There are two things you need to know about me before reading this.
- WD is my preferred hard drive brand.
- I would not call myself a gamer.
The artist formerly known as Western Digital, now just WD, popularised the colour codes for its different hard drives. I use a Purple 6TB HDD in my network attached storage, for instance. Purple WD drives are optimised for 24/7 operation in surveillance applications, which makes it great for a NAS that I don’t turn off.
WD makes a Red drive specifically for use in a NAS with the same 24/7 stamina, but faster read and write speeds. Don’t worry, this will all make sense in a couple lines.
Black drives let you know you’re dealing with consumer-grade performance machinery that is targeted at gamers. The first Black drive I ever tested was a hybrid solid-state (SSD) and hard disc (HDD) that gave all the boot speed advantages as well as mass storage.
This WD Black P10 is the opposite of that idea. It’s a portable HDD that spins at 5 400RPM and connects via USB A – supporting USB 3.2 Gen 1 speeds.
You know that drive in the bottom of your drawer that has the entire Game of Thrones series on it? It’s just that (if you had a nice one) with a nicer paintjob.
WD will tell you that it’s meant for gamers and that it’s optimised for consoles but playing games directly off an external drive is a mess.
Seriously, though, on a PS5 you need to copy the game onto the console to play it. Nintendo doesn’t even allow external drives for the Switch. So only Xbox gamers need apply – which dramatically reduces the total addressable market for this product.
To be fair to WD, the company is only playing the field it has been given. Next-gen consoles are abandoning physical media and creating a market where data storage commands a premium.
SSDs will yield better speeds and loading times, but HDDs are cheap to make. The only significant cost WD has in selling its generic portable storage is marketing.
You will be able to use any USB 3.0 or faster external drive to do all the things that the WD Black P10 can. But if you want your drive to look like it belongs on a special ops mission and offer a limited 3-year warranty, then you can get a 5TB WD Black P10 for R2 750 at takealot.com