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10 Best External SSDs for PC and Mac [2021]

Expert gamers often forget about an important shred when discussing their perfect gaming experience under the gaming belt – an SSD. It doesn’t matter if you have the best gaming mouse, a dedicated 240Hz monitor, a gorgeous RGB Mechanical keyboard, or even a gaming chair if you don’t have an adequate amount of space to install your favorite games. That’s why you need the best external SSD for gaming. In general, if you wish to have plenty of space for your games and to have reduced loading times and lags, then you have come to the right place.

Compared to traditional spinning mechanical Hard Drives (HDDs), the top-notch portable SSDs are far superior in terms of speed, capability, reliability, saving, protecting, and retrieving your important files. If you are a PC gamer, you should be comfortable about investing a bit in a portable SSD drive, which increases storage space and overall performance.

Portable external gaming SSDs are another advantage, since you can carry them anywhere in your backpack thanks to their compact design. Choosing an external SSD for PC, MAC, or Xbox gaming isn’t as easy as it seems, since you have to consider many factors along with the price range.

We have reviewed 9 external SSDs that are ideal for gaming and regular use based on their size, weight, durability, interface, storage capacity, and budget to provide you with the best of both worlds.

Top 10 External SSDs for PC and Mac in 2021

1. LaCie Portable SSD With USB-C

LaCie-Portable-SSD-With-USB-C

This is the lightest and smallest LaCie Portable SSD drive that is available in the palm-sized design and with a storage capacity of 2TB. This model’s slim width makes it suitable for fitting in any backpack or pocket. Incredibly, it has a drop resistance of up to 2 meters in height, making it perfect for on-the-go use.

In terms of design, this external SSD is made of black plastic material with a red metal rim at the apex that looks attractive under light. Additionally, when you plug the device into your computer, the LED at the front starts coming out, which looks brighter in a dimmer room.

LaCie Portable SSD supports USB 3.1 Generation-2 with the optimal write or read speed of around 540-500 MB/s, which is quite excellent in this price range. Additionally, the device comes with both a USB-C to USB-C cable to connect USB-C accessories to Macs with the C-type port and a USB-C to USB-A port to connect to Macs with type-A ports, making it compatible with both.

Keep in mind that the USB-A port will not support the USB 3.1 Generation-2 speeds, so make your arrangements accordingly. Due to the exFAT format, this SSD is well suited to both Windows and Mac computers. Additionally, LaCie’s software is programmed to sync files between the SSD and mirrored folders on your computer.

Pros
  • Incorporated mirroring software
  • Comes with LaCie toolkit and data recovery services
  • USB-C connector for universal compatibility
  • Shock-resistant and lightweight design for easy transport
Cons
  • A bit more pricey
  • USB 3.1 is not Thunderbolt

2. LaCie Rugged SSD Pro Drive

LaCie-Rugged-SSD-Pro

It’s true, LaCie Rugged SSD Pro Drive is an excellent option for users looking for robust, IP67-rated external SSDs. Further, the silicon’s grippy covering makes this a well-designed portable drive.

USB or Thunderbolt 3 can be used to access its fast action – neither will harm it. Stunningly, it’s available up to 5TB in capacity; you can choose the range that suits you. Even heavy files can be read and written at over 2GBps, which is quite exceptional.

The LaCie Rugged SSD features an aluminum surface that is dust, shock, water, and crush resistant. Its rounded edges and lightweight design make it ideal for outdoor adventures. The tough, responsive, and secure nature of this drive makes it the best choice for professional use when it comes to performance.

The majority of excellent models on the market lack universal connectivity, but LaCie’s Rugged SSD has built-in USB-C, USB 3.0, and Thunderbolt 3 ports that support light-speed transfers.

Pros
  • Water and dust resistant
  • Non-slip, durable coating
  • Fast read and write speed
  • Compatible with USB-C 3.1 Gen. 1 and 2 ports
Cons
  • No 256-bit AES hardware encryption
  • Short cable length

3. Apricorn Aegis External Fortress L3 SSD

Apricorn-1TB-Aegis-Fortress-L3-Portable-SSD-4

As a result, Apricorn Fortress L3 is designed specifically for organizations and companies that require a highly secure storage solution. This drive comes in a sleek, compact design with a black vault appearance that demands a PIN to unlock before accessing bulk sensitive data anywhere. Additionally, 256-bit AES-XTS hardware encryption is included to ensure that all your sensitive data is secured to military-grade privacy levels.

The Apricorn Aegis Fortress L3 comes with a durable polymer coating that provides dust and water resistance, reducing wear on repetitively used keys. It comes with LED indications above the buttons and lock/unlock buttons on top.

Interesting, USB 3.1/3.2 cords are provided to offer USB Type-A and USB Type-C connections. For Windows, it is pre-formatted with NTFS, but for Mac, it can be re-formatted. Additionally, a case is included for storing the drive.

Pros
  • Polymer coated wear-resistant onboard
  • LED keypress indicator
  • Military level of security
  • Comes with both type-A and type-C cables
Cons
  • Heavyweight
  • Costly

4. WD Black P50 Portable SSD Game Drive

WD_Black-P50-Game-Drive-Portable-SSD-image-3

WD-Black P50 Game Drive is a solution to storage problems for PC and console gamers who want to cruise through the data world. It’s actually a portable NVMe SSD that gamers can use to store a portion of their game library for much faster loading times than an internal hard drive in the PC or console.

The maximum performance of this SSD is 2GB, and it has USB 3.2 connectivity. The available capacities range from 500B to 2TB. This SSD features smooth edges that appear more like crates than in Halo or Gears of War, which is durable and visually pleasing.

In order to eat it completely, it accelerates the startup process, so you won’t have to wait for the sluggish loading screens. Additionally, it comes with a shock-resistant drive for taking your games anywhere, and you don’t need to delete old files to feed the new one since it has enough room. Since it is portable, you can also use it to store music, movies, and other files. Additionally, there is a venting system for heat dissipation at the bottom of the drive, as well as four small rubber feet for additional support.

Pros
  • Aesthetic appeal with solid performance
  • Compatible with MAC, Windows, PS4, and Xbox one
  • Durable, shock resistance construction
  • Separate USB type-A and type-C cables are included
Cons
  • High power consumption at idle
  • No IP rating

5. SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

SanDisk-1TB-Extreme-Portable-SSD

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is a portable SSD that is not only small but is also rugged and fully equipped with features that are geared to users. Four drive iterations (250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB) are available to meet the needs of all users.

SanDisk drives come with a rubber fuselage that includes an orange plastic loop attached safely to any item. In addition, the bottom and top edges are textured, while the all-around edges are smooth to make handling easier.

SanDisk Portable SSDs feature an IP55 type rating that ensures dust and water resistance. In addition, the single connector is a USB 3.1 port, which can be easily bundled with Type-C to provide up to 550MBps or a higher fraction by using a Type-A adaptor.

Its maximum data transfer speed is 10Gbps and it can be used on Windows and Mac computers straight away. You will also receive SanDisk’s Secure Access 3.02 software, which allows you to create password-protected folders to hide all your sensitive data using 128-bit AES encryption.

Pros
  • Nifty carabiner loop to fit in the belt loop
  • Password protection to secure sensitive data
  • High-capacity storage in a compact package
  • Up to 2-meter drop protection
  • Tough drive with IP55 water and rust resistance abilities
Cons
  • No pouch or travel bag
  • A bit pricey

6. Samsung T7 Touch Portable SSD

4.-SAMSUNG-T7-Touch-Portable-SSD

Samsung’s T7 SSD is compact and tiny as compared to portable hard drives. While most people complain about heated SSDs, Samsung addressed this issue in T7 by incorporating a phase change layer directly in the driver circuit board, which is excellent at absorbing and releasing heat to maintain temperatures below 45 Celsius even during excessive overuse. The slim, sturdy, and go-anywhere design packs a lot of innovative performance.

The Samsung T7 SSD is equipped with a fingerprint reader, which is a smart way to secure the vast amount of information we always carry on our external devices. Alternatively, you can use AES 256-bit password encryption, which provides a second way to unlock your account if you forget the password. This SSD offers up to 10 Gbps performance in a well-designed and sleek chassis.

This Samsung T7 is worth considering if you are looking for a fast and secure portable SSD that is available at a much lower price per GB than other touch models.

Pros
  • LED status indicator and incorporated fingerprint reader
  • Super-fast performance
  • 18 inches USB-C and USB-A cables
Cons
  • Software is required for fingerprint unlocking on PC or MAC.
  • No IP rating

7. Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD

Seagate Barracuda Fast SSD

In fact, the Seagate Fast SSD has an innovative color scheme and excellent built-in features. SSD features include fully reversible and future-proof USB-C connectivity, rapid file transfers, and novel file-syncing software to meet all of your needs.

By using this SSD drive, you can transfer files seamlessly, boot games quickly, and store streaming videos without lag. Additionally, with a storage capacity of 2TB, this SSD can store more than 50 titles.

 Design-wise, the Seagate fast SSD features a thin, square-shaped texture along with an all-black enclosure and a green lip across the faceplate. The Seagate logo is white at the top. ExFAT formatting is used to make it compatible with Windows and Mac right out of the box.

Performance-wise, this SSD drive was at the top of the list without relying on magic tricks. Additionally, the incorporated software keeps the files up to date. For the protection of your important files, you can set up backups and folder mirroring.

Pros
  • Budget-friendly price
  • Capacity range of 500GB to 2TB is available
  • Delivered with USB-A and USB-C cables
  • Excellent read and write speed
Cons
  • Available interface is only USB 3.0
  • Short cable length

8. WD My Passport Wireless SSD

WD My Passport Wireless SSD

Western Digital is no stranger when it comes to storage gear designed specifically for photographers, and with its new My Passport Wireless SSD, the company has created a brilliant device that photographers (and even regular users) are sure to love. 

As part of WD’s growing line of wireless hard drives, the WD My Passport Wireless SSD lets you view and transfer files via a Wi-Fi connection rather than a cable, which is handy. 

You are not using the full speed of the SSD over Wi-Fi, however. As well as USB 3.0, it also offers very good speeds, but not quite as fast as USB Type-C or Thunderbolt. In addition, the WD My Passport Wireless SSD comes with a built-in SD card reader, making it one of the best portable SSDs for photographers.

Pros
  • Drop-resistant rubber bumper
  • Excellent USB transfer speeds
Cons
  • Premium price
  • Extra SSD speed useless over Wi-Fi

9. Adata SD700 External SSD

Adata SD700 External SSD

Adata SD700 is a rugged storage device that can provide ample capacity without costing too much. This router offers good speeds, and it’s IP68 rated, so you can carry it around without worrying about it getting damaged. 

Adata SD700 External SSD is available in capacities up to 1TB, so you won’t be deprived of storage space just because it uses an SSD. However, it doesn’t have the new USB Type-C connection, so the speeds aren’t as fast as they could be.

Pros
  • Great performance
  • IP68 rating
Cons
  • No USB Type-C

10. GNARBOX 2.0 SSD

GNARBOX 2.0 SSD

Gnarbox’s rugged backup SSDs serve a very specific purpose. Their purpose is to provide photographers and videographers with a convenient and reliable way to back up their high-resolution files while on the go. 

It’s not for regular users, but it’s an ingenious piece of peripheral for content creators – not just for backing up files, but also for making space. 

On a shoot, who hasn’t run out of space on their SD card? Because it is designed to survive the great outdoors, it is water, dust, and shock resistant. Hands down, this is the best external SSD for the adventurous creative set.

Pros
  • Incredibly convenient to use
  • Built for the outdoors
Cons
  • Very expensive
  • Not for regular users

A Guide to Choosing the Best External SSD for Gaming

Fast storage comes from the best internal SSD, since most computers slow down when they are paired with slow storage drives. Advanced processors can handle billions of cycles per second, but the time is delayed when it has to wait for your drive to feed any data. We will discuss which model will be most suitable for you, so you won’t have to worry about space and durability issues.

Capacity

When it comes to spending money on an external SSD, you first need to know how much storage space you need. Let’s take a look at the available capacities and compatibility with your data.

  • 128GB: drives tend to be slower than others with the same capacity due to the lower number of memory modules. Plus, it will run out of space after installing Windows and a few heavy games. Therefore, if you are going to put more data, we recommend using higher space models.
  • 250GB: drive is undoubtedly cheaper than its high-capacity cousins, and it can be used for moderate amount of data storage. However, it will require cleaning before replacing it. We recommend opting for a model with at least 500GB of storage if you have a bit more budget.
  • 500 GB: You can store sensitive data for years on this kind of capacity. Overall, if you have a medium budget, you can grab this range of storage, otherwise move on to the next.
  • 1TB: storage drives have been selling like hotcakes because they store enough data even when gamers are playing excessively. There is plenty of room for the programming system, as well as for future files and software.
  • 2TB: If you are going to work with large media files, or a huge game library that you want to install smoothly, then this 2TB drive is perfect for you.
  • 4TB: storage space should be only taken if you have a lot of data to store, and if the price is comparable to that of lower storage drives. Nevertheless, they are capable of holding, storing, and interpreting large files with ease. No other storage option can compete with them in terms of read/write speed.

Ruggedization and Endurance

It is important to consider the degree of ruggedness of your SSDs, which varies from drive to drive. If you are looking for dustproof and waterproof drives, the IP68 certification is an excellent specification to consider. Additionally, some models are available with both electrical and physical security. Such drives can’t be cracked open to obtain the PCBs inside without destroying them, so they’re perfect for military-level security.

In terms of endurance, general-purpose computing does not need to go too deep. All-flash memory has a limited life span, which means it will stop holding data after a certain number of reads and writes. What would you know about endurance? The manufacturers refer to them as drive writes per day (DWPD) or total terabytes written (TBW).

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Conclusion

External SSDs are a wise choice if you are looking for a storage solution that offers the best value. It is surprising to learn that the price of the best portable and external SSDs has come down in recent years, providing you with ease of space storage. By considering their capacity, interface, compatible devices, durability, weight, dimensions, and price, the reviewed models have taken the hearts of many gamers. Try it out and grab the best for yourself or your family.

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