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Lifewire / Andy Zahn
Extremely fast data transfer speeds
Compact and portable
Rugged and durable design
The WD Black P50 Game Drive’s rugged frame is reassuring, and it’s small and light enough to take with you anywhere you go. It’s also blazing fast, which is essential for high-end gaming and productivity.
Western Digital provided us with a review unit for one of our writers to test. Read on for their full take.
Modern video games demand more than sheer graphical power and a beefy processor; they also demand a considerable share of your storage capacity, and fast transfer speeds to access those mountains of data. The WD_BLACK P50 Game Drive external SSD is built to handle the rigors of high-end gaming, providing both capacity and blazing speed in a compact and durable package so that your games can go anywhere you do.
The WD_BLACK P50 Game Drive looks and feels like a serious piece of hardware, measuring 4.65x2.44x0.55 inches (LWH). Its rugged aluminum design is a solid and reassuring weight that puts your mind at ease as to its durability. Its ridged top plate has a militaristic aesthetic that is further accentuated by stencil print style type, giving the P50 a “cool” factor not typically associated with storage devices.
Underneath, there’s ventilation for cooling, and the drive sits on rubberized feet that provide spacing between the drive and the surface it’s placed on, as well as help prevent it from slipping off accidentally. A white indicator light informs you of the drive’s status.
Its ridged top plate has a militaristic aesthetic that is further accentuated by stencil print style type.
The P50 comes with cables to connect it to both USB Type-C ports and USB Type-A, making it instantly compatible with most modern devices. The P50 Game Drive comes in capacities of 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB, which is a versatile range that should fit most people’s portable data storage needs.
The best thing to be said about any setup process is for there to be no setup process, which is the case when using the P50 with any PC or laptop. Just plug it in and it’s ready to go. With consoles, you’ll need to go through each system’s process for setting up an external drive, which is anything but complicated, and an instruction manual is included to guide you through the steps for PS4 and Xbox One.
WD’s line of black series NVMe SSDs have been at the leading edge of the high-performance SSD market for a long time. The P50 Game Drive is the first external SSD in the Black series.
Chances are that your computer or other device is going to be the limiting factor when it comes to transfer speeds with the P50 game drive. It features USB 3.2 Gen 2 x 2 compatibility, which is tech that isn’t even in most computers or consoles yet.
The P50 is certainly capable as a tool in the avid gamers tool kit, but it’s especially useful for photographers, videographers, animators, and graphic designers.
In fact, while the P50 is compatible with the PS5 and Xbox Series X, those systems can’t actually take advantage of this drive’s full capability because their USB Type-A ports can only handle half the speed of the P50s 20Gbps potential.
However, if you do have a PC with USB 3.2 Gen 2 x 2 compatibility, then even the heftiest file transfers will just breeze by at the drive’s full 2,000 Mbps read/write speeds, as I found while testing the drive.
It’s most useful to me as a content creator who needs to transfer photo and video files rapidly from one system to another and to be able to work on those files from the external drive itself without running into bandwidth issues. The P50 is certainly capable as a tool in the avid gamers tool kit, but it’s especially useful for photographers, videographers, animators, and graphic designers.
Performance like that delivered by the P50 Game Drive doesn’t come cheap.
The P50 Game Drive comes with a 5-year warranty because this is a drive intended to be used for years to come while the rest of the tech industry finally catches up with its high degree of performance. I will say, though, that the P50 ran rather warmly, even while not under active use, which is a concern.
Performance like that delivered by the P50 Game Drive doesn’t come cheap. The drive starts at an MSRP of $180 for the 500GB version, and goes up to $750 if you need the maximum capacity of 4TB. However, the $250 1TB version I tested isn’t too steep and provides plenty of storage space. It’s a good balance of price and capacity, given the high level of performance this hard drive provides.
If you want to get more terabytes for your dollars, the WD My Passport SSD offers tremendous capacity for your money, and it’s quite a bit smaller, making it more portable. However, it’s also only half as fast as the WD Black P50 Game Drive, so transfers won’t be as lightning quick.
A serious external SSD for high-end gaming and productivity.
If the fastest transfer speeds are essential to get your game on or to get the job done, then the WD_BLACK P50 Game Drive is a killer external drive. It’s rugged, fast, and portable with a tough aluminum exterior to help keep your data safe while you’re on the road.
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