Do PS5 Games Load Faster From an M.2 SSD?

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Do PS5 Games Load Faster From an M.2 SSD?

So you’ve gotten your hands on a PS5, and you’ve also purchased a brand-new M.2 SSD to give yourself some more storage space for your games. You may have also heard that loading games from your new SSD may be faster than from your PS5’s internal storage.

But is it? Let’s take a peek.

What Is a PS5 M.2 SSD?

Sony claimed that players will (eventually) be able to store games and save data on an M.2 SSD owing to the expanded storage port included into the PS5. That capability is now accessible on all PS5 systems, thanks to a prior upgrade from Sony.

However, not all M.2 SSD cards are compatible with the PS5, and Sony published a list of requirements that an M.2 SSD must meet in order to operate with the system.

So, a PS5 M.2 SSD is really simply a normal M.2 SSD that is PS5 compatible. More information may be found on PlayStation.com’s M.2 SSD support page.

Related: Using the PlayStation App, Delete Games From Your PS5 M.2 SSD

Does an M.2 SSD Make Your Games Load Faster?

Sony PlayStation 5 with DualSense wireless controller
Image Credit: PlayStation

That is entirely dependent on whether the M.2 SSD you choose can handle data quicker than your PS5’s internal storage. You should be able to tell from the read/write rate of the M.2 SSD you’re considering purchasing (or have already bought).

The read/write speed of the internal PS5 storage (the storage that comes with it out of the box) is 5,500 MB/s. Some drives (such as Sony’s official Nextorage SSD for the PS5) have read/write rates of 7,000 MB/s or more, which might effect game load times.

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Related: A Step-by-Step Guide on Adding an M.2 SSD to Your PS5

Because of the increased read/write rates, moving games to and from your M.2 SSD is a breeze (even large games like any given current-gen Call of Duty title moves across and back quickly; much faster than you might expect with an external drive).

But, do games genuinely load quicker when stored on the M.2 SSD rather as the usual internal storage? In a nutshell, they do. Although you may not notice much of a change.

Load speeds will not be immediate, but you will gain several seconds of time while loading a game and loading in-game assets from the M.2 card when compared to the normal PS5 storage.

PS5 M.2 SSD Load Times: The Test

So we’ve established that installing an SSD will make your PS5 games load quicker. It’s time to find out whether it does. To be clear, the disk that improved this writer’s PS5 storage is a WD Black SN850 500GB NVMe SSD. You may expect rates of up to 7,000 MB/s, much as the Nextorage.

I began by measuring the load times of No Man’s Sky (PS5 version).This was chosen since it is a large game with a lot to load when you start up your save. Particularly for this writer…

I’ve accumulated around 185 hours of playtime for one No Man’s Sky save, which contains many star systems, planets, and bases, as well as everything else I’ve acquired along the way. When I launched the game from the SSD, it loaded three seconds quicker than when I launched it on the PS5’s default storage.

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Related: How to Make Your PS5 M.2 SSD the Default Game Install Location

When I was warping between star systems, I noticed the difference more. Because the game produces everything procedurally, it loads a star-system/planet every time I warp to it. This might take up to 10-15 seconds at times. When compared to the normal SSD, loading from the WD SSD lowers this load time by up to four seconds.

It wasn’t simply No Man’s Sky that loaded in lightning speed. Demon’s Souls launched quickly, with an improved load time of one second, whereas Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War loaded in 1.5 seconds.

An M.2 SSD Can Make Your Games Load Faster

As you can see, the SSD makes your games load quicker. Similar experiments with other games provide similar results, so if you’re the impatient kind, you’ll notice variations in load speed with your M.2 SSD.

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