We've known for a long time that users will be able to swap out the hard drive in Sony's PlayStation 4 for another model, but what type of drive makes for the best replacement? Tested recently ran a side-by-side test with a trio of drives to determine which offers the best performance and value. A 256GB Samsung SSD, a Sony-issued 500GB standard drive, and a 1TB hybrid drive (a regular hard drive with a small amount — in this case 8GB — of solid-state storage added) were all used to boot up the console and load various games, with the results unsurprisingly showing the SSD outperforming the original drive across the board.
Hybrid looks like a solid choice
Gains range from six seconds for a boot-up to up to twenty seconds for loading a pre-installed game. When loading a pre-installed game with the disc inserted, the original hard drive cut the gap down to six seconds again. Although the SSD was easily the fastest in most tests, the hybrid drive wasn't far behind, with the gap between the two ranging from one to three seconds.
Tested's conclusion seems reasonable; mandatory PlayStation 4 game installs can be as large as 41GB, so the 256GB SSD tested isn't practical for anyone looking to play more than a few games between installs. Buying a larger SSD could cost close to the asking price for the PlayStation 4 itself, so a 1TB hybrid drive, which should set you back less than $150, appears to be the best way to upgrade both the capacity and speed of your PlayStation 4 without breaking the bank in the process.