Technology can sometimes make small, quality of life advancements. Look at the toaster, which may not revolutionize the kitchen experience but certainly saves a little manual labor. And then there came the SSD (solid-state drive). This new memory storage technology did away with the moving parts of the traditional HDD (hard disk drive). That seemingly minor adjustment had a major impact on standard read and write times, making loading complex tasks a breeze.
Take a look at the PS5, which utilizes one of the best SSD’s available to boot up its games in a matter of seconds. Like the Xbox Series X, this console largely succeeded in marketing itself as a blazing fast gaming machine. And that marketing inevitably involved direct comparisons to its HDD-using predecessor, the PS4. While the latter enjoyed massive success with Spiderman (2019), notably for its graphics, gameplay and combat, the sore point was the relatively long load times.
The new, upcoming game, Spiderman: Miles Morales, benefits greatly from the PS5’s SSD
The direct sequel to last year’s Spiderman is Miles Morales, a game with similar offering but in new directions. Players take on the role of Miles Morales, a younger African American iteration of Spiderman owing to its ‘multiverse’ timelines. The game offers graphical and technical improvements along the usual gameplay changes. These include full support of raytracing, an exciting new visual feature that allows dynamic, real-time lighting.
Naturally, the increased graphical fidelity and raised content packaging leads to large file sizes. No longer do file sizes fit within a 64 MB memory card. Rather, expect a hefty size of 52 GB as officially announced. And that requires smooth loading times, because the sight of endless load screens incite serious impatience. A premium console should have a premium gaming experience, with minimal hindrances.
When recording a demo load time, reviewers showcased the game starting up within 11 seconds
If that number sounds unreal, say hello to next-generation gaming. PC users may scoff at console gamers for their sudden hyping up of something they have had for years now. That still does not change the fact that, in almost every game, load screens will probably complete within 30 seconds at the most. Compare that to a current generation HDD, like the PS4 possesses. That long GTA loading screen doesn’t seem so great now, does it?
So far, with only one SKU model, every PS5 comes with the same 825 GB SSD. This storage, for Sony’s own convenience, comes soldered on. Hence, it cannot be removed or replaced. That’s why, even in the months leading up to the actual console itself coming out, Sony started marketing external storage add-on options. Many of these come from third party brands, but note that the SSD is custom-specified. That means that unless the device is explicitly stated to cater to the PS5, it probably won’t support it.
There may come a few disadvantages with the soldered on memory, however
This might prove to cause inconveniences and shortages, as standard PC-grade PCLe, SATA and NVMe options may become scarce. However, even Microsoft, with its own PC ecosystem so freely available, chose the same. The merits of this practice therefore probably include non-standard tweaks and modifications to the memory, to maximize efficiency.
Still, though, keep in mind these consoles offer great value-for-money for all the advanced gaming power they possess. After all, not many premium, high-tier PC’s can easily run 3 suspended games at once (while these consoles can)!