read on the PS forum that the older 500 GB PS4s not only had the slower 5400 RPM SATA HDDs, but also only had the SATA II hardware interfaces that wouldn’t be able to fully utilize the SSDs and SATA III drives with its SATA II hardware limitation. It stated that the pro had the sluggish 5400 RPM drive as well, but that the pro had the SATA III hardware interface, which would allow it to fully utilize SATA III drives and SSDs. Any tr

    Your article appeared to be suggesting that both the original PS4 500 GB and the PS4 Pro both have SATA III hardware interfaces capable of fully utilizing SATA III HDD and SSDs.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Hi Jenny,

      Thanks for enriching this topic with your comment. If you have read in the “PS4 Hard Drive Specifications” section in this article, you’ll clearly see that we already mentioned that PS4 is configured with SATA II interface.

      As for the PS4 Pro being able to fully utilize SATA III interface, that’s doubtful because the PS4 Pro CPU cannot fully handle the momentum of data transferred through the SATA III bus.

  5. Philip Avorxe says:

    My ps4 slows and freeze and restart, I did all the initialization and reinstalling the update from an external drive but still slows and freeze. Could it be that my hard drive is crashed? And how do I check that. I use a Ps4 slim

  6. Baden Shipley says:

    I like most replaced the original hard drive from the first batch of PS4’s after a while. I have had a pro now for some time and with PS5 around the corner, I am just wondering how I can access photos from my old hard drive as they are photos of my kids as babies and mygrandfather who passed a few years back

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Before replacing the PS4 hard drive, you had to back up the old data to an external storage device.

      What you can do now is to replace the new hard drive with the old one, take a backup to an external HDD, then put the new hard drive again inside your PS4. This should work unless your old PS4 HDD went out of action due to the long time of ignoration.

      • Rashad Wilson says:

        I didn’t get a chance to store my data on a back up Hard drive and my old one just went out and I have to replace it but my question is if i didn’t get to store my data on a back up drive does that mean I lose all my saved data from the games I played and would have to start over?

        • PS4 Storage says:

          If you haven’t backed up the game saves, then yes, you have to start from scratch! You’ll be fortunate if you auto-sync saved data to the cloud, that would save you from such a situation.

  7. Thanasis says:

    Can i replace with sata III in ps4 500gb?can i use ssd or it must be hdd?thanks

  8. Evan says:

    I’m looking to upgrade at the moment so doing lots of reading and research, and I have come across alot of unsavory reviews about the Firecuda SSHD. Was curious if you know why that is. Definitely don’t wanna waste money.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      to be in the safest side, go buy an SSD for your PS4. It is the most reliable and would last much longer than mechanical hard drives.

      As for the “unsavory reviews”, it’s simply because the Firecuda is basically a classical mechanical HDD, which means its failure rate is high compared to SSDs.

      For this reason I suggest if you can pay more, go for an SSD not SSHD.

  9. Jeremy Sorensen says:

    Wonderful read! Just updated my PS4 Pro with a 2TB SSD. Took the old 1TB Toshiba out and put it in my original PS4 I let my kid use. But it didn’t have the HGST, I pulled out a nice little Samsung drive. I bought that PS4 almost exactly a year after launch from my local Walmart here in nowhere Montana. It’s an original model. Just wanted to let you know they didn’t all come with HGST drives.

    • PS4 Storage says:

      Thank you Jeremy for this valuable piece of information you have provided. I think it depends on the country of manufacturing. But actually, regardless my long experience in PlayStation, this is the first time to hear this. Much appreciated.

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