Is an external SSD good for PC?

What is an External SSD?

An external SSD, also known as a portable SSD or solid state drive, is a type of external storage device that utilizes flash memory to store data. Like an internal SSD that can be installed directly into a computer, an external SSD connects to a computer through a USB port. It provides faster data transfer speeds and better durability compared to a traditional external hard drive.

Some key advantages of using an external SSD include:

  • Faster file transfers: External SSDs can achieve data transfer speeds of up to 550 MB/s over a USB 3.0 connection, which is much faster than external hard drives.
  • Better durability: External SSDs are less prone to damage if dropped or bumped since they don’t contain moving parts like a traditional hard drive.
  • Compact size: External SSDs are much smaller in physical size than portable hard drives.
  • Encryption support: Many external SSDs support hardware-based encryption to keep data secure.

Is an External SSD Good for a Desktop PC?

Using an external SSD with a desktop PC can provide several benefits:

Faster Boot and Load Times

Installing the Windows operating system along with apps and games on an external SSD can significantly decrease boot and load times compared to a hard drive. The faster data transfer speeds of the SSD allow the computer to access programs and files more quickly.

Easier Drive Migration

An external SSD makes migrating your operating system, apps, and data to a new PC much simpler. You can connect the portable SSD to your new computer and boot directly from it without having to reinstall everything.

Extra Storage Space

Adding an external SSD provides you with more space to store files, photos, videos, games, and anything else. This is useful if you have limited internal drive capacity on your desktop.

Makes Data Portable

The compact size and plug-and-play functionality of an external SSD makes it easy to transport large amounts of data between different computers. You can bring projects, files and other important data with you wherever you go.

Backup Capabilities

Using cloning software, you can regularly back up the contents of your internal system drive to the external SSD. This provides added data protection in case your main hard drive fails.

Is an External SSD Good for a Laptop PC?

External SSDs provide several advantages when used with a laptop:

Increases Storage Capacity

Laptops generally have limited internal drive space, so adding an external SSD can significantly expand your available storage for storing files, media, and installed software.

Faster File Transfers

The fast transfer speeds of a portable SSD allow you to move files on and off your laptop much quicker compared to traditional hard drives. This improves workflow efficiency.

Enhances Data Protection

Regularly backing up your critical laptop data to an external SSD provides an added layer of protection from system failures or drive corruption. Sensitive business or personal information is better safeguarded.

Adds Flexible Storage

An external SSD gives you flexible extra storage capacity that you can take with you wherever you use your laptop. You don’t have to worry about running out of drive space.

Better Durability

Since external SSDs don’t contain moving parts, they can better withstand being frequently transported in a laptop bag and connected/disconnected from your computer. This makes them ideal for on-the-go laptop use.

What to Look for in an External SSD

Here are some key factors to consider when selecting an external SSD:

Storage Capacity

External SSDs typically offer anywhere from 250GB to 2TB of storage space. Consider how much capacity you’ll require to store your files, apps, photos and other data.

Form Factor

Common external SSD form factors include 2.5-inch notebook drive size as well as smaller more compact units. The right one for you depends on your portability needs.

Interface Type

Most external SSDs connect via USB 3.0, USB 3.1 or USB-C. Faster USB generations offer higher data transfer speeds. Make sure your desktop or laptop supports the interface used.

Read/Write Speeds

Faster SSD read/write speeds allow for quicker file transfers and system boot times. Look for an external SSD with at least 400MB/s read/write speeds over USB 3.0 for optimal performance.

Security Features

Some external SSD models provide password protection and hardware-based 256-bit AES encryption to keep your sensitive data secure across devices.


External SSDs designed to meet certain drop, shock and vibration tolerance standards offer enhanced protection from damage during transport and use. Consider based on your usage conditions.

Warranty Length

Most quality external SSDs come with a 3 to 5 year limited warranty. Select a model with a warranty that provides adequate coverage for your intended usage scenario.

Top External SSD Recommendations

Based on the above criteria, here are my top picks for external SSDs:

External SSD Key Specs
Samsung T7 Portable SSD
  • 1TB capacity
  • Read speeds up to 1,050 MB/s
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface
  • Password security and AES encryption
WD My Passport SSD
  • Up to 2TB capacity
  • Read speeds up to 1,050 MB/s
  • USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface
  • 256-bit AES hardware encryption
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD
  • Up to 2TB capacity
  • Read speeds up to 1,050 MB/s
  • USB-C interface
  • Rugged/water resistant design
Crucial X8 Portable SSD
  • Up to 2TB capacity
  • Read speeds up to 1,050 MB/s
  • USB-C connectivity
  • Aluminum unibody design

Samsung T7 Portable SSD

The Samsung T7 is an excellent all-around external SSD that offers fast data transfer speeds, password protection, and a durable design. It provides read speeds up to 1,050 MB/s over a USB 3.2 Gen 2 connection. The included security software lets you password protect your data. Overall, a great option for securely transporting large files and backups.

WD My Passport SSD

My Passport SSD from Western Digital provides high read/write speeds up to 1,050MB/s and capacities up to 2TB. This drive uses 256-bit AES hardware encryption along with WD Security software to help keep your data secure. The compact, slim form factor fits nicely into briefcases and backpacks.

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD is perfect if you need a rugged external SSD for use in tough environments and conditions. It has up to 2TB capacity and delivers fast read speeds over 1,000MB/s. The IP55 rating makes this drive dust and water resistant while the solid state design enables it to withstand shocks and vibrations.

Crucial X8 Portable SSD

With durable anodized aluminum construction, capacities up to 2TB, and speeds over 1,000MB/s, the Crucial X8 provides reliable portable solid state storage. The USB-C connectivity allows you to directly connect the SSD to both USB-C and USB-A ports with an included adapter. If you want fast, portable additional storage for your PC, the X8 is a great choice.


Using an external SSD is an excellent way to add substantial fast storage space to your desktop or laptop PC. With data transfer speeds much quicker than traditional hard drives, an external SSD allows you to store and access large files, photos, videos, games, and applications with improved performance. They make it easy to transfer your operating system and data to a new PC. The durable, compact design of SSDs allows you to safely transport your data wherever you go. Just be sure to select an external SSD that matches your interface and capacity needs. Models with built-in security features also help keep sensitive data protected across devices.