The best external hard drive and SSD for 2021: Mac, PC, PS4 and Xbox – CNET5 min read

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Many brand-new computer systems do not featured much storage space– unless youre spending lavishly on a high-end model, they normally have 256 or 512 gigabytes. Game consoles such as the PS4 and Xbox One featured 1-terabyte drives (which is approximately 1,000 GB), but if you dont frequently take video games off the drive as you get more, the drives max out easily. An excellent storage solution is to discover the finest external hard disk drive for your needs.A traditional disk drive that uses “old” hard disk technology (mechanical platters and a moving read-write head to gain access to information) is sufficient for the majority of users, thanks to speedier USB-C and USB 3.0 (as well as 3.1/ 3.2) interfaces. Prices have dropped significantly in the last few years, with even mega-capacity designs tipping the scales at 5TB however costing just over $100. A strong state drive does not have moving parts and has up to 4 times faster check out speeds, but it costs a lot more per gigabyte.

Many of the hard disk drives here will work throughout platforms– whether you have a Windows PC, Mac computer system, PlayStation 4 or Xbox– so long as the drives are correctly formatted for the ideal platform. However a lot of times theyll be designated as working with a particular platform out of package and often come with backup software thats platform-specific. Unless otherwise shown, all the PC drives discussed here work with Windows however can be formatted for a Mac. A lot of them include adapters or cable televisions to accommodate USB-C and USB-A ports. However if they do not occur to be consisted of, you can quickly purchase dongles for about $10. And remember: A single backup doesnt cut it. Ideally, youll desire redundant backups either off-site or using cloud storage for key information (such as household photos) in case of theft or fire. And ensure you encrypt your data, too.With those caveats noted, our present leading picks for the very best external hard drives and SSDs are below. These (or almost identical designs with less storage capacity) have been utilized or anecdotally evaluated by CNET editors. Well upgrade our list of the very best external hard disks and SSDs as we check brand-new items.

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After Seagate acquired LaCie numerous years earlier, LaCie became the companys premium brand name and this 5TB design can be discovered on a lot of video editors desks (consisting of plenty at CNET). This rugged 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 variation is available for Thunderbolt-equipped Macs for about $200.

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If youre looking for a high-capacity drive for your Xbox One, the WD Black P10 5TB portable difficult drive is a great value at around $150 (The 3TB variation is $110). If you dont require the 2 months of Game Pass Ultimate, you can conserve $10 on the basic version of the drive, which likewise works with PCs and the PS4.

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Read our SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD sneak peek.

The Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB is one of the more compact non-SSD drives, making it the best external hard disk for those who are aiming to conserve some area. And at less than $60, its also a good worth. Available in a couple of color alternatives, it also can be found in 1TB ($ 55), 4TB ($ 93) and 5TB ($ 115) variations, however the higher capability drives are thicker.

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The 2TB version of the Seagate Game Drive is about $40 less. You might as well spend the extra dough and get 4TB for this portable external tough drive.Note that Seagate makes an SSD Game Drive For Xbox but not PS4.

If youre looking to save $20 to $30 on a 1TB mini SSD, the RavPower Mini External SSD is priced listed below some of the name brand competition from SanDisk, Western Digital, Samsung and others. It provides up to 540MBps data transfer speeds.

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Game consoles such as the PS4 and Xbox One come with 1-terabyte drives (which is roughly 1,000 GB), however if you dont routinely take video games off the drive as you obtain more, the drives max out easily. Most of the tough drives here will work throughout platforms– whether you have a Windows PC, Mac computer, PlayStation 4 or Xbox– so long as the drives are properly formatted for the ideal platform. You might as well invest the additional dough and get 4TB for this portable external hard drive.Note that Seagate makes an SSD Game Drive For Xbox but not PS4. If youre looking for a high-capacity drive for your Xbox One, the WD Black P10 5TB portable difficult drive is a great worth at around $150 (The 3TB variation is $110). The Seagate Backup Plus Slim 2TB is one of the more compact non-SSD drives, making it the best external tough drive for those who are looking to save some space.

This drive is about as futureproof– and backwards suitable– as they come. You pay a bit of a premium over the standard WD drive, however this more recent model offers a USB-C connection, meaning it has the newest and greatest connectivity for PCs and macs.

SanDisk makes the Extreme Portable SSD (see listed below) that provides speeds up to 550MB per 2nd transfer rates, however if youre a photographer or videographer looking for something faster for your PC or Mac, the Extreme Pro Portable SSD is the way to go for extra storage space. The 1TB variation ($ 190) just costs $30 more than the basic Extreme Portable and it delivers nearly two times the speed with 1,050 MBps (simply over a gigabyte per second) transfer rates, according to SanDisk. It has a USB-C interface and includes both USB-C to USB-C and USC-A to USB-C cable television.

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Western Digital, which owns SanDisk, offers its WD My Passport SSD also this SanDisk External Portable SSD for generally the exact same cost (around $170 for the 1TB version). I like the design of this model a little much better and its technically ruggedized with an IP55 ranking, meaning it can endure a sustained spray of water. Its also shock-resistant. It has a USB-C interface with transfer speeds up to 550MBps. The cost for the 2TB design leaps to $300.

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