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Hands-on review: Western Digital speeds up your gaming with the WD_Black P10 Game Drive
Fri, 17th Jan 2020
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Remember when you thought that 1TB of hard drive space in your PlayStation 4 Pro or Xbox One X would be more than enough? Twice as much space than the OG versions of the current gen consoles, it's still a paltry amount.

Whilst Sony allows users to prise open their machine and put in a larger drive, it's still a fair bit of fiddling about. Xbox One owners have no alternative but to plug in an external hard drive.

Western Digital's WD_Black P10 external USB hard drives plug straight into your console or PC for an instant storage upgrade. The drive is powered via the lone USB connection, so there's no need for bulky power supplies.

PC owners will be familiar with Western Digital's drive spec colour-coding: green is economical, blue is for everyday use, red is for storage arrays and black is for performance.

The WD_Black P10 Game Drive boasts up to 140MB/s read time. Not as fast as an SSD, but pretty fast for a conventional USB 3.0 drive.

Using Crystal Disk Mark 6, I got a maximum read/write speed of 130 MB/s, out of the 2TB version sent for review, which is on par with my internal SATA3 Seagate Barracuda drives. Not quite the stated speed, but still pretty impressive for a portable USB drive.

Stats are all very well, but what does the WD_Black P10's read speed equate to in real life?

If there's a game that I really can't put down, it's Xbox One exclusive, Forza Horizon 4. I love the game. But I don't like the Xbox One X loading times. Even on Microsoft's souped up console, it takes three minutes to load from the stock internal drive. Installing the game on the WD_Black, the loading time reduced to two minutes. That's a significant speed increase that allows players to get into their games with less of a delay.

Of course, you could go for a faster SSD drive. I tested a 500GB SSD drive, that cost the same price as the 2TB WD_Black, with Forza Horizon 4. It took only a minute to load. You pay a premium for that sort of performance, though.

Whilst performance is the main selling point of any drive, I'd be doing the WD_Black a disservice by not mentioning the housing. Unlike most portable drives which seem to be made out of eggshell, the drive case feels very robust. Whilst I won't recommend dropping it, the build quality seems high enough for it to cope with rattling around in a bag. It looks pretty stylish as well, the industrial look better fitting a device attached to a console than a business laptop. Size-wise, the small case is only just bigger than the 2.5-inch drive that it encompasses.

PC and console gamers wanting a fast, meaty, and portable value-for-money storage upgrade would do well to check out the WD_Black P10 Game Drive.