Sony’s PS5 system software beta program is starting to roll out today, and it include access to the long-awaited M.2 SSD slot. The first PS5 beta is available for select users in the US, Canada, Japan, UK, Germany, and France. The beta includes some new UX enhancements and customizations, but the biggest addition is M.2 SSD expansion support.
Sony notes you’ll need an M.2 SSD that’s PCIe Gen4 and has read speeds of 5,500MB/s or faster. That’s largely what we were expecting, and it means a variety of Gen4 drives will be supported — including Samsung’s 980 Pro, Western Digital’s SN850s, and many other modern M.2 SSDs.
You may need to consider the cooling requirements for using an M.2 SSD in a PS5, though. “Using an M.2 SSD with your PS5 console requires effective heat dissipation with a cooling structure, such as a heatsink,” explains Sony. “You can attach one to your M.2 SSD yourself, either in a single-sided format, or double-sided format.”
You’ll need the latest Gen4 M.2 SSDs.Image: Samsung
While Sony notes that read speeds on Gen4 drives of 5,500MB/s or faster are recommended, it “cannot guarantee that all M.2 SSD devices meeting the described specifications will work with your console.” Playing games from this expandable storage may not have the “exact same performance” provided by the PS5’s internal drive, even if read speeds exceed 5,500MB/s.
Aside from M.2 SSD support, this latest PS5 beta software also includes 3D audio support for built-in TV speakers. This will be available in the sound menu in the PS5’s console system settings, and the feature uses the DualSense controller to measure the acoustics of a room to apply a 3D audio setting.
Sony is using the DualSense to intelligently enable 3D audio for TV speakers.Photo by Vjeran Pavic / The Verge
Sony is also improving other areas of its PS5 software. The Control Center interface will now include more personalization options for rearranging or choosing controls, and PS5 users will be able to view and write messages to friends and parties from the Game Base in the Control Center.
The Friends tab in Game Base is also being updated with better management options, and the ability to see how many friends are online. Sony is also addressing some of the confusing aspects of PS4 or PS5 versions of games. Different versions will now appear separately in the home screen and game library, and each game’s title will also now include whether it’s PS4 or PS5.
This new PS5 beta will also include a trophy tracker that lets players quickly access up to five trophies per game through the Control Center. Sony is also adding options to pick between 720p and 1080p for its PlayStation Now service, and enabling a new automatic video clip for PS5 players that compete in challenges for high scores in games.