Published on March 27th, 2015 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder
Tale of a Console Upgrade: Seagate 1TB Hybrid Drive
I’m now a member of the Seagate Storyteller’s program! Visit the Mobile & Laptop SSHD page on Seagate.com for more info on how SSHDs can benefit you!
If you’ve owned either the PlayStation 4 or Xbox One since launch and play a decent amount of games, first things first you’re probably enjoying yourself. These systems are pretty awesome, am I right? Sadly though, you may have gotten to the rough part: having to remove games or other content to make space for newer ones. You may think we’re crazy if you haven’t filled half of your hard drive, but there are plenty of places discussing the hard drive size in the newest consoles.
Sure, this is a first world problem, but its a problem nonetheless. When you get down to your last ten gigs of space with a 40 gig game to install, the dilemma of picking out the games you’re comfortable removing until you’re ready to play them again is a real life struggle. Since the reality of the newest generation of consoles is that all games need to be installed to the hard drive, 500 GB seems like plenty — until you get into this kind of predicament.
In that kinds of situation, what’s a guy to do? Upgrade the PS4 hard drive, of course! With that in mind, I got in touch with Seagate and got my hands on a Seagate 1TB Laptop SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive). Now, this isn’t the first time we’ve put hands to their tech, but it is the first time we’ve been able to put it into a console without having to worry about those pesky “warranties”. I installed this drive in mid-December, and at the three month mark, I’m pretty confident that I can speak on my experience thus far.
How Do I Upgrade to a new HDD?
Sony has fairly straightforward instructions on their support site, so to save you all the Googling, here goes: Upgrade the PS4 HDD. The most important thing to note, in my opinion, is that you have to have a copy of the System Software available once you’ve installed the drive, so it could be a good idea to download that onto a USB stick ahead of time.
So what do you think?
If you’re already in the throes of struggle that come with constantly having to juggle which software you’ll keep or remove on your PS4, rest assured that an upgrade will stave off that problem for quite awhile. Since I installed the 1TB, that’s not even a consideration anymore. Considering the fact that I install at least two new games every month thanks to PlayStation Plus, that’s saying a lot!
As far as load times go, make no mistake, the hybrid’s load times were decreased, the drop is just not very massive. My initial tests of Destiny, Assassin’s Creed: Unity & Grand Theft Auto V showed an average of between 3-5 seconds being shaved off of load times, but that’s nowhere near as significant as the drops you’d have on the PC.
What gives with that, DJ?
I’m betting that the 8 gigabytes of solid state storage in this drive isn’t quite enough to do the same things for the PS4 as it does in a traditional operating system. In a traditional OS, Seagate’s tech essentially keeps an eye on the applications you use most and copy those over to the solid state portion of the drive. Opening a 2GB Photoshop EXE in Windows is child’s play. If you’re regularly opening a monster sized game like Grand Theft Auto V that weighs in at a whopping 41.8GB, 8GB of space isn’t really a lot to work with.
Considering the fact that the load times bounce around a bit, I get the feeling that Seagate’s software actually is doing it’s thing by copying over content used the most. It’s constantly tracking what you use though, so running a playlist of the same map could trigger the software to copy that over, which would remove the oldest content from the solid state space.
On top of all that, even full on solid state drives aren’t performing as quickly as they could be, and if that is the case, the issue lies solely on how Sony’s handling the data on a firmware or hardware level, which no outside party has a way to adjust.
Regardless of how that last section reads to you, this drive is faster than the stock drive that ships with the PS4. A terabyte is a much more comfortable amount of space than the default 500GB, and the drive has performed fantastically thus far. Decreased load times are a bonus any way it goes, so for doubling the capacity of the standard PlayStation 4 drive and dropping load times, the Seagate 1TB Laptop SSHD gets a thumbs up in my book.