Portable drive - how can it make a gamer's life easier?
According to the Polish dictionary, a "gamer" is a person who takes part in a game, but also a crafty and skilful person. In my personal perception, it is also someone who is extremely demanding. Gamers want high resolutions, lots of fps and the best hardware. Do they also need a portable drive in all this?
A gamer, especially a computer gamer, is an extremely demanding person. If we could afford it, each of us would probably have a fully fledged PC with the best possible components, for which The Witcher 3 in 4K Ultra HD resolution with high detail would be no problem at all. To this you can add no less powerful laptop, in case of trips. After all, the next level isn't going to be won on its own, just like you can't win another match in a weekend league in FIFA or a Battle Royale match in Call of Duty: Warzone. Where's the place for a portable drive in all this?
We decided to take a look at this topic using WD_BLACK series drives, which were created with gamers in mind. The manufacturer's portfolio includes both internal models, dedicated to PC gamers or laptop owners, and external models that will make life easier for PC gamers as well as owners of Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.
Games are getting bigger
Gamers also have increasing demands on games. In many games, we want to see more expansive, open worlds, with plenty of side activities, interesting characters and stories, all wrapped up in the prettiest possible graphics. This makes games "fatter". Today, Red Dead Redemption 2 on the PC requires as much as 150 GB of disk space, and Call of Duty: Warzone as much as 175 GB. Cyberpunk 2077 produced by CD Projekt RED will require about 80 GB of hard drive space. Only a matter of time is a situation in which we'll reach 200, 250, and in time probably even 300 GB for the game. It may not happen in a year or two, but sooner or later it will happen, if only because of the increasingly detailed textures, which weigh a lot.
Meanwhile, our Internet is crying. According to the SpeedTest.pl report, the average speed of fixed-line internet in Poland in 2019 was 66.96 Mbps. With maximum use of the connection, which is not possible in practice, we would download Red Dead Redemption 2 about 5 hours, and Call of Duty: Warzone almost 6 hours. And we're talking about average speeds for the whole Poland. Many people have much slower connections. At 40 Mb/s, the Rockstar Games production would appear in its entirety on our hard drive after more than 8 hours, and that's only on the assumption that the connection was working at maximum efficiency the whole time. In practice, the result would be closer to 9-10 hours. Sounds like a nightmare? Because that's what it is for every gamer.
As if that wasn't enough, not many games are kept on disk indefinitely. League of Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, Valorant or World of Warcraft are productions that we return to regularly. We rarely click the "uninstall" button next to them. Many others are in constant rotation, because the space on the internal drive is not infinite. In addition, there are many new titles coming out for which you also need to make room. I myself have only 130GB of free space at the moment, and I don't know if I'll have to do a purge by September to find space for Cyberpunk 2077. I may have to delete games I wouldn't normally want to get rid of. Any return will involve downloading many GB of data again. But such is the life of a gamer - full of difficult choices, not just in the games themselves.
The external drive for gamers
But is there anything you can do to help yourself out? There are at least a few possibilities. First, we can buy another internal drive, such as the very fast (up to 3400 MB/s) WD_BLACK SN750 drive or the even more supercharged SN750 version with heatsink and thus increase the available gaming space up to 2 TB with a single module. The media comes with a dedicated WD BLACK SSD Dashboard app, allowing you to enable low power consumption mode without losing performance even during intense gaming. The problem of constantly downloading the same games certainly won't go away, but it can be minimized, plus you get a very fast drive that will load data in no time.
An interesting alternative is an external drive. Yes, it can also be useful in the life of any gamer. How? We can keep backups of many games that we would normally have on the internal drive, but we often run out of space for them. In this way we avoid the need to constantly download tens or even hundreds of gigabytes of data. This is especially important for those with a weaker connection. Sure, moving that much data from one drive to another will still take some time, but at the 250MB/s speed offered by, say, the WD Black D10, transferring an entire Red Dead Redemption 2 will take 10 minutes, not 5 hours. Even if we assume momentary drops, we're talking about values on the order of 15-20 minutes. That's even 20 times more than it would take to download at the average Polish connection speed! And yet WD also offers portable SSDs like the WD_BLACK P50, which is available in capacities up to 2 TB. It's an external SSD, enclosed in a durable and impact resistant casing. The maximum transfer rate is up to 2000 MB/s, thanks to the fast SuperSpeed USB 20 Gb/s interface (USB 3.2 Gen 2×2).
Laptop and desktop
But being able to keep backups of your favorite or just the highest capacity games on an external drive isn't everything. Owners of powerful gaming laptops should not be forgotten either. These are more and more popular devices thanks to which we are not chained to a desk or a table. We can take our computer not only on the couch but also on holidays with family and friends or on a business trip. We will not always find time to play during such trips but it is better to have a computer with us than to regret it later and get bored in case it rains forcing us to sit under a roof.
If we have both a desktop computer, which is our main machine for playing, and a laptop for a player, then downloading the same games twice completely misses the point. It's inefficient and pointless. And that's not to mention the fact that most of the time your laptop will be using WiFi, which is rarely as efficient as a wired connection. Fortunately, an external drive is a lifesaver. Downloading a few of your favorite games and copying them to your laptop is a matter of minutes, or maybe an hour or two for more titles. It's not, however, a few or several hours that would be wasted downloading them all over again. Why do this when we already have all the data on the disk, just another computer!
WD_BLACK P10, available in capacities up to 5 TB, is perfect for moving data between computers. This external model is designed to work with laptops, desktops and consoles. It allows you to save up to 125 games at speeds of up to 140 MB/s. It is available in standard version and for Xbox One, where we additionally receive a 2-month subscription to Xbox Game Pass Ultimate.
What about consoles?
As you can see, PC gamers can also benefit from external drives. And what about those who have PlayStation 4 or Xbox One in their homes? Their situation is even more difficult. At this point, the most expensive variants of both hardware offer drives with a capacity of 1 TB, part of which is occupied by the operating system. Looking at the growing capacity of games, it is not difficult to conclude that free space can run out very quickly. What to do in this situation? After all, we do not add another drive, because the console does not allow it. You can decide to replace and add a larger model, which is relatively easy, but not everyone wants to do it. Fortunately, we can buy an external drive.
Both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One allow you to plug in portable storage and thus increase the available space. Installing games on an external drive is no problem for Sony and Microsoft hardware. However, it is worth taking care of the appropriate data bandwidth, so that loading subsequent locations does not drag on endlessly. That is why the so-called gaming drives are becoming more and more popular, offering the appropriate performance, adapted to the requirements of gamers.
WD_BLACK D10 with a capacity of up to 12 TB will be perfect for consoles. With this amount of space, we can save up to 300 games, which at speeds of up to 250 MB/s will take literally no time at all. The drive features active cooling and two 7.5W USB Type A connectors, making it easy to charge accessories and gaming gear. WD_BLACK D10 is available in a standard version and a version for Xbox One with a 3-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription. - This drive is dedicated primarily to console users.
An external drive still has many uses in every gamer's life today. It can save us a lot of time when we keep backups of games on it or when we buy a laptop for our desktop and want to transfer our favorite productions. It is also very useful when we have a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One console and we slowly start to run out of space for new productions. And do not forget that we can use it to transfer many other data - photos, videos and all kinds of files.