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WD_BLACK D30 Game Drive SSD Review
Review By @ 05:21pm 24/01/22

Product: WD_BLACK D30 Game Drive SSD
Type: External Hard Drive (SSD)
Price: ~$229.00 (1TB Model)
Availability: Out Now

Thanks to the arrival of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S combo the idea of expanded storage for games has fundamentally changed. That is, if you’re gaming on the still hard to find next-gen consoles. The reason for that is straight-forward, the internal storage found inside the latest Xbox and PlayStation boxes has been given the ol’ supercharged treatment – upgraded to the latest in M2 SSD goodness. Substantially faster, but without a bump in overall capacity.

And as install sizes for 4K-capable experience continue to chew up tens of gigaroons, the need for expansion hasn’t waned.

This is worth pointing out right away because even though the WD_BLACK D30 Game Drive SSD is noticeably faster than some of the many traditional USB drives we’ve seen over the years; its overall speeds fall short of the super-fast internal speed found inside next-gen consoles. Even though it has SSD right there in the naming.

Western Digital is also positioning the WD_BLACK D30 as a solution designed for consoles, so its PS5 and Xbox Series chops factor into the equation. That’s not to say that you can’t connect it to a PC, in fact we recommend doing exactly that. On PC the 900 MB/s or so USB-C speeds are great for having a library you can take from rig to rig, without having to worry about long load-times. And reinstalling games over and over.

Data Stream

Western Digital’s WD_BLACK range covers internal drives designed for gaming PCs and external solutions for PC and console. With that in mind the WD_BLACK D30 follows in the industrial black cargo-container style that we’ve seen over the years albeit this time in a vertical standing configuration that looks quite good when paired up with a console or PC.

On PC the 900 MB/s or so USB-C speeds are great for having a library you can take from rig to rig, without having to worry about long load-times.

Weirdly Western Digital has only included a standard USB to USB-C cable, the former connecting to your hardware. This can be an issue because on a lot of devices that feature both USB-C and USB 3 it’s the former that supports full USB 3.2 speeds. With our current testing setup this mean using our own cable to properly gauge max speeds. A small gripe but one worth pointing out.

With speeds of 900MB/s the improvement over, say, the internal PS4 or Xbox One drive is noticeable. The result is roughly nine times faster than the drive found inside the PlayStation 4 Pro so yeah, you'll notice the difference when firing up games. So, even as an external solution for backwards compatible titles the WD_BLACK D30 makes a lot of sense.

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  • Form Factor: External
  • Type: NVMe SSD
  • Interface: USB 3.2
  • Max Sustained Transfer Rate: Up to 900MB/s
  • Capacity: 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB
  • Weight: 137 g

Using CrystalDiskMark and a USB-C port we were able to reach a read and write speed combo of 934 and 849 MB/sec. On par with the details provided by Western Digital, it certainly makes for a decent external solution when it comes for modern gaming. But, as per the intro, this means you’re limited on the PS5 an Xbox Series X front to back-up only, with the ability to only play PS4 and Xbox One titles. The price-point is decent enough, not amazing, but certainly cheaper than high-end SSD options.

As a drive for PlayStation 5 an Xbox Series X|S though, the value proposition is a little muddy because of compatibility. You’d only really consider this as a high-speed option for backwards compatible titles, as expanding both consoles with usable storage is something of a must – thanks to services like Xbox Game Pass and install sizes in the 80+ GB region.

In the end we preferred using the WD_BLACK D30 for PC game storage. Thanks to Steam’s support for external libraries being able to hop from rig to rig is great. And it’s here where the stylish design, great build quality (the WD_BLACK D30 stays very cool during use), and portability feel like winners.
What we liked
Small, lightweight, portable
Fast USB 3.2 speeds around 900 MB/sec
Great option for PC external storage
What we didn't like
A tad pricey
Limited when paired with a PS5 or Xbox Series X
We gave it:
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