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PS5 uses solid-state drives: why is that important?

Sony has begun to detail its plans for the next generation of the PlayStation, which is not yet technically named, but likely to be the PlayStation 5. One of the biggest changes the company is making concerns the system's storage solution from a standard hard drive to a custom solid-state drive.

SSDs are common in laptops and mobile phones, but are less commonly used with hardware that stays in a place such as a desktop or video game console. Optical disks were used throughout the console, but SSDs offer some important benefits. The difference is similar to that between portable storage media such as CDs and thumb drives, and there is a good reason that one has almost completely replaced the other.

The big advantage, as seen in the interview, comes at load times. Hardware architect Mark Cerny used Marvel's Spider-Man as an example. The quick charge screen took about 1

5 seconds for a PS4 Pro and less than a second for a development kit for the PS5. Because the new hardware is backward compatible with legacy games, it means your upgrade load times are likely to be reduced across the board.

Faster loading can also mean faster rendering, so games that are known for speed get more architecture and more speed textures faster. Spider-Man was also used here as an example because the camera was accelerated to show how the city could render faster.

The lack of moving parts in a solid-state drive generally also means less cooling. Current console owners know that especially hardware-intensive parts of games can cause the fan to start up at high speed, causing a distracting whirring sound. There is still a long way to go from the PS5, and we have not seen it in action yet, but the SSD is likely to require less cooling and reduce fan noise.

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