• July 4, 2021

Best External SSD for Gaming: The Best Portable Drives in 2021

SSDs are a relatively inexpensive way to expand storage and speed up your gaming load times, but you might not like the idea of ​​digging around inside your gaming PC to install it, even if our guide makes learning. to install an SSD is simple. That’s where external SSDs come in, offering read and write speeds similar to their internal counterparts, but with the ability to easily move from device to device.

It doesn’t have to be a squishy box either, with Adata leaning on a distinctive RGB-lit honeycomb effect and Sandisk making a dust- and water-resistant NVMe drive that fits in the palm of your hand. You can even do it yourself if you own a spare internal NVMe thanks to an Asus enclosure that turns your existing drive into a portable storage device.

With so many prices to choose from and read speeds ranging from 540MB / s to 2800MB / s, we’ve put together a selection of drives for every use and budget so you can choose the best external SSD for you.

These are the best external SSDs for gaming:

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adata se900g

The best external SSD for gaming it’s the Adata SE900G.

Adata’s NVMe-based model is one of the fastest external drives we’ve seen, with sequential read and write speeds of 2,000MB / s. It connects via a USB Type-C cable, although Adata includes a Type-A adapter in the box to better fit more devices. We recommend the 1TB capacity model, although it is also available as a 512GB or 2TB drive.

The RGB lighting covering the top of the unit is an eye-catching touch, making it look right at home with the the best gaming keyboard and the best gaming mouse.

Adata SE900G Specifications
Handle NVMe
Connection USB type C / type A
Ability 512GB / 1TB / 2TB
Sequential read speed 2,000 MB / s
Sequential write speed 2,000 MB / s

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sandisk extreme laptop

The best portable SSD it is the Sandisk Extreme Portable.

Despite its diminutive 2.07 x 3.97-inch size, the Sandisk Extreme Portable still packs a punch. Thanks to the NVMe drive under the hood, it is capable of fast sequential read and write speeds of 1,050MB / s and 1,000MB / s respectively. It can also take a beating with two meter drop protection and IP55 water and dust resistance, making it the perfect travel companion for the the best gaming laptop, not that we recommend throwing it out.

It connects via USB Type-C, although a Type-A adapter is also included. You can pick up the drive in capacities ranging from 500GB to a whopping 4TB.

Sandisk Extreme Portable Specifications
Handle NVMe
Connection USB type C / type A
Ability 500GB / 1TB / 2TB / 4TB
Sequential read speed 1,050 MB / s
Sequential write speed 1000 MB / s

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samsung x5

The Faster external SSD It is the Samsung X5.

The Samsung X5 is one of the fastest on the market when it comes to ground speed, but it does have a premium price tag attached and some compatibility considerations with a Thunderbolt 3 connection. If your wallet and computer can support it, this unit is capable of speeds. 2,800MB / s and 2,300MB / s sequential read and write respectively, loading your games and transferring your files in the blink of an eye.

The X5 is still surprisingly small at 4.7 x 2.4 inches, and the attractive glossy casing is also designed to withstand drops of up to two meters.

Samsung X5 Specifications
Handle NVMe
Connection Thunderbolt 3
Ability 500GB / 1TB / 2TB
Sequential read speed 2,800 MB / s
Sequential write speed 2,300 MB / s

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asus rog strix arion

The best NVMe case it’s the Asus ROG Strix Arion.

If you already have a spare internal NVMe drive, the Arion can be converted to an external SSD which seems like a treat compared to other cabinets. The USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 connection transfers up to 10 Gb / s, allowing you to take full advantage of even the fastest NVMe models.

The aluminum housing also has some adjustable RGB lighting for added style, while the thermal pads on the inside help keep temperatures low to prevent thermal throttling.

Asus ROG Strix Arion Specifications
Handle NVMe
Connection USB-C 3.2 Gen 2
Ability N / A
Sequential read speed N / A
Sequential write speed N / A

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samsung t5

The best cheap external SSD It is the Samsung T5.

The T5 uses SATA technology over the faster NVMe form factor, but this helps keep the price per GB low. In fact, it’s the best-budget external SSD that’s almost five times faster than an external hard drive, with sequential read speeds of 540MB / s and sequential write speeds of 515MB / s.

The all-metal body gives it a solid feel and helps it withstand a six-foot drop. And, if security is on your mind, you can use Samsung software to lock the drive with a password.

Samsung T5 Specifications
Handle SATA
Connection USB type C / type A
Ability 500GB / 1TB / 2TB
Sequential read speed 540 MB / s
Sequential write speed 515 MB / s

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seagate storage expansion card

The best SSD for Xbox Series X It is the Seagate Storage Expansion Card.

The Xbox Series X / S will not allow you to install and play current generation games on any random external SSD, instead it uses the expansion slot on the back of the console. Seagate’s NVMe is currently the only model that fits into Microsoft’s proprietary port and offers read and write speeds identical to the console’s internal NVMe solid state drive.

However, there is no USB connection so it is only an external SSD for the latest Xbox consoles rather than one for your PC.

Seagate Storage Expansion Card Specifications
Handle NVMe
Connection Xbox expansion slot
Ability 1 TB / 2 TB
Sequential read speed N / A
Sequential write speed N / A

External SATA or NVMe SSD?

SATA-based external SSDs, like the Samsung T5, are a great option if you don’t have the cash, but still need more storage space for larger games like Microsoft Flight Simulator and Stalker 2. They aren’t as fast as the NVMe alternatives. but they still offer speeds almost five times faster than a conventional hard drive.

While the Samsung X5 is one of the most expensive NVME external drives on the market, you don’t have to pay hundreds for a drive with four-digit read and write speeds, thanks to models like the Sandisk Extreme Portable.

Can I use external SSDs on Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X?

External SSDs are not only a good choice for the best gaming PC or laptop, but they are also a great option for expanding storage in your next-gen console.

On PlayStation 5, you can download any PS4 title to your external storage device and play them from there, and you might see improved load times with one of the models listed here. You can’t play PS5 games directly from external storage, but you can store them there and exchange them on your internal NVMe storage when you’re ready to play.

It’s a similar story on the Xbox Series X / S, with Xbox One and 360 games playable from any external storage device while benefiting from Quick Resume’s flagship feature. Meanwhile, you can only play exclusive X / S Series titles on internal storage, or Seagate’s proprietary Xbox SSD, using other external drives on this list as temporary storage.

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