Digital Foundry: PS5 External SSD Testing: SATA vs NVMe vs Hard Drive – Back-Compat Titles + Read/Write Speed Tests!

1 : Anonymous2021/04/16 14:11 ID: ms3zpf
Digital Foundry: PS5 External SSD Testing: SATA vs NVMe vs Hard Drive - Back-Compat Titles + Read/Write Speed Tests!
2 : Anonymous2021/04/16 14:26 ID: guq7id0

Pretty crazy that we can just copy an average sized game in the span of what used to be a fast travel loading screen.

ID: guqe7cc

Crazier that the external drives have better performance when playing PS4 games on PS5 in some cases. I thought surely there would be some sort of downside when using an expanded storage, but apparently there's honestly no reason not to do it.

ID: guqg167

The explanation for external drive loading faster than internal drive which escapes the guy in the video, is that the PlayStation operating system is also using the internal SSD. So while it's trying to load the game, it's also using the same drive to write its swap file, temp files, load OS components, etc etc.

Jumping around even a little bit, to load other things, will slow down the internal SSD performance. But when loading from an external drive, the OS drive and external drive can operate at the same time independently.

ID: gus3c16

No. Last gen console titles and current gen pc titles all use the old method of decompression. This method is extremely slow and relies on the cpu. A task in which the cpu is not the best at. As well as the path that get the game from the ssd to screen is just slow as balls.

The top speeds for the old method are between SATA 3's data cap of 550MBps and around 2000MBps.

Linus tech tips did a video a while back that confirms this. There is next to no point in using a nvme drive over a SATA 3 drive due to the decompression method. They did the tests on pc. They used a SATA3 drive, a samsung 970evo gen 3 nvme and a gen 4 nvme. The speeds were roughly 550MBps, 3500MBps and 4400MBps. The test was simple have people guess what was using what. Nobody could guess them correctly.

The only times when the gen 4 nvme won out was for longer loading games. But it was like only by a second or 2 over gen 3 and gen 3 was only a second or 2 over sata.

Now there are things that are a bit weird with some games running a bit faster. However this is probably due to the fact that ps5 has 6 levels of priority and 12channel memory. Even though in theory this is supposed to boost performance, more than likely for older games this conflicts with how the games designed for only 2 priorities and 8 channels.

And for why ps4 pronwith a ssd can load games faster than ps5 with a ssd is more than likely due to how ps5 handles BC. Aka at lower clock speeds. The slower clock speeds help with game code but more than likely hurts it decompression speed.

Either way it is not cut and dry nor was it about over selling a higher spec drive. Or that a higher spec drive is meaningless.

Not to mention if comparing with xsx well this is even more complicated as well xb1 games typically loaded faster than the ps4 version of the game. Naturally this would follow suit. Also because the game code of xbox games can handle the full speeds of the new system this can also lead to slightly faster loading with the older style.

There's a lot that goes on and why things are the way they are. It's not as simple as faster drive should be faster. This can only be the case when games and programs uses it correctly.

ID: guqsrhu


ID: guqvtns

that's a 100 Gig game though, not average at all. I'd say the average size in my library is around 30- Even Ghost of Tsushima is only 35 Gb. GoW is 44 and that's a big ol' boy of a game

ID: guqsqqm

Also crazy that Cyberpunk loads faster on PS4 Pro than the internal Ps5 SSD

But I got downvoted for saying there’s zero benefits for BC games a couple weeks ago

Sweet bliss

ID: guqzq9h

But I got downvoted for saying there’s zero benefits for BC games a couple weeks ago

because its not true. games run better, VR games get higher resolutions too

3 : Anonymous2021/04/16 14:40 ID: guq9dm3

TL;DW: Don't waste money on an NVMe drive for PS4 games as it won't make your games load faster than a SATA drive. Also don't worry about getting worse performance/loading than if you were to use the internal SSD, there's practically no difference for PS4 games.

ID: guqb154

Nothing surprising there. Storage speeds are only a small factor in loading times. With back compatible titles running at a lower cpu clock speed, many games will be CPU limited to some extent while loading.

ID: guqzvv9

With back compatible titles running at a lower cpu clock speed

they dont unless they have issues running at a higher speed. by default games on PS5 run at full clockspeed

ID: guqd4qw

Question is is it faster than a PS4 with an SSD?

ID: gurdmed

On some games

ID: guqgdn2

Absolutely. I put an SSD in my PS4 Pro and I could barely tell any difference. Using an USB c HDD on my PS5 many PS4 games load much faster than they did on the Pro with SSD. It varies. Some games don't show a lot of difference, I think because they were designed around slow loading and just wait when they don't need to? Though I'm not really sure.

I did not time differences, but the difference is obvious. So, for example, a game like Trials Rising. There are these banners that pop up at the bottom of the screen during loading and tell you different stuff. On the PS4 Pro with an SSD you had plenty of time to read these banners. On PS5 with an external SSD, the banners pop up and immediately disappear. You have to be really fast to catch even part of what they say.

EDIT: I'm curious why this is getting downvoted. Loading of PS4 games is indeed much faster on PS5 even with an external SSD than I experienced on my Pro with an internal SSD, and it's not even close. The difference is pretty substantial and hard to miss. Oh well.

ID: guq9oas

I’d disagree. Playing AC Odyssey and Jedi Fallen Order there were moments where the game would hitch and have to load in the middle of gameplay. I moved the games from external to internal and it got rid of those problems.

ID: guqx8yp

Uh. Nah, Jedi Fallen order has those hitches on any system - even PC. It's massively unoptimized and hits CPU bottlenecks hard, regardless of system. It pushes your IO as well with some really unoptimized draw calls.

Not even the fastest commercial NVME available helps.

ID: guqaj7c

So you watched the video and you disagree?


4 : Anonymous2021/04/16 14:41 ID: guq9kbd

I use a 5 TB external hard drive myself. It may be slower but you can’t beat having that much space for games.

ID: guqa13e

I did a similar approach. I'd rather have more space and just keep active games (ps4 and ps5) on the internal drive.

ID: guqwu07

Exactly - with so many AAA games still in my backlog I've kind of shifted my playing time to focus on just a few and actually finish them. Active games on internal - massive backlog I'll eventually get to on external.

ID: guqknmg

Me too. And if you call it a Super Spinny Disk then you too can have an SSD!

ID: gur2fnr

S S Deeeeee

ID: guqndtl

Getting twice the storage at half the cost was worth the speed hit for me. I'll likely never run out of space, and I can put that extra cash I saved towards an internal storage upgrade down the line.

ID: guqicyv

That's fair, but you can get large enough external SSDs now, or even make your own with a caddy.

ID: guqyzmq

Yeah I’m in the same boat, but these external SATA SSD speeds are impressive. Going to start watching for a sale on some of the bigger ones.

5 : Anonymous2021/04/16 19:45 ID: gurf7z8

I've got a Samsung S7 SSD and I'm loving it. I'd recommend it to anyone looking for external storage. You can definitely go for a cheaper option and have the same results for PS4 games though.

ID: gursny6

T7 gang here. Blown away how fast it loads games Days Gone loads in a fraction of the time it used to on my pro. Would definitely recommend.

6 : Anonymous2021/04/16 14:36 ID: guq8saz

Why is this downvoted? it’s digital foundry. Damn This sub downvotes fucking everything

ID: guqpdh1

its just bots

ID: gurgfcr

Nah. DF does get hate here from the fanboys. lol.

ID: guqricj

Bots are overrunning Reddit and social media sites to sway peoples opinions

ID: guqadxc

The mods of these subreddits need to step up their game and ban every Sony and Microsoft fanboy here. This subreddit will improve a lot. Now its just 1 or 2 steps from Twitter.

ID: guqapky

I got downvoted to shit for pointing out on another thread that the metric they were parading around about PS5 success might be flawed. You’d think I criticized their religion.

7 : Anonymous2021/04/16 14:36 ID: guq8t4f

Lol this is getting downvoted so much. You can't ignore the results, people

8 : Anonymous2021/04/16 16:59 ID: guqssby

It would have been interesting to also see the results of a 3.5" 7200rpm desktop/server grade hard drive in a USB enclosure. (In addition to the 2.5" laptop harddrive they used)

ID: gusep9q

I don't have a PS5 yet but I have a PS4 Pro with 3.5" 7200rpm 3TB. A 3.5" 7200rpm is a bit faster than 2.5" 5400 rpm but both are so slow compared to a SATA3 SSD.

9 : Anonymous2021/04/16 16:10 ID: guqlyqc

I'm stuck at work and can't watch but is there a consensus on the best/cost efficient drive? I'm looking to get one

ID: guqnofe

An external SSD works as well as -- sometimes better -- than the internal SSD for backward compatible games. There is almost no difference between SATA and NVMe drives. Loading times when using external HDDs, obviously, are slower compared to using external SSDs.

ID: guqtf7t

So, PS5 games is where the internal SSD shines then?

ID: guqth8v

The internal slot will get enabled , so anything now is a temp-fix. So, best bang-4-the-buck I figured was 1 TB external SSD with USB-C interface. enough space to hold me until I need to buy M.2 for internal, low enough cost so it's NOT going to kill me & get wasted when no longer needed. and Fast enough to not slow the system down.

I got a 1 TB Samsung T-5 External SSD w/ USB-C it's around $125 usd .

go into settings & change remote play stuff, set ALWAYS ON for usb & Network. If it looses power and an ext. HD is attached, system can crash !

Plug it into the USB-C port on the front, speed is awesome, Cheers & Luck man !

(note: remember this is temp. fix, I'll get largest internal M.2 once they unlock the slot)

ID: guqvx3x

Consensus is that for ps4 back compat and general copying around ps5 games, an external Sata SSD will give you the same performance for games as an external nvme, and both curiously are often a second or so faster than the internal ps5 ssd in ps4 back compat games.

They recommend a decent sata ssd with a sata to usb cable.

For what its worth, I bought a samsung T5 external ssd 2TB for about 220 usd, and its actually at 209 usd right now on amazon and has worked perfectly for me.

ID: guqxvgh

I got a 1tb T7 for $150 on sale. Always wondered how it stacked up against the T5 which was $160. Looking at this video I guess it's the same performance. (T5 is external SATA, T7 is external NVMe for those wondering)

ID: gurgxis

an external Sata SSD will give you the same performance for games as an external nvme

Of course. You're limited by the USB speed with NVMe which is very close to SATA 3 speed. I have no idea why people bought NVMe external drives just to bottleneck it by using it with USB.

10 : Anonymous2021/04/16 20:18 ID: gurjkf1

Samsung 980 PRO SSD NVMe, Read and Write speed 7,000/5,000MB/s

SAMSUNG 870 SSD QVO, Read and Write speed 560/530 MB/s

PS5 Read 5,500MB/s (up to) and 8-9,000MB/s (utilized for exclusives)

External USB Read and Write cap is around 800MB/s

Internal NVMe Slot: When this becomes available for use, this will take advantage of the Read and Write speeds as intended.

11 : Anonymous2021/04/16 17:00 ID: guqszp3

what kind of external usb drive do you need for this? I have a external encloser with usb 3.0. would this be enough if I put a ssd in my encloser or do I need a 3.1usb connection?

(I'm not sure what the specification DF is using for their samsung ssd in the video)

ID: guqw6o6

Any sata ssd that fits your enclosure should work.

But in case you are interested, the samsung t5 2tb is 209 usd right now on amazon.

Otherwise you should be able to useyour enclosure without issues as far as I know.

ID: guqz3hd

I know that. I'm asking if the usb3.0 speed is enough to achieve the same result as DF or if I need a 3.1 usb encloser.

12 : Anonymous2021/04/16 17:18 ID: guqvfw2

I use my platter based external for the ps4 games and I haven't had any problems yet.

13 : Anonymous2021/04/16 17:48 ID: guqzlny

I might be wrong, but aren’t PS4 games not optimized to faster load times? You would need to do a ps5 game that is optimized to use the internal drive for comparisons of external drives.

15 : Anonymous2021/04/16 18:06 ID: gur2052

And I'm over here not using my external because it crashes the PS5 constantly when it's connected. Haven't tried since the new update to be fair

16 : Anonymous2021/04/16 18:33 ID: gur5n2m

My biggest take away from the video is this: if you aren't using an external sata SSD for PS4 games at this point, what's wrong with you?

17 : Anonymous2021/04/16 19:50 ID: gurfvgl

Not worth the money. Wait until they announce a internal ssd

18 : Anonymous2021/04/16 19:47 ID: gurfhzx

SATA vs. what, now? SATA is just a link, it's not a device. FYI OP.

19 : Anonymous2021/04/16 19:49 ID: gurfpsv

I wonder what is the reason FF7R loads faster on PS4 Pro with external SSD than the PS5 with the same external SSD. They give a possible idea why CP2077 is loading slower on PS5, but i wonder what about the other games that load in pretty much the same time like BFV or FFXV. Seems like a limit of the way PS5 implements BC?

In the end, what i really want is to see what loading will look like in a couple of years when only next gen games are coming out and engines start optimizing for SSD and I/O hardware decompression loading.

20 : Anonymous2021/04/17 00:37 ID: gusel4n

Ok so the SATA option seem optimal choice (for me). Any Recommendations regarding adaptors or packaged solutions beyond Richards rig?

21 : Anonymous2021/04/17 01:19 ID: gusj717

Seems a little odd to use a low end QLC SATA drive for the comparison. When the SLC cache in the 870 QVO is full the write speed drops to 172 MB/s which doesn't get anywhere close to saturating the SATA interface. It makes the copying to external drive comparison totally pointless.

22 : Anonymous2021/04/16 17:31 ID: guqx6q8

I wanna know wtf is going on. Sony talked all kinds of bs with their internal sdd, like nothing exist that matches it, some bullshit, if the cheapest ssd shit beats it why less than 1TB storage.

23 : Anonymous2021/04/16 19:45 ID: gurf8xb

This video only applies to PS4 games. These games are only built around a single SATA connection. What makes M.2 NVME drives retrieve data at much higher speeds, is that they support multiple channels between the CPU and Drive.

So a PS4 game that is running on the PS5's super fast internal SSD, can still only load at about the speed of a single SATA channel. This is one big reason why PS5 versions of games are needed.

Meanwhile, when they upgraded Avengers to PS5 version, load times dropped from 60+ seconds to 4 seconds. This is because the PS5 version uses all of the throughput that the internal SSD supports.

I hope that helps.

24 : Anonymous2021/04/16 22:21 ID: gurz6lk

I would also add that the PS5 version was also optimized for the PS5 and uses the full power of the hardware, like the CPU. Unlike the PS4 version which is unoptimized for the PS5 and is restrained to PS4 limitations.


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