Best External Hard Drives For PC, Xbox, And PlayStation
Both the PS5 and Xbox Series X now support external hard drives and SSDs for storing next-gen games--here are the best gaming storage options we recommend in 2021.
The best external hard drives and SSDs come with fast read and write speeds while also being highly reliable. Reliability, after all, is the most important aspect of any hard drive in the long run. Speed is always nice, but you don't want your hard drive filled with data to suffer a failure. Generally, you want to stick with a reliable and well-known brand in the space such as Western Digital, Seagate, and SanDisk. This is especially important for gamers--if a hard drive burns itself out, all of your games, save data, and other files you might have on it are gone forever. That's why we've rounded up the best external hard drives and SSDs that combine both reliability and speed into a nice package that's perfect for PlayStation, Xbox, and PC gaming.
How to use an external hard drive with PS5 or Xbox Series X
If you're planning to use an external hard drive with your PS5 or Xbox Series X, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, you'll need to format the hard drive on the console itself--your console should prompt you to do this automatically if it recognizes the drive, but you can also do this in your console's storage settings.
Another thing to know: The PS5 received a major update earlier this year that enabled external storage support for PS5 games, allowing you to free up space on the internal SSD for more downloads. However, you can only store next-gen PS5 and Xbox Series X games on external drives--to play them, you'll need to transfer the game back to the console. Backwards-compatible games, on the other hand, can be stored and played directly from the external drive.
As for expanding your console's internal storage, you'll need an NVMe SSD--we've outlined the process and have a list of the best options. Xbox Series X owners, on the other hand, can pick up the Seagate storage expansion card to increase their storage by 1TB.
The best external hard drives and SSDs
If you're in need of more storage, we've rounded up our most trusted external drives below, from hard drives and SSDs to those specifically meant for PCs and laptops. All of these will work great with the Xbox Series X and PS5 as well.
Editor's Note: Article updated on June 24, 2022
Best external hard drive
Seagate external hard drive
The Seagate external hard drive is the best for a reason: It's a reliable drive that won't let you down. With over 118,000 user reviews on Amazon and a 4.5-star rating, it's one of the most popular drives as well. It's available in 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB variations.
Runner-up for best external hard drive
WD Elements external hard drive
If you'd prefer to go with WD, another reliable company, its Elements external hard drive is well worth your time, confidence, and money. It's another popular drive, with over 78,000 user reviews and a 4.5-star rating, and comes in the same sizes as Seagate's basic drive: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB.
Best external SSD
Samsung T7 external SSD
When it comes to SSDs, no one beats Samsung in either the external or internal department. Its T7 external SSD boasts read speeds of up to 1,050MB/s and write speeds of up to 1,000MB/s when using it in conjunction with a USB 3.2 device, such as the PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Best external SSD for portability
SanDisk Extreme external SSD
If you're a gamer on the go--or just someone who travels a lot--SanDisk has an excellent external SSD that is easy to take with you. Its SanDisk Extreme portable SSD has a protective plastic shell and a belt loop that you can use to clip on to your bag or clothing. On top of that, it boasts read and write speeds of 1,050MB/s and 1,000MB/s respectively.
Best desktop hard drive
WD My Book desktop hard drive
If you play your consoles at your desk or use a PC/laptop, WD's My Book desktop hard drive is well worth your consideration. It requires a power supply, but it's also capable of more storage and faster speeds than a portable hard drive. It also has a three-year warranty for that peace of mind.
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