PS4: How to upgrade the hard drive up to a whopping 2TB the easy way

Although the new PlayStation 4 is super exciting and encourages you to download games, music, movies and more to the internal storage, it is perhaps a little surprising that the hard drive that comes with the console has only 500GB of space. In fact, reports suggest that the system software takes up a massive 92GB of that, so you really only have 408GB to play with.

Then consider that native PS4 games will require more storage space for installation than an average PS3 game - of which we've had between 8GB and 32GB installs in the past - and you will quickly find that original hard drive filling up. Deleting games and media content to free up space for newer items is one option, but do you really want to do that? Yes, you can download them again from the cloud at a later date, but if you're not signed up to an unlimited broadband service, that will put undue strain on your monthly data allowance.

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Instead, the best solution for those who want to keep masses of games on their local drive is to replace the drive itself. And this way you can either pop in a solid state drive (SSD) in order to speed up loading times, or opt for a whopping 1TB, 1.5TB or even 2TB hard drive. That way you'll have plenty of space.

What drives are needed and what are my options?

The minimum specification for a PS4 hard drive is that it needs to be a 2.5-inch SATA II drive and run at least 5400RPM. It also needs to be larger than 160GB in size. Plenty of solid state drives are available, but can be very expensive at 500GB or higher. A Samsung 1TB SSD retails for around £600 for example, almost twice as much as the new console itself.

Instead, you might be better in opting for storage space over size and therefore going for a 2TB 2.5-inch drive. Be wary as many are 15mm in height, while the PS4 requires no more than 9.5mm, but there is one option that has just been announced. The Samsung Spinpoint M9T is made by Seagate and is a 9.5mm 2TB drive. It might be hard to find for a little while, but should become easier to source as rollout increases. Other manufacturers are rumoured to follow suit too. Another, cheaper alternative is to simply double your PS4 hard drive capacity with a 1TB HDD. You can get one of those for around £50.

READ: PS4 user interface explored: Hands-on with a simple, speedy experience

I have my new drive, how do I fit it?

The process of swapping out the hard drive in the PS4 has been made very simple by Sony. After ensuring the console is unplugged from the mains, you slide off the shiny black plastic part of the console's casing and underneath you will see the hard drive enclosure.

On that enclosure there is one screw at the corner that has a phillips screwhead and the traditional PlayStation shape symbols all around. Unscrew that and you will be able to slide the hard drive caddy out of the machine.

Unscrew the hard drive from the caddy and screw in the new hard drive in the same way as the old. The screw holes on the drive should give you an indication of where to fit it.

Once firmly in place in the caddy, slide the caddy back into the PS4 where it was before and ensure that it connects correctly. Replace the special PlayStation symbol screw and clip the shiny black plastic part of the casing back in place. Et voila, you now have a beefed-up PS4.

READ: Hands-on video: PS4 Remote Play explored

Is there anything else I need to do?

In order to ensure the new drive is formatted for PS4 use, you will need to reboot your console as if it was just unpacked for the very first time. One way to do this for now is to download the PlayStation 4 firmware 1.50 update online from Sony itself. This is only available in the US for now, much like the console itself, but will no doubt also go live on the European site in time for the launch in the UK and Europe.

Follow the instructions on the site for putting it on to a USB stick. You will need a stick with at least 400MB of storage space and formatted to FAT 32. Create one folder called "PS4" on the stick, and then another inside that folder called "UPDATE". Save the downloaded file - called PS4UPDATE.PUP - into the update folder and the computer part is down.

Insert the USB stick into one of the USB ports on your PS4 when the power is off completely (not even in standby). Then hold the power button on the PS4 for seven seconds. This will engage safe mode on the PS4 and you will see a selection of options on the screen. Choose "Update System Software" and it will read the update from the USB stick and reset the machine to factory settings.

Go through the same opening menus and wizards like you did when you switched on the PS4 for the very first time and you will find your new hard drive will be completely accepted by the machine. Hurrah!