PlayStation 4 update 4.50 will enable up to 8TB of USB storage

As games grow ever larger, the slightly-over-400GB of storage available on the PlayStation 4's internal disk drive looks more and more cramped. One solution is to upgrade the drive, but that's a little involved, and it means having to re-download everything you had on the stock disk. A better option is on the horizon: when system software version 4.50 hits, users will be able to connect USB 3.0 hard drives up to 8TB in capacity.

Sony's blog post about the update only says that users will be able to store "content" to the external drives, but we know that it at least includes applications—certainly the largest and most important category of content for a game console. It's a little strange that Sony made gamers wait over three years for this feature. The Xbox One got a similar update in June of last year, and the Wii U could install games to external storage from day one. Even still, it's a nice addition.

Savvy gerbils need not fret over any performance penalty when using USB 3.0, because the standard PS4's internal hard drive connects to USB despite being a SATA disk. (That fact is why installing an SSD in standard PS4s makes relatively little difference in game performance and load times.) However, the PS4 Pro's disk drive connects directly to SATA 6Gbps, so a USB hard drive may be a decided step down in that case.

There are more features coming in the 4.50 update besides the provisions for external storage, of course. Sony is collapsing the needlessly-complicated notifications dialog into a single list like those found on mobile OSes and Windows 10. The Quick Menu is getting some revisions, and users will be able to set their own custom wallpapers from screenshots they've taken. Finally, owners of the PSVR headset will be able to watch 3D Blu-ray movies on their head-mounted display in 3D, which should please those two guys who like 3D movies.

Sony hasn't given a timeline for the update, but an early version of it is already headed over the intertubes to Sony's beta testers. The company says it will reveal the launch date for software version 4.50 in the coming weeks.

Comments closed
    • ronch
    • 3 years ago

    8TB! Such a far cry from the PS2’s 8MB memory cards. Still, the PS2 is one of my most cherished cobsoles ever, and I’ve played and finished far more games on it than perhaps any other console. The console I got after it was an Xbox 360 but I finished only one game on it. I don’t know if I just suddenly got tired of console gaming or the 360 simply didn’t have enough games that held my attention for very long.

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      I didn’t play much on the 7th gen either, was mostly on PC at the time, but I found the PS4 offered a huge breadth of experiences and I’ve liked it pretty well.

    • atari030
    • 3 years ago

    How about something simple like the ability to play back CDs? That’d be kinda nice.

      • SnowboardingTobi
      • 3 years ago

      lol seriously. I put in an audio CD last week thinking it could play it and was shocked it had no idea how to. like really?!?!? so dumb

      • soryuuha
      • 3 years ago

      fkg devs didnt know how to put proper games into bluray disc, like ol dvd/cd times

    • tipoo
    • 3 years ago

    Also a boost mode for the Pro, before it ran non Pro patched games the same as the PS4, same clocks, half the GPU disabled, less bandwidth, Boost mode will enable that.

    Hopefully it helps sort out DS3/Bloodbornes framerate and frame pacing issues.

      • evilpaul
      • 3 years ago

      There’s reports on reddit that it helps with Bloodborne. I have DS3 on PC, so I didn’t check for it. I haven’t gotten to test it out yet. I was hoping they’d add a Boost Mode sort of thing specifically for Bloodborne when I bought the Pro, so it looks like I’ll be starting through NG+ tomorrow.

      I kind of wish they added the external USB drive support before I upgraded to a 2TB Firecuda though.

    • CuttinHobo
    • 3 years ago

    So if the PS4 Pro uses SATA instead of USB, an SSD should finally bring a benefit? That’s a perk with the Pro that I hadn’t heard about.

      • RAGEPRO
      • 3 years ago

      DigitalFoundry tested it and wasn’t impressed. Other sites have reported bigger gains, though. It’s gonna be REALLY heavily software-dependent.

        • I.S.T.
        • 3 years ago

        PS3 had similar issues according to that old DF article. Some games had barely any change, others had “O_O” levels of change.

        • tipoo
        • 3 years ago

        Between the Pro and base both with an SSD? The differences I saw were mere seconds. And on either one, a hybrid drive was good enough to sit right between a SSD and HDD on them, since the SSD was limited.

      • tipoo
      • 3 years ago

      The difference was negligible between the Pro with an SSD and the base PS4 with an SSD. The bottleneck is elsewhere, maybe the IO processor (or the weird SATA over USB bridge).

      They both used SATA, the PS4 had SATA II with the USB bridge, the Pro has SATA III but it’s possible the USB bridge moved to the southbridge as it’s no faster.

        • CuttinHobo
        • 3 years ago

        What? Lame. Surely there was something more important Sony could have tasked their hardware engineers with, rather than going out of their way to degrade its performance potential and make the IO system just plain odd in the process.

          • tipoo
          • 3 years ago

          It has a few oddities. The HDMI output is…Actually a Displayport output, with a Displayport through HDMI bridge. I’m not sure if that was to hide HDR in there so early, but it’s speculated to be more because a bug was found late in the GPUs HDMI handling.

          • evilpaul
          • 3 years ago

          I’ve been watching DF’s stuff on Youtube for a month or two now and been going back through older stuff, so I think I’ve seen the videos being discussed. I think the theory was that Sony is limiting the read speed from the disk because of the always-on background game recording feature.

            • tipoo
            • 3 years ago

            Wish we could turn it off and turn the full read speed towards game load times, then.

      • Takeshi7
      • 3 years ago

      The more important question is if they added TRIM support.

        • CuttinHobo
        • 3 years ago

        That’s a good point. It looks like hybrid drives remain the best overall performance option here.

      • Rza79
      • 3 years ago

      How can it be any faster with the same slow processor.
      It’s not IO bound in performance but compute bound.

        • tipoo
        • 3 years ago

        Faster as in load times, not game performance.

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