Best external SSD for gaming on PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X

The perfect exterior SSD can be probably the most vital investments you make in your PC. The place HDD stumbles, SSDs provide the pace, reliability and dimension essential to tackle todays video games, particularly as recreation set up sizes balloon with each new launch. With PC gaming, and even on console, an exterior SSD is usually a necessity, particularly because the cupboard space of gaming laptops, PlayStation 5, or Xbox Sequence X/S might be fairly limiting. You possibly can even run video games instantly from it, or use it to switch saves recordsdata.

The perfect USB Kind-C drives are your finest guess, giving up efficiency in extra of inside PC SSDs from just a few generations in the past. Some exterior SSDs now assist as much as 2GB/s of uncooked bandwidth. Admittedly, that’s a great distance off the most recent PCIe four.zero M.2 drives for PCs, not to mention the crazy-quick built-in storage within the new Microsoft Xbox Sequence X and Sony PlayStation 5. 

The Xbox Sequence X/S official growth SSD just isn’t solely costly it’s additionally proprietary, so can’t be used with different units—whereas USB Kind-C is the brand new common normal. As for Sony’s PlayStation 5, its inside M.2 SSD growth slot has lastly been enabled, however USB Kind-C remains to be a tempting possibility for simple growth.

Whichever approach you go, and what kind of price range you're taking a look at, now we have you lined. The suggestions beneath are completely made up of merchandise we've tried and examined ourselves, they usually're all worthy of increasing your PC or console's storage in a pinch.

Greatest exterior SSD

Top down shot of the Adata SE800 on a grey background.

(Picture credit score: Adata)

1. ADATA SE800 1TB

All spherical finest exterior SSD

Storage: 1 TB | Connectivity: USB three.2 Kind-C | Sequential learn: 1 GB/s | Dimensions: 73 x 44 x 12 mm | Guarantee: three years

Quick NVMe know-how
Competitively priced
IP68 mud and water proofing
Makes use of the 10Gbps Gen2 interface

NVMe inside? Yep. TLC NAND reminiscence? Affirmative. IP ranking for elevated robustness, together with waterproofing? Verify. All for a sexy worth? Confirmed. The ADATA SE800 Extremely FAST 1TB actually does have fairly a bit going for it.

It begins with that M.2 NVMe drive, bridged to a USB interface. On this case, it’s a 10Gbps USB three.2 Gen 2 interface relatively than a 20Gbps USB three.2 Gen 2×2 connection. However this drive remains to be claimed to be good for 1GB/s knowledge transfers in each instructions. Lest you’ve got forgotten, that’s round twice as quick as any SATA-based drives, together with inside SSDs related natively by way of SATA.

That makes it distinctive amongst these SSDs, and, what’s extra, given the aggressive pricing, you’re getting that IP ranking successfully at no cost. Efficiency-wise, in testing, the ADATA delivers within the headline 1GB/s spec for sequential transfers whereas notching up 4K random throughput that’s akin to the competitors at 21MB/s for reads and 40MB/s for writes.

Western Digital WD Black P50 Game Drive on a grey background

(Picture credit score: Western Digital)

2. WD Black P50 Sport Drive 1TB

The quickest USB Kind-C gaming drive on the town

Storage: 1 TB | Connectivity: USB three.2 2×2 Kind-C | Sequential learn: 2 GB/s | Dimensions: 118 x 62 x 14 mm | Guarantee: 5 years

USB three.2 Gen 2×2 connectivity
As much as 2GB sequential efficiency
Middling sustained switch speeds

For those who’re searching for quick USB-powered exterior storage for video games, that is at the moment nearly as good because it will get. At the very least, it’s in idea. The WD Black P50 Sport Drive, examined right here in 1TB format, and out there in 500GB and 2TB flavors, is a uncommon breed of USB Kind-C exterior SSD. That’s as a result of it helps the very quickest USB three.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps interface, which is why it’s able to learn and write speeds as much as 2,000MB/s.

As for real-world efficiency, by way of peak sequential, the WD Black P50 simply maxed out the 10Gbps connection of our check PC, registering simply over 1GB/s in each instructions. It’s probably able to the marketed 2GB/s with the correct interface. Sustained efficiency is rather less spectacular, with efficiency dropping to round 375MB/s after round 30GB of knowledge switch. Random entry efficiency is affordable relatively than spectacular, with 22MB/s reads, and 40MB/s writes for the 4K QD1 metric.

Top down shot of the Crucial X8 on a grey background

(Picture credit score: Essential)

three. Essential X8 2TB

An excellent-value NVMe-based exterior SSD

Storage: 2 TB | Connectivity: USB three.2 Kind-C | Sequential learn: 1,zero50 MB/s | Dimensions: 110 x 53 x 12 mm | Guarantee: three years

Sturdy NVMe efficiency
2GB DRAM cache
Wholesome 2TB of storage
QLC flash does drop sustained speeds

If you would like all of it, you’re going to need to pay for it. So, typically it is smart to compromise. Enter the Essential X8 2TB USB Kind-C SSD. It’s not absolutely the quickest exterior SSD on Earth. However it’s fast. It’s extraordinarily capacious. It’s constructed into a extremely solid-feeling metallic case. And it’s attractively priced. In actual fact, proper now, it’s out there at Greatest Purchase for $239. That’s over $150 lower than WD’s Black P50 Sport Drive in 2TB trim.

And so it proves in our testing, with the Essential X8 good for slightly below 1GB/s for sequential transfers in each instructions. 4K random efficiency is first rate, too, for this class of drive, with reads of 27MB/s and writes simply over 40MB/s at QD1. Given the usage of QLC NAND, one huge query mark is sustained efficiency. Nevertheless, whereas the Essential X8 does drop all the way down to 380MB/s with sustained site visitors, in our testing, it maintained that stage for a lot of tens of GB, which places it on a par with the costlier WD drive.

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Samsung T5 SSD front view on a grey background

(Picture credit score: Samsung)

four. Samsung T5 SSD

A sensible SSD constructed to final

Storage: 1 TB | Connectivity: USB three.1 Kind-C | Sequential learn: 484 MB/s | Dimensions: 76 x 58 x 10 mm | Guarantee: three years

A lot sooner than HDDs
Simply matches in your pocket
As much as 2TB of storage capability
Premium pricing means you pay extra for identical capability discovered elsewhere

For the ability person who desires all of it—pace, capability, and portability—and who’s keen to pay a premium for it, Samsung’s Moveable SSD T5 is without doubt one of the slickest options on the market. 

It’s sooner than any USB flash drive out there, it has the capability of a tough drive, and you may carry it inconspicuously in your pocket. This spunky little drive shares the identical DNA as Samsung’s 860 Evo SSD, simply in a smaller bundle.

Pace doesn’t come on the expense of cupboard space both. Whereas it’s straightforward to stumble upon the storage ceiling of a 32GB, 64GB, or perhaps a 128GB USB flash drive, you’ll discover there’s rather more respiratory room when coping with terabytes of house, which is what the T5 affords. Whereas the primary technology T1 topped out at 1TB, Samsung doubled the utmost capability of the T5 to 2TB, a results of upgrading from 32 to 48 stacked layers of V-NAND flash reminiscence cells for a denser configuration.

Top down shot of the Crucial X6 on a grey background

(Picture credit score: Essential)

5. Essential X6 2TB

The hardest exterior laborious drive in the marketplace

Storage: 2 TB | Connectivity: USB three.2 Kind-C | Sequential learn: 540 MB/s | Dimensions: 69 x 64 x 11 mm | Guarantee: three years

A lot of storage
Respectable efficiency
No DRAM cache
No USB-A cable included

There’s a effective line between compelling and compromised relating to exterior USB Kind-C SSDs. For our cash, the Essential X6 falls on simply the unsuitable aspect of that divide.

One of many knock-on implications of that architectural distinction is that the X8 has a totally 2GB of DRAM cache the place the X6 has none in any respect. The X6 does assist options like TRIM passthrough, which isn’t at all times the case on cheaper USB drives and ensures that efficiency must be sustained in the long run. It’s additionally very compact for a 2TB drive, measuring 69 x 64 x 11mm.

As for uncooked efficiency, peak write speeds are a little bit disappointing at 378MB/s, as is the 12MB/s 4K QD1 write throughput. It’s additionally price noting that write efficiency finally drops to 180MB/s with sustained throughput. Nevertheless, in our testing, it by no means dropped decrease than that, even with over 50GB of sustained site visitors.

Top down shot of the Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD on a greay background

(Picture credit score: Seagate)

6. Seagate Barracuda Quick SSD 1TB

A barely underwhelming SATA-based SSD

Storage: 1 TB | Connectivity: USB three.2 Kind-C | Sequential learn: 540 MB/s | Dimensions: 93 x 79 x 9 mm | Guarantee: three years

Good software program bundle
Slim chassis
Mediocre efficiency

This isn’t the quickest USB Kind-C SSD you should purchase for gaming. However then, it’s removed from the most costly. In contrast, say, to the WD Black P50 Sport Drive, the branding of the Seagate Barracuda Quick SSD 1TB appears like a little bit of stretch. Rated at 540MB/s for reads and 500MB/s for writes, it’s merely nowhere close to as fast.

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Then once more, that fancy WD Drive with its NVMe SSD and USB three.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps interface prices roughly 75 % extra for a similar 1TB of capability. Furthermore, an excessive amount of that elevated efficiency isn’t out there on most PCs and all consoles as a consequence of restricted interface assist.

An excellent deal that’s. However not all. The Seagate Barracuda Quick SSD 1TB is actually a SATA SSD behind a USB bridge, which suggests efficiency is restricted to 6Gbps regardless of the drive’s 10Gbps USB three.2 Gen 2 interface. What’s extra, in our testing, the Seagate Barracuda Quick SSD 1TB couldn’t even ship its modest claimed efficiency, clocking simply 306MB/s for sequential write efficiency. It additionally drops down to simply 190MB/s with sustained multi-GB workloads.

Arguably much more problematic is the existence of NVMe-based drives for comparable cash. The ADATA SE800 Extremely FAST 1TB, as an illustration, is round twice as fast for peak sequential efficiency. It’s a pity as a result of the Seagate Barracuda Quick SSD appears slick with its modern enclosure and LED standing gentle. And Seagate’s file syncing and backup software program is helpful. However there’s higher efficiency available elsewhere.

The perfect exterior SSDs FAQ

Ought to I purchase an NMVe or SATA exterior SSD?

Efficiency-wise, your selection is between a drive based mostly on the SATA interface with a bridge to USB, or an NVMe interface, once more behind a USB bridge. SATA-based USB Kind-C drives high out at round 540MB/s peak efficiency, whereas the NVMe choices up the ante to a most of 2GB/s.

At the very least they do, in idea. To attain these peak speeds, you’d want a USB three.2 Gen 2×2 port with 20Gbps functionality. That’s one thing that continues to be comparatively uncommon on PCs and laptops and isn’t out there on any console, together with the brand new Sony PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Xbox Sequence X. As an alternative, you’ll discover most high-speed USB ports high out at 10Gbps.

Certainly, it’s unlikely that USB three.2 Gen 2×2 will ever change into broadly used. As an alternative, USB four will probably take over, growing bandwidth to 40Gbps. However the excellent news is that USB four is backward appropriate with USB three.2 Gen 2×2. So, it is going to be doable to extract most efficiency from a USB three.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps drives sooner or later utilizing a USB four interface.

What kind of NAND flash ought to I am going for?

Interface specification isn’t the one deciding issue relating to efficiency. Options like controller specification and the sort and high quality of NAND flash used are additionally vital, although it’s not at all times straightforward to establish the finer particulars. Many producers are reluctant to cite full specs. As an illustration, drives with four-level QLC NAND reminiscence will are likely to have worse underlying efficiency than these with triple-layer TLC reminiscence.

Kind issue and different frills must also be a part of your calculations. Some drives are constructed to be significantly sturdy; others embrace extras like hardware encryption, standing LEDs, and even fingerprint scanners for added safety. A few of these options pretty tangential to the essential remit of offering high-performance cupboard space for a video games library. However you may additionally be searching for a drive that may serve a couple of function.

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