What Is External SSD: Everything You Should Know

Cici updated on Mar 22, 2023 | Home > Knowledge Center

SSD refers to a solid-state drive. Its excellent performance makes it a popular disk storage device for computer users. So, do you know what an external SSD is? What is an external SSD used for?

By following this guide, you will understand the definition of an external SSD and know how to choose a suitable external SSD for different purposes.

What Is External SSD 

According to Wikipedia, we can know the definition of SSD and external storage:

SSD will use integrated circuit components to persistently store data and act as secondary storage in the computer storage hierarchy.                                                                                      External storage refers to non-volatile (secondary) data storage outside a computer's internal hardware and thus can be readily disconnected and accessed elsewhere.   - from Wikipedia

An external SSD is a combination of SSD and external storage. It operates and works in the same way as an internal SSD. It is also used to save files and store essential data. An external SSD is usually a portable device. And you can use the portable SSD whenever and wherever you need it.

external ssd

The external SSD is powered by a USB connection to the computer to access data quickly. It can be used with multiple devices and systems, such as a phone, tablet, or camera. It can add more storage space to the original device. Here are some detailed specifications for external SSDs:

  • Storage Capacity: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB, 5TB, 8TB
  • Transfer Protocol: USB 3.2 Gen 2, USB 3.0, Thunderbolt 3
  • Read Speed: Maximum transfer speed down to 2.5 Gbps or 2,500 MBps

Both external and internal SSDs can be used to store data, but an external SSD is usually connected via USB 2.0, USB 3.0, or eSATA, and it is not as fast as M.2. It is typically used in different scenarios. Read on to learn more about the scenarios for external SSDs.

What Are External SSDs Used For

Internal SSDs are usually used to store data inside the computer and increase the read and write speed of the computer. In contrast, an external SSD can be obtained by purchasing one directly or converting an internal SSD. It is similar to a flash drive but has more storage space and better speed. 

External SSD is very helpful for companies and individuals who need to transfer large files. And it is also worth to be used as external storage for games. In addition, it has some specific usage scenarios and purposes:

  • Expand storage space on a laptop
  • Transfer large amounts of data, such as from an old computer to a new one
  • Exchange data with business partners or customer service
  • Special external SSDs can be used to back up documents
  • Solve slow or full game storage problems in gaming

In short, external SSD is very versatile, and it is worth using it. You need to connect it to your computer using the USB port, then format new SSD and set up the external SSD, which is ready for use. With so many external SSDs on the market, which is the best? Don't worry. We've got some options for you.

How to Choose the Best External SSD

When choosing an external SSD, we need to consider what it will be used for. Do you want to use the external SSD as a backup or gaming device? This will impact how large a capacity SSD is chosen. 1TB is sufficient for operating systems and gaming. 2TB is usually used for huge media storage. And here, I list some common factors that need to be considered when choosing an external SSD:

  • Price: this should be the first factor.
  • Capacity: how much data you want determines how much space you need.
  • Speed: for games, speed is very important.
  • Security: for people who value data, security is essential.
  • Durability: it will determine the lifelong of your drive.
  • Compatibility: Mac, PC, Xbox One, PS4, and iPad Pro are suitable for different SSDs.
  • Connection Type: you should consider which type is suitable for your PC.

Then, I have provided a list of some of the best external SSDs based on different needs for your reference:

  • Crucial X8: It is the best budget external SSD at 16.5 cents per GB.
  • WD Black P50 Game Drive SSD: It can reach peak speeds of 2,000MBps, making it the best external device for gamers.
  • Samsung Portable SSD T7 Touch: It has a built-in fingerprint reader for good data protection and is the best choice for backing up files.
  • SanDisk Extreme Portable S SD V2: With its IP55 rugged rating, it is one of the most rugged external ssd.
  • WD My Passport: With password protection and up to 5TB of capacity, it is one of the best-performing external hard drives.

Whichever SSD you choose, the SSD that meets your needs is the best.


This article provides some detailed information about external SSDs. Both external and internal SSDs are devices that access and store data by working with memory and processors. But an external SSD comes with some housing and bridging electronics, and it is much more convenient. The USB port can be plugged directly into the computer, providing additional space immediately.

In addition, this article provides some external SSD usage scenarios and recommendations for the best SSDs. Hope it can help you!!

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Updated by Cici

Cici has accepted the systematic training on computers at EaseUS. Now she has a detailed understanding of common computer issues, as well as computer backups and disk formatting management solutions.

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