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Yasin Moultrie
Yasin Moultrie

Buy External Ssd Drive

A portable hard drive or SSD is a do-it-all storage device, one that can carry huge libraries of files and share them amongst PCs, Macs, tablets and phones. It can also hold full system backup files that restore your computer's OS and software should you experience a crash. Getting the best external hard drive or best external SSD for your specific needs is an important shopping decision, balancing price, performance, features and even durability.

buy external ssd drive

But with dozens of portable storage options available, how do you know which is the right external drive to buy? Should you opt for a speedier, more rugged (and more expensive) external SSD instead of a portable hard drive made up of comparatively fragile spinning platters and an actuator arm? Or could a slower, roomier and much cheaper portable hard drive be adequate for your storage needs?

To help you pick the right storage device for your needs, we test and review dozens of drives as they become available and publish our list of specific recommendations for the best portable SSDs and hard drives on this page.

If you're looking for a less expensive, more-DIY alternative you can also create your own external drive with one of the best SSD and hard drive enclosures. You could also go for one of the best Flash drives, which are all pocket-friendly but usually not as performant as SSDs.

The SanDisk Pro-G40 is an excellent all-around portable SSD. It has both Thunderbolt 3 and USB modes, so it will work on a wide range of devices, although you may need a Type-C to Type-A adapter or cable. All-around performance is good, write performance is exceptional, and your experience in general should be consistently fast. The drive is built on somewhat dated hardware, but this is a mature platform that works excellently for a portable solution. The metal and rubberized casing is another bonus as it keeps the drive cool while also protecting it against most environmental hazards.

For those looking to spend a little less on an portable hard drive, who also don't need 5TB of storage, should also consider Seagate's Backup Plus Ultra, which features a good software suite AES 256-bit encryption, and USB-A and USB-C support via an adapter.

That said, G-Technology's recent ArmorLock drive gives Samsung a run for its secure storage money, by using an app and key that's stored on your Android or iOS phone to unlock your drive. It may not be as convenient as swiping your finger across a sensor on your external SSD, but it might just be more secure.

Also note that, if you have a spare drive, you can easily make your own portable drive. Dozens of 2.5-inch drive enclosures can be found online for between $10-$25 (15-25) that will let you drop in an old drive easily, and turn it into an external hard drive or SSD.

And if you have an M.2 drive that you've swapped out of a gaming laptop, ultrabook or upgraded away from in your gaming PC, we've recently looked at NVMe enclosures from MyDigitalSSD and Pluggable. If you have a SATA-based M.2 drive that you'd like to turn into a portable drive, Silverstone's MS09 enclosure lets you do just that. And if you're keen on building your own speedy external SSD but don't have a drive handy to use, the recent WD Blue SN550 is a good candidate for that task. It's only available in capacities up to 1TB, but it's plenty speedy for external storage, and the more spacious model is already selling for as little as $115 at various online outlets.

Just make sure you get an enclosure that matches your drive, be that SATA or NVMe. And also keep in mind that DIY external drives usually aren't sealed, so they're not as likely to stand up to dust and dampness as well as external SSDs and portable hard drives that are designed to do so.

Whether you're shopping for one of the best external storage drives or one that didn't quite make our list, you may find savings by checking out the latest Crucial promo codes, Newegg promo codes, Amazon promo codes, Corsair coupon codes, Samsung promo codes or Micro Center coupons.

Most of the options on this list of the best external hard drive models will work across platforms -- whether you have a Windows PC, Mac computer, PlayStation or Xbox -- so long as the drives are correctly formatted for the right platform. But a lot of the time they'll be designated as working with a specific platform out of the box and sometimes come with backup software that's platform-specific. Unless otherwise indicated, all the PC drives mentioned here are compatible with Windows but can be formatted for a Mac. Many of them include cables or adapters to accommodate USB-C and USB-A ports. But if they don't happen to be included, you can easily buy dongles for about $12.

One important note for console gamers is that the newer PS5 and Xbox Series X (and Series S) consoles are much more restrictive about using external drives. The PS5 can store and play PS4 games from an external drive, but not PS5 games; the Xbox Series X can store Series X games, but you'll have to transfer them to the main SSD to actually play them. The Xbox Series X offers a proprietary Seagate-made storage expansion card and you can now install an M.2 SSD in your PS5 to expand storage for PS5 games.

With those caveats noted, our current top picks for the best external hard disk drive and external solid-state drive are below. These (or nearly identical models with less storage capacity) have been used or anecdotally tested by CNET editors. We'll update our list of the best external hard drives and SSDs as we test new products.

The cheaper "older" version has transfer speeds up to 550MBps while the next-gen version nearly doubles that speed with up to 1,050MBps (just over 1GB per second) and only costs slightly more for the 1TB version. The price for the 2TB model of this external drive jumps to $280 for the newer version.

For better or worse, there's currently only one way to expand the storage on your Xbox Series X/S for next-gen Series X/S games: the Seagate Expansion Card. Similar to the storage situation with the PS5, you can plug in any external SSD or hard drive to expand the storage for standard Xbox games (previous-gen), but you can only store native Xbox Series X/S games on the game console's internal memory or the Seagate Expansion Card.

You can expand storage for PS4 games on your PS5 by adding a standard external SSD because you can play PS4 games directly from an external SSD. However, that's not the case for PS5 games, which take up a ton 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.

While the Seagate FireCuda 530 technically isn't an external SSD, it's not so different from Seagate's Storage Expansion Card for the Xbox Series X/S in that it's an NVMe SSD with very high transfer speeds (up to 7,300MBps, according to Seagate, though my PS5 listed the top rate at 6,800MBps ).

If you're looking for a high-capacity external drive for your Xbox One, the WD Black P10 2TB portable hard drive is a good value at around $80 (the 5TB version is about $120). It gives you portable storage for your coveted game collection. This external drive also comes with a digital code that gives you one month of Microsoft's Game Pass Ultimate if you're a new subscriber. There's also a standard version of the portable hard drive, which also works with PCs and the PS4 for slightly less (it's missing the Xbox branding but is otherwise the same drive). The portable drive can deliver speeds up to 130MBps.

An external drive means you don't have to worry about managing the storage space on your PS4 (you can play games without lag directly from the portable hard drive). The 2TB version of the Seagate Game Drive is about $30 less at $80. But you might as well spend the extra dough and get 4TB for this portable external hard drive.

You can use any SSD with your PlayStation PS4/PS5 or Xbox One, Xbox One Series X or Series S to store PS4 and Xbox One games and other content and pick up a nice speed bump when loading games compared with a standard external hard drive like the WD Black P10 above. Note that with the Xbox Series X, you can only archive Xbox Series X and S games to this drive, you can't store full games on it (the Seagate Storage Expansion Card is required for that). The PS5 has the same restriction -- you can only store full PS4 games on external drives.

On its surface, then, the WD Black D30 game drive isn't all that special. It has up to a 900MBps transfer rate, which is basically what a console's USB 3.1 connection caps out at. But it's the design that sets it apart. It's thicker and more rugged-looking than your typical SSD or flash drive and includes a detachable stand with rubber feet to keep it from moving around wherever you place it. This is an NVMe SSD (Non-Volatile Memory Express) that provides efficient performance and interoperability. It essentially looks like a mini hard drive, which is kind of cool.

Rated for surviving drops of up to 2 meters, the drive is durable and has an RGB lighting element that can be customized with a Windows PC. The drive starts at $120 for 500GB but the 1TB at $150 is clearly the better value (2TB jumps to $250).

You do pay a bit of a premium over the WD Black D30 (see above), which comes with a stand and is more geared to game consoles. But this drive is more future proof and you may wish you got it as more devices are equipped with USB 3.2 Gen2x2.

SanDisk makes the Extreme Portable SSD (see above) that delivers speeds up to 1,050MB per second transfer rates. But if you're a photographer or videographer looking for an even faster SSD drive for your PC or Mac, the Extreme Pro Portable SSD is the way to go for extra storage space. The latest version is capable of delivering up to 2,000MBps (2GBps) read/write speeds if you pair it with the right equipment: In order to get the maximum speed, you need a host system that supports USB Gen 3.2 Gen 2x2 speeds.

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB is one of the more compact non-SSD drives, making it the best external hard drive for those who are looking to save some space. And at less than $60, this backup drive is also a good value. This Seagate external hard drive can also be connected to Macs that have a thunderbolt port. Available in a few color options, it also comes in 1TB ($55), 4TB ($93) and 5TB ($115) versions, but the higher-capacity drives are thicker. 041b061a72


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