PS4 PRO External Portable Hard Drive Guide [With Best Options]

PlayStation 4 PRO External Hard Drive Add-onJust like the standard PS4 game console, the PRO version allows you to use a USB external storage device in order to backup the whole data on the internal hard drive. This great feature offers more gaming flexibility to PS4 PRO fanboys who have no longer to worry about running out of space anymore.

With the limited size of the stock hard drive of PS4 PRO, power users (or enthusiasts) find themselves tied with that small amount of storage space, and they look forward to a way to expand the available space of the stock hard drive so as to download and store more games according to their preference.

There are two different solutions to work around this problem—either upgrade your internal hard drive to a bigger size or get an external hard drive instead. We will be addressing both methods in this guide and make some recommendations at the end for the PS4 PRO external hard drives.

Our PS4 PRO External Hard Drive 2016 Roundup

In this section we will list what we consider to be the best external hard drive for PS4 PRO game console for year 2016. These drives feature high quality products of the most prominent firms in the storage device industry. We only authorize Seagate, WD, Hitachi (which has been owned by WD since a few years) and Toshiba. Also, we gave the year of production (not before 2013) and term of warranty (not less than 2 years) our top priority along with the rating each particular drive gained on Amazon website.

Seagate Backup Plus Fast 4TB Duo Seagate Backup Plus Fast Duo
The Backup Plus Fast is by far the speediest and highest-capacity hard-drive-based USB 3.0 portable storage device to date. This latest member of Seagate’s Backup Plus family of compact external hard drives achieves that by combining two internal hard drives on the inside in a RAID 0 configuration, effectively doubling both the current capacity and performance.
Available on Amazon
Seagate Backup Plus Slim Portable External Hard Drive Seagate Backup Plus Slim
The Seagate Backup Plus Slim is the space-saving version of Seagate’s performance-heavy mobile portable family and is the thinnest portable hard drive on the market. The Backup Plus Slim Portable Drive is the simple, one-click way to protect and share your entire digital life. At 12.1millimeters thin for up to 4TB of capacity, it’s ready to take with you and go.
Available on Amazon
WD 2TB Black My Passport Ultra External Hard Drive WD Black My Passport Ultra
The 7th generation My Passport Ultra is a USB 3.0 external HDD designed for ultimate portability with the ability to back up user data automatically and to the Cloud. The My Passport Ultra is a tried and true technology that WD has been selling for some time.
Available on Amazon
SAMSUNG P3 Portable External Hard Drive SAMSUNG P3 Portable
Samsung now offers a portable hard drive (the P3 Portable) with up to 4TB of storage. The P3 keeps Samsung competitive in the market as brands continue to offer this capacity in a portable drive. Samsung puts an emphasis on the P3’s design and small size (it is one of the thinnest portable 4TB drives available). The P3 uses a USB 3.0 port to perform data transfers.
Available on Amazon

Limitation of the Standard PS4 PRO Hard Drive


Just until few weeks ago, Sony used to release PlayStation-4 with a 500gb hard drive capacity which doesn’t meet the expectations/ambitions of a wide variety of enthusiast users who stay hours daily playing different games on PS4 PRO. The heaps of complains Sony received of the limited storage capacity of PS4 PRO’s default hard drive forced the manufacturer to release a new version of PS4 PRO with an expanded 1 terabyte of storage capacity. But again the enthusiast gamers find that capacity too limited for their ambition.

So what’s the workaround for this problem? How can the enthusiast users download all their favorite PS4 PRO games and save them on a continuously handy storage device that provides an instant access to all your favorite games on the fly?

Break the Limits and Make Your Way


The answer is simply that you either upgrade your internal PS4 PRO hard drive to a 2tb capacity, or even 1tb if you still use the older version of PS4 [Check our 1tb and 2tb PS4 PRO hard drive recommendations] or, if you feel that size is still not sufficient for your needs, you better get a large external hard drive (up to 4tb), which features, along with a large internal hard drive, a pretty much enough space that can serve your needs for a few more years.

PS4 PRO External Hard Drive Support

If you are new to the world of PS4 PRO, you may wonder then that PS4 PRO does support adding an external hard drive to it just for the purpose of backup/archive. That’s one reason why PS4 PRO has USB 3.0 ports on its back as seen in the picture on the right side.

This important feature gives a high flexibility to this console and gives a way out of the stress caused by the limited capacity of the default internal hard drive of PS4 PRO. So now you can download and save whatever digital material for your game console as long as you have an external expansion ready outside the box. But you need to know also that you’ll not be able to play your stored games or movies on PS4 PRO while they are on the external hard drive. You’ll rather need to transfer what you desire to run/play to your PS4 PRO internal hard drive first. This may be the only major disadvantage of using an external hard drive on PS4 PRO consoles. Otherwise, to most users who have upgraded to a 2tb PS4 PRO internal hard drive this should not be a problem at all.

So if you decide on going with an external hard drive for your PS4 PRO, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself first, something like: How to choose the best external hard drive for your PS4 PRO in terms of performance and reliability? What kind of external hard drive suits you better—a desktop or a laptop external hard drive? What capacity do you really need and how can you take the utmost advantage of your current PS4 PRO internal hard drive without just trading it for a new one?

These questions and others (which we will be addressing in this guide) are important to contemplate on before you decide on your situation with the limitation of PS4 PRO storage.

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Do You Really Need an External HDD for PS4 PRO?

Portable External Hard Drive for PS4 PROThe Internet abounds with lots of appealing materials to download and store on your PS4 PRO hard drive, particularly games and movies. While a modern PS4 PRO game, such as GTA 5 would cost you about 41GB of space just to store it, and almost 48.7GB to install it (i.e. that’s approximately 90GB of engaged space for just one game on your PS4 PRO internal hard drive), the Ultra-HD movies come in similar size (For example, Mission Impossible 4K UHD 2160p is 45GB of size). And unless you are like that guy who disposes of every movie and game he downloaded by deletion after watching/playing it, you’ll find yourself stuck with the very limited space a standard PS4 PRO hard drive provides, and you’ll easily come to the conclusion that even a 1tb will not suffice after few month of usage, and here arises the need of an extra storage device that can handle the heaps of your downloaded digital stuff.

Upgrade or Get an External HDD Instead?

Upgrade PS4 PRO hard drive or notBefore answering this question you must be aware that on PS4 PRO consoles you cannot play movies or install/run games on your external hard drive. A PS4 PRO external hard drive is used basically and exclusively for archive/backup purposes. If you want to use the files stored on your external hard drive, you will need to transfer them first to the internal hard drive of your PS4 PRO.

There are three ways you can handle the lack of storage space in your PS4 PRO internal hard drive:

  1. Upgrade the existing internal hard drive to a larger one and use the old HDD as an external storage with the help of an external hard drive enclosure. This method is mostly preferred by those who like to keep all or most of their files on the internal hard drive of PS4 PRO for their own personal reasons or cumulatively install many large PS4 PRO games. If you want to go with this method, check out our guide on the best 1tb & 2tb PS4 PRO internal hard drive.
  2. Keep the current hard drive intact in its original place and get a new external hard drive. This method is mostly preferred by those who don’t like to get rid of their old files and rather archive them externally and relieve the burden on the internal hard drive. This is helpful if you don’t wish to delete your old files yet don’t want them stored anymore on your internal hard drive to free it up for new files.
  3. Upgrade your current internal hard drive and get a new external hard drive. This method is mostly preferred by professionals/enthusiasts who have so much to install and store internally and externally. This type of users is rare and they mostly seek the largest possible capacities for both internal and external hard drives.

Types of External Storage Solutions for PS4 PRO

different external storage for PS4 PROThere are various external storage solutions you can go with for your PS4 PRO, which are:

  1. External Hard Disk Drive (HDD), and this comes in two forms:
    • Laptop external hard drive. It’s portable and small and doesn’t need a power cable to launch it. It has two types: Single drive and dual drive. The latter provides doubled speed of the first.
    • Desktop external hard drive. It’s larger in size because it utilizes a 3.5-inch desktop hard drive. It’s faster and more reliable than its laptop sibling but its larger size, heavier weight and the need of power cable repel most users from adopting it. It comes also in two types: single drive and multiple drive which can be 2-4 drives connected to each other via RAID array inside one box.
  2. External Solid State Drive (SSD). It’s much faster, smaller and lighter than external hard drives and it takes full advantage of the USB 3.0 interface. But we don’t recommend it for PS4 PRO for a few reasons:

    • It’s much expensive than an ordinary external hard drive
    • Has limited capacity (The biggest external SSD is 1tb capacity while external hard drives have already reached the 8tb level)
    • PS4 PRO will not make any big use of the high speed of the external SSD. That’s because the PS4 PRO internal hard drive is already too slow compared with the speed of the external SSD which will remarkably hinder the transfer process between the two storage devices, and the HDD will rule here not the SSD.

    You may read more about external solid state drives (SSD) here.

  3. USB Flash Drive. Its main disadvantage is the limited small capacity and the unreasonably exaggerated price for capacities above 256gb.

    If you prefer this type of external storage, you may want to read our USB 3.0 flash drive guide.

Comparing the Types of External HDD

PS4 PRO USB 3.0 portsIt may intrigue you to know the advantages and disadvantage of each type via a comparison table. This can give you a clearer picture of what external drive suits you best.

External Desktop HDD vs External Laptop HDD

In the table below we are comparing two external hard drives that are considered the best of their class. The desktop external drive is Seagate Backup Plus 5TB Desktop External Hard Drive (STDT5000100) [Single Drive] and the laptop external drive is Seagate Backup Plus 4TB Portable External Hard (STDR4000100) [Single Drive].

Note that the benchmark numbers have been acquired from storagereview.com.

External Single Hard Drive Comparison Table
Features External Desktop HDD [Single] External Laptop HDD [Single]
Read Speed 185MB/s 105.8MB/s
Write Speed 108MB/s 108.6MB/s
Max. Capacity 8TB 4TB
Size (Dimensions) 7.1 x 1.6 x 4.6 inches 4.51 x 3.07 x 0.81 inches
Weight 1.9 pounds 6.4 ounces
Power Cable Yes No
Warranty 2-year limited 2-year limited
Interface USB 3.0 USB 3.0
Price $114.99 $129.99

The below table features a comparison between two types of external dual hard drives, one is unportable (desktop) [WD WD My Book Duo] and the other is portable (laptop) [Seagate Backup Plus Fast Portable].

Note that the benchmark numbers have been acquired from storagereview.com.

External Dual Hard Drive Comparison Table
Features External Desktop HDD [Dual] External Laptop HDD [Dual]
RAID0 2MB Sq. Read 254.7MB/s 183.4MB/s
RAID0 2MB Sq. Write 223.0MB/s 237.2MB/s
RAID0 2MB Ran. Read 99.9MB/s 90.0MB/s
RAID0 2MB Ran. Write 99.8MB/s 135.8MB/s
Max. Capacity 12TB 4TB
Size (Dimensions) 3.9 x 6.2 x 6.5 inches 4.6 x 3.25 x 0.88 inches
Weight 4.6 pounds 10.9 ounces
Power Cable Yes No
DATA Management RAID0, RAID1, JBOD RAID0, RAID1
Number of Drives 2 2
Interface USB 3.0 USB 3.0
Warranty 2-year limited 3-year limited
Price $219.00 [4TB] $199.99 [4TB]

What Type Do We Recommend?

As you can already notice, the external dual hard drive is faster by almost double the speed of the single drive. We would strongly recommend this type of external drives only to professional users who have tons of data to download and save everyday. Otherwise, a regular PS4 PRO user should be fine with an external single hard drive.

Choosing the Best External Hard Drive for PS4 PRO

Choosing the best external HDD for PS4 PROIn order to choose the best external hard drive for PS4 PRO you need to take the following points into consideration:

  1. Compatibility All of the external hard drive in our list are compatible with PS4 PRO operating system. They are interfaced with USB 3.0 and can be formatted to work seamlessly with PS4 PRO without any single issue.
  2. Brand name. Always go for prominent and well-reputed hard drive manufacturer, such as Seagate, Western Digital (WD), Hitachi and Toshiba.
  3. Year of manufacturing. Usually newer models are more improved and optimized than older ones. Just don’t go for an external hard drive released before 2013.
  4. Capacity. Gauge your needs and think about the near future and do your own calculations to find the right answer concerning this matter. Bear in mind that you can get a portable hard drive ranging from 1TB to 4TB, and unportable external hard drive ranging up to 12TB.
  5. Speed & Reliability. Usually you cannot determine that by just reading the official product specification sheet. The short route is to skim buyers’ reviews on online retail stores like Amazon.com. That will not take you 5 minutes of time! Or if you need more precise knowledge, go read the reviews of IT professional on the particular drive in which you’re interested.
  6. Warranty. Don’t buy a drive that has less than 2-year limited warranty, which is the standard term now in all brands.
  7. Encryption. It’s not too important if you’re not going to store personal data on the drive.
  8. Portability. This is not a big issue if you want to exclusively use the external hard drive for backing up your files from PS4 PRO. If you have enough space for a desktop external hard drive, I would only recommend it to you, as it’s more reliable and faster than laptop/portable drives. Otherwise, a portable hard drive should be fine with you, as the “more reliability” of external desktop hard drives doesn’t make the portable ones bad or unreliable. It’s just a relative matter.

What about PS4 PRO External Hard Drive Compatibility?

Many old PS4 PRO users who live with the outdated firmware software of PS4 PRO still think that they cannot use an external hard drive on PS4 PRO, or if it’s possible then it’s a matter of difficulty due to compatibility issue.

This could have made a valid point if we are living 2 years back when Sony first released its PS4 PRO console without any support for external storage devices. But now this is a matter of history. You’ll not have any compatibility issue at all when you add an external hard drive to PS4 PRO. Just follow the next section in this guide to learn how to use an external HDD on PS4 PRO.

How to use an external hard drive on PS4 PRO

You must bear in mind always that an external hard drive on PS4 PRO can be used for two purposes only:

  1. Backup your data on the internal hard drive.
  2. Play media files (like movies and audios) directly from it.

Unlike Xbox One, YOU CANNOT PLAY GAMES ON THE EXTERNAL HARD DRIVE WITH PS4 PRO.

We have repeated this a few times now within this article lest you forget this important fact.

So now, you have got an external hard drive for your PS4 PRO, how to use it?

Using it is very simple, just follow the steps below and you’ll be done.

But before going through our short guide, make sure you have downloaded and installed the latest firmware update for PS4 PRO. This is an essential step to carry out.

Then you must format the external hard drive to make it compatible with PS4 PRO.

Now you are ready!

For backup purposes:

  1. Make sure your external hard drive is ready and connected to PS4 PRO USB port
  2. Follow this path on PS4 PRO: Settings -> System -> Backup and Restore ->Back Up PS4 PRO
  3. There’s only one option and that is whether or not Applications will be part of the back-up. Otherwise it’s just Captures, Saved Data, and Settings. So make your choice and click “Next” then “Back Up

If you find it is still unclear, you can watch the video below which explains this process thoroughly and plainly:

For Playing External Media Files:

This is also a simple process, all what you have to do is the following:

  1. Download “PS4 PRO Media Player” from the PlayStation Store (there will be an icon on your PS4 PRO’s home screen so you don’t have to search through the Store catalog), and let it install.
  2. Connect your external hard drive to PS4 PRO via USB port
  3. Load up the newly-installed PS4 PRO Media Player.
  4. Now your external hard drive will appear in the list of playable media, and you can select what you want to watch.

See the image below:

Using an external hard drive on PS4 PRO to play movies

Conclusion

At the end of the day, after Sony released its PS4 PRO firmware update that allows the use of external hard drive on PS4 PRO, an external hard drive has become an essential accessory to all enthusiasts who have large data to regularly backup, or have tons of movies they wish to play externally without the need to download them directly on their internal hard drive.