Early on, Sony made it clear that users would have physical access to the 500GB hard drive in the PS4, but the exact details surrounding the process were slim. Now, we have a hands-on confirmation that anyone with the will and a screwdriver can replace the drive inside of Sony’s next console. Too bad a 500GB SSD will cost just about as much as the PS4 itself.
German website ComputerBild has posted a series of hands-on pictures with a pre-release PS4 model. Based on the machine-translated German text, the 2.5-inch laptop-style hard drive is held in place with simple Phillips-head screws, so it’ll be simple to remove. Even better, it will fit drives as tall as 12.5mm — substantially more spacious than the PS3′s maximum of 9.5mm. If you are interested in tearing down the rest of the console, you’re going to need to invest in a set of Torx screwdrivers. Still, this is an extremely consumer-friendly decision that shows Sony’s commitment to pleasing the enthusiast crowd with the PS4.
If Sony wanted to crack down on console tweaking and customization, it could have easily shipped with proprietary connections, embedded flash storage, or at least special screws. Instead, Sony is embracing consumer choice just like it did with the PS3. On day-one, you’ll be able to swap out the standard 500GB hard drive with a larger hard drive or a super-fast SSD. Even if only a handful of people ever bother to upgrade the drives, this is a huge win for the PlayStation team’s public image.
On the other hand, Microsoft isn’t playing ball with the enthusiast crowd. The Xbox One’s hard drive will not be user-accessible, so early adopters are stuck between a rock and a hard place. Do they live with the meager internal storage space, or void the warranty while upgrading? Both the PS4 and Xbox One will feature USB 3.0 ports, but the functionality will be limited for the time being. If we can expect next-gen games to consistently reach the 50GB mark, the standard hard drive just isn’t going to be enough.
Frankly, Microsoft’s decision with the Xbox One’s locked-down hard drive is a disappointment. Hell, even the Xbox 360 features upgradable hard drives. The drives were wrapped in an annoying proprietary enclosure, but that’s better than nothing. This time around, it appears that enthusiasts aren’t at the top of Microsoft’s mind.ComputerBild]