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Western Digital WD_BLACK P50 Game Drive Review
Review By @ 04:38pm 23/06/20

Product: WD_BLACK P50 Game Drive
Type: External Hard Drive (NVMe SSD)
Price: $519.00 (1TB Model)
Availability: Out Now
Link: westerndigital.com/en-au/products/portable-drives/wd-black-p50-game-drive

When it comes to storage, it wasn’t that long ago when capacity was king. Forget about transfer speeds or the size of the drive – if it could house an entire collection of games and various other media, that was the end-game. In the wide world of storage, from the days of platters going from Megabytes to Gigabytes and then Terabytes, Western Digital has always been there ready and willing to offer up a suite of storage solutions. From our very own PC builds to buying an external drive to connect to a media box for the very first time, WD has been a go-to brand for the team here at AusGamers.

In 2020, the storage discussion is one that has moved on from capacity to focus squarely on transfer speeds. In real terms this is why next-generation consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will offer faster SSD solutions, speed increases that will lead to near instantaneous loading over simple TB multiplication. For Western Digital and its new WD_BLACK line of external drives, the WD_BLACK P50 Game Drive sits at the very top of the pile and thanks in part to its rugged casing housing an NVMe SSD – speed is the name of this impressive Game Drive.

Data Stream

Designed for gaming, the WD_BLACK series features a rather bold and stylish design where each product in the line has the look and feel of a metallic crate. Something that if it were to exist in the digital realm would probably contain some much-needed ammo or brightly coloured loot. It’s a minimal and refreshing style that for one stands-out long before you plug it in to install/copy a few games across. Although the interface is the still quite rare USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 (more on that a bit) the plug-and-play functionality means it’ll work and come up as a new drive right away on any USB-C or USB 3 interface. Of course, this wide support for devices like the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One means that the actual speeds you end up seeing will vary widely from digital place to place.

“In 2020, the storage discussion is one that has moved on from capacity to focus squarely on transfer speeds."

Inside the WD_BLACK P50 Game Drive sits a WD brand NVMe SSD, so no matter how it will be used the speeds are more stable and reliable than the usual USB-drive you might have lying around. However, the price different between the P50 and the P10 (reviewed here) – which houses a standard 2.5” HDD – is quite steep. A Mt. Everest-style slope where you’ll not only need to ensure you have enough supplies to last the trek (see: money in the bank) but put them to good use. There’s no need to be sucking down fresh oxygen from a can if all you’re doing is walking up a tiny hill.

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  • Form Factor: External
  • Type: NVMe SSD
  • Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
  • Max Sustained Transfer Rate: Up to 20 GB/sec (2,000 MB/s)
  • Capacity: 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB
  • Weight: 115 g

Where the P50 lies firmly on the cutting edge comes with its USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 interface – where transfer speeds of up to 20GB/sec are possible. The whole USB naming convention is a little confusing and most gaming laptops available today and motherboards out in the wild with USB-C ports are USB 3.2 Gen 2. That “x2” difference is exactly that, double the speed from 10GB/sec to 20GB/sec. In our own testing on an X570 motherboard and ASUS Zephyrus G14 laptop the P50 comfortably hit the 10GB/sec threshold of the more common interface with CystalDiskMark reporting a read speed of 1034 MB/sec and a write speed of 1018 MB/sec.

“Where the P50 lies firmly on the cutting edge comes with its USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 interface – where transfer speeds of up to 20GB/sec are possible."

Even at half the theoretical speed (x2 interfaces are quite rare outside of creator focused products) the difference over a standard USB 3 external is still huge.

And on that front in the sizable 1TB offering we were able to install a suite of games on the P50 and seamlessly move from PC to laptop and get access speeds like that of an internal SSD. Very cool and even at reduced speeds it’s one of those “no turning back” moments – going SSD has the same effect for external drives as it does internal ones. In the end, the main hurdle to overcome in the race to get a P50 for yourself comes down to the somewhat steep price – compared to other external SSD offerings – and whether your wallet can handle the future proofing that comes with the USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 interface. The 5-year warranty included with the P50 certainly helps on that front though.
What we liked
Portable and fast SSD speeds
Perfect for games and switching from desktop to laptop or other devices
Supports the still rare to find USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 interface
Rugged and stylish WD_BLACK design
What we didn't like
The massive increase in speed also means a big increase in price
We gave it:
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