Top 5 Best External Solid State Drive

When it comes to SSD or solid state drives, suddenly it’s not just about space, but about performance. An SSD can dramatically improve the speed of software and transfer times, while also being compact, low-energy and silent. For those who don’t want to open up their machine, an external SSD is even better. If you’re looking for the best external solid state drive, take a look at the following (check out our best internal SSD’s here).



Extreme 500





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CompatibilityWindows & MACWindows & MACWindows & MACMACWindows & MAC
Capacity480GB250GB / 500GB / 1TB / 2TB240GB / 480GB256GB / 512GB / 1TB128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Read Speed430MB/s450MB/s430MB/s440MB410MB/s
Write Speed400MB/s450MB/s400MB/s300MB/s380MB/s
NAND TechNoYesNoNoYes
Security Encryption128-bit AES256-bit AESN/AN/AN/A
ConnectionUSB 3.0USB 3.1USB 3.0USB 3.0USB 3.0
Auto BackupNoNoNoNoYes
SoftwareSanDisk Secure AccessNoneAcronis Data ProtectionTranscend EliteTranscend Elite
Warranty3 years1 year3 years3 years3 years
Dimensions1 x 7.5 x 7.5 cm7.4 x 5.8 x 1 cm6 x 3.6 x 0.9 cm12.1 x 7.5 x 1.3 cm9.2 x 6.2 x 1 cm


Storage is often a secondary issue for PC users, with more interesting components taking up the bulk of their budgets. A flash new graphics card will always have more appeal than a block of metal that just remembers things. However, as any PC user gets more knowledgeable and experienced, it becomes clear that storage is very important. A PC that keeps running out of space can be a nightmare, especially for gamers.

Important Features | Best External Solid State Drive

Compatibility – The main compatibility question with external SSDs is whether it’s for Mac, Windows or both. Typically, the answer will be yes, unless you’re looking at the cheaper end of the scale. Many drives will also work for Android OS too. The drive is formatted to the suitable type when first used.

Capacity – Space can be expensive for SSD drives, typically being traded off for the extra speed and high-tech innards. Most buyers will have to settle for something smaller than what standard external hard drives offer. A 250GB drive will store a great deal, but a 500GB will cover you for the future.

Read/Write Speed – The main benefit of SSD drives is the speed, but you should compare models to get the best for your money. Though an external drive is potentially throttled by the USB 3.0 connection, you can expect over 400mb/s read and write, with the best external solid state drive speeds going even higher.

NAND Technology – NAND flash memory is storage which doesn’t require power or moving parts, just like the storage in a portable pen drive. This allows a drive to be faster, quieter and more economical. The downside is that the drive has a finite number of write cycles, so they have a lifespan, but only very few users will reach it.

Security Encryption – Some external drives now have built-in encryption, which means that files stored on the drive are encrypted automatically as they transfer. This can reduce speeds, but it means you never have to worry about encrypting yourself. A drive with 128-bit AES encryption or more will confound anyone who steals your drive.

Connection Type – USB technology has already come on in leaps and bounds, with the advent of USB 3.0. You want an external drive with at least USB 3.0 compatibility, to avoid bottlenecking the speed of the device. 3.1 is even faster, up to 10 gigabytes per second, but ensure that your PC’s USB ports support it first.

Shock-Resistant – When you’re looking for the best external solid state drive, not all the features you want are internal. The best will also have some shock-resistance, for the simple reason that external drives are not as well protected as internal drives. Should the drive be dropped in transit, or knocked off the desk, you want to be sure that you won’t lose all your data.

Auto-Backup – Certain external drives have an auto-backup button, a fantastic time saving feature which can really give you peace of mind. Press the button and it automatically connects to a secure server and backs up all your data, in case of disaster. Otherwise, most users rarely bother to back up regularly. In the case of theft, disaster or accidental overwriting, having a backup is vital.

Software – A good SSD will come with some kind of disk management software. This could include important things like software for updating the drive’s firmware, or it may just be general file browsing, encryption and speed checking software. In any case, check out the free software to see what value it adds.

Portability – A huge plus of an external SSD is portability. Unlike a fixed drive which can’t be easily moved, or a traditional external hard drive which weighs a lot, an SSD can be unplugged and slipped in a pocket with ease. Look at the dimensions and weight of devices on the market. The smallest can be as light as 36 grams and only 6 centimetres long. Some SanDisk drives even have a belt clip.

Warranty – A good, new SSD will come with a warranty, which is often overlooked by consumers but gives you a lot of extra value. For example, a PNY drive typically has a 3-year warranty, meaning that any technical failure in this time is covered by free support or replacement. Certain events, like wearing out a drive’s lifetime cycles, are not usually covered.