When it comes to PS4 PRO, speed is one of the most important factors that determines the superiority of a game console. For this reason, many PS4 PRO fanboys tend to upgrade their game console to a solid-state drive, for the blazing speed it’s known with.
Why swap PS4 PRO stock hard drive
There is some precedent here: PS2 introduced additional texture filtering for running PS1 titles via backward compatibility – it was an option, and it was signposted that using the feature was done at the user’s risk. The 1TB hard drive capacity provided by Sony in their new PS4 PRO release doesn’t seem to suffice the needs of enthusiasts gamers who have tons of high-end games to download and install. Interestingly enough, we did find the Evo 850 was outperformed by the other SSDs in a few tests, including the 0 Fill Random Read 4Kb tests, with the Evo 850 scoring only 35.5 MB/s versus the Kingston SSDNow KC400512GB with 87.5 MB/s. I’ve heard the MGX is a dual core design, whereas the MEX in the 1TB model (and 840 EVO & 850 Pro) features three ARM Cortex R4 cores. Upgrading PS4 PRO hard drive will surely make a remarkable difference in terms of speed and performance. The 850 Evo impressed in AS SSD’s small file tests. Crucial started conservatively with its initial round of MX300 SSDs.
Storing data on the new SSD
By now I’ve got to know the Crucial MX300 series pretty well. And unlike some other games, there is no option to play in a lower resolution without forcing it by manually changing the Pro’s output back to 1080p in the system menu. Before replacing PS4 PRO HDD with an SSD, you need to have an external storage device in order to backup the currently-installed data on the stock drive before replacing it. We advise you to use an external SSD for this purpose if your budget allows, otherwise a regular external hard drive can do the job well enough. Base mode also throws up some interesting metrics based on power consumption – despite shutting down half of the GPU, the PS4 Pro uses more power to run base PS4 code than the new CUH-2000 PS4 ‘Slim’. However, this was the only time we found the Samsung Evo 850 to be truly outclassed, meaning the drive performs extremely well across the board. The reason behind the change is increased power efficiency and supposedly the third core isn’t needed with the smaller capacities as there are less pages/blocks to track and thus NAND management requires less processing power.
Choose the right SSD brand
In the 4K read benchmark its pace of 43MB/s actually beat the 850 Pro, and when writing its 96MB/s result wasn’t far behind Samsung’s more expensive product. First, we tested a limited edition 750GB model that the company released to show off its new 3D TLC NAND. You can try a laptop SSD to cram it inside PS4 PRO drive bay. I initially reviewed the limited edition 750GB model upon release and recently we had a look at the largest model which comes with 2TB capacity. Clearly, there are going to be cases where developers haven’t quite figured out how to best use the power of the Pro. It’s still significantly more power efficient than a CUH-1000 launch model though, and the overall power consumption figures for the Pro are fascinating.
Regular hard drive suggestions
Moving on to our copy and compression tests through AS SSD’s benchmarking tools, we found the Evo 850 performed extremely well in its compression abilities. I’m guessing that the MGX is also manufactured with a smaller process node and the two cores run at a higher clock speed, but for now I don’t have any concrete information backing that up. A regular hard drive won’t provide the hoped speed for PS4 PRO. The Evo continued its good form in the 4K-64 test, where it wasn’t far behind the Pro drive and still proved faster than most competitors. Now we are back for another round with 525GB and 1050GB products, but the next round is rapidly approaching. Today it is time to check out the physically smaller and compact M.2 2280 format and I got the Crucial MX300 M.2 SSD with 525GB capacity in for the testing.
The PS4 Pro’s power isn’t just for people with 4K monitors – again, that is, if the developers choose to take the time to utilize it. The Pro’s new processor is fabricated using FinFET transistor technology, so performance per watt is a big improvement compared to the original PS4. As you’ll be able to see from the graph below, we didn’t notice any glitches, inconsistencies, or random spikes through our tests. The 850 EVO also features the common Samsung feature set. Atto’s benchmarks measure performance across a wide range of file sizes, and here the Evo’s TLC memory proved inconsistent.
On September 13, the MX300 will ship with a 2TB capacity point for $550. Crucial has previously had two lines of consumer solid state drives and they still do, the BX and the MX series. When they do, there are some nice visual upgrades for the vast majority of us who don’t own a 4K set. Generally speaking, playing a fully enabled Pro title only takes around 10W more power from the wall than running a standard PS4 game on launch hardware (this will vary on a title by title basis – we used InFamous First Light as our test subject here), which explains why the rated power consumption has increased to 310W and why we have reverted to the ‘kettle’ power cord used on the launch PlayStation 3. In comparison, we found Samsung’s competitors to have certain spikes or have a greater variance between their read and write speeds.
DevSleep, hardware-accelerated encryption (TCG Opal 2.0 & IEEE-1667) and RAPID are all supported. The Evo was at its best when handling small files: its 419MB/s 8K read and 383MB/s 8K write results smash the Crucial MX100, and it maintained its lead over the cheaper drive when reading files up to 64KB in size – and in every file writing test. That is as far as our timeline (or crystal ball) shows for retail Crucial SSDs, but we know the company will not stop there. However, the MX300 combines the best of the MX200 and BX200 drives into one resilient little drive that won’t break the bank. The problem is, there’s no guarantee that developers will make those upgrades, and based on the existing PS4 games that have received their PS4 Pro patch so far, mileage is going to vary greatly.
It should be stressed that the 310W metric is almost certainly the rated capacity of the internal power supply – actual consumption is around half of that during standard gameplay on Pro-enabled titles. The copy benchmark showcases the ability of the drive to copy a certain file size whilst performing a certain operation, for example whilst copying a game. With the 850 Pro Samsung introduced RAPID 2.0 that upped the maximum RAM allocation to 4GB (with 16GB or more RAM installed in the system) and as one would expect the 850 EVO supports the updated version of RAPID. The Evo fell behind in Atto’s larger file read tests, where it topped out at 550MB/s. Crucial has publicly stated that the second generation of its 3D NAND will begin sampling in early 2017.