So if you’re like me and still rocking one of the O.G 500GB PS4’s then you’ve no doubt experienced that lovely Sony low storage pop up. Well actually at this stage it doesn’t matter what PS4 you have, 500GB, 1TB, original, slim or pro. By now, even as a conservative gamer, you will no doubt have to be uninstalling games anytime you want to add a new one. Plus games are only getting larger in size and your poor wee console is beginning to show its age. Enter the WD Gaming Drive. Portable and expandable storage designed with your PS4 in mind.
External vs Internal
Often one of the more confusing decisions to make when looking for more space. Both options on paper may achieve the same thing but the two approaches each have their own advantages and drawbacks. If you ask me directly, I’d suggest both. If your budget allows.
Internal Storage upgrades may allow for a slight performance bump if you’re going the route of Solid State Storage but with that you’re sacrificing capacity unless you’re some kind of baller with cash to splash. You can continue installing all your games internally, save files, media, and anything else too. Asides from the capacity per dollar limitation, the biggest downside is the installation method. It’s pretty easy to swap the drives out, but loading the firmware will take some technical skills. Plus you will lose EVERYTHING that is on your old drive and you’ll be stuck re-downloading and installing all your titles.
External Storage won’t necessarily give you a speed bump, though it’s not like the internal upgrade would be overly noticeable anyway with the way Sony has things set up. What it will do is add a dedicated drive for games to be installed. Capacities far exceed what you can get in the Solid State equivalent with Western Digital having both 2TB and 4TB variants available. Being able to offload the mass storage games requires will free up a lot more space for game saves and additional media or apps to be installed on your consoles main drive. In a way it’s pretty similar to how I set up my PC. A smaller but high speed drive for the OS and important applications like Premiere or something, then a mass storage drive for a silly Steam library I’ll never play. The main advantage here is the install method. It’s super simple, plug in and format as external storage. Done. Thanks to the PS4 firmware update 4.45 it’s never been easier. You’ll also retain all the original files on your main drive, no flashing the firmware, no loss of downloads and no having to log everything in again. Simply more storage.
Adding more clutter to your otherwise seamless gaming experience can be a concern. As far as looks go I can’t really knock it. The mix of matte and gloss black on the top of the WD Gaming Drive is very pretty and ties in nicely with similar styling on the original PS4. Though my PS4 has traveled all around the various towns I’ve lived and it definitely shows. Each scuff or scratch a reminder of how careless I was.
The WD Gaming Drive definitely declares its support for team PlayStation from the outset. It even matches up with PlayStation’s traditional colours with the blue trim, bottom panel and cable. You can’t really mistake what this was designed in mind for. Although, that’s not to say it can’t be used for anything else. It is after all a rather capable USB 3.0 external drive with a rather small footprint.
Right, the size. That’s probably quite important. If you’re lucky enough to have a newer PS4 Pro then you can praise Sony for their forward thinking and implementing a rear USB port. (ABOUT TIME!) Using the rear port the WD Gaming Drive tucks nicely away in behind everything. But… I have a standard original PlayStation, those suckers only have two ports on the front. Luckily my entertainment unit has a nice wee top piece that hides everything away nicely with the drive tucked away on the top.
I mean I have nothing against the actual design of the WD Gaming Drive, I just really dig a minimalistic entertainment setup. The design allows for both!
I was sitting here wondering what sort of tests would allow for a proper testing metric, then I remembered… Oh yeah, it’s a hard drive! Bring on a battering from CrystalMark6.
As you can probably tell, this is a reasonably speedy mechanical drive. Though still nowhere near what you can expect from something with NAND flash. I will give props where props are due, it seems like the USB controller is rather competent and though I can’t find it listed anywhere online, I would feel pretty safe guessing this is a 2.5″ 5400RPM WD Blue housed in here. Maybe I’ll open it to have a look, but for right now I’m not going to butcher the otherwise perfect exterior in case Western Digital want it back… I hope not, I like it.
One of the nice features is the ability to take the WD Gaming Drive with you to a friends house and load up your games without having to reinstall. I see this being particularly useful if you have a friend that lives somewhere that high speed internet is only a distant dream. You will of course need to log into the other PS4 and set it as a primary for this to work. The authentication keys are tied to your PSN account.
As far as real world performance is concerned. There was no noticeable degradation of experience when running the same game off internal storage media and when using the WD Gaming Drive. It functions just as advertised and without a hitch.
Probably my only point of contention with the WD Gaming Drive is the choice to go with the USB micro B Super-Speed. It is a highly capable connector. Supports high speeds and power pass through which is great for drives like this… But it’s durability is somewhat lacking. They always bend and they inevitably fail. There’s just too many points of failure in the connector design and in my opinion it should have been taken out the back of the barn and shot after it’s first outing. It’s 2019 and we have USB Type C which would have been a far more durable option, added a nice premium touch, and extra points for portability.
Still though, it is a USB 3.0 spec drive and the connector is more than capable of delivering as fast as the drive can access data so you’re probably not going to care and I’m just having a whinge. In future though, can we just all agree that micro B Super-Speed was a mistake, we all slip up sometimes and invent weird connectors that aren’t super usable or common and that’s okay. It’s time to move on though. USB Type C on all the things from now please.
Pricing and Availability
The 2TB WD Gaming Drive is currently available on Amazon for $79.99USD it’s a rather compelling option for additional game storage on the PS4. A standard 2TB 2.5″ internal drive is only about $1 less and with this you’re getting a snazzy enclosure to match your PS4 so that’s pretty nice. Also available is a 4TB model if you are super strapped for storage space or never want to uninstall ANYTHING. Something I think our CEO Michael is in need of more than anyone else, I’ve seen his house, that dude hoards games.
Feel free to check out part one of our Ultimate PS4 Upgrade video here where I actually go through and show how much easier setting up the WD Gaming Drive is compared to swapping out the internal drive.
If you are interested in picking one up, feel free to use our Amazon Affiliate link below. It helps us out and if you’re keen on grabbing one anyway it’s basically just a nice bonus.