Sony PlayStation 4 Pro Boosts Data Storage Speeds With SATA 3.0 Interface

For the most part, Sony's chosen to focus on the broader picture for its PlayStation 4 Pro console and is more than happy to discuss all the things it supports, such as 4K output and High Dynamic Range content. But turn the talk to detailed hardware specifications and Sony quickly clams up. Well, usually. In a rare moment of reveal, Sony told a Japanese-language blog that the PS4 Pro will feature a SATA 3.0 interface.

PlayStation 4 Pro

That revelation came by way of a correction. Initially, Sony Interactive Entertainment vice president Masayasu Ito told 4Gamer that the PS4 Pro wouldn't support the faster SATA interface and that it would continue to use SATA 2.0. After reading the remarks, Sony sent a statement to the site correcting his remarks and confirming that yes, the PS4 Pro is in fact making the jump to SATA 3.0.

The upgrade from SATA 2.0 to SATA 3.0 effectively doubles the bandwidth from 3Gbps to 6Gbps. That's not going to matter much if Sony saddles the PS4 Pro with a pokey 5,400 RPM hard drive, as it probably will to keep costs low. So why be excited about this? It's the aftermarket upgrades that could be a big deal, and specifically the storage.

PlayStation 4 HDD
Sony provides instructions on how to swap the storage on the PlayStation 4

Sony hasn't said whether users will be able to swap the 1TB hard drive for a different storage device, as is possible on the PlayStation 4. But if so, whether officially or unofficially, the faster storage interface makes it feasible to pop a solid state drive into the PS4 Pro.

The timing couldn't be any better. SSD pricing has dropped significantly in the past few years, and with the recent push to PCIe-based SSDs, we're finally starting to see capacious SATA SSDs that don't cost a king's ransom. Case in point, Crucial's 1TB MX300 SSD is less than $250 on Amazon, and there are several other 1TB priced about the same.

Granted, a $250 upgrade isn't exactly cheap. And assuming the PS4 Pro supports drive swapping, we don't know what the real-world performance difference would be like—would load times be faster enough to justify the cost? Be that as it may, for those who want to squeeze the most performance out of their console as possible—something we often try to do with PCs—it looks like storage will be one of those avenues.