WD_BLACK SN850 SSD with Heatsink for PlayStation 5

When Sony announced the PlayStation 5, one of the most exciting features was the inclusion of an extra NVMe M.2 SSD slot for future expansion. This was arguably a more flexible solution to the storage issue next-gen consoles are faced with. Compared to Xbox’s proprietary expansion drive, PlayStation 5 owners can literally add any aftermarket SSD; as long as it has a heat sink. The WD_BLACK SN850 is one such SSD and it ticks all the right boxes.

Starting at $189.99 for the 500GB model, there’s also a $339.99 1TB and $589 2TB variant at JB Hi-Fi. I’ve seen cheaper prices on Amazon and elsewhere so its worth hunting. around for. Just be sure to get the SN850 with Heatsink as the PS5 won’t work with SSD’s without one. The SN850 is a PCIe M.2 2280 SDD running on the PCIe Gen 4×4 interface to make good use of its incredible 7000MB/s read and 5300MB/s write speeds. For context, the internal SSD of the PlayStation is rated at 5500MB/s so the SN850 is more than qualified to handle anything the console requires.

The SN850 is shockingly small, about as long as my pinky finger at 80mm, 23.4mm wide and just 8.8mm thick. The thickness comes from the necessary heatsink that keeps the drive cool under the demanding speed loads. I love the design of the heatsink which is very much in line with other WD_BLACK drives like the P50 external USB SSD that I also reviewed. It’s all black with white WD_BLACK logo and a corrugated finish that makes it look tough.

To install the drive, you’ll need to open up your PlayStation 5 and no, it’s not complex at all. Simply pop off the cover of the console, unscrew the covering for the drive. Slot it in and then use the provided stopper to secure it in place. Pop the cover back on and turn the console on where it will greet you with a screen acknowledging the new drive. You’ll have to allow it to format it for use and then it will show you the approximate read speed which in my case came up as 6540MB/s. Not quite the quoted 7000MB/s but still substantially faster than the internal SSD.

From there it’s business as usual. Simply transfer your games to the SN850 and load them up at the same blistering speeds as on the main drive. It’s subjectively hard to prove the difference the new drive offers over the existing internal drive because I can’t run benchmarks like CrystalDiskMark. So I had to get rudimentary and just test a bunch of games loading and record the times with a stopwatch and the results are intriguing.

GameInternal SSDWD_BLACK SN850
Destiny 2 The Witch Queen23.4622.10
God of War Ragnarok31.1933.07
Forspoken Demo32.0234.22
Resident Evil Village13.1416.37
Loading time comparisons in seconds

Across a test of four games, the internal SSD was faster than the SN850 by 1-3 secs when loading the same games from the home dashboard to the games start menu. This is interesting considering that technically, the SN850 is the faster drive. This difference is likely due to the Playstation giving more data bandwidth to the internal drive compared to any external drives.

Objectively, you will not notice the difference when loading and playing games which is what matters the most. I think such an SSD is a must have investment for people with large collections of PS5 digital games. You won’t have to worry about uninstalling games to make room for more. This is especially true for owners of the PlayStation 5 Digital edition who really don’t have a choice and throw in PlayStation Plus Extra or Deluxe, then you’ll definitely need the extra space.


The WD_BLACK SN850 offers a ton of performance in a variety of sizes to suit your needs. It’s fast enough to keep pace with the internal drive which is exactly what you want for your extensive digital library. It’s easy to see why it’s hailed as the best SSD you can buy for the PlayStation 5. It’s only a slight shame that the PS5 architecture slightly bottlenecks the SN850 but a one to two second difference isn’t enough to complain about. This is a great investment and being over a year old now, you can often get some good discounts which makes it even better.

WD Australia provided the SN850 with Heatsink to PowerUp Gaming for the purpose of this review

WD_BLACK SN850 SSD with Heatsink for PlayStation 5
Excellent performance
Easy to install
Great build
Plenty of size options
Price can scale quickly with size
Slight bottleneck by PS5
Kizito Katawonga
Kizito Katawongahttp://www.medium.com/@katawonga
Kizzy is our Tech Editor. He's a total nerd with design sensibilities who's always on the hunt for the latest, greatest and sexiest tech that enhances our work and play. When he's not testing the latest gadgets or trying to listen to his three whirlwind daughters, Kizzy likes to sink deep into a good story-driven single player game.

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