PS4 PRO External Hard Drive Guide – The Best Options
The lack of sufficient storage space is almost the only major drawback in the mighty game console PS4 PRO that’s assumed to be specially designed for enthusiasts and power users who have exceptional needs to fulfill with their high-end console.
The fear from exceeding the price tag set for PS4 PRO ($399) has compelled Sony to equip its flagship game console with a cheap, low-capacity, and obsolete hard drive that will barely (if not at all) satisfy the gaming demands of a real enthusiast, whether in the aspect of performance or capacity, and Sony was very well aware of that all.
Mainly for this reason, PS4 PRO has been supported with two essential features that allow users to easily and flexibly expand the storage capacity to the limit of their desire, whether via a complete replacement of the stock hard drive, or the use of an external hard drive as a storage extension of the internal drive.
We’ve already discussed in detail the issue of upgrading PS4 PRO storage capacity and sated several possibilities for this purpose. Therefore, our work here, on this guide, will be different.
This guide is intended to cover the most important aspects of using an external hard drive on PS4 PRO to the extent that we hope our readers find all their related questions sufficiently answered that they won’t need any other resource in this subject afterwards.
We’ll start this guide by laying out our top external HDD recommendations for PS4 PRO, in case some readers just landed on this page with the intention of finding a good PS4-Pro-compatible external hard drive.
Best External HDDs for PS4 PRO
Sony added external hard drive (HDD) support to the PlayStation 4 recently with the release of PS4 Software Update 4.5, meaning that you can now easily increase the capacity of your PS4 PRO console without needing to open it and replace its internal hard drive. With the update, users will now be able to install and download applications, including games, to an external drive. The system supports drives of up to 8TB, but you do need to ensure that you plump up for a USB 3.0 one otherwise it won’t work.
Things to bear in mind foremost
Before obtaining an external hard drive for PS4 PRO, you have to be aware of the following:
- Consider upgrading the internal HDD as well if performance is of your concern.
- Extended storage needs to be between 250GB and 8TB.
- USB 3.0 or later compatible devices are only supported.
- You cannot connect the external HDD through USB extender or hub. Therefore, it’s not possible to use multiple external hard drive at a time on PS4 system.
- External Hard drive will be formatted and encrypted by PS4 system to be read on PS4 consoles only. Therefore you will not be able to use this external HDD on Windows or Mac after that, unless you re-format it again on the system you want to use it with.
- You can play games stored on the external hard drive on anyone’s PS4 console, so you won’t need to download them if you already have your external hard drive with you. You will need, an internet connection to verify your ownership of these games.
So now that we have the technical side of things done, let’s take a look at the best options for external hard drives.
In the list below we present what we consider the best external hard drives for PS4 PRO based on several factors related to performance, reliability and features. We make sure also they are all configured with USB 3.x connectivity with at least 2-year long limited warranty.
It’s very important to note that, unlike other similar guides that made external HDD recommendations for PS4 PRO, we’re against using an external SSD with PS4 PRO, because it’s just a waste of money that only offers marginal and unnoticeable performance gains on PS4 system.
We have divided this section into three categories, and arranged their items according to the capacity of the external hard drives, ranging from 4tb down to 1tb.
4tb External HDD
The 4tb capacity of external hard drive is recommended for a shared PS4 PRO console with extensive storage demands. It can store up to 80 AAA-grade games and movies that support 4k resolution (based on 50gb-file-size standard factor).
To get a 4tb of storage capacity and achieve the best possible performance on PS4 PRO, you may consider trying method #4 of the PS4 PRO storage upgrade methods.
|The Backup Plus Fast is by far the speediest hard-drive-based USB 3.0 portable storage device to date. This drive achieves that by combining two internal hard drives on the inside in a RAID 0 configuration, effectively doubling both the current capacity and performance. It makes an excellent choice for those who need lots of storage space as well as top performance on the go.|
The following drives are not as fast as the one above, but they offer solid performance though. They are traditional external hard drive with no special configuration.
2tb External HDD
The 2tb external hard drive is suitable for shared PS4 PRO users with mediocre storage demands. It can store up to 40 AAA-grade games and movies that support 4k resolution (based on 50gb-file-size standard factor).
To acquire this capacity limit, we recommend the following drives:
1tb External HDD
The 1tb external hard drive is suitable for PS4 PRO users with basic storage demands. It can store up to 20 AAA-grade games and movies that support 4k resolution (based on 50gb-file-size standard factor).
To acquire this capacity limit, we recommend the following drives:
PS4 PRO External HDD Compatibility
After the release of PS4 System Software 4.5, users are now allowed to use their external hard drive on PS4 PRO for more than just a backup purpose.
According to PS4 System Software official release notes page, for the sake of using your external hard drive as a storage extension device on which you install applications, or move applications from your PS4™ system storage, your external hard drive must meet the following conditions in order to become fully compatible for this purpose:
- Configured with USB 3.0 or later
- Not smaller than 250gb and not larger than 8tb
- Must be formatted with PS4 special format tool. Which means it will be fully encrypted and owned by PS4 system, you can’t use it on any different system supported by PC or Mac.
Note that if you want to use the external hard drive for backup purpose only, you don’t have to format it with PS4 format tool. Thus, you can use it on different systems as well.
Using External HDD on PS4 PRO
There are several purposes for which you want to use an external hard drive on PS4 PRO, that are:
- Use it as a mere, full-featured storage extension that you can handle just like you do with the internal hard drive, except that you can’t install PS4 system software on it, neither store the game saves. Otherwise, applications and games can be stored externally with ease. Just note that with this option you cannot store or play movies on the external hard drive.
- You can stream movies off the external hard drive and watch them on PS4 PRO. It’s possible also to export these movies to the internal hard drive. For this purpose, you need to format the external hard drive the traditional way on your PC/MAC first, then connect it to PS4 PRO as a backup storage (not extended storage). You’ll lose the advantages granted to extended storage option if you opt for this one.
- External hard drive can be used for backup and restore. The applies to the whole content of PS4 PRO hard drive, excluding the operating system.
- Use your external hard drive to transfer games and applications from and to any PS4 internal hard drive (works on all models). Therefore, you can share the content of the external hard drive with your friends without having to take hours downloading them. Just make sure you have a valid license for the game you want to copy, as it won’t work on your console without a valid license key and an online activation.
- It helps better organize/manage your files. Instead of cluttering the PS4 PRO internal hard drive with less important data, you can now easily classify and distinguish between files based on their importance.
In order to get the external hard drive ready to use for PS4 PRO, you need to learn how to format it the right way first. The format method to go through depends on how you want to use your external hard drive.
Properly formatting the external hard drive
There are only two methods you can go for so that the external hard drive function properly with PS4 PRO, each has its own advantages and drawbacks.
1st Method: Simple format with exFAT
With this method you simply format the external hard drive on your PC or MAC with the exFAT file system, then you connect it to PS4 PRO, and it’s now ready. You can find plenty of tutorials on YouTube on how to do that with ease, so no need to explain it here.
Advantages of this method
This method has some nice advantages that the second method doesn’t allow, which are:
- You can use it for backup and restore purpose. Keeping a clone/copy of your PS4 PRO hard drive is a precautionary step against any unexpected failure the internal hard drive might suddenly undergo. It’s also very helpful if you’re looking for upgrading the stock hard drive with a new drive.
- You can keep a copy of your game saves without the need for launching a thorough backup process.
- The possibility to use the external hard drive on other different systems as well, like Windows and Mac without the need for reformatting it and losing all stored data. In other words, it won’t be totally and exclusively possessed by PS4 system like the case with the second method.
- The ability to stream videos on PS4 PRO directly from the external hard drive. You simply need to store these videos first on the external hard drive using your computer, then enjoy watching them on PS4 PRO after installing the Media Player application.
- Beside streaming, you can export these videos to the PS4 PRO internal hard drive. This is a great feature if the internal hard drive is vast enough.
The advantages of the second method are the drawbacks of this method.
2nd Method: Using the Extended Storage Feature
This method allows users to use their external hard drive as a storage extension to the primary storage device. Therefore it will be handled as a part of system storage, not as an add-on storage. This method comes with its own advantages and drawbacks.
Advantages of this method
The advantages of this method stem from the fact that PS4 system opens the door for external hard drives
to be handled as an internal storage extension with some limitations. So, this methods has the following advantages:
- Allows to seamlessly increase the capacity of system storage without the need for going through the hassles of internal hard drive upgrade.
- You can install games and applications directly on the external hard drive and launch them from there. You can also move the already-installed games/applications from the internal drive to the external.
- You can share the games and applications you installed on the external hard drive with your friends without having them to take hours re-downloading them. This process requires a valid license key for these games and an internet connection for verification.
The drawbacks stem from the fact that you have to format the external hard drive with the special format tool offered by PS4 system that will totally encrypt the drive and possess it to work exclusively on it. Therefore, the doors are closed on any external interference.
Comparing this method with the former one, the advantages of the first method are the drawbacks of this method.
Extended Storage vs. Internal Upgrade
Basically, there are two ways to increase/expand the storage capacity of your PS4 PRO—either by adding an external hard drive as an extended storage, or simply replace the stock hard drive with a larger one.
As far as the extended storage is concerned, the major gains you’ll have are that you’ll not void the one-year-limited warranty of PS4 PRO like the case with replacing the internal hard drive, and that it’s done with ease and speed, to the extent that within just 3 minutes you can get the external hard drive up and running on PS4 PRO, whereas it takes more than an hour (sometimes two) to upgrade the internal hard drive and restore your data on the new drive from a backup device.
On the other hand, upgrading the PS4 PRO internal hard drive offers better overall performance and enhanced experience with your games. Additionally, it allows you to import and store movies on it (new feature) from a USB storage device, whereas it’s not possible with the extended storage option.
The following articles might help you better understand these points:
External Storage Options for PS4 PRO
If you’re a computer savvy, you are certainly aware of the existence of different types of external storage devices that support USB 3.x connectivity. Theoretically, all these types would work properly without any issue with PS4 PRO.
Portable Classical External Hard Drive
This type of external storage has the top popularity among consumers, thus it’s the most common in the market. In a nutshell, it’s a classical hard drive in 2.5-inch form factor put inside an enclosure with SATA-to-USB bridge adapter and doesn’t require a power cable to operate, it just takes its required electrical power from the USB port it’s connected to.
There’re two options come with this type:
- Single Drive. It’s the standard option with this type.
- Dual-drive with RAID-0 configuration. It offers double the speed of the first option. So far, only 4tb capacity is available.
As far as PS4 PRO is concerned, with its more powerful specifications, the dual-drive option is the best in terms of performance. You can get 4tb of storage capacity for an adequate price (about $200).
Stationary Desktop External Hard Drive
This type of external hard drives needs an additional power cable to operate, so it cannot be portable like the first type. It’s a 3.5-inch desktop hard drive collected inside an enclosure and connects via USB. They are faster than portable hard drives that sacrificed some of its performance for the sake of portability and compactness. The difference in performance is not too big though and can be neglected. They are known also to be more reliable than portable drives, but it’s again not a big issue as long as you don’t treat your portable HDD like a maraca when you’re transferring files.
As far as PS4 PRO is concerned, this type of external storage doesn’t seem to please the majority of users, due to its power and room-space requirements. If you’re fine with that and want to gain the little performance advantage, you can then go with it.
External Solid State Drive (SSD)
The external SSD is, as its name indicates, an SSD used for external storage purposes. Just like external hard drives, it’s put inside an enclosure that offers SATA-USB adapter to help the SSD connects via USB ports.
An external SSD is a much faster and safer external storage option that can offer up to 10 times the speed of a regular external hard drive. On the other hand, it is a very expensive option (1tb external SSd costs around $300 whereas the same capacity of external HDD costs around $50). For this significant reason we don’t recommend using an external SSD for PS4 PRO.
Additionally, it’s worth to mention that PS4 PRO won’t fully benefit from the high data transfer rate an external SSD provides, due to the fact that PS4 PRO processor is not as powerful as that of a computer and it’s not designed to handle that much of heavy data workloads per second. Therefore, the performance of an external SSD on PS4 PRO will be noticeably hindered and limited.
As a result, we strongly advise you to try an external hard drive with RAID-0 configuration. It comes with a lesser price (around $200), and offers a transfer rate that suits the capabilities of PS4 PRO to boost its performance to nearly the maximum level.
USB Flash Memory Thumb Drive
This type of external storage devices is too compact and small in the outer physical size to the extent that it can be even smaller than your thumb, offering the best portability option among all other devices.
They are too limited in storage space, and they are not worth to use with PS4 PRO as a permanent external storage unless your storage needs are too low and just want the USB flash drive to store your game saves. If this is your intention, then yes, a USB thumb drive is the best option for you.
PS4 PRO console has been designed primarily for professional gamers, and a big aspect of professionalism with any game console is to expand its storage capability.
PS4 PRO allows two methods of expanding its storage—Either by upgrading the internal hard drive, or by just adding an external storage device. Here, we have addressed the second method in detail and tried to provide our readers with the best options that suit their needs.
According to our expertise, and because we are talking here about enthusiasts, not just regular gamers, we recommend Seagate Backup Plus Fast 4tb Portable HDD as the best external storage option for PS4 PRO, in terms of performance, capacity and price.