File this under “spur of the moment weekend projects.”
This weekend I’ve been pretty productive. I managed to edit and post a podcast, catch up on making the video versions of the podcast (had to make 3) and even wrote a blog post. I did some chores, and I decided to back up all of my files to my external 1 TB hard drive as well. A little bit of everything, I suppose you could say. While doing my backups, I noticed that I basically filled up the 1 TB external drive, and recently I had noticed that all of my drives in my PC were getting pretty full as well. I’ve got no shortage of hard drive bays in my case, so I had been toying with the idea of picking up another drive, just to spread my data around more evenly, and also to free up the external for only extremely important files. Previously, I had it set up so that the SSD was a boot drive only, a 500 GB Blue drive was for system images and personal files, and my 2 TB Black drive was for games. I used the external to mainly backup the personal files, but managed to fill it up with things that aren’t super important. The new drive solves this problem, so I can have everything organized just the way I want it.
I had a feeling when I bought my PS4 that the 500 GB hard drive included with the system wasn’t going to be enough space. When I first picked up the console, it seemed that I’d be able to make due with the space for a while, until I started digitally purchasing AAA titles that are 50-60 GB a piece. At that point, it was clear that I was going to need an upgrade. After doing some research, I found that there were two options that would allow me to expand my storage space for the console. Option one involved removing the hard drive from the system and replacing it with a larger capacity one. This sounds good, until you do a little more research into option 2, and price differences. Option two involves buying a HDD Data Bank from a third party company called Nyko, which then allows you to use “nearly any” 3.5 inch hard drive. Further disclaimers state that the PS4 firmware only supports hard drives up to 2 TB. The difference here, is that the internally installed hard drive in the PS4 is a laptop hard drive, whereas with the data bank you basically install a pass-through that allows a standard PC sized hard drive to be mounted externally. Both options are equally viable, though a 2 TB 3.5 inch HDD will run you considerably less money than a 2 TB laptop drive. Particularly when you get said hard drive on sale.
Having these thoughts for some time now, it came to a head earlier today when I finally decided to start doing the research to figure out what it was going to cost me and what sort of effort it was going to take to complete the project. It was also preferable to knock out two birds with one stone. Thankfully Fry’s was running a special on Western Digital Blue hard drives, and 2 TB models were going for $64 a piece. They were supposed to also have the Nyko Data Bank in stock as well, but that ended up being procured from Gamestop instead. I was lucky to even get the hard drives, as I managed to pick up the last two they had on the shelf. When all was said and done, the hard drives cost me $128 and the data bank was $40. Not bad for space upgrades, considering a single 2 TB black would have cost me $130 by itself, and a laptop hard drive that was 2 TB was going for around $150. Sure, Neo might be coming soon, but hopefully this will be compatible, and even if it isn’t, I can always throw the hard drive in my PC for further storage — which I wouldn’t be able to do with a laptop drive.
I chronicled the upgrade via pictures, in case any of you end up wanting to do the same with your console. The prep and installation was a breeze. The worst part is having to download all of the games over again, but that will happen over time and it’s not that big of a deal. The first thing you’re going to want to do is get a flash drive and plug it into the console. There is an option under settings>system that allows you to create a backup file of your saves, trophies, settings, and captures in one step. Once that’s completed, get on your PC and plug the same flash drive in. Head to Playstation support and download the latest firmware update. Throw it on the flash drive and shut down the console. Unplug the HDMI and power cables, and get it on a flat surface.
From there, you’re going to want to remove the case from the smaller portion of the console (when facing the console, it’s the left side). You should also unpack the data bank so that you have everything ready to go.
This is where the hard drive is installed. Removing a small screw that holds it in place with the provided screwdriver and sliding it out of the bay is easy-peasy.
Next, you’ll slide the adapter into the hard drive bay. This looks just like a laptop hard drive, but has a plug on the top. Once in place you’ll secure it with a screw. Then, you take the new cover piece, that includes the new 3.5″ bay, and slide into place where the original cover once stood. A small connector will fit through a slot in the cover, and you’ll connect that to the adapter that you had just installed.
After that, sliding the 3.5″ drive into place is a snap. The power for the hard drive plugs right into the back of the console, and creates another pass-through for the system’s power cord.
Slide the plastic cover over the front end of the data bank, and we’re done! That wasn’t so hard was it?
Plug the power cord and HDMI back into the back of the PS4, and make sure, BEFORE you power the system on, that you first plug in the USB cord to both the console and the controller, and also plug in your flash drive with the firmware and backups. Hold the power button for 7 seconds and the system will enter safe mode.
You will be able to select “initialize PS4” and this will install the latest firmware (system software) update. Once the Playstation has done its thing, you can then get started with restoring your settings, and downloading all of your games. The remainder of my project is just that — downloading games, and re-organizing my PC hard drives as well. This wasn’t how I was expecting to end my weekend, but it was fun nonetheless!
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