Greatest exterior onerous drive and SSD for 2022: Mac, PC, PS4, PS5 and Xbox


Sport consoles at this time normally include 1TB drives (equal to roughly 1,000GB of onerous drive storage), however the drives get full rapidly should you aren’t good about taking video games off the drive as you add extra. And most new computer systems do not include a lot inside onerous drive cupboard space except you are splurging on a high-end mannequin — they normally have 256GB or 512GB. One strategy to handle all of it is to search out the most effective exterior onerous drive and solid-state drive on your wants. Exterior storage is an effective way to maximise efficiency with out maxing out the funds.

A standard onerous drive or mechanical drive that makes use of “outdated” onerous drive expertise (mechanical platters and a shifting read-write head to entry information) is ample for almost all of customers, due to speedier USB-C and USB 3.0 (in addition to 3.1/3.2) interfaces. Costs have dropped considerably in the previous couple of years, with even the high-capacity, cutting-edge, all-around finest exterior onerous drive fashions tipping the scales at 5TB however costing simply over $100. A solid-state drive would not have shifting elements and the exterior SSD drive has as much as 4 occasions quicker learn and write pace, however it prices much more per gigabyte.

A lot of the choices on this record of the most effective exterior onerous drive fashions will work throughout platforms — whether or not you’ve got a Home windows PC, Mac pc, PlayStation or Xbox — as long as the drives are accurately formatted for the appropriate platform. However quite a lot of the time they will be designated as working with a particular platform out of the field and generally include backup software program that is platform-specific. Until in any other case indicated, all of the PC drives talked about listed here are suitable with Home windows however will be formatted for a Mac. A lot of them embody cables or adapters to accommodate USB-C and USB-A ports. But when they do not occur to be included, you may simply purchase dongles for about $10.

And keep in mind: A single backup would not minimize it. Ideally, you may need redundant backups both off-site or utilizing cloud storage for key information and enormous information (similar to household pictures) in case of theft or fireplace. And ensure to encrypt your information, too.

One essential word for console avid gamers is that the newer PS5 and Xbox Collection X (and Collection S) consoles are way more restrictive about utilizing exterior drives. The PS5 can retailer and play PS4 video games from an exterior drive, however not PS5 video games; the Xbox Collection X can retailer Collection X video games, however you may need to switch them to the primary SSD to truly play them. The Xbox Collection X presents a proprietary Seagate-made storage growth card and now you can set up an M.2 SSD in your PS5 to develop storage for PS5 video games.   

With these caveats famous, our present prime picks for the most effective exterior onerous disk drive and exterior solid-state drive are beneath. These (or almost equivalent fashions with much less storage capability) have been used or anecdotally examined by CNET editors. We’ll replace our record of the most effective exterior onerous drives and SSDs as we take a look at new merchandise.

Sarah Tew/CNET

Western Digital, which owns SanDisk, sells its WD My Passport SSD as nicely this SanDisk Exterior Moveable SSD for principally the identical worth. I just like the design of this mannequin somewhat higher and it is technically ruggedized with an IP55 ranking, which means it may well stand up to a sustained spray of water. It is also shock-resistant and has a USB-C interface.

The cheaper “older” model has switch speeds as much as 550MBps whereas the next-gen model almost doubles that pace with as much as 1,050MBps (simply over 1GB per second) and solely prices barely extra for the 1TB model. The worth for the 2TB mannequin of this exterior drive jumps to $280 for the newer model.

Your pace will range should you’re shifting a mishmash of information to or from the USB drive, however when copying a single massive file it’s best to have the ability to get near these quick switch speeds.

David Carnoy/CNET

For higher or worse, there’s presently just one strategy to develop the storage in your Xbox Collection X/S for next-gen Collection X/S video games: the Seagate Enlargement Card. Much like the storage state of affairs with the PS5, you may plug in any exterior SSD or onerous drive to develop the storage for traditional Xbox video games (previous-gen), however you may solely retailer native Xbox Collection X/S video games on the sport console’s inside reminiscence or the Seagate Enlargement Card.

It plugs right into a proprietary slot on the again on the Xbox Collection X/S and “replicates the Xbox Velocity Structure” (Microsoft’s inside NVMe SSD tech) with peak speeds of as much as 2.4GBps of uncooked I/O throughput. Microsoft says that is greater than 40x the throughput of the Xbox One.  

The growth card now is available in a extra reasonably priced 512GB model for $140 alongside 1TB ($220) and 2TB ($400) variations. The 2TB model will be onerous to search out in inventory.

David Carnoy/CNET

You possibly can develop storage for PS4 video games in your PS5 by including a regular exterior SSD as a result of you may play PS4 video games instantly from an exterior SSD. Nonetheless, that is not the case for PS5 video games, which take up a ton of area and may solely be performed from the PS5’s inside drive or an M.2 SSD that you simply set up in a particular growth bay inside your PS5. 

Whereas the Seagate FireCuda 530 technically is not an exterior SSD, it is not so completely different from Seagate’s Storage Enlargement Card for the Xbox Collection X/S in that it is an NVMe SSD with very excessive switch speeds (as much as 7,300MBps, in accordance with Seagate, although my PS5 listed the highest price at 6,800MBps ).

A number of M.2 SSDs will work with the PS5 (see our full record) however ideally, you need one with an built-in heatsink. In any other case, you may have so as to add one. 

The Seagate FireCuda 530 with heatsink begins at $140 for the 512GB model and jumps to $210 for the 1TB model (hottest), $400 for the 2TB model and over $1,000 for the 4TB model. 

Learn extra: Here is how one can increase your PlayStation 5 storage


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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 $140). 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.


For $115, you can get an external drive so 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.

Note that Seagate makes an SSD Game Drive For Xbox but not PS4. The storage drive costs around $200 for 1TB.

David Carnoy/CNET

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 really its 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. 

The standard version works with PlayStation 4 and 5, Xbox One and One X and S consoles, 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. Alas, only new subscribers can use the included code, so if you already have a Game Pass Ultimate subscription, you’re really paying the extra $20 for the logo.

The 1TB version starts at $130 while the 2TB version starts at $260.

David Carnoy/CNET

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 2×2 speeds.

Compatible with Macs and Windows PCs, it’s technically ruggedized with an IP55 rating, meaning this can withstand a sustained spray of water. It’s also shock-resistant and has a forged aluminum chassis that acts as a heatsink. It has a USB-C interface and includes both USB-C to USB-C and USC-A to USB-C cable. The 1TB version is around $230 while the 2TB model jumps to $364.


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.


This drive is about as future-proof — and backward-compatible — as they come. You pay a bit of a premium over the standard WD drive, but this newer model offers a USB-C connection, meaning it has the latest and greatest USB cable connectivity for Macs and PCs. No USB-C on your system? No problem: Western Digital also tosses in a USB-A to USB-C adapter, so this storage device will work with pretty much any computer straight out of the box.


The WD My Book desktop drive is available in up to a 18TB configuration, but the 8TB is the best value at around $200. It’s so popular it’s often out of stock. 

Read our WD My Book (Fall 2016) review.



After Seagate acquired LaCie several years ago, LaCie became the company’s premium brand and this external HDD 5TB model can be found on a lot of video editors’ desks (including plenty at CNET). This rugged hard disk drive uses a USB-C interface, is compatible with Mac and Windows PCs and is water- and shock-resistant. A 4TB Thunderbolt with USB-C version is available for Thunderbolt-equipped Macs for about $200.

David Carnoy/CNET

Crucial’s X6 external SSD is considered entry-level because it’s just not as fast as higher-end models, which can offer read/write speeds that are twice or even four times as fast (the Crucial X8 is the step-up model). Even so, 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, which has one of the lowest prices for a 4TB SSD at around $450.

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, at least the 4GB version of the Crucial X6 has been bumped up to 800MBps from 540MBps).

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