When you run out of area in your gaming laptop computer, otherwise you merely need a straightforward approach to make your recreation library transportable, an exterior SSD offers a approach to develop storage with out the hassles concerned with putting in a drive.
However selecting an exterior SSD includes a dizzying headache of choices, and making a poor selection can go away you wanting. Fortunate for you, we’ve completed the testing and might provide some strong suggestions which are certain to assist, and never hinder, your gaming setup.
Up to date 02/28/2023 To incorporate the Samsung T7 Protect as our selection for finest high-capacity choice. Learn extra about out new decide under.
1. WD Black P50 Recreation Drive SSD (1TB) – Greatest general exterior SSD for gaming
As much as 2GBps with SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps
Distinctively militaristic styling
Dear in comparison with SuperSpeed 10Gbps drives
Requires the extraordinarily uncommon SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps port for full efficiency
No, we didn’t make this selection just because the drive is known as “Recreation Drive SSD.” This WD drive hits the efficiency standards you need and it options lust-worthy USB 3.2 SuperSpeed 20Gbps help. Though USB 3.2 SuperSpeed 20Gbps has been uncommon, many more recent motherboards help it right this moment. In case your PC doesn’t help it, the excellent news is that it’s going to help the much more frequent USB 3.2 SuperSpeed 10Gbps, the next-best factor. That also provides you good efficiency now, and future-proofs you in your subsequent mobo improve. Not like a typical transportable SSD that will have a plastic or rubber shell to soak up hits, the WD Black P50 is steel, which ought to assist wick and radiate the warmth from the smokin’ SSD inside. If final efficiency is what you’re after, WD’s P50 Recreation Drive is value each penny of its premium value.
Superspeed USB 20Gbps ports are few and much between
Seagate’s FireCuda Gaming SSD is a worthy various, however it has a a lot steeper price ticket for comparable efficiency to the WD Black P50. Nevertheless, the FireCuda has a fully beautiful exterior SSD and is worthy of a spot on any desktop. It’s not only a fairly façade although—it’s appropriate with a SuperSpeed USB 20Gbps port, that means it will possibly attain switch charges of as much as 2GBps. It’s definitely the coolest-looking exterior SSD on this listing, and if it weren’t for the premium value, it could most likely be our prime decide.
The Essential X6 Moveable SSD is a uniquely square-shaped SSD that may simply be positioned in your hip pocket. In a sea of transportable SSDs whose form makes them a literal ache when pocketed, the skinny, rounded-edge X6 is a sigh of reduction. It’s not solely small and straightforward to hold round, however it additionally packs some first rate efficiency, and also you received’t discover many cheaper. Whereas it’s not state-of-the-art quick, it’s quick sufficient for many customers and the inexpensive value makes it an incredible worth SSD.
Learn our full
Essential X6 Moveable SSD (2TB) assessment
4. Adata Elite SE880 SSD – Most transportable exterior SSD for gaming
Very quick, over-20Gbps USB connection
Extraordinarily small kind issue
Slows significantly throughout lengthy contiguous writes
Considerably low TBW ranking
Value When Reviewed:
$79.99 for 500GB I $129.99 for 1TB
The Essential X6 may be small, however it nonetheless can’t match the Adata’s Elite SE880 for portability. Measuring in at solely 2.55 inches lengthy, 1.38 inches vast, and 0.48 inches thick, it resembles a USB thumb drive greater than a regular exterior SSD. It additionally weighs a featherlight 1.1 ounces—making it simple to neglect it’s even in your pocket.
When it comes to efficiency, the Elite SE880 is fast to deal with on a regular basis duties however slows down throughout lengthy writes. In a real-world 48GB switch take a look at, the drive got here by with flying colours, however it misplaced loads of floor within the longer contiguous write exams. Because of this photograph and video execs with giant recordsdata to switch may wish to take into account different choices.
Small 4K efficiency glitch below CrystalDiskMark 8 writing 4K recordsdata
Value When Reviewed:
When you want severe storage and also you’re prepared to pay for it, then the Samsung T7 Protect is the way in which to go. The newest model has been upgraded to a 4TB choice permitting you to retailer your entire favourite video games—in addition to every thing else—conveniently on one SSD. It’s additionally fairly transportable, becoming simply into your pocket, and comes with decently quick USB 3.2 10Gbps. In our pace exams, we noticed the drive dealing with spectacular 1Gbps sustained switch speeds and proving to be the quickest 10Gbps SSD we’ve ever examined.
It additionally is available in a safe silicone protectives sleeve and has an IP65 ranking in case you wish to go adventuring with the drive, along with gaming. The T7 Protect has at all times been certainly one of our favourite drives and the improve to a 4TB capability simply makes it that significantly better.
Learn our full
Samsung T7 4TB assessment
How we take a look at exterior SSD recreation efficiency
The largest query you wish to know is, how a lot does utilizing an exterior drive damage recreation efficiency. To provide us an thought of how a lot it issues, we used UL’s new 3DMark Storage Benchmark. To create the benchmark, UL basically information the drive entry patterns throughout a number of frequent gaming duties to make “traces.” These drive-access traces are then run on the examined storage system a number of instances to duplicate the patterns with out having to truly load the sport.
For its take a look at, 3DMark reproduces what occurs loading to the beginning menus of Battlefield V, Name of Obligation: Black Ops 4, and Overwatch. 3DMark Storage additionally exams utilizing OBS, or Open Broadcast System, to document Overwatch being performed at 1080p decision at 60fps, putting in The Outer Worlds from the Epic launcher, and saving a recreation in The Outer Worlds. For the ultimate take a look at, 3DMark Storage exams copying the Steam folder for Counter-Strike: International Offensive from an exterior SSD to the goal drive.
We used a Twelfth-gen Intel Core i9-12900K working Home windows 11 on an Asus ROG Maximus Z690 Hero motherboard. The board options native Thunderbolt 4 and USB 3.2 10Gbps ports. We added a Silverstone ECU06 for USB 3.2 SuperSpeed 20Gbps help. We then used a Vantec M.2 NVMe SSD to USB 3.2 Gen2x2 20G Kind C enclosure with a Western Digital SN700 NVMe SSD to check USB 3.2 20Gbps and 10Gbps efficiency. We additionally put in the identical SN700 right into a PCIe 3.0 riser card to check its native efficiency. This offers you an thought of how a lot you lose going from being put in contained in the laptop computer or PC in comparison with utilizing a USB port. For added distinction, we additionally ran 3DMark Storage on an older Plextor PX-512M7VG SATA SSD within a Silverstone MS09 SATA enclosure that was plugged right into a USB 3.2 10Gbps port. And since you wish to understand how gradual a tough drive could be, we additionally ran the identical take a look at on a Western Digital 14TB EasyStore laborious drive plugged right into a USB 3.2 10Gbps port. The EasyStore is definitely restricted to USB 3.2 SuperSpeed 5Gbps.
What must you make of the above outcomes? Nicely, clearly in case you can set up an SSD within your PC, you’ll get essentially the most efficiency out of it. However you must take into account a few of the context. When you’re solely wanting on the huge lengthy purple bar on the prime of the chart, take into account that the actual take a look at is measuring what would occur in case you copied a big folder of recordsdata to the SSD. For most individuals, that’s solely completed occasionally.
The extra frequent situation is ready for a recreation to launch. Working an inner NVMe drive will nonetheless be quicker, however the hole closes a bit of. Between the three fashionable USB interfaces: USB 20Gbps, USB 10Gbps, and SATA on USB 10Gbps, the quickest is USB 3.2 20Gbps. With a USB 3.2 20Gbps SSD, you may see Battlefield V shave 25 % of the load time versus a USB 3.2 10Gbps drive. In fact, efficiency can be recreation dependent. As an example, each Name of Obligation and Battlefield see 45 % or so larger bandwidth on the inner SSD, however with the much less graphically intense Overwatch, it’s nearer to 30 %.
The opposite shock is the efficiency of the SATA SSD versus the NVMe SSD when the NVMe SSD is in a USB 3.2 10Gbps port. In recreation hundreds, saves, and set up situations, they’re pretty shut. The NVMe exterior SSD does speak in confidence to large lead over the slower SATA as soon as you progress to a activity the place you’re copying an enormous quantity of recordsdata—such because the CS:GO outcomes. However once more, how typically do you try this?
In fact we are able to’t go away this with out declaring simply horrible laborious drives are. Wouldn’t it be extra improved with a quicker laborious drive? Unlikely. The very minimal you must use if storing video games on an exterior drive is a SATA SSD, so don’t run a recreation out of your exterior laborious drive except you want to attend for every thing.