What is the highest TB external SSD?

External SSDs are portable solid state drives that provide fast external storage and file transfer speeds. Unlike regular external hard drives, external SSDs have no moving parts and use flash memory, making them more durable and shock-resistant.

External SSDs are primarily used for additional storage, backing up important files, expanding limited laptop storage, and transporting files between devices or locations. Their fast transfer speeds, compact size, and durability make them ideal for photographers, videographers, graphic designers and other creative professionals who work with large media files.

In this article, we will be looking at some of the highest capacity external SSD models currently available on the market. We will examine their storage specs, speed, features and use cases for those needing substantial portable solid state storage.

What is an External SSD?

An external SSD is a portable, external drive that uses flash storage and connects to devices via a USB or Thunderbolt port (“What is a portable SSD?”, Crucial.com). Unlike traditional external hard drives which use spinning platters, external SSDs have no moving parts, allowing for faster transfer speeds and better durability. They can reach speeds upwards of 500 MB/s.

SSD stands for Solid State Drive, referring to the use of flash memory chips rather than mechanical parts. External SSDs connect via USB-C, USB 3.2, or Thunderbolt ports. When connected to a computer they act as a fully functional drive for storing files and running programs or games (“What’s an external SSD and what can you use it for?”, Coolblue.nl).

The major benefits of external SSDs compared to external hard drives include their higher performance, smaller size, lower power consumption, and greater resistance to shock, vibration, and extreme temperatures. This makes them ideal for on-the-go use. The lack of moving parts also increases reliability and reduces noise.

SSD Capacities

Solid state drives or SSDs have traditionally offered lower capacities than traditional HDDs. However, SSD capacities have increased dramatically over the past decade.

In the early 2010s, consumer SSDs commonly offered 128GB to 512GB. High performance SSDs aimed at enterprises offered up to 1.6TB (Mordor Intelligence).

By the mid 2010s, consumer SSDs ranged from 120GB up to 2TB, while enterprise SSDs reached as high as 15TB (Straits Research). In the late 2010s, consumer SSDs went up to 8TB and data center SSDs reached 30TB.

Today in 2023, common consumer/client SSD capacities range from 250GB up to 4TB. However, high performance SSDs can now offer enormous capacities up to 100TB for enterprise and data center use according to industry reports (LinkedIn).

Industry analysts expect SSD capacities to continue growing dramatically in the coming years, easily surpassing HDDs. This growth enables SSDs to store far more data while also decreasing costs per gigabyte.

Leading High Capacity Models

The highest capacity external SSD currently available is the Samsung T7 Touch, with a maximum capacity of 2TB. Here are some of the top high capacity external SSD models on the market:

Samsung T7 Touch

The Samsung T7 Touch has capacities up to 2TB and read/write speeds up to 1,050/1,000 MB/s. It connects via USB 3.2 Gen 2 and has a durable metal exterior. The built-in fingerprint scanner provides added security. It costs around $360 for the 2TB model.


  • Up to 2TB capacity
  • Fast read/write speeds
  • Fingerprint security
  • Compact and durable design


  • Expensive
  • No water/dust resistance rating

SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD

The SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD goes up to 2TB with read speeds up to 2,000 MB/s. It has an IP55 rating for dust and water resistance and a durable silicone shell. The 2TB version costs around $350.


  • Up to 2TB capacity
  • Very fast read speeds
  • Durable, water/dust resistant


  • Lower write speeds
  • No built-in security features

WD My Passport SSD

The WD My Passport SSD is available up to 2TB with read speeds up to 1,050 MB/s and write speeds up to 1,000 MB/s. It has password protection and 256-bit AES hardware encryption. The 2TB model costs around $250.


  • Up to 2TB capacity
  • Fast read/write speeds
  • Password protection and encryption
  • Lower price point


  • No IP rating for water/dust resistance
  • Design not as durable as metal cases

Max Capacity Details

The largest capacity external SSD currently available is the Axtremex AX-Express SSD, which offers a massive 8TB of storage in a compact external SSD form factor. This drive was first unveiled in May 2012 by the company Axtremex Technology.

The Axtremex AX-Express SSD 8TB has the following key specifications:

  • Capacity: 8TB
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Max Read Speed: up to 5 Gbit/s
  • Max Write Speed: up to 4.8 Gbit/s
  • Dimensions: 3.3 x 5.0 x 0.5 inches
  • Release Date: May 2012
  • Estimated Price: $3,000 USD

With its massive 8TB capacity, the Axtremex AX-Express SSD provides extremely high storage in a portable form factor. The USB 3.0 interface offers fast transfer speeds up to 5 Gbit/s read and 4.8 Gbit/s write. This makes the drive suitable for large file transfers and working with high resolution content like 4K video editing.

The Axtremex SSD’s $3,000 price tag targets high-end professional users who need maximum capacity. More affordable consumer-focused external SSDs typically max out at 2TB currently. But for those needing huge portable solid state storage, the Axtremex 8TB AX-Express SSD offers cutting-edge capacity.

Uses Cases

High capacity external SSDs are well suited for a variety of professional and personal uses that require large amounts of fast and reliable storage. Some key examples of use cases that benefit greatly from these high capacity drives include:

Media production – Video editors, photographers, and graphic designers who work with large media files like 4K or 8K video, high resolution images, and PSD files often use high capacity external SSDs. The fast transfer speeds help accelerate workflow and the large capacity handles massive media libraries. According to TechTarget, high capacity SSDs with QLC NAND flash are well suited for these types of high capacity storage needs.

Gaming – Avid PC gamers use high capacity external SSDs to store their game libraries and save files. The high speeds allow for fast loading and saving during gameplay. Large 2TB+ external SSDs provide ample room for storing dozens of large game install files that can often exceed 50GB each.

Field work – Photographers, videographers, researchers and scientists in the field rely on high capacity external SSDs for portable storage of media and data while working remotely. The durable SSD design and large capacity allows all their project files to be accessed and stored on location.

Backup/archiving – The fast transfer rates of high capacity external SSDs make them useful for system backups and long term archiving of critical data. Their high capacity handles backing up full system drives and large personal media libraries.

Considerations When Choosing a High Capacity SSD

When selecting a high capacity external SSD, there are several key factors to consider:

Performance – Higher capacity SSDs tend to have faster read/write speeds, lower latency, and better overall performance. This is important if you plan to transfer large files regularly. Models with a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 or Thunderbolt 3/4 interface will provide the fastest speeds.

Physical size – Higher capacity SSDs come in larger physical sizes to accommodate all the NAND flash memory chips. Make sure to choose a drive that is still portable enough for your needs. Many high capacity models are quite compact despite their capacity.

Durability – Since SSDs have no moving parts, they are less prone to damage if dropped. However, some models add reinforced exteriors for extra protection. This is useful if you plan to travel with the drive.

Brand reputation – Stick with well-known brands like Samsung, WD, SanDisk, etc. for reliable performance and support. Avoid cheap unknown brands selling suspiciously high capacities.

Security – Some SSDs offer password protection and hardware encryption to keep your data secure if the drive is lost or stolen.

Warranty – A longer 3-5 year warranty provides more coverage for your investment. Make sure to register your drive upon purchase.

Price per GB – As capacity increases, the price per GB decreases. Determine the optimal balance between capacity and budget for your needs.


While high capacity external SSDs offer fast and portable solid state storage, there are some alternatives worth considering depending on your needs:

External hard disk drives (HDDs) like the Seagate Expansion Desktop 16TB External Hard Drive HDD offer much higher capacities, up to 16TB, at lower price points. However they are larger, heavier, more prone to failure, and significantly slower than SSDs.

For networked storage, network-attached storage (NAS) devices like the Synology DiskStation DS920+ allow you to set up your own high capacity storage server at home. Capacities scale upwards of 200TB with multiple drive bays. Benefits include easy remote access and built-in RAID, but they lack portability.

While external HDDs and NAS provide alternatives for bulk storage and backups, high capacity SSDs are still the best option when you need speed, reliability, and portability in a compact form factor.

The Future

The future of external SSD storage capacities looks bright as new technologies emerge. One major development is the transition to PCIe 4.0, which will enable much faster SSD data transfer speeds. As explained by a LinkedIn article, PCIe 4.0 portable SSDs reach up to 5000MB/s read and write speeds, a huge leap over older SATA interfaces. This allows moving large files like 8K video much quicker.

In addition to faster interfaces, SSD storage densities continue to increase. With 3D NAND flash and newer QLC (quad-level cell) technology, SSD manufacturers can pack more data capacity into the same physical space. Industry analysts forecast external SSD capacities will reach up to 128TB by 2025. While high-performance needs may still require smaller drives, the maximum capacities will satisfy data hoarding demands as prices drop over time.

Though hard disk drives offer larger capacities currently, their mechanical nature limits speeds. As external SSD capacities grow and prices decline, they will continue displacing HDDs for many use cases needing portable storage.


In summary, the highest capacity external SSD currently available is the 32TB Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q. This portable SSD leverages QLC NAND flash technology to offer an unprecedented 32TB of storage in a compact, durable, and high-speed external drive.

Key features of this cutting-edge external SSD include read and write speeds up to 2,900MB/s and 2,700MB/s respectively via Thunderbolt 3, IP67 water and dust resistance, and active cooling. The 32TB model represents the peak of SSD capacity and performance in an external drive today.

While average consumers may not require such a capacious external SSD, the Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q caters to professionals who need massive portable storage for working with high-resolution footage and large files on the go. The SSD’s blazing transfer speeds, rugged design, and huge capacity make it well suited for media production, photography, videography, engineering, and other demanding workflows.

As SSD technology continues advancing, even higher capacity external drives exceeding 32TB will inevitably become feasible. For now, the Sabrent Rocket XTRM-Q 32TB stands alone as the highest capacity and among the fastest external SSDs available. For those seeking the ultimate in speed and capacity in a portable solid state drive, this impressive SSD represents the current pinnacle.