It makes it difficult to maintain the storage on your or your PC. Luckily, external hard drives are a great way to maximize your storage and get the most out of your gaming setup. There's a wide spectrum of high-quality drives out there, allowing you to select one that suits your budget.
A traditional hard drive or mechanical drive that uses "old" hard drive technology, with mechanical platters and a moving read-write head to access data, is adequate for most people, thanks to speedier and USB 3.0 (as well as ) interfaces. Prices have dropped significantly in the last few years, with even the most high-capacity, state of the art, all-around best external hard drive models costing just over $100. A solid-state drive does not have moving parts and the external SSD drive has up to
Most of the advantages on this list of the best external hard drive models will work across platforms, whether you have a Windows PC, PlayStation, or Xbox. Often, they will be designated as working with a specific platform out of the box and may even include backup software that is platform-specific. Unless otherwise indicated, all PC drives on this list are compatible with Windows but may be formatted for a Mac. Many of them include USB-C and USB-A ports. However, if they do not happen to be included, you
In the event of theft or fire, a single backup does not cut it. Ideally, you'll want redundant backups either off-site or using cloud storage for key data and large files. Also make sure to encrypt your data.
Console gamers are more constrained about using external drives. and play PS4 games from an external drive, but not PS5 games; the Xbox Series X may store Series X games, but you'll have to transfer them to the main SSD to play them. The Xbox Series X has a proprietary feature that allows users to upgrade the storage capabilities of other PlayStation 4.
As we market new products, our current top picks for the best external hard disk drive and external solid-state drive are below. These (or substantially identical models with less storage capacity) have been used or anecdotally tested by CNET editors. Our list of the best external hard drives and SSDs will be updated.
Western Digital, which owns SanDisk, sells its WD My Passport SSD as well as this SanDisk External Portable SSD for around the same price. I like the design of this model a little better, because it has an IP55 rating, meaning it can withstand a prolonged spray of water. It is also shock-resistant and has a USB-C interface.
The cheaper "older" version has transfer speeds of up to 550MBps, while the next-gen version almost doubles that speed with up to 1,050MBps (just over 1GB per second) and only costs slightly higher for the 1TB version. The price for the 2TB external drive has risen to $280 for the newer version.
If you're moving a sluggish of files to or from the USB drive, your speed will vary, but when you copy a single large file, you should be able to access those rapid transfer speeds.
The Seagate Expansion Card is currently one way to extend the storage on your Xbox Series X/S games for next-gen Series X/S games. Similar to the PS5, you may use any external memory or hard drive to increase the storage for standard Xbox games (previous-gen), but you may only store native Xbox Series X/S games on the console's internal memory or the Seagate Expansion Card.
It connects into a proprietary slot on the back of the Xbox Series X/S and "replicates the Xbox Velocity Architecture" (Microsoft's internal NVMe SSD technology) with peak speeds of up to 2.4GBps of raw I/O throughput. Microsoft claims that this is more than 40x the throughput of the Xbox One.
The expansion card comes in a more affordable 512GB version for $140 along with 1TB ($220) and 2TB ($400) versions. The 2TB version may be difficult to find in stock.
You may expand PS4 games on your PS5 by adding a standard external SSD. PS5 games, which take up a lot of space and can only be played from the PS5's internal drive or an M.2 SSD that you install in a special expansion bay inside your PS5.
The Seagate FireCuda 530 technically isn't an external SSD, but it's not so similar to Seagate's Storage Expansion Card for the Xbox Series X/S, because it's an NVMe SSD with very high transfer speeds (up to 7,300MBps, according to Seagate, although my PS5 had the highest rate at 6,800MBps).
Several M.2 SSDs will work with the PS5 (), but ideally, you want one with a heatsink. Otherwise, you'll have to add one.
The Seagate FireCuda 530 with heatsink costs $140 for the 512GB version and extends to $210 for the 1TB version (most popular), $400 for the 2TB version, and over $1,000 for the 4TB version.
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The WD Black P10 2TB portable hard drive is a good price at around $80, while the 5TB version is worth $240. It also includes a digital code that gives you one month of Microsoft's Game Pass Ultimate if you're a regular user. There is also a standard version of the portable hard drive, which works with both PCs and the PlayStation 4, but is not the same drive.
You don't have to worry about managing the storage space on your PS4 because you can play games without lag directly from the portable hard drive. The Seagate Game Drive, a 2TB version, is $30 less at $80, but you may also spend the extra dough and get 4TB for this portable external hard drive.
Note that Seagate makes an, but not a PS4. The storage drive costs around $160 for 1TB.
When loading games on the PS4 and PS4 or Xbox One, Xbox One series X or Series S, you may use any SSD with your PlayStation PS4 or PS5 for both content and pick up a nice speed bump (although the PS5 does not include full PS4 games), but it also allows you to store full PS4 games on external drives.
This WD Black D30 game drive isn't all that special (it has a 900MB transfer rate, which is basically what a console's USB 3.1 connection sets out at) but it's really its design that sets it apart. This SSD (Non-Volatile Memory Express) is a medium-sized SSD that allows you to maintain consistent performance and interoperability. It basically looks like a mini hard drive, which is kind of cool.
The standard version is compatible with PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One, One X and S devices, as well as PCs. The Xbox version shown in the image simply includes an Xbox logo and a month of Game Pass Ultimate, a $15 value, for $20 more. If you already have a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, you're paying the extra $20 for the logo.
The 1TB version starts at $125, while the 2TB version starts at $180.
SanDisk offers a high-speed SSD for your PC or Mac, allowing for up to 1,050MB per second transfer rates. However, the Extreme Pro Portable SSD is not the perfect solution for photographers and videographers looking for extra storage. In order to get the maximum speed, you need a host system that provides USB Gen 3.2 Gen 2x2.
It's technically ruggedized with an IP55 rating, meaning this can withstand a prolonged watering process. It's also shock-resistant and has a forged aluminum chassis that acts as a heatsink. The 1TB version costs $190, while the 2TB version costs $300.
The Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB is a less expensive non-SSD drive, which is excellent for those looking to save time. This external hard drive also comes in several colors, but the larger-capacity drives are smaller.
This drive is more future-proof versus backward-compatible than the standard WD drive. This newer model includes a USB-C connection, which means it is compatible with virtually any computer.
The WD My Book desktop drive can be accommodated in up to an 18TB configuration, but the 8TB is the best value at around $200. It's so popular it's often out of stock.
LaCie became the company's premium brand several years ago, and this external HDD 5TB model can be found on a slew of video editors' desks (including plenty at CNET). This hard disk drive is compatible with Mac and Windows PCs, and it is water- and shock-resistant. A version for Thunderbolt-equipped Macs is available for $250.
Crucial's X6 external SSD is considered entry-level because it is not as fast as higher-end models, which can charge read/write speeds that are twice or even four times as fast (The Crucial X8 is the step-up model) but nevertheless, the X6 is about 4x faster than a drive that isn't solid-state, with transfer speeds of up 540MBps for the 1TB and 2TB versions, and up to 800MBps for the new 4TB version
Comparatively, the 4TB SanDisk Extreme SSD, which has a transfer speed rating of up to 1,050MBps, costs $700. So you're basically looking at a $240 savings if you're willing to take a bit of a speed hit (again, the 4GB version of the Crucial X6 has been increased to 800MBps from 540MBps).