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Upgrade Your Playstation 4 to Run Five Times Faster (Updated with SSHD Performance!)

Upgrade Your Playstation 4 to Run Five Times Faster (Updated with SSHD Performance!)

Updated 21/1/14 - Hybrid SSHD Test

We've installed a Seagate 500GB hybrid SSHD into our Playstation 4 to see if it can offer the speed benefits of a true SSD without the limited storage capacity. Here are the results:

  HDD (5400RPM Original) SSD SSHD
Boot Up from Powered Off 27 seconds 16 seconds 18 seconds
Boot Up from Standby 20 seconds 13 seconds 13 seconds
NBA 2K14 Install Time 29 minutes 8 minutes, 9 seconds 26 minutes
Killzone Shadow Fall Install Time 4 minutes, 27 seconds 37 seconds 4 minutes, 11 seconds

As you can see, install times remained roughly the same as the original HDD, however boot up times were much faster. Loading times in game were also reduced and we didn't experience any stuttering or slow frame rates. All things considered, if storage space is a concern, and you don't mind waiting a bit longer for install times, a hybrid SSHD is a good choice for your PS4. However, if you really want to speed things up, you can't beat a true SSD.

Want to know how to upgrade your Playstation 4's storage drive? Read on for the full story below.
 

Original article published as of 20th December 2013 ==>

Rev Up Your Playstation 4!

If you've just picked up Sony's new Playstation 4 console, you'll soon discover that it has one piece of hardware that can severely bottleneck your performance.

Here it is:

 

As we mentioned in our review, all PS4 games need to be installed to the console's hard drive, with each game requiring about 30-50GB of storage space. But if you thought 'next-gen' meant the end of waiting for game data to install, you're going to be sorely disappointed. Thanks to the PS4's pedestrian-like 5400 RPM HDD speed, it can take up to 30 minutes for a game to fully install. And while most games do at least let you play part of the game while data is installing, some, like NBA 2K14, restrict you to only the most basic game functionality.

As for in-game performance, if you've noticed stuttering and jerky frame rates, particularly during cut scenes and movies, that's your PS4's HDD struggling to load the relevant data.

Fortunately, Sony has made it really easy to upgrade the PS4's HDD. The cheaper option is to upgrade it to a 7200 or 10000 RPM HDD or even a hybrid SSHD - and if you go this route you might as well upgrade the storage capacity as well. But if you really want to speed things up, you'll want a full fledged SSD.

Do note that, while SSDs have been dropping in price, they're still rather expensive, so be prepared to trade some storage capacity in exchange for faster performance. But as long as you're diligent about cleaning up your old game installs (don't forget, you can easily back up and restore any old game saves with PS Plus subscription or a USB storage device), it shouldn't be a problem.

Here's what you'll need:

  • Standard SATA Connector based SSD (we're using a 256GB Samsung 840 Pro - the very best of course)
  • #1 Philips Screwdriver
  • FAT32-formatted thumbdrive with at least 1GB storage.

 

Step 1: Backing Up Your Save Game Data

Before we start, you should back up any save game data you want to transfer.

 

Step 2: Installing The New SSD

 

Step 3: Installing The New OS

Now that our SSD is installed, we need to install the PS4's operating system onto it. On an FAT32-formatted thumb drive with at least 1GB storage available, create a folder named 'PS4'. Within that folder, create another folder called 'UPDATE'. Next, download this 859MB file and place it in the UPDATE folder. Plug your thumb drive into the PS4 and turn the console on.


How Much of a Difference will an SSD Make?

With the original HDD, a full boot up took the PS4 about 27 seconds to get to the Playstation Dynamic Menu screen. With our new SSD, it took just 16 seconds. On Standby Mode, the original HDD took about 20 seconds, while our new SSD took just 13 seconds.

As for game installations, on the original PS4 HDD, it took us a whopping 29 minutes to completely install the 41.2GB NBA 2K14 with all features and game modes available. On our new SSD, the initial installation was done in just 53 seconds and all features were available in just eight minutes.

Killzone Shadow Fall's 38.5 GB installation went from a four-minute install to a 37-second install. For both games, movies and cutscenes were also much smoother, without any stuttering or lag.

So is it worth paying S$300+ and losing half your storage space for faster boot up times and installation speeds? We expect that many gamers will opt for the best of both worlds and get a hybrid SSHD, which will allow you to retain the storage space of an HDD, with some of the speed benefits of an SSD. Still, if you don't mind the high price and you're willing to back up and clean out your save game data on a fairly regular basis, a full SSD is without a doubt the best upgrade you can buy for your PS4. Here are some options to pimp your new PS4's storage system.