External hard drives are one of the best ways to quickly and cheaply add game or media storage wherever you need it – but they can be slow. That’s why, as internal SSDs have become table stakes for gaming machines, external SSDs have also started to become quite popular. By pairing fast flash memory with a high-speed USB connection, you can get storage that feels just as rapid as the best SSDs for gaming, but can travel with you to be used with desktops, laptops, TVs and game consoles. Amazon’s Gaming Week sale includes quite a few of these modern marvels, so we’re going to break down the best buys available from the likes of WD and SanDisk.
Let’s start with just the bog standard external SSDs. We’ve got two options here – WD’s Black P50 Game Drive and SanDisk’s Extreme Portable SSD. Both models are based around NVMe internals, meaning you can expect speeds to far outstrip what would be possible with a SATA-based solution (around 550MB/s).
The P50 Game Drive, for instance, is rated for sequential speeds up to 2000MB/s, while the SanDisk Extreme manages up to 1050MB/s but costs far less. Both come in rugged cases to ensure their precious data cargo remains intact, with the SanDisk opting for a mesh barrier and the WD going for a metal design. I’ve tested both and came away impressed, so if the price looks right then I’d say go for it.
There’s also something… else. The WD Black D50 is the final boss of external SSDs, containing not only 1TB of extremely fast NVMe storage, but also a full Thunderbolt 3 dock. Plug it into the mains, then plug one USB-C cable into your Thunderbolt-equipped laptop or desktop. Over that one cable, you get up to 3000MB/s read speeds, five USB ports (USB-C and USB-A), gigabit ethernet, DisplayPort 1.4 and a 3.5mm headphone combo jack. Oh, and it has RGB underglow, with three programmable effects (including ‘off’). This is very obviously not a great value in terms of just the storage, but for an all-in-one gadget that can turn a laptop into a full desktop PC by connecting a single cable, it is pretty much unmatched by anything on the market.
Amazon’s promotion also includes a few spinning rust drives, which are still the cheapest way to add external storage to your machine. Our pick here are WD’s Black P10 drives, which are discounted in 2TB and 4TB capacities, with the 4TB model we recommend seeing a healthy £40 discount to £95. That’s significantly less per gigabyte than the SSDs we mentioned above, so for media storage where transfer times are less important than raw capacity, these drives can still be worth going for. Often, the best solution is to use these drives in combination with SSDs, backing up data that you’re not using to the external HDD and then restoring it to the fast solid state drive when you actually want to use it.
I hope you found these deals useful! We’ll continue to return to the Amazon Gaming Week wellspring once or twice more I think, and of course we’ll share all the other deals going as they pop up. See you on the next one!