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Best External Hard Drives For PS3

Updated on March 19, 2015

Using An External Hard Drive With PS3


Can you use an external hard drive with ps3?

Of course you can, it just takes a little preparation before you can back up all your data. Doesn't matter if you have a ps3 slim or ps3 phat, you can back them up to external HDD no problem.

Well....a little hassle, but definitely no problems, and totally worth it in the long run. Can you imagine losing all your game data? No thank you!

Here's the top 5 if you're looking for the best Internal ps3 Hard drive

  • The ps3 is formatted with FAT32, so to use an external hard drive straight out of the box, it has to also be pre-formatted with FAT32. You can get an NTFS formatted drive, it's just a matter of reformatting on your PC. If you've ever found that your ps3 wont recognize external hard drive, it's because it's not FAT32.
  • Being formatted with FAT32 means the external hard drive can move from ps3 to PC without any read or write conflicts making it completely compatible.

Just on a side note, games and files are becoming bigger as time goes on, simply because of the hardware capabilities of the latest consoles.

It always pays to go for maximum storage space, especially with HD files and ps4 games coming along. It's rumored that the games being developed for the ps4 launch are being given a 4GB size limit for now, and that it will ship out with a 160GB internal hard disk drive, upgradeable like the ps3.

  • The ps4 has 3.0 USB ports, and is able to take full advantage of the 3.0 usb HDDs.

Ok, now that's out of the way, here's a few specs to go by, so there's no problems down the road.

  • As silly as it may sound, ensure you get an external hard drive that is bigger than the capacity of your current drive so you can fit all your current data onto it! Sounds easy to remember, but you'd be surprised.
  • Make sure the external hard drive is USB 2.0 not 3.0, unless the 3.0 is backwards compatible. Unless you plan on getting a ps4...The ps4 will have USB 3.0 ports
  • Buying an external hard drive that is already formatted with FAT32 makes no difference to performance. The only difference is that NTFS has to be reformatted first.
  • FAT32 is usually partitioned into 32GB blocks, but you can get around that, it will have the 4gb file limit on file size for transfers though

The following drives have been tried, tested and reviewed on Amazon.com by ps3 owners. They have all come up as ps3 compatible, some may be 3.0 USB but they are backwards compatible with 2.0

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BIPRA 250GB External Portable Hard Drive

  • BIPRA has a range spanning from 60GB to 1TB, so it's bound to meet any need

Preformatted with FAT32 for ps3 compatibility

  • This makes for the most frictionless, pain free set up EVER. Already pre formatted in FAT32 means absolutely NO hassle with googling, plugging in to a PC, forum searching, Reddit posting or troubleshooting. Just plug and play my friend, plug. and. play.

USB 2.0


USB powered

  • No AC power source needed, very handy when you have a power socket shortage as it is.

Use with Windows, Mac and ps3

  • Aaaahhhhh, say it with me....versatility.


Digistor 500GB Portable Hard Drive For Ps3

500GB external hard drive

  • That's PLENTY of space for pretty much everything. To put it in perspective, the PS4 comes with 500GB storage, and the games are much larger on ps4.

Preformatted for ps3 compatibility

  • I just LOVE how producers are clued in to the fact that EVERYONE wants "no hassle - no fuss, just plug it in and have it work" hardware.


USB 3.0 and 2.0 backwards compatibility

USB powered

  • Without doubt, this should be definitive criteria when selecting any drive.


Just note this is a third party seller that advertises on Amazon.com but they ship internationally. Check their amazon.com page to visit their site and order the 500GB drive directly.

Digistor 1tb External Hard Drive For Ps3

1tb external hard drive

  • OK this is definitely for those that are absolutely serious about their online gaming. If you spend a lot of time on PSN and download tons of content, then you are going to need this.

PS3 compatible pre-formatted with FAT32

  • I can't emphasize the importance of pre-formatted enough. It is a MAJOR hassle to reformat a drive. You have to walk to the PC, turn it on, plug in the drive, open windows, click things, get lost, frustrated, and give up. Seriously, save the hassle, do it for you.

USB 3.0 and USB2.0 backwards compatible

  • I'm going to take the time to explain the difference in USB numbers here. So USB 3.0 is faster and more power efficent than it's predecessor Mr. USB 2.0. USB 3.0 are backwards compatible with USB 2.0 BUT speed is limited to that of USB 2.0. If you team up a USB 3.0 with another USB 3.0 like the ps4 then you are cooking with GAS my friend!

USB powered

oohhh Sayy it onnceee/saayy it twiicceee/just say it anyway you like iiiiitttt......Ultra anyone? No? 90's Brit band? oookkk..... moving on.

Just note this is a third party seller that advertises on Amazon.com but they ship internationally. Check their amazon.com page to visit their site and order the 1tb drive directly.

WD My Passport 1TB Portable External Hard Drive Storage USB 3.0 Black

1tb external hard drive

  • For the L33T

(It's g33k speak, I'm not even sure if it's relevant to console gaming, or if it is specifically for PC gaming only, whatev's, gives me cred)

NTFS format

  • Sometimes, it just can't be helped. This drive wIll need to be reformatted to FAT32 or have a FAT32 partition added to be readable by the ps3. Or, if it's intended use is for movie and media storage, leave it plugged into the PC and stream. This drive is a quality, lasting all rounder, in case your ps3 dies before the drive does.


USB 3.0 with USB 2.0 backwards compatibility
USB powered
PC ready

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex Desk 2 TB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive


2tb External Hard Drive
PC and Mac ready
USB 3.0 with USB 2.0 backwards compatibility
NTFS formatted
AC power supply

Backing Up A PS3 Hard Drive

Here's an awesome guide for backing up your ps3 to an external hard drive.

Another guide that mentions how to use selective back up. This is a

manual back up, good for when you only want to copy a few things off the internal drive.

Trophies are synced to a PSN account. So they won't be wiped out at all, and will pick up right where they left off when you play again.

PS3 External Hard Drive Format And Compatibility

Format ps3 Hard Drive

PS3 compatibility requires the FAT32 format. If you've ever googled the following terms:

  • ps3 wont recognize external hard drive
  • ps3 wont read external hard drive
  • ps3 not detecting external hard drive

You've probably tried to plug an NTFS formatted drive straight into a ps3 and thought no dice!

Ok, so most external HDD's are formatted with NTFS, which is a totes nifty system...but the ps3 uses FAT32...which is not as nifty.

So far the complaints are something along the lines of

  • FAT32 can only be formatted into 32GB blocks

This used to be true. Thanks to the awesome advancement of technology, it's now do-able.

See, if the drive was formatted into 32GB blocks, odds are, the ps3 would only recognize the first partition, potentially turning a 250GB external HDD into a 32GB one.

But now it can be partitioned into any size up to 2tb.

Convert NTFS to FAT32 on Windows

Handy walk through I found so you can reformat from NTFS to FAT32 using Windows....Or watch the video below.

How To Format NTFS to FAT32 On Mac

Here's a step by step tutorial that I found on the net to format NTFS to FAT32 using Mac...or you can just watch the video below.

To Partition more than 32GB of FAT32 Drive

Check out fat32format to partition the entire drive. This way you don't end up with a bunch of 32GB blocks.

FAT32Format is meant to be extremely quick, and work with vista and later.

Transfer file sizes are limited to 4GB though, any bigger file will not transfer to the drive. Getting around this is pretty easy...It's just a matter of splitting up the big files.

Play PS3 Games From External Hard Drive

If you wan't to play games directly from the external hard drive, this guy has figured out how to do it.

With the looming ps4 launch, extra space is going to be a must. Movie and game downloads from PSN and PlaystationPlus are eventually going to take up a lot of space...Not to mention music and video transferred from PC...Getting maximum storage is definitely a priority.

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