The ninth generation of video game consoles has brought us the NVMe SSDs as standard, but with two very different approaches in their implementation in terms of their memory expansion in each console.
The differences between the two are explained by the business model in this type of system, which consists of selling the base product at a lower price and recovering the money with accessories and games that are sold on a proprietary basis as control knobs or additional storage. . In the case of Microsoft, the bet is on proprietary memory cards, while SONY is betting that its PS5 can use the same NVMe SSDs as in PC.
Which console has the best memory expansion?
In the case of Microsoft’s ninth-generation consoles, if we want to expand the storage capacity of any of the Xbox Series, we can only opt for official memory cards manufactured by Seagate exclusively for these consoles. Which means that there is a single product that Microsoft can control the price of and there is no price competition and it does not go down due to market dynamics, but only when the console manufacturer decides. Which is a problem in the case of the Xbox Series S and its 512 GB unit, which is actually 300-something and with that you are going to be forced to expand the storage of the console.
The case of PS5, on the other hand, is different, since users are left to install standard NVMe M.2 SSDs in our console. As long as they fulfill a very simple characteristic: their transfer speed must at least reach 5.5 GB / s of transfer. Speed achieved by M.2 drives with 4th generation PCI Express interface without problems, as long as they are not of the DRAM-Less type.
As time goes by, the enormous competition in the market for NVMe SSDs for PC will make adding more storage on PS5 cheaper, while Microsoft will keep the higher price for its Xbox in order to recoup costs with its card. memory. So the answer to the question is whether the PS5 has the best memory expansion of any current console.
Kraken is the great advantage of the PS5 SSD over the Xbox
We have to clarify that Kraken is not a piece of hardware, but a file compression format. Only when billions of bytes per second have to be decompressed on the fly from NVMe SSD to RAM can the CPU not keep up and require the use of specialized hardware. Both SONY and Microsoft have special units in the APUs that perform this process of copying and decompressing data at the same time cleanly and without wasting main processor cycles.
But SONY’s strategy for gaming has been different from Microsoft’s. In the case of Redmond, they sell a universal version of the games for all their Xbox consoles. Instead, in stores we can find separate versions of PS5 and PS4. Which since there is direct backward compatibility this is nonsense, but has an explanation. Since PS5 games are encoded with Kraken, they take up less space on the console’s SSD, so it allows us to have more games installed.
The trade-off, especially when we compare Xbox Series X versus PS5 is that SONY’s console has 3/4 of the serial storage of Microsoft’s. So the advantage of Kraken is diminished with this, but it increases if we take into account that the cost of expanding the storage above the one that comes from base in the console will go down more quickly in PS5 than in the Xbox Series.
And what about the Xbox NVMe SSD adapter?
No, we have not forgotten about this piece, which we have to remember that it is not an official peripheral by the people of Microsoft, but it allows us to connect a standard NVMe SSD to the Xbox Series. And this is where the tables are completely turned on the cost of storage.
It should be noted that this does not make the transfer speed for the SSD on the Xbox Series faster, it is still 2.4 GB / s. Let’s not forget that most DRAM-Less drives reach this bandwidth and are cheaper than their normal counterparts. So with this adapter, memory expansion in the console is cheaper.
To finish, another way to expand the memory on your PS5 or Xbox Series is to use a conventional external hard drive, but only for the previous generation games and not the current ones. It is even more even playing titles from a few years ago, once you have tasted the joys of having an NVMe SSD you will not want to go back to the hard drive of a lifetime.