Best External Hard Drive (HDD) for PS4 Slim Console

One of the biggest obstacles PS4 Slim fanboys face is the limitation of the stock internal hard drive of their game console that’s limited to 1tb of storage capacity which they consider way too far from being enough for their data storage need of the internal hard drive. So they find themselves in front of two solutions: either upgrade the internal hard drive to a larger one, or use an external hard drive with their PS4 Slim for backup purposes, which helps them free up more storage space on the internal drive for more games to download and install.

The need for an external hard drive in PS4 Slim environment

Both tests involve a much heavier usage pattern and demand ultra quick response time, likely giving these hard drives an extremely strenuous workout. To read the results below consider that highest minimum/maximum/average transfer rates are better, while lower (quicker) access times are best. The test consists of a Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit system pre-configured with Steam, with Grand Theft Auto 4, Left 4 Dead 2, and Mass Effect 2 already downloaded and installed. Please note: PCMark Vantage is based on traces of actual software, but runs these as fast as possible and not in real-time. This is an absolutely fantastic hard drive. An external hard drive can help a wide variety of PS4 Slim fanboys to backup the currently installed data on the internal hard drive of PS4 Slim, which can be later used to free up more rooms for additional high-end games that come in large sizes. While the new Barracuda is faster than the outgoing Green, it seems as if the firmware isn’t quite as tuned for performance as the XT. Lastly, highest burst rates are better. The trace captures the heavy read activity of each game loading from the start, as well as textures as the game progresses. This means that a score that is twice as high in this benchmark indicates that a disk can process the I/O commands of the application in question twice as fast. But 10TB is massive overkill for the average consumer.

picking a good external hdd for PS4 Slim

PS4 Slim external hard drive support

IDE means Integrated Drive Electronics. The heads are stuck together in an arm. This holds the heads in place, and moves them around the platters when the disk is seeking a track or sector. Have a look in the root (/) directory, and you’ll see lots of directories that may be unfamiliar to you. Two disks can be connected to the same cable . The same connection was used to connect optical drives. The speed of the latest version was a bit over 100 MB/s. Yes, PS4 Slim does support adding an external hard drive to it, especially if you get to know that PS4 Slim operating system is basically on version 4, and Sony added the external storage device support to its operating system since version 2.5.

Back-Up and Restore HDD to USB — Back-up and restore your hard disc drive data associated with users on your PS4, including settings, saved data, screenshots and video clips as well as games, patches and download data, to and from an external USB drive.


If you need the full features of version 4 (on which PS4 Slim operates), click here.

How to use an external hard drive on PS4 Slim

The difference does make sense, particularly if it translates into lower power usage given the new mainstream focused Barracuda lineup. In HDTune the 2TB Seagate Barracuda XT achieves a Burst Read speed of 312.4MB/s and an Average Read transfer rate of 110.3Mb/s. In this trace we recorded 426MB being written to the drive and 7,235MB being read. However, this does not translate to being able to perform the task of this application twice as fast because this is dependent upon multiple variables. And data redundancy in the form of a $1,000 mirrored RAID pair is very pricey. Using an external hard drive on PS4 Slim is so easy and not complicated at all. You just need to make sure the external hard drive is well-formatted in order to be ready for use within PS4 Slim operating system. Power consumption is obviously lower than the old Barracuda XT, but still not quite as low as a 5400RPM Barracuda Green or WD Caviar Green. Max Read Transfer rate is 139MB/s, right on the dot per Seagate’s tech specs. In our read-intensive Gaming trace, the BarraCuda gave us moderate to average performance with 1,040.94 IOPS, 55.89MB/s, and average latency of 7.64ms. PCMark 7 provides a much more realistic indication in this regard. Warnings aside.

storing PS4 Slim data on an external hard drive

Backup PS4 Slim HDD data on the new external HDD

For performance reasons, operating systems don’t write data to the hard drive at every request, but wait until there’s a lot of data from multiple write requests. Only one disk can be connected to a cable. eSATA is meant to connect external hard disks. Depending on the current direction on the coil the arm moves to one side or to the other side. This is the device used to move the actuator arm to different positions to read from the disk. An external hard drive cannot be used with PS4 Slim for other purposes than backup, that’s because PS4 Slim system doesn’t allow that. So, the OS stores all of these write operations in a RAM buffer and then commits them all to disk in one fell-swoop.

Transfer speed

It is basically the same as SATA. And depending on the intensity of the current, the actuator will move more or less. Because it changes the head from track to track, it is the only part in the disk besides the platter that moves actively—changing heads is done electronically, and waiting for the right sector to show up under the head is done passively. The transfer speed of an external hard drive on PS4 Slim is supposedly faster than that with the standard PS4, due to the fact that PS4 Slim motherboard is actually configured with SATA III bus interface, which offers much faster transfer rate than its predecessor. If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to have a power cut a few seconds after hitting Ctrl+S in a program, for instance, you’ll have seen this in action. Set the jumpers (if it is an IDE drive). Let’s talk about this in more detail, because most people have IDE drives.

Performance and Reliability

We removed the top “cover” (actually the top magnet) from voice coil and you can see it disassembled in Figure 9. Fortunately, there’s a solution. In the IDE system, most motherboards allow you to have two IDE cables. We removed the arm from the hard drive. At any time, you can enter sync in a terminal window to guarantee that all write operations are written to the physical disk. The performance of an external hard drive in general is determined basically on its speed and the endurance level it operates on. As for PS4 Slim environment, these issues are almost deemed marginal as you are only able to use the external HDD as a backup peripheral device.

PS4 Slim external hdd format

Factors that determine performance level

Each cable can connect to two drives. You can see it in Figure 10. And then there’s a special key sequence you can use if the X Window System freezes, ie the graphical layer has totally locked up, but you want to sync everything to the drives and reboot safely. The speed and endurance both are the main factors that determine how qualified an external hard drive can be for tough computer environment, which you might never face with PS4 Slim game console. Usually you use one cable to connect one or two optical drives to your machine. While we were removing it, we broke one of the heads (ops!). So, it should have six heads there but you will only see five.

Playing PS4 Slim games directly from an external HDD

A hard drive without a filesystem is just a jumble of data. The other cable is used to connect one or two hard drives to your machine. The filesystem helps the operating system to make sense of the disk – finding out where files start, where they end, and which directories they belong to. There’s a bitter fact that might pester PS4 Slim fanboys about their favorite game console, which is that PS4 Slim doesn’t allow playing games directly from an external hard drive. It only works for movies. You want both hard drives to be on the same cable. In a simple filesystem, such as DOS FAT, you have a table in the first few sectors, describing where the files are located.

Drive type 2.5-inch external USB hard drive
Connector options USB 3.0, USB 2.0-compatible
Dimensions 4.6 x 3.2 x 0.8 inch
Weight 0.68 pound
Available capacities 4TB
Warranty 3-year
OSes supported Microsoft Windows (XP or later), Mac OS 10.4.6 or later
Software included Seagate Dashboard (Mac and Windows)

If you were expecting the new Barracuda to completely replace the outgoing Barracuda Green you will be disappointed. Access time is 16.6ms, a little slow as the hard drives go. The Seagate BarraCuda Pro is part of the company’s new Guardian series of 10TB drives. PCMark7 uses traces based software from the Windows 7 era. To heck with it—if the powers that be let me keep this drive, I’d replace my 4TB with it in a heartbeat. PS4 Slim games, on the other hand, cannot be individually backed up to an external storage device. That’s what Sony confirmed since the first release of PS4 game console. It looks like if you need a high capacity, low power 3.5″ drive going forward it won’t be from Seagate. Moving onto the Write tests in HDTune now. The BarraCuda spins at 7200 RPM and a large cache to bring higher performance along with the higher capacity. Because this benchmarks uses actual and recent applications, it is the most important benchmark when deciding what type of storage device to buy. Keeping it routinely backed up, of course. The new 3TB Barracuda is a bit faster in sequential performance than the old Barracuda XT, at lower power consumption. The 2TB Seagate Barracuda XT scores a Burst Write Rate of 189MB/s, Average Write Rate of 105MB/s and Maximum sustained Write Rate of 134.9 MB/s. The drive only uses 6.8W while in use making it one of the more efficient HDDs on the market. A difference with PCMark Vantage is that PCMark 7 runs the traces in real-time.

Choosing the right external hard drive for PS4 Slim

For a while, there was some competition in the Linux world in the form of ReiserFS, an innovative filesystem whose development suffered a setback when the lead developer was charged with and later convicted of the murder of his wife…There are other filesystems worth being aware of, typically suited to more specialised tasks than a regular desktop PC. When choosing a good external hard drive for PS4 Slim, you need to bear in mind a few things before making your final decision:

  1. USB 3.0 Support—This offers the highest transfer rate from and to PS4 Slim internal hard drive.
  2. Abundance of storage space.—We don’t recommend less than 2tb storage capacity of the external hard drive you’re considering for PS4 Slim. That’s because the compatible games with PS4 Slim are massive in their size, and can easily eats more than 50GB at once of the available storage space.
  3. Warranty—The minimum warranty term should not be less than 2 years. This makes you sure that the drive is reliable enough and will last long with you.
  4. Brand name—The external hard drive must bear a highly-reputed brand in the industry, like Seagate, Western Digital, Toshiba and Samsung. These manufacturers are known to produce the highest quality external storage devices in the market.
  5. Year of manufacture—New external hard drives intuitively include the latest data storage technologies, especially if it belongs to a renowned brand. This factor adds to the quality of the external drive you’re adopting for PS4 Slim.

If you’ve paid attention to hard drives, USB flash drives, and other storage devices, you may have noticed that they always have less space than promised once they’re formatted. ZFS, for instance, provides great performance and reliability across multiple disks, as covered in our FreeNAS tutorial on page 90. Eventually, to a wide variety of PS4 Slim fanboys, an external hard drive is an essential accessory that cannot be dispensed with. The reason for this difference lies in the way hard drive manufacturers advertise their devices, versus the way Windows computers actually use the storage devices. Then there’s LogFS, designed to be used on flash drives (which internally work completely differently to spinning hard drives, and therefore can benefit from a dedicated filesystem).

Q: Can I use an external HDD with PS4 Pro?
As with the standard PS4, PS4 Pro does not support external HDDs for storing game files, but you can use it for storing a system backup, media storage, or save files.


Formatting external hard drive for PS4 Slim

It’s interesting to note that with all the advanced filesystems in use today, on both Linux and Windows, typical USB flash keys come pre-formatted with FAT32 (and its limitations). You will need to properly format the external hard drive you picked to work properly with PS4 Slim and get its operating system recognize it. It feels a little bit strange to use such backward technology today, but it does mean that these keys are compatible with virtually everything. exFAT is a preferred file system type for an external hard drive that’s aimed for PS4 Slim, but there are issues must be borne in mine when trying to format the external HDD with that filesystem type.

  • Capacity: 4TB (STDA4000100)
  • Performance: 220MB/s
  • Product Colors: Black
  • Length: 116.90mm
  • Width: 82.50mm
  • Typical Weight: 0.307kg
  • Seagate Dashboard pre-loaded on drive
  • Contents
    • 18-inch USB 3.0 cable
    • USB 3.0 Y-cable
    • Quick start guide
  • Warranty: 3-year limited 

However, manufacturers of RAM don’t sell it in even groups of 1000 – they use groups of 1024. Making backups is the single most important thing you can do for your data. When you’re buying memory, a KB is 1024 bytes, a MB is 1024 KB, and a GB is 1024 MB. But despite good intentions, we can all make mistakes and accidentally delete files. When you’re formatting an internal drive, external drive, USB flash drive, or SD card, Windows will give you the choice of NTFS, FAT32, and exFAT. And the second thing is making even more backups. There are no special setups to carry out for PS4 Slim environment when a external hard drive is connected to it. Just simply format the external HDD on any computer and it will be ready to use on PS4 Slim. To work back from the 500,000,000,000 bytes above: 500,000,000,000 / (1024*1024*1024) = 465.66 GB.

PS4 Slim allows the use of usb external storage devices

How to use an external HDD on PS4 Slim

In typical desktop workloads I think it’s fairly safe to say that you wouldn’t notice the difference between the Barracuda and Barracuda XT. Access time is a good 8ms. Users that need high capacity in their desktop, home server, or DAS can take advantage of the BarraCuda Pro’s 10TB capacity or creative professionals that need more capacity in their system. The scores are much closer to each other because of this, but it’s also easier to draw real-life conclusions. CMR instead of SMR, and 220TB per year as opposed to 180TB. Using an external hard drive on PS4 Slim is way too simple. Just format it properly, and connect it to PS4 Slim console from the USB port on its back, then you’ll notice that PS4 Slim operating system has recognized and listed it on its settings page. As our SSD tests showed us however, when really pushed the new Barracuda performs somewhere in between the old Green and the XT. Next up, Sandra 2011 results. And the drive is cost-effective considering its capacity at rough $540 for 10TB or $54/TB at launch. A score that’s twice as high in PCMark 7 also means that the task will actually go twice as fast in reality. Seagate appears to have optimized the drive’s behavior for lower power rather than peak performance.

  1. Figure out how much you need and then bump it up to the next level of storage.
  2. Storage capacity in external HDDs can range from about 2GB to 4TB. In fact, some drive companies put two 4TB drives in one chassis, creating an 8TB HDD, which is total overkill for most people.
  3. Get USB 3.0 (also called SuperSpeed USB 3.0, available on It doesn’t matter if your computer isn’t currently USB 3.0-capable.
  4. Although USB 2.0 is still common, the interface copies your files at a speed 10 times slower than its newer counterpart.
  5. Get some kind of automatic backup. Buying an external or portable hard drive to back up your data is a great first step, but it will be worthless if you don’t remember to actually use it.
  6. If you plan to tow it back and forth from home to work, you may want to pay a little more for a pocket-sized device.

Last Words

Burn it to a CD-R and keep it handy near your PC for emergencies. Using multiple operating systems in same computer would make FAT32 a better choice if you want both OSs to read the drive. It’s possible to backup the whole internal hard drive data of PS4 Slim to an external hard drive, but games cannot be targeted individually, it’s compulsory to backup the whole data if you wish to transfer your game files to an external storage device. When you want to recover an accidentally deleted file, shut down the machine and boot RIP. Unless every file you plan to store on the disk is less than 4GB in size, you may be better off avoiding this method. In a terminal, enter ‘photorec’ and you’ll be prompted to select the drive and partition that contained the file.

Toshiba makes some of the best external hard drives on the market

A less obvious, but possibly the best solution to using a hard drive with both Windows and Mac without the use of third-party software would be to create two partitions on the drive, on for Windows and one for Mac.4 GB maximum file size.8 TB maximum partition size. PS4 Slim allows the use of an external hard drive, but only for backup purposes, which doesn’t seem to satisfy most of its users and fanboys. Then you’ll be asked for the filesystem type, and whether to scan the whole drive or just space marked as empty (the latter is quicker). Finally, you’ll be asked for a location to store recovered files. Works with all versions of Windows, Mac, Linux, game consoles, and practically anything with a USB port. Afterwards, recoverable files will be placed in recup_dir folders, followed by a number. Modern versions of Windows can no longer be installed to FAT32, and must be installed onto drives formatted with NTFS.