Thunderbolt external hard drive: Best External Hard Drives and SSDs of 2023

SanDisk Pro-G40 SSD Review: Rugged Thunderbolt on the Go (Updated)

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The best portable SSD we’ve tested to date

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Tom’s Hardware Verdict

The 2TB SanDisk Pro-G40 is a top notch portable SSD with strong all-around performance and consistency. It’s also rugged with the advantages of the Thunderbolt interface, making it the best choice for creators.

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    Excellent all-around performance

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    Class-leading sustained write performance

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    Rugged, aesthetically-pleasing design

  • Price

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Update 28th November 2022: We’ve updated this article with new testing for the 2TB SanDisk Pro-G40 SSD on page 2.

Original Review published 17th November 2022:

The SanDisk Pro-G40 is a resilient and fast portable SSD with a USB-C interface for both Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2 Gen 2 transfer modes. This gives it some flexibility, as it will work with a large number of devices with a high maximum speed. The metal core is surrounded by a silicon bumper edge to protect the drive from drops and other accidents while also keeping the internal M. 2 SSD cool. The USB-C port is reinforced with metal for added protection, and SanDisk specs the full SSD with an IP68 water resistance rating. The drive comes with a Type-C to Type-C cable, an ample warranty, and solid support.

This drive is priced for professionals, and the combination of sustained performance and toughness is something we last recommended in the Samsung T7 Shield. The SSD technology in the Pro-G40 is a little bit older, but it has the advantage of DRAM and a Thunderbolt mode over the T7 Shield. Western Digital’s PCIe 3.0 drives, like the Red SN700, are known for their superb sustained write performance and overall consistency. This is also true of the Pro-G40, making it unrivaled if you need to transfer data quickly in the field.


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Product 1TB 2TB
Pricing $299. 99 $449.99
Form Factor (Internal) M.2 2280 M.2 2280
Interface / Protocol Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.2 Gen 2 Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.2 Gen 2
Bridge Chip(s) JHL7440 + ASM2362 JHL7440 + ASM2362
Included Thunderbolt 3 USB-C to USB-C Cable Thunderbolt 3 USB-C to USB-C Cable
Controller SanDisk Proprietary SanDisk Proprietary
Memory SanDisk 96-Layer BiCS4 SanDisk 96-Layer BiCS4
Sequential Read (TB3 | USB) 2,700 MBps | 1,050 MBps 2,700 MBps | 1,050 MBps
Sequential Write (TB3 | USB) 1,900 MBps | 1,000 MBps 1,900 MBps | 1,000 MBps
Random Read N/A N/A
Random Write N/A N/A
Security N/A N/A
Resistance IP68 IP68
Endurance (TBW) N/A N/A
Dimensions 111 x 58 x 12 mm (4. 36 x 2.28 x 0.47 in) 111 x 58 x 12 mm (4.36 x 2.28 x 0.47 in)
Weight 121.2 g (0.27 lbs) 122.3 g (0.27 lbs)
Part Number SDPS31H-001T-GBCND SDPS31H-002T-GBCND
Warranty 5-Year 5-Year

The SanDisk Pro-G40 is rated for up to 2,700/1,900 MBps for sequential reads and writes, respectively, in Thunderbolt 3 mode. It has a separate rating of up to 1,050/1,000 MBps in USB mode. The former is using a 40 Gbps connection, with the latter being 10 Gbps. This is valid for both available capacities.

The unit is fairly portable, weighing in around 120 grams with a 4.36 x 2.28 x 0.47 inch footprint. It’s also designed to be a bit rugged with an IP68 rating, meaning it is dust- and water-resistant. SanDisk also states it can survive a three meter fall with up to 4000 pounds of crush resistance. The company backs this up with a 5-year warranty.

Software and Accessories

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The SanDisk Pro-G40 comes with a relatively short 20cm (or about 8”) USB Type-C to Type-C cable. Western Digital has a variety of downloads available for its drives, and SanDisk also provides its own SSD Dashboard software. This should cover any basic needs.

A Closer Look

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(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

The SanDisk Pro-G40 is a pleasant drive to behold. The aluminum core is rugged and also helps with heat dissipation. The USB-C port is reinforced with metal for added durability. The drive is also protected from drops with its rubberized edges. The design is simple but effective.

Image 1 of 6

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

We do not recommend opening the casing as it does require some finesse. The case has ample thermal padding to ensure efficient heat transfer. Inside we see the PCB with the SSD, the Thunderbolt controller, the bridge chip, and a USB-C port.

The drive is in the standard M.2 2280 form factor with a controller, two NAND packages, and DRAM. The Thunderbolt 3 controller is a Titan Ridge JHL7440 and the USB bridge chip is the 10 Gbps ASMedia ASM2362. This bridge is commonly used in retail portable SSDs. As the drive has DRAM there is no need to worry about the slower Host Memory Buffer tech we see in slower devices, although this would be passed over Thunderbolt 3 (TB3).

Image 1 of 3

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

This controller is familiar as it’s the same one we saw on the WD Red SN700 and is also present on the WD Black SN730s used with the WD Black AN1500. Older, but reliable. The drive itself is the SN750E, much as the SN550E is in other WD/SanDisk portables. There’s been reports that these external-only controller revisions have reduced sustained performance when shucked and used as a standard drive in a PC. It doesn’t make much sense to shuck this drive, though.

1GB of SK hynix DDR4 is matched with 1TB of 96-layer BiCS4 TLC, the latter arranged in two 512GB packages. This makes this drive closer to the Red SN700 or Black SN730 than the Black SN750. This has the potential to be extremely consistent with sustained writes which should enable it to match or exceed the Samsung T7 Shield. This is older hardware: 112-layer BiCS5 TLC is becoming more commonplace, as in the WD Black SN770, however it is more than ample for portable use.


MORE: Best External SSDs and Hard Drives

MORE: How We Test HDDs And SSDs

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Shane Downing is a Freelance Reviewer for Tom’s Hardware US, covering consumer storage hardware.

6 Best Thunderbolt External Hard Drives For Mac of 2023 (inc. M1 & M2 Macs)

If you want the fastest external hard drive for your Mac then you need a Thunderbolt drive so we’ve looked at the best external Thunderbolt drives for Mac of 2023.

Thunderbolt is an advanced data transfer technology developed between Intel and Apple back in 2011 and all Macs now have Thunderbolt ports.

Since around 2017 most Macs have the fastest Thunderbolt 3 ports and the latest Apple Silicon Mac Studio, MacBook Pro and M2 Macs have Thunderbolt 4 ports.

In fact, we think that Thunderbolt Drives are easily the best external hard drives for M1 & M2 Macs.

There’s no difference in speed between Thunderbolt 3 and 4 but Thunderbolt 4 is a slightly higher standard and can drive more high resolution 4K and 8K external displays on a Mac.

The advantage of Thunderbolt ports is the incredibly high data transfer rates they can achieve compared to the USB-C ports that most Windows PCs have.

You can get data transfer speeds of up to 40GB/s with Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 compared to a maximum of 20GB/s with USB 3.2 Gen 2×2, 10 GB/s with USB 3.1 Gen 2 and 5 GB/s with USB 3.1 Gen 1.

This is particularly important for video editors, musicians and graphic designers that need to edit and transfer large files in seconds rather than minutes.

It also means that using a Thunderbolt drive is the fastest way to backup your Mac via macOS Time Machine.

The fastest Thunderbolt drives are Solid State SSD drives which means they have no moving parts inside although it’s important to be aware that not all SSD drives support Thunderbolt.

Apart from speed, other advantages of Thunderbolt over USB-C include greater bandwidth to support more than one external monitor, daisy chaining multiple hard drives together and the ability to connect eGPUs (although only on Intel Macs not M1 or M2 Macs).

In our research, we found the best thunderbolt drive for Mac is the Samsung X5 SSD for reliability, durability and incredible read speeds of almost 30GB/s.

You May Also Like:

  • 10 Best External Hard Drives For Mac
  • 6 Best SSD Drives For Mac
  • Thunderbolt vs USB-C & USB 3.2 Gen 2×2

Quick Navigation

  • Thunderbolt vs USB-C
  • Thunderbolt Drive Downsides
  • Formatting Thunderbolt Drives For Macs
  • 1. Samsung X5 Portable SSD
  • 2. Plugable Thunderbolt Drive
  • 3. G-Technology Thunderbolt G-Drive
  • 4. LaCie Rugged SSD Pro 1TB Solid State Drive
  • 5. SABRENT Rocket XTRM-Q
  • 6. Fantom Drives eXtreme 2TB External SSD
  • Best Thunderbolt Drives For Mac Compared
    • Related

Thunderbolt vs USB-C

The difference between Thunderbolt and USB-C is increasingly confusing because since both ports were originally released, there have been several sub-versions since.

Visually, the ports are exactly the same oval shape and support the same cables.

The only way to tell them apart on a device is that Thunderbolt ports are labelled with the lightening strike symbol and USB-C ports are labelled by their standard such as USB 3.1, 3.2 etc.

Things get really confusing however with the multiple standards of USB-C that have been released since it was invented.

There are now 9 versions of USB-C, the latest being USB 3.1 Gen 1, USB-C Gen 2 and more recently, USB-3.2 Gen 2×2 and USB 4.

The first two standards work with Macs and deliver their maximum transfer rates of 5GB/s and 10GB/s with Thunderbolt ports on Macs.

However the latest USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 and USB 4 do not deliver their maximum speed with Mac Thunderbolt ports.

USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 can deliver speeds of up to 20GB/s (which is half the speed of Thunderbolt but still very fast) but it needs to use both lanes of a USB-C connector to transfer data.

As yet, Macs (including Apple Silicon M1 & M2 Macs) do not support dual lane USB 3. 2 Gen 2×2 transfers.

External hard drives like the SanDisk Extreme Pro support USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 and deliver transfer speeds up to 20GB/s to Windows PCs.

However, if you connect the SanDisk Extreme Pro to a Mac you will only get speeds of 10GB/s because Macs only support up to USB 3.2 Gen 2 which only utilizes one lane of a USB-C connector at 10Gbps.

So if you have a Mac, any external drive that claims to offer speeds of more than 10GB/s using USB-C won’t achieve them on a Mac because they require USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 ports which only some PCs have at the moment.

USB 4 meanwhile can go up to the same speed as Thunderbolt (40GB/s) but there are very few USB 4 compatible devices on the market as yet and USB 4 is not compatible with Thunderbolt ports on a Mac.

For more on this confusing and complicated situation, check out our guide to how Thunderbolt vs USB-C and USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 affect the real life speed you can expect to achieve with an external hard drive connected to your Mac.

That’s why if you need a really fast external hard drive we strongly recommend sticking to Thunderbolt which is guaranteed to work at maximum speed with Macs compared to USB-C.

The good news is that since around 2017 most new Macs have Thunderbolt 3 ports which are even faster than USB Gen 2×2 and can deliver transfer speeds of up to 40GB/s.

The latest M1 Mac Studio and MacBook Pro and M2 Macs even have Thunderbolt 4 ports although there’s no difference in transfer speed between Thunderbolt 3 v 4.

You can check whether your Mac has a Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4 port here.

The bottom line then is the only way to get really fast read/write speeds above on an external drive connected to a Mac is with a dedicated Thunderbolt 3 SSD drive which is why we’ve looked at the best ones.

Thunderbolt Drive Downsides

On the downside, Thunderbolt drives are some of the most expensive external hard drives on the market in terms of Terabytes per dollar.

Many of the best Thunderbolt drives also only have around 2TB of storage space although this is still enough for 65 hours of 4K 30fps compressed footage or 200K RAW images.

Most have a maximum read speed of 2800 MB/s and read speed of 2400 MB/s which equates to transferring a 15GB 4K video to the drive in 8.7 seconds and your Mac will be able to read the same video in 8.02 seconds.

If you want to see exactly how fast an external hard drive is performing, there are tools like Blackmagic Disk Speed Test which can measure the data transfer speeds of your Thunderbolt drive.

Formatting Thunderbolt Drives For Macs

Some Thunderbolt drives are already formatted for use with Macs but some are only formatted for Windows out of the box.

Since macOS High Sierra, macOS no longer uses the old HFS+ format and now macOS uses Apple File System (APFS) which works across macOS and iOS.

However, any external hard drive that is formatted with HFS+ still works on the latest versions of macOS but using APFS provides better security and cross compatibility with iOS.

If you just intend to use the Thunderbolt drive with your Mac and iPad or iPhone then formatting the drive in HFS+ or APFS is fine.

However, if you want to be able to transfer files back and forth between a Windows PC and your Mac then you’ll need to format the hard drive with the exFAT file system.

This is because HFS+ and APFS are not compatible with Windows.

However, it’s easy to format an external drive to use with a Mac by following these instructions.

  • Open Disk Utility in the Utilities folder under apps.
  • Select the Disk and and Click the ‘Erase’ tab at the top.
  • You can then select to reformat the drive in 3 different formats:

Apple File System (APFS): The file format used by macOS 10.13 or later including Big Sur and Monterey

– Mac OS Extended: The file format used by macOS 10.12 or earlier

– MS-DOS (FAT) and ExFAT: The file format that works on both macOS and Windows

If you need more help on reformatting a Thunderbolt external drive, check out our guide on how to format an external hard drive.

With all this in mind then, here are the best Thunderbolt external hard drives for Mac of 2023.

If money is no object and you need the fastest speeds for transferring large files from your Mac or the quickest backups, then the Samsung X5 is the fastest and best external Thunderbolt SSD drive for Mac on the market.

The Samsung X5 is a popular choice with video editors that use Final Cut Pro X or Adobe Premiere due to its amazing Thunderbolt supported speeds.

The Samsung X5 is the first-ever NVMe-based portable SSD from Samsung with Thunderbolt 3 technology with read and write levels of up to 2,800MB/s and 2,300MB/s respectively.

That’s read speeds almost 3 times quicker than the average SSD and write speeds more than twice as quick as most external SSD drives.

This means it’s capable of transferring a 20GB 4K UHD video from your Mac to the X5 in an incredible 12 seconds.

The Samsung X5 also uses a Thermal Guard to prevent such blazing speeds overheating the drive and will adjust the transfer speeds accordingly to prevent damage to the drive.

The Samsung X5 has a solid metal body with a useful non-slip bottom mat to keep it stable wherever you put it. Even if you do drop it, it’s shock-resistant for drops of up to 2 meters.

You can also protect your data on the Samsung X5 with AES 256-bit encryption.

Note that the Samsung T5 only works with Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 ports. It is not backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 2 ports so make sure you check here whether your Mac has a TB3 ot TB4 port before buying.

Buy on Amazon


  • The best Thunderbolt drive for Mac
  • Incredibly fast read/write speeds up to 3 times faster than most SSDs
  • Manages heat to prevent damage to drive
  • Shock resistant
  • AES 256-bit encryption


  • Price
  • Not backwards compatible with Thunderbolt 2

The Plugable Thunderbolt 3 Drive is available in 512MB, 1TB and 2TB and offers read speeds of around 2400MB/s and write speeds of 1800MB/s.

The Plugable Thunderbolt Drive is both durable and portable with a full metal enclosure which quickly dissipates heat and protects the drive from over heating.

The drive also has an internal power supply so it’s not heavy or bulky at just 6.2oz. It also comes with a useful carry bag so that you can take it anywhere.

The Plugable Thunderbolt Drive is also pre-formatted in exFAT format so that it work for file transfers between macOS and Windows out of the box.

The drive also comes with a 36 month or 1900 TBW (Terra bytes Written) limited warranty.

The disadvantage of the drive is that the Thunderbolt cable is non-detachable so you can’t change it for a longer one. This is to provide the high transfer speeds that the drive promises but it is inconvenient if you can’t have it close to your Mac.

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  • Incredibly light and portable
  • Good value for money
  • Very high read-write speeds


  • Non detachable short Thunderbolt cable

The advantage of the G-Technology Thunderbolt G-Drive is the storage capacity it offers. The G-Technology Thunderbolt G-Drive ranges from 4TB up to 18TB.

The disadvantage is that the G-Technology Thunderbolt G-Drive is a mechanical HDD with moving parts compared to the faster and more durable SSD drives.

However, unlike many Thunderbolt drives, this one also supports USB-C (USB 3.1 Gen 1) which makes it suitable for using with Windows and macOS.

You can also daisy-chain up to 5 additional Thunderbolt drives to the Thunderbolt G-Drive which makes it ideal for those that need huge amounts of offline Thunderbolt storage capacity.

The G-Technology Thunderbolt Drive also has an aluminum case which looks good with Macs and also provides protection from damage and heat.

Buy on Amazon


  • Up to 18TB storage space
  • Supports USB-C
  • Supports daisy chaining multiple drives for huge storage capacity


  • Not a Solid State Drive
  • Price

As the name suggests, the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro 1TB Solid State Drive is incredibly strong and durable with IP67 water resistance, three meter drop resistance and up to two-ton car crash pressure resistance.

The Lacie SSD Rugged Pro is aimed mainly at film makers and DTIs on the move that need maximum speed and durability.

The Lacie SSD Rugged Pro is fitted with a 1TB Seagate FireCuda NV Me SSD for read/write speeds of up to 2800MB/s with 4K, 6K and 8K video.

The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is still small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and includes a Thunderbolt 3 cable which connects to both Macs and Windows PCs.

Lacie also offer a one-month free membership of Adobe Creative Cloud which gives you access to the entire Adobe CC suite including photo and video editing apps.

It also includes a five-year guarantee with a Rescue Data Recovery service if the drive fails.

The main downside is the short cable which is only a few inches long and has to be placed right next to your Mac. If you replace the Thunderbolt cable with a long one, the transfer speeds go down so it seems you’re stuck with a shorter cable on the Lacie Rugged SSD Pro.

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  • Incredibly tough and water resistant
  • Extremely small and portable
  • Fast and stable data transfer speeds


  • Thunderbolt cable is short
  • Get quite warm with long usage

The Sabrent Rocket is one of largest capacity Thunderbolt drives on the market with a maximum of up to 16TB storage space.

The Sabrent Rocket is available in two versions: QLC which offers speeds of up to 2700MB/s and TLC which offers 2400MB/s.

Both work with Macs but the main difference is the TLC version only supports Thunderbolt 3 whereas the QLC version supports both Thunderbolt 3 and USB 3.2.

The Sabrent Rocket uses quad-level cell and triple-level cell technology and dual disk storage to offer up to 16TB of high speed hard drive space.

It has an integrated temperature and health monitoring system that automatically protects the hard drive from over heating and degrading.

Note that since there are two SSDs in the higher capacity models, you will either get speeds of up to 1400 MB/s per single SSD or up to 2800MB/s when using both drives in RAID 0 mode.

Sabrent is also fully certified by Intel to use Thunderbolt 3 technology in their products so if you need guaranteed Thunderbolt compatibility, you’re sure to get it with the Sabrent.

The big downside of the Sabrent Rocket is the price but for those that need huge amounts of thunderbolt hard drive storage, it’s one of the only ones you can get in this range.

Availability of the 1TB, 2TB and 4TB models is quite good but the availability of the higher storage models of 8TB and 16GB is limited and you may find they are frequently out of stock.

Buy on Amazon


  • Storage available up to 16TB
  • Officially certified by Intel for Thunderbolt
  • Integrated health monitoring system


  • Price
  • Does get hot
  • Maximum speed requires RAID mode

Fantom isn’t the most well known brand in the external hard drive market but the Fantom Drives Extreme External SSD is one of the best value Thunderbolt drives for Mac.

The Fantom Drives eXtreme Thunderbolt 3 external solid state drive can reach read speeds of over 2800MB/s and write speeds of over 2300MB/s.

What we like about the Fantom Drives eXtreme is that it often delivers these speeds in real life whereas many Thunderbolt drives don’t live up to the hype under real world conditions.

For those that want to use it with a Windows PC as well as a Mac, the eXtreme SSD is backwards compatible with USB 3.2 Gen 2 USB-C but at slower 1050MB/s read and write speeds.

The Fantom Drives eXtreme Thunderbolt 3 external solid state drive is remarkably small at just 0.5″ x 2.5″ x 4.25″ and weighs only 9ozs and that includes the internal power supply.

The Fantom eXtreme uses Thermal Dissipation Technology to keep the SSD in optimum condition and is officially licensed as a Thunderbolt 3 product.

Buy on Amazon


  • Light and portable
  • Delivers promised read write speeds
  • Nice build finish


  • Short Thunderbolt cable
  • Gets warm although dissipates through heat sinks

Best Thunderbolt Drives For Mac Compared

If you’re still not sure which external Thunderbolt storage drive is best for you, here’s a side-by-side comparison to help you decide.

SAMSUNG X5 Portable SSD — 1TB — Thunderbolt 3 External SSD (MU-PB1T0B/AM) Gray/Red

Plugable 2TB Thunderbolt 3 External SSD NVMe Drive (Up to 2400MBs/1800MBs R/W)

G-Technology 4TB G-DRIVE with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Desktop External Hard Drive, Silver — 0G05363-1

LaCie Rugged SSD Pro 1TB Solid State Drive — USB-C Thunderbolt 3, Drop Shock Dust Water Resistant, for Mac and PC Computer Desktop Laptop, 1 Mo Adobe CC (STHZ1000800)

SABRENT Rocket XTRM-Q 4TB USB 3.2 / Thunderbolt 3 External SSD (SB-XTMQ-4TB)

Fantom Drives Extreme 2TB External SSD — 2800MB/s, Thunderbolt 3 and 4, USB Type-C, Aluminum, 3D NAND TLC, TB3X-2300N2TB





Price not available


Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

Buy Now

SAMSUNG X5 Portable SSD — 1TB — Thunderbolt 3 External SSD (MU-PB1T0B/AM) Gray/Red


Buy Now

Plugable 2TB Thunderbolt 3 External SSD NVMe Drive (Up to 2400MBs/1800MBs R/W)

$335. 71

Buy Now

G-Technology 4TB G-DRIVE with Thunderbolt 3 and USB-C Desktop External Hard Drive, Silver — 0G05363-1


Buy Now

LaCie Rugged SSD Pro 1TB Solid State Drive — USB-C Thunderbolt 3, Drop Shock Dust Water Resistant, for Mac and PC Computer Desktop Laptop, 1 Mo Adobe CC (STHZ1000800)


Buy Now

SABRENT Rocket XTRM-Q 4TB USB 3.2 / Thunderbolt 3 External SSD (SB-XTMQ-4TB)

Price not available

Buy Now

Fantom Drives Extreme 2TB External SSD — 2800MB/s, Thunderbolt 3 and 4, USB Type-C, Aluminum, 3D NAND TLC, TB3X-2300N2TB


Buy Now

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Best SSDs in 2023: rating of external hard drives

Kirill Cheremisin

will save all files now

Author profile

that take up a lot of space on your computer or phone.

There are two types of external hard drives — SSD and HDD.

SSD Solid State Disk A flash memory chip is used to store data, in fact it is a kind of ordinary flash drives. The difference lies in the larger volume, speed of reading and writing files, as well as in dimensions. SSDs come in two form factors: the more compact 1.8″ up to 2TB and the 2.5″ up to 5TB.

HDD — Hard Disk Drive, hard disk drive. Data is stored on a physical spinning disk. Write and read speeds are much slower than SSDs. But the maximum amount of memory is much larger — up to 24 TB. And the cost is several times, and sometimes tens of times less than that of solid-state drives.

HDD is available in two form factors — 2.5 and 3.5″. 2.5″ is a compact design with a maximum memory capacity of 5 TB. But 3.5 «are stationary external hard drives, most often requiring additional power. It is provided either via USB directly while the disk is running, which is extremely rare, or through an additional power cable. In the second case, the hard drive will two cables are inserted at the same time: one is for transferring information, the second is for powering the disk. 0003

Selection criteria

Memory size. For HDD, it can reach 24 TB. For SSD, this figure does not exceed 8 TB, and the cost for such a volume will be higher — up to 30,000 R. You should also take into account that SSD has a limit on the number of overwrites on the disk. So at some point it will just stop working. But HDD does not have such a drawback. It is important to note that the real volume will always be less, since there is pre-installed software on the hard drives, which takes up space — up to 2 TB with a large amount of memory.

Today, if you need a lot of memory, it is cheaper to buy several external drives of a smaller capacity than one device with 20 TB at once. This is not the most convenient option, but an archive split into several parts reduces the chance of losing the entire library at once.

Speed. The SSDs support read and write speeds of up to 3000MB/s or more. This allows you to install programs, games, and even an operating system.


“Love the look and feel good”: 8 external hard drive brands that won’t let you down

For 2.5″ HDDs, the write and read speeds do not exceed 140 Mb/s. This will only be enough for data storage. Speeds up to 250 Mb/s are found only in drives with a 3.5″ form factor. This is already enough to run some programs

Connection interface Even the fastest hard drive will not deliver its full potential if it is connected to the wrong connector

Here is how the interfaces and data reading speed differ:

  1. USB 2.0 — Legacy interface with very slow write and read speeds, up to 60 Mbps. But it is still on the market.
  2. USB 3.0 is the current interface installed in more devices on the market. Read and write speeds up to 640 Mb/s.
  3. USB 3.1 and USB 3.2 Gen 2 and Gen 2.2 are high-speed data transfer interfaces up to 1280 Mbps for today’s laptops and tablets. There are two types — Type-C and Type-A.

You can tell USB 2.0 from USB 3.0 and USB 3.1 by color. Most manufacturers make USB 3.0 ports on computers and wires blue.

If the computer has USB 3.0 installed and the hard drive has a speed of 1280 MB/s or higher, the drive will run at the speed of the computer interface.

The Type-C port can support Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 with transfer rates up to 5 Gb/s and 40 Gb/s, respectively. But it is worth noting that not all wires are suitable for this standard, and laptops work with Thunderbolt 3 and 4. Without two-way support for this standard, this speed cannot be obtained. Modern hard drives are not capable of delivering the maximum data transfer rate for Type-C.

Therefore, buying a hard drive with a higher read and write speed without a suitable connector on the computer does not make any sense.

Backup button. There are many external hard drives with the ability to back up the necessary information without manually copying it. The kit comes with proprietary software with data recovery settings. This is a useful feature for those who frequently overwrite information on discs. Separately rendered button greatly facilitates this process.

Data protection systems. There are two types of protection systems: software and hardware.

First is a pre-installed program on an external drive. Most modern external hard drives have it. But even if the manufacturer has not provided such protection, you can install its alternative yourself and for free.

The hardware security system is either a pin code panel or an integrated fingerprint scanner. Separately from disks, such protections are not sold.

Impact resistant. Often, HDDs are equipped with a shockproof silicone coating on the case. Such a body slightly softens the fall and reduces slip, so that it is more difficult to brush off the table.


How to choose a hard drive that fits exactly

There is also IPX water and dust protection.

But SSDs are not so afraid of falling, so it is not necessary to choose special protection for them.

I have compiled a list of hard drive manufacturers that have a great product lineup for recording and storage for any task:

  • Transcend;
  • Toshiba;
  • Samsung;
  • Western Digital;
  • Adata;
  • Seagate;
  • Lacie;
  • Silicon Power;
  • SanDisk;
  • Kingston;
  • Netac;
  • HP.

Of these, I chose seven that fit the nominations

  • Fastest HDD
  • Fastest SSD
  • Largest SDD
  • Largest HDD
  • Most secure drive
  • Cheapest dust and moisture resistant drive
  • Build it yourself

Our recommendation

Fastest HDD Fastest SSD
Seagate Expansion 10TB Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 500 GB
Large memory capacity and relatively fast write speed One of the most high-speed models in a compact body — even fits into a jeans pocket
In Itogo — 22 799 R;
on Yandex Market — 20 620

Alternative — Western Digital WD Elements Portable

On «Ozone» — 29 872 R;
on Yandex Market — 18 770

Alternative — Netac ZX20 1TB

Largest HDD Largest SDD
Western Digital WD Elements Desktop, 18TB SanDisk Extreme Portable V2 4TB
Great for archiving: low speed but huge memory Versatile: high read speed, large capacity, shock, dust and moisture resistant
On Yandex Market — 51,773 R;
in Citylink — 49 390
In Wardena — 49,169 R;
on Yandex Market — 43 989
Most secure drive Impact disc with dust and moisture protection
Samsung T7 Touch 2TB Transcend StoreJet 25h4, 2TB
Equipped with a fingerprint scanner and a password to protect your data. Very compact for external hard drives External hard drive with 3-way anti-shock system and quick backup button
In «Sdack-shopping» — 27 657 R;
on Yandex Market — 23 900 R

Alternative — Toshiba Canvio Advance 1TB

On Yandex Market — 5698 R;
in Citylink — 5690 R

Alternative — Silicon Power Armor A65

Self assembly option
Chassis — HDD/SSD Orico 2139C3-CR, external drive — Netac SA500 1TB SATA NT01SA500-1T0-S3X
Housing on Yandex Market — 1690 R;
external drive on Yandex Market — 4233

Fastest HDD

Seagate Expansion, 10TB

Large storage capacity and relatively fast write speed

In Itogo — 22 799 R;
on Yandex Market — 20 620 R

Alternative — Western Digital WD Elements Portable

Fastest SSD

Samsung X5, Thunderbolt 3, 500 GB

One of the fastest models in a compact package — fits even in a jeans pocket

On «Ozone» — 29 872 R;
on Yandex Market — 18 770 R

Alternative — Netac ZX20 1 TB

Largest HDD

Western Digital WD Elements Desktop, 18 TB

Great option for archiving: low speed, but a huge amount of memory

Yandex Market — 51,773 R;
in Citilink — Rs. ;
on Yandex Market — 43 989

The most secure disk

Samsung T7 Touch 2TB

Equipped with a fingerprint scanner and a password to protect your data. Very compact for external hard drives

In «Sdack-shopping» — 27 657 R;
on Yandex Market — 23 900 R

Alternative — Toshiba Canvio Advance 1TB

Shock and dust resistant drive

Transcend StoreJet 25h4, 2TB

External hard drive with 3-part shockproof system and quick backup button

On Yandex Market — 5698 R;
in Citylink — 5690

Alternative — Silicon Power Armor A65

Option for self-assembly

Enclosure — HDD/SSD Orico 2139C3-CR, external drive — Netac SA500 1TB SATA NT01SA500-1T0-S3X

Enclosure on Yandex Market — 1690 ;
external drive on Yandex Market — 4233 R

But we do not distort or embellish the reviews. The choice of specific things does not depend on whether we receive a commission.

Product reviews in Tinkoff Magazine are independent. We make a verdict based on reviews of things and devices that we carefully studied, or how these things performed during editorial tests.

For reviews, we either request goods from the manufacturer for a test, or we buy them ourselves, or we study reviews in other publications and user opinions. Our reviews are subjective, but honest and expert: opinions are written by authors who have more than one review behind them. The editorial team of Tinkoff Magazine double-checks the texts, proofreads them and conducts fact-checking.

All prices are at the time of publication of the material, but we update them periodically to keep the reviews up to date.

Rs. USB 3.0 interface.0003

Seagate Expansion needs a network connection. The kit comes with a 1 m cable and a charging wire with adapters for different types of sockets.

Of the minuses, we can note the dimensions. This is definitely not a portable device: weight — 1. 7 kg, size — 125 × 178 mm. Judging by the reviews, it is quite noisy, the disc buzzes and vibrates a little when recording. Users also note a noticeable heating during operation. And this is not the largest amount of memory that can be found on the market.

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How much:

  • in Itogo — 22 799 R;
  • on Yandex Market — 20 620 R.

Alternative. Western Digital Elements Portable, if the 3.5″ fixed form factor is not suitable. This is a 2TB portable external drive, about 240MB/s read and 262MB/s write, with USB 3.0. Size two times less than Seagate Expansion


  • on Yandex Market — 7928 R;
  • at Ozone — Rs. but it should be borne in mind that often it is quite enough for operational tasks. In fact, this is a large flash drive with a very high speed of reading and writing files.

    The gadget has an all-metal compact body, comparable in size to the iPhone 14 Plus Max, and weighs only 150 g. The read speed is 2700 Mb / s, the write speed is 2200 Mb / s with Thunderbolt 3 on the computer and when supported by a wire.

    The drive has overheat protection and optional password protection.

    This is a great option if you need an external drive for quick file access that fits in your pocket and won’t be shocked. Of the minuses, only that the declared write and read speed is only available with Thunderbolt on a computer and a suitable cable.

    How much it costs:

    • at Ozone — 29 872 R;
    • on Yandex Market — 18 770 R.

    Alternative. Netac ZX20 1TB with USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C. It also boasts the presence of Thunderbolt, due to which the read and write speed reaches the same values ​​as the Samsung X5. The size resembles a standard flash drive.

    How much it costs:

    • in DNS — 8199 R;
    • in «Onlinetrade» — 8100 R.

    From 49 390 R

    The most capacious HDD — Western Digital WD Elements Desktop, 18 TB

    Desktop external hard drive, form factor 3.5″, 18 TB of memory Equipped with USB 3.0.

    30 and 40 MB/s read and write speed is standard HDD speed. The device is intended only to significantly expand the computer’s memory — it is an external drive for archiving a large amount of data.

    According to customer reviews, quiet operation and ease of use can be noted. Dimensions — 135 × 48 × 166 mm, weight — 1.3 kg. Of the shortcomings — the price and a completely glossy case, which quickly becomes unpresentable.


    How I ordered a processor from Aliexpress for the sake of experiment and as a result updated the PC for 180,850 R

  • in Citilink — Rs. Memory. The drive is made in the form factor 1.8″. Equipped with a USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C interface, the kit includes an adapter from Type-C to Type-A.

    Read speed — 1050 Mb / s, write — 1000 Mb / s. In terms of dimensions and weight, it can be compared with the iPhone 13 mini. Data can be password protected thanks to the built-in software.

    This model is drop-resistant up to two meters, dust- and water-resistant. The design hints at the conditional ability to become a hiking option, there is even a convenient eye for a carabiner. This is the best hard drive option for professional photographers and anyone who often carries large amounts of data with them. The only thing users don’t like is the cost — twice as high as most of the drives on our list.

    How much:

    • in Wardena — 49 169 R;
    • on Yandex Market — 43 989 R.

    Alternative. Adata SE760 2TB. It has Type-C and excellent data transfer speed. Ideal for everyday use, but without additional protection. For the cost of one SD Extreme Portable, you can purchase at least three SE760s that are in no way inferior in terms of performance.

    How much:

    • in KNS — 13 594 ;
    • on Yandex Market — Rs. At the same time, the read speed reaches 1050 Mb / s, the write speed is 1000 Mb / s.

      This device has a fingerprint scanner so that no one can open the disk with your personal data. It comes with two Type-C to Type-A cables to connect to your computer.The all-metal body is shockproof.This is a professional device that is ideal for those who need a high level of file privacy.


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      Many people don’t like the price, but it pays off with an additional layer of protection.

      How much it costs:

      • in «Sdack shopping» — 27 657 R;
      • on Yandex Market — 23 900 R.

      Alternative. Toshiba Canvio Advance 1TB. Standard SSD with built-in software. Instead of a scanner, there is a device for entering a pin code. Approximately the size of an iPhone 13 mini — 109× 78 mm. A more budget option with personal data protection.

      How much it costs:

      • on Yandex-Market-4315 R.

      from 7000 R

      cheap and shockproof disk-Transcended Storejet 25H4, 2 TB

      The cheap hard drive. The amount of memory is decent — 2 TB, form factor 2.5″. Equipped with USB 3.1. Read and write speed — about 90 Mb / s. .Three-piece shock protection system consists of a rubberized silicone case, an internal drive hanger, and a rugged hard shell.0003

      The StoreJet 25M3 has a one-click automatic backup button.

      Users often complain about defective goods — this hard drive is best to check immediately upon purchase.

      How much it costs:

      • on Yandex Market — 5698 R;
      • in Citylink — 5690 R.

      Alternative. Silicon Power Armor A65 1TB. Even more protection against water, dust and dirt than Transcend. Of the differences — there is no backup button and a smaller volume.

      How much it costs:

      • on Yandex Market — 4389 R;
      • in Citilink — Rs. It is also suitable for those who have a hard drive from an old computer and want to convert it into external portable storage. True, this option will take more time and effort than a regular purchase.

        Special knowledge and skills are not required. You need to buy a special external case and the internal SSD or HDD itself.

        The list of internal SSD manufacturers will be larger than external SSD manufacturers, AMD, Dell, HP, Fujitsu, Intel will be added to them. It’s better not to stop there, since their internal hard drives are designed to work inside laptops and are much more expensive. It is better to use disks from the same manufacturers that are in the list at the beginning of the article.

        There is an option not to buy a new SSD, but to take it from an old laptop. The assembly price of a new device will eventually be about 2-3 thousand — this is the cost of the case — which is ten times cheaper than most of the options from our list.


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        It is important to clarify which output connector is installed in the case. Current connectivity options that can be found in cases: Type-C, Type-A, USB 3.2 Gen 1, Gen 2 and higher.

        The outer case is selected based on the form factor of the hard drive: 1.8, 2.5 or 3.5″.

        For example, if you bought a 2.5″ SSD, then the outer case should be taken same form factor — 2.5″. There are also internal M.2, mSATA and PCI-E SSD types. They do not have a plastic shell, and they look like a bare board with chips.

        Chassis — HDD/SSD Orico 2139C3-CR, form factor 2. 5″, with USB 3.1 Type-C. On Yandex Market you can find one for 1690 R.

        External drive — Netac SA500 1TB SATA NT01SA500-1T0-S3X 2.5″ form factor On Yandex Market — 4233 R.

        It is necessary to open the case, pull out the pencil case. Carefully insert the SSD inside the case until the SATA pins are fully connected. Often the assembled gadget is immediately displayed when connected to a computer, but there are exceptions. This instruction is only suitable for devices with Windows OS.

        On the computer, open the «Disk Management» section or press the key combination Win + R and enter the command diskmgmt.msc in the input field. After that, you must agree with the proposal to initialize the hard drive. If the initialization window does not open, you need to start disk initialization manually: find an uninitialized disk, right-click on it and select the «Initialize Disk» section.

        After initialization, the external drive will say «Unallocated». Next, follow these steps:

        1. Right-click on the disk and select «Create Simple Volume». The «Create a Simple Volume Wizard» will start — click «Next».
        2. A window will open showing the size of the volume. The data that will be shown depends on the size of your drive. You do not need to change anything in this window — just click the «Next» button.
        3. A window will open with the assignment of a drive letter. Assign a letter, for example L, then click Next.
        4. The next window is formatting the partition. In the «Volume label» field, you can enter the name of the new disk, for example «Excellent disk», and click the «Next» button.
        5. In the next window, click the «Finish» button. After a while, the new external hard drive will be formatted and will appear in the computer’s explorer — it’s ready to go.

        Price depends on purchased SDD and chassis. In our case, the purchase of two devices on Yandex Market cost 5923 R.

        How to choose an external hard drive

        1. Decide why you need it.