What you need to know
- The Samsung 980 Pro is one of the best PCIe 4.0 SSDs you can put in a PC, but it's also now a focus for console owners.
- Samsung has confirmed that its flagship SSD is compatible with the PS5.
- Samsung plans to sell the 980 Pro with its own heatsink before the end of 2021.
The Samsung 980 Pro is one of the best SSDs that money can buy, and PC builders have been able to give their machines beast mode performance with this drive for about a year now. But PCIe 4.0 SSDs are no longer just the fancy of PC builders, ever since Sony turned on its long-awaited storage expansion feature.
Sony has a set of strict but not actually that strict guidelines on what SSDs can be used with the PS5, and now the feature is available to all Samsung has confirmed that the 980 Pro meets all of them. So, PS5 owners can buy a 980 Pro, slap it in, and get some god-tier performance backed by Samsung's well-known reliability.
One thing the Samsung 980 Pro doesn't have, however, is a heatsink. I've been using one in a PC since day one and it can get warm. In a PC where it was mounted on the back of the motherboard, for example, temperatures could hit 60C under serious load. In a PC where it's on the front and the air is flowing over it, that comes down quite a lot. Of course, the PS5 doesn't have the freedom of pushing huge lumps of cooling air over the SSD, so a heatsink might be a worthwhile addition.
Samsung has confirmed that with a third-party heatsink the 980 Pro still meets all Sony's guidelines, but it isn't stopping there. Later this year, Samsung hopes to begin shipping the 980 Pro with a heatsink included, which honestly benefits PS5 and PC buyers. No worries about it being able to fit in the PS5 drive bay, and fewer concerns for PC builders. Win-win.
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Richard Devine is a Managing Editor at Windows Central with over a decade of experience. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently, you'll find him steering the site's coverage of all manner of PC hardware and reviews. Find him on Mastodon at mstdn.social/@richdevine
I have a 960 Pro 512 MB and a 960 EVO 1 TB in my desktop PC and I benchmarked them both with Samsung Magician just yesterday. The Pro is under a heatsink that came with the motherboard and the EVO is bare. During the benchmarking, the EVO was shown as being in the too hot range while the Pro stayed within the normal range. They are obviously different drives but, if either was to get hotter, I'd probably expect it to be the Pro. That heatsink really did seem to make a significant difference.
Yeah it's sometimes worth having. In my current PC, for example, I've got great cooling so it's not that necessary. But in the PS5 you get no airflow over the SSD so it could be the difference maker.
Already cheaper and faster than Xbox's solution. Non-proprietary is the way to go, and it's really disappointing to me that Microsoft seems to be heading in the opposite direction.
It's not quite that black and white. Installing one of these in a PS5 is no small job, and nerds like us take it for granted. Even so, I broke the stupid white faceplates on my console in the process. And you can't hot swap. At least with the memory cards on the Xbox I can get multiple, even move them between consoles.
There's absolutely nothing preventing Microsoft from making an adaptor from M.2 to the Seagate Expansion standard though. I'd easily pay $50 to be able to hotswap drives out of the adapter. I did the same thing with my old Xbox 360s (both the OG one with the swappable top and the Slim model). You could even have the Xbox 360 run off a 2.5" SATA SSD. And that was in 2006.
You can get a low profile heatsink for about 10 bucks for m.2s like Ek's M.2 noir heatsink. However, the place where the m.2 is seated on the PS5 there is very little airflow. Even with a heatsink, prolonged use is bound to cause heat saturation due to very poor airflow especially when the PS5 is laying flat. So users are probably better off standing the PS5 to use the natural covection process - given heat rises even with poor airflow. Until Song rejigs the design abit. Maybe some custom panels that add some airflow over the m.2 slot.
Great points. Years ago I was on a troubleshooting team for a hardware system that was shutting down or acting erratically due to overheating. We saw that physical configuration made a HUGE difference based on convection effects of the naturally rising hot air -- exactly as you said. In fact, in that case, we found that factoring in the natural flow of rising air was more important than active cooling. The natural convection effect was so strong that if the active cooling tried to move air in the opposite direction as the natural flow, it was worse than useless, causing component temperatures to increase by effectively stopping the airflow (obviously, that would be partially a function of the strength of the fans and we were working in a very tight space with fairly weak fans).
Interesting info there - sounds like a few hardware revisions must have occurred lol :).
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