In this era of ever-increasing game installation sizes, the best external SSD is inseparable from you. This is necessary for PC and even game console gamers, especially considering the limited storage space of gaming laptops, PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S-expanding your game library to a large external SSD is a practical option s solution.
Like the best laptops, these two next-generation game consoles support portable USB 3.2 drives for expanded storage, and an external SSD drive means you can run games directly from it. As long as you have a convenient drive, you can use it between your PC and other devices, allowing your data to flow easily and safely, which is worth mentioning.
The best USB Type-C drive is your best choice. Its performance exceeds that of internal PC SSDs a few generations ago. Some external SSDs now support up to 2GB/s of raw bandwidth. Admittedly, this is a far cry from the latest PCIe 4.0 M.2 drives for PCs, not to mention the ultra-fast integrated storage in the new Microsoft Xbox Series X and Sony PlayStation 5.
More importantly, the dedicated expansion SSD for Xbox Series X/S is not only expensive; it is also proprietary, so it cannot be used with other devices. In contrast, USB Type-C is the new universal standard. As for Sony’s PlayStation 5, its M.2 SSD expansion slot has finally been enabled, but USB Type-C is still an attractive option for easy expansion.
Best external SSD
Inside NVMe? Yes. TLC NAND memory? affim. Improve the IP rating of robustness, including waterproofing? Check. All for attractive prices? comfirmed. ADATA SE800 Ultra FAST 1TB does have many advantages.
It starts with the M.2 NVMe drive connected to the USB interface. In this case, it is a 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface, not a 20Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 connection. But this drive still claims to be suitable for bidirectional 1GB/s data transfer. Lest you forget, this is approximately twice as much as any SATA-based drive, including internal SSDs that are locally connected via SATA.
This makes it unique among these SSDs, and, given the competitive price, you can get a valid IP rating for free. In terms of performance, in the test, ADATA provided a 1GB/s sequential transmission specification, while increasing the 4K random throughput, which is equivalent to the competitor’s read speed and write speed of 21MB/s and 40MB/s, respectively.
If you are looking for fast USB-powered external storage for gaming, it is sufficient for now. At least, in theory. The WD Black P50 gaming hard drive is tested here in the 1TB format. It is available in 500GB and 2TB specifications. It is a rare USB Type-C external SSD. That’s because it supports the fastest USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps interface, which is why it can achieve read and write speeds of up to 2,000MB/s.
As for real-world performance, in terms of peak order, the WD Black P50 easily reached the maximum value of the 10Gbps connection of our test PC, and the recording speed in both directions was slightly higher than 1GB/s. It may be able to reach the advertised 2GB/s through the correct interface. The sustained performance is not so impressive, after about 30GB of data transfer, the performance drops to about 375MB/s. For the 4K QD1 indicator, the random access performance is reasonable but not amazing, with a read speed of 22MB/s and a write speed of 40MB/s.
If you want all of this, you will have to pay for it. So sometimes compromises make sense. Enter Crucial X8 2TB USB Type-C SSD. It is not the absolute fastest external SSD on the planet. But it is fast. It is very spacious. It is built into a very sturdy metal housing. And its price is very attractive. In fact, it is now available at Best Buy for $239. This is more than $150 less than the 2TB decoration of WD’s Black P50 Game Drive.
Therefore, this has been proved in our tests, and the two-way sequential transmission speed of Crucial X8 is lower than 1GB/s. For this type of drive, 4K random performance is also good, with a read speed of 27MB/s at QD1 and a write speed of slightly higher than 40MB/s. Given the use of QLC NAND, a big question mark is sustained performance. However, although the Crucial X8 did drop to 380MB/s under continuous traffic, it maintained a level of tens of GB in our tests, which puts it on par with the more expensive WD drives.
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For advanced users who want everything-speed, capacity and portability-and are willing to pay a high price for it, Samsung’s portable SSD T5 is one of the smartest solutions available.
It is faster than any available USB flash drive, it has the capacity of a hard drive, and you can carry it inconspicuously in your pocket. This compact drive has the same DNA as Samsung’s 860 Evo SSD, but is smaller.
Speed will not come at the expense of storage space. Although it is easy to run into the storage limits of 32GB, 64GB, or even 128GB USB flash drives, when dealing with terabytes of space, you will find more breathing room, which is exactly what T5 provides. The maximum capacity of the first-generation T1 was 1TB, while Samsung doubled the maximum capacity of the T5 to 2TB. This is to achieve a denser configuration and upgrade the stacking layer of V-NAND flash memory cells from 32 to 48 layers. .
As far as external USB Type-C SSDs are concerned, there is only a fine line between compelling and compromising. For our money, Crucial X6 falls on the wrong side of this gap.
One of the knock-on effects of this architectural difference is that the X8 has a full 2GB of DRAM cache, while the X6 does not. X6 does support features such as TRIM pass-through, but this is not always the case on cheaper USB drives, and ensures that performance should be maintained for a long time. For a 2TB drive, it is also very compact, measuring 69 x 64 x 11 mm.
As for raw performance, the peak write speed of 378MB/s is a bit disappointing, as is the 12MB/s 4K QD1 write throughput. It is also worth noting that the write performance will eventually drop to 180MB/s with sustained throughput. However, in our test, even if the continuous traffic exceeds 50GB, it has never dropped below this value.
This is not the fastest USB Type-C SSD you can buy for gaming. However, it is far from the most expensive. For example, compared with WD Black P50 Game Drive, the Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD 1TB brand seems a bit far-fetched. The read speed is 540MB/s and the write speed is 500MB/s, which is not so fast at all.
Again, the exquisite WD Drive with NVMe SSD and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps interface costs approximately 75% higher for the same 1TB capacity. In addition, due to limited interface support, most PCs and all consoles are unable to provide much improved performance.
This is a big problem. But not all. Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD 1TB is essentially a SATA SSD behind a USB bridge, which means that although the drive has a 10Gbps USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface, the performance is limited to 6Gbps. More importantly, in our test, the Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD 1TB can’t even provide its claimed moderate performance, and the clock for sequential write performance is only 306MB/s. Under continuous multi-GB workloads, it also dropped to only 190MB/s.
It can be said that the more problematic is the existence of NVMe-based drives with similar money. For example, the peak sequential performance of the ADATA SE800 Ultra FAST 1TB is approximately twice as fast. Unfortunately, the Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD is stylish and stylish, with LED status lights. Seagate’s file synchronization and backup software is very convenient. But there is better performance in other places.
The best external SSD FAQ
Should I buy NMVe or SATA external SSD?
In terms of performance, you can choose a drive based on the SATA interface and a USB bridge, or an NVMe interface (also located behind the USB bridge). SATA-based USB Type-C drives can achieve peak performance of up to 540MB/s, and the NVMe option raises the bet to a maximum of 2GB/s.
At least they do it in theory. To achieve these peak speeds, you need a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port with 20Gbps capability. This is still relatively rare on PCs and laptops, and is not available on any game console, including the new Sony PlayStation 5 and Microsoft Xbox Series X. Instead, you will find that most high-speed USB ports can reach up to 10Gbps.
In fact, USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 is unlikely to be widely used. On the contrary, USB 4 may take over, increasing the bandwidth to 40Gbps. But the good news is that USB 4 is backward compatible with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2. Therefore, in the future, you can use the USB 4 interface to get maximum performance from a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps drive.
What type of NAND flash memory should I choose?
As far as performance is concerned, interface specifications are not the only deciding factor. Characteristics such as controller specifications and the type and quality of NAND flash memory used are also important, although identifying finer details is not always easy. Many manufacturers are reluctant to provide complete specifications. For example, the bottom performance of drives with four-level QLC NAND memory tends to be worse than that of drives with three-level TLC memory.
Shape and other decorations should also be part of your calculations. Some drives are designed to be particularly rugged; others include additional features such as hardware encryption, status LEDs, and even fingerprint scanners to increase security. Some of these functions are far from the basic responsibility of providing high-performance storage space for the game library. But you may also be looking for a drive that can perform multiple functions.