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Sony's new PS5 software beta allows SSD installation, 3D audio on TVs

The console maker also specifies which M.2 SSDs can be used and how to install them.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The first software beta for the PlayStation 5 has arrived with a few useful tricks: You can expand the internal SSD storage and use the PS5's 3D audio effects on external speakers. Sony invited PS5 owners to register for the beta in June, but the update's arrived now.

The PS5 beta previews features that will come to the PS5 in their final form later this year. If you're concerned about putting a beta on your $500 game console, hold off till then. (We haven't tested it yet.) It does have some notable upgrades -- mainly, the chance to update your PS5 storage.

The ability to replace the internal fast SSD means that people could, finally, add more storage for PS5 game downloads. The PS5 already enables plugging in USB-C SSD drives, but those can't be used to store PS5 games.

But, Sony has very specific guidance for what M.2 SSD drives are required and how they need to be installed. According to Sony, the beta can be rolled back to the normal PS5 OS, but the user-replaced SSD won't work if that's done. So be careful and keep that in mind.

Also of note: The immersive 3D audio that works via headphones on the PS5 also works with TV speakers using the beta software. The effect is calibrating using the DualSense microphone, according to Sony.

Now playing: Watch this: Install an M.2 SSD in your PS5 with a heatsink upgrade
Now playing: Watch this: Sony's new PS5 software beta allows SSD installation

Other features in the beta, per Sony:

  • Players can personalize the Control Center more freely by rearranging or choosing which controls to hide or unhide.
  • Players can easily view and write messages to friends and Parties directly from Game Base in the Control Center.
  • Players can also see how many of their friends are online, busy, or offline under the Friends tab in Game Base, as well as accept, decline or cancel multiple friend requests at once.
  • Different platform versions of the same game will now appear separately on the Home screen and in the "Installed" tab of the Game Library. Each game's tile now also clearly indicates its platform.
  • Players can use the resolution selector for PlayStation Now to choose between 720p or 1080p, or use a streaming connection test to identify and fix connection issues.
  • When players compete in challenges for a better time or a higher score and set a new personal best, a video clip of the action will automatically be recorded.
  • Following an online match, players can award others with a fourth accolade type, "Leader."
  • A new Trophy Tracker lets players quickly access up to five trophies per game through the Control Center.