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Lifewire / Yoona Wagener
5TB of storage
Plug and play for Windows and macOS
No USB-C compatibility
The WD Black P10 is a gaming-specific external hard drive, but its hearty design and generous storage capacity will appeal to gamers and non-gamers alike.
We purchased the WD Black P10 so our expert reviewer could thoroughly test and assess it. Keep reading for our full product review.
Are you looking for a portable gaming storage solution? The WD Black P10 is ideal. This external hard drive is capable of storing up to 125 games with its 5TB of storage. Extend your gaming library with the help of this handy drive that’s small enough to pack in your everyday bag. While I didn’t put it to the 125-game test, I did spend a few days testing this HDD’s transfer speeds and overall ease of use and reliability with some light gaming.
The WD Black P10 isn’t a cumbersome device. It’s built like a small steno-pad-style notebook at just a little over 4.5 inches long and about 3.5 inches wide. Its 0.82-inch thickness allows it to feel slim and portable. While it’s not completely unnoticeable, its 0.52-pound weight won’t add much stress to your day pack or commuter bag.
While Western Digital doesn’t provide any information about this HDD’s durability specs, its form factor feels substantially built with a rugged metal case construction that looks military-inspired. Western Digital supports the heavy-duty design and guarantees a 3-year warranty policy.
The WD Black P10 comes with 5TB of storage, which is good for up to 125 games—though actual capacity depends on numerous factors like game file size and formatting. Black Magic Design Speed Test results on a MacBook showed 92MB/s write and 93MB/s read speeds. But CystalDiskMark results showed read speeds of about 134MB/s and write speeds of 125MB/s, which is fairly accurate to the claim by Western Digital that this external hard drive is capable of read/write speeds of up to 140MB/s.
Western Digital markets this device as a solution for gamers who want to extend their library without having to worry about storage. To that end, I wanted to see how it handled large game files like NBA2K, which is 98GB. When I downloaded this game directly from Steam onto an Acer Predator Triton 500 gaming laptop and transferred the file to the HDD, it took a relatively speedy 14.5 minutes. I also tested downloading the game directly to the P10 from Steam, and that took about 1.5 hours to fully download.
The WD Black P10 comes with 5TB of storage, which is good for up to 125 games.
Loading the game from the P10 took about 20 seconds, which is similar to what I’ve seen from the Predator Triton 500’s 512GB NVMe SSD. There were no issues with gaming performance like lagging or freezing.
I also tested smaller games including Mafia III and a trial of Shadow of the Tomb Raider. Installation times clocked in just under 10 and 20 minutes, respectively. The Shadow of the Tomb Raider load time was pretty lengthy from the initializing period: about a minute. But there were no lags and the graphics rendered beautifully. Gaming performance with Mafia III from the HDD was on par with the performance I saw from the Predator Triton’s internal SSD. There were really no noticeable lags or delays.
I also tested the P10 as a general external drive for other media files. I transferred 5.17GB of movie files in just about 1 minute. That’s not as fast as it gets, but this HDD’s relatively speedy ability to store and view movies on the go as well as game adds to the appeal of this device.
This HDD is somewhat limited in terms of ports. The lone port is a micro B port that functions with the micro B to Type A USB cord. If you’d like to use this HDD for backing up PC games and transferring the occasional media file here or there from a MacBook or MacBook Pro, you won’t have ease of access to USB-C ports. But that’s not necessarily a deal-breaker since an adapter will do the trick.
Who doesn’t love a product that’s ready to perform right out of the box? The P10 comes pre-formatted in exFAT, or Extended File Allocation Table file format, which is a welcome departure from the NTFS system that’s exclusive to Windows, and is only readable by MacOS. The exFAT format also makes moving files larger than 4GB a cinch, which is a nice convenience to have if you’ll be transferring larger game files from various devices and platforms.
Since this is a gaming drive, you’d expect some tie-in with a gaming console or two. And Western Digital delivers on that with built-in connectivity to PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Simply plug it into either console and enjoy seamless usage with Xbox and minimal formatting on a PS4. It’s also obviously PC-compatible as well, which increases this HDDs versatility for gaming on the go without your gaming console.
The one major drawback to the WD Black P10 is the price. You can find this product for about $120. Considering that it doesn’t use speedy SDD flash technology and doesn’t offer a whopping amount of storage capacity or lightning-fast read/write speeds, you may balk at the price tag. Especially since even within the Western Digital brand products like the WD 10TB Elements are only about $30 more. Of course, that device is meant for desktop use only and lacks the easy and lightweight form factor.
Gaming performance with Mafia III from the HDD was on par with the performance I saw from the Predator Triton’s internal SSD. There were really no noticeable lags or delays.
Other options from the Seagate brand are catered specifically to PS4 and Xbox One console users and offer 4TB to 5TB of storage for about $150. Other than platform-specific licensing, the Seagate options don’t necessarily offer more than the WD Black P10. But if you’re very loyal to one of those platforms, those products could be worth the extra $30 since they still offer enough portability for gaming on the go.
When considering an external HDD for gaming that offers the same capacity and similar price point, other factors like durability and versatility may tip the scales.
The Silicon Power Armor A60 gives the WD Black P10 some competition. Retailing for a bit more at $134, this product also comes with more flexibility in terms of portability. Heavy-duty rubber and plastic build materials defend the hardware from wear and tear, and this rugged construction is backed by a MIL-STD 810G military-grade shockproof rating and IPX4 water-resistance. These grades mean the Armor A60 can hold its own against splashes of water, dust, and falls from about 4 feet off the ground. This level of protection offers more concrete value than the mere military look of the WD P10. There’s also a bit more utility in the design since the USB 3.0 cable conveniently hooks around the device for easy storage and travel.
Like the P10, it’s compatible with Xbox One and PS4 system versions 4.5 and higher. Both use the SuperSpeed USB standard of 5GB/s, but you’ll see faster performance from the P10 since average read/write speeds of the Armor A60 are around 100-115MB/S. The Armor A60 is slightly heavier at .7 pounds, presumably because of its more rugged build, and is slightly taller and thicker as well, which could make it less of an easy fit into smaller bag compartments.
A solid game driver with aesthetic appeal and reliability.
The WD Black P10 is a relatively lightweight and portable game drive that blends a catchy design with some real-world performance chops. If you’re someone who wants to make room for more games on a PC or console like PS4 or Xbox One, this HDD offers a travel-ready, space-saving solution for your gaming and general media library.
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