Monday, June 15, 2015

Nyko Data Bank (PS4)

Nyko Data Bank Pics

So I got my PS4 back on launch day and even before first boot I swapped the internal drive with a 1.5TB.  At the time that was the largest readily available 2.5" 9.5mm hard drive.  Today, you can get bigger drives but still not as big as 3.5" desktop hard drives.  Unlike the Wii U and XBOX One you can't use an external USB hard drive to run games off of.  Enter the Nyko Data Bank which I picked up at Amazon for $40.

There have been solutions before wiring up 3.5" external enclosures with esata to the internal sata port on the ps4 but they weren't very elegant and you had to deal with the enclosure being on a separate power switch.  So you had to make sure the hard drive was on before the ps4.

Enter the data bank which is a pretty well integrated solution.  It consists of a plastic sata sled pass through in the shape of an internal 2.5" hdd along with the bracket around it.  That routes the sata data/power upward at a 90 degree angle.  Then, you have a replacement cover that houses the 3.5" hdd and a little ribbon cable that routes the sata from the sled up to the back of the enclosure.  Power is pulled from the plug and then passes through to the ps4 so everything powers up together.  Overall, it's a pretty elegant solution.

It comes packaged with some pretty detailed instructions but here are some nice instructions on swapping the hard drive.   So with the latest ps4 2.50 firmware they added a backup/restore function that basically images your hdd to an external usb hard drive and then let you restore form that.  It sounded perfect because then you don't have to re-download all your games.  I have close to 900GB of data.
WARNING: DO NOT USE THE BACKUP/RESTORE FUNCTION IN FIRMWARE 2.50.  It's currently very buggy.  I spent about 12 hours backing up and another 7 restoring.  It looked like everything went OK but then the ps4 started having all sorts of odd issues:
- Most of my games were corrupt and couldn't start.  Deleting and re-downloading the game would cause CE-38612-0 error and would prevent any game from starting.
- Non responsive controls
- Putting the ps4 into sleep mode would crash it.
- No amount of restarting, unplugging, or database rebuilding would help.
- Tried turning off internet connection which didn't help.
I finally had to re-initialize and reinstall from scratch clean after first manually backing up each individual game's save files to a usb flash drive.  Don't forget to sync your trophies and backup any video or screen captures you want to save.  After configuring all my settings and logging into PSN I re-downloaded The Witcher 3 and everything was working fine.  Now, I'm trying to re-download all my games which is going to take a few days.  It's a real PITA and sony needs to get this fixed pronto.  FYI, you can queue P.T. to re-download but it will fail with an error.  Oh well, I guess I lost that game demo.

I installed this 4TB seagate SSHD which is one of their new hybrid drives.  It does seem a bit faster on load times.  I'll know better once I repeatedly load a game a few times.

Some possible drawbacks:
- Heat.  I'm not sure but I think it might add some heat.  As a bonus you move the hard drive completely outside of the ps4 but that 3.5" hard drive does generate a bit of heat.  The thing is passive so there are no additional fans.
- Bluetooth performance seems to be a bit worse but I'm not 100% sure on this.  This giant enclosure sitting on top of your ps4 might be inhibiting the bluetooth signal SLIGHTLY.  I'm still testing.  I don't really notice any issues while playing games but only in the cross media bar.  That might be because I'm trying to download and install my entire digital library of games though.

Recommended if you don't mind going through all the hassle to install this thing, migrate your data, and re-downloading all your software.  It really is a big pain but I think it is worth it in the end.

UPDATE 6/16/2015:
NOT RECOMMENDED.  Apparently the current ps4 firmware (2.50) isn't completely happy with volumes greater than 2TB.  It will crash when you sleep it consistently.  Reading the reviews on amazon I'm not the only one.  It's possible the backup/restore would work on a smaller hard drive but I don't know for sure right now.  Well, this kind of defeats the entire purpose of the device and Nyko should have been clearer on this point.  Even though technically nothing is wrong with the enclosure it's still kind of pointless to buy it now until a new firmware that plays nice with larger volumes comes out.  So now I have to decide either to swap back to my old hard drive and return the data bank (or keep it around until it's properly supported) or live with shutting down the ps4 everytime and keep my fingers crossed this gets fixed in future firmware update.  I think I'm going to swap back to my internal drive

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