We tested with two M.2 NVMe SSDs, a Western Digital Black SN850, and a Samsung 980 Pro, with 1TB capacity each. Both SSDs exceed Sony's read speed recommendations. We performed a complete set of tests on the SN850, but only ran a couple of benchmarks on the 980 Pro for speed comparison purposes.
Besides the SSD drives, we also got two heat sinks from ICY BOX. One had a 10mm height, which is taller than Sony recommends, while the other stood at 5mm, allowing the PS5's SSD cover to be installed over it.
The ambient temperature during our test sessions was kept close to 23 degrees Celsius.
To monitor operating temperatures, we installed three K-type thermocouples on the SN850 SSD: one on the flash memory, one on the controller, and one on the controller's DRAM. To test, we wanted to apply the highest possible stress to the drive, by moving vast amounts of data. We began by moving several games, 243.5GB of data, from the internal storage to the SN850 drive and vice versa.
The first operation forced the SN850 to perform prolonged write operations, while the second operation did the same for read procedures. We logged temperatures during the entire write and read operations and measured the time required for each process to finish to calculate the average transfer speeds. If increased operating temperatures caused the SSD controller to throttle, speeds would drop.
We tested the following scenarios:
- SN850 without a heat sink installed and with the SSD cover in place
- SN850 without a heat sink installed and without the SSD cover
- SN850 with a heat sink installed and with the SSD cover in place
- SN850 with a heat sink installed and without the SSD cover in place
Once you install an NVMe SSD in your PS5, you will be asked to format it, and once this is done, the operating system will run a benchmark to find the read speed of the drive.
Although both the SN850 and the 980 Pro have the same advertised read speeds, the former proved to be must faster in read operations.