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WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD Review: Solid Add-on Storage for Consoles

The WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD, first announced in May 2021, is both more and less versus the previous WB Black P50 that came out in late 2020.

More because, well, it’s significantly thicker and now includes a nice stand. And less because it houses a slower MVNe SSD on the inside and features USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) instead of the top-notch USB 3.2 Gen 2 (20Gbps).

Other than that, the two are very similar. Both are rugged game drives that look the part. So this post is partly a WD Black D30 vs WD Black P50 matchup.

In many ways, the D30 makes more sense thanks to its friendlier pricing — $100, $170, and $290 for 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB, respectively — and the fact most computers and many game consoles support only the 10Gbps USB standard anyway.

If you’re looking for a portable drive that can hold your entire game gallery without slowing down the game launching process, the WD Black D30 is an excellent buy. And the fact you can impress your friend is a bonus.

(There’s also an XBOX version that costs $20 more and includes an XBOX logo, a cooler base, and a 1-month XBOX Game Pass Ultimate membership.)

WD Black D30 Portable SSD
The WD Black D30 Portable SSD comes with a stand and a USB-A to USB-C cable.

WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD

$269.99
8.4

Performance

8.5/10

Features

8.0/10

Design and Setup

8.5/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Fast and reliable NVMe-based performance
  • Cool-looking, rugged design, with a practical stand
  • USB-C port with included USB-A-to-USB-C cable
  • Runs cool

Cons

  • No USB 3.2 Gen 2x2
  • No security feature for general use
  • USB-C cable not included
  • Not water resistant
  • A bit pricy

WD Black D30: A sensible portable SSD for gamer

Despite the totally different physical sizes, you can’t look at the WD Black D30 without thinking of the P50. That was the case for me.

WD Black D30 vs WD Black P50: Lots of similarities

Indeed, the two share the same rugged metal housing with sharp edges. Both come with a USB port and an empty exFAT partition.

They are ready to work right out of the box with almost any platform and don’t include any software at all.

Both are bus-powered and include a USB-C port and include a USB-A to USB-C cable. Out of the box, you can use them right away with any game console and most computers.

On the inside, both have an NVMe solid-state drive (SSD). But they do have quite a few differences, as you can see their hardware specs below.

WD Black D30 vs D 0 3
WD Black D30 vs WD Black P50: The two share a similar retail box design.

WWD Black D30 vs P50: Hardware specifications

The biggest difference is that the P50 uses USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 and a faster NVMe SSD to deliver up to 2000 MB/s in copy speed.

Its real-world performance was slightly slower in my testing, but the drive is still one of the faster portable SSDs on the market.

See also  Device Connections Explained: Thunderbolt or Not, It's All about USB-C

On the other hand, the D30 supports USB Gen 2 with a slower SSD inside with a vendor-claimed copy speed of up to 900MB/s. You can find its real-world speed in the performance section below.

Other than that, the D30 is a much thicker drive, yet a bit narrower and a tad lighter. The coolest thing is it now includes a practical stand that you can attach to either of its long sides.

By the way, the P10 also includes a USB-C cable — it can work right away with any new computer, including most Mac laptops. For those, you’ll need to get a separate USB-C cable or an adapter for the D30.

WD Black D30 vs D 0
WD Black D30 vs WD Black P50: Note how thicker the former is, yet, it’s lighter.

Considering both are game SSDs and all consoles, including the latest versions, have USB-A ports, you’ll not have any issues with either in terms of host compatibility.

NameWD Black D30WD Black P50
Capacities (Part Number)500GB (WDBATL5000ABK-WESN)
1TB (WDBATL0010BBK-WESN)
2TB (WDBATL0020BBK-WESN)
500GB (WDBA3S5000ABK-WESN)
1TB (WDBA3S0010BBK-WESN)
2TB (WDBA3S0020BBK-WESN)
4TB (WDBA3S0040BBK-WESN)
DesignCompact and Bus-PoweredSuper-compact and Bus-Power
USB PortUSB-CUSB-C
USB StandardUSB 3.2 Gen 2 
(10Gbps)
USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 
(20Gbps)
USB CompatibiiltyUSB 3.2 Gen 2
USB Gen 1 (USB 3.0)
USB 2.0
USB 3.2 Gen 2
USB Gen 1 (USB 3.0)
USB 2.0
Stop speedUp to 900 MB/sUp to 2000 MB/s
DimensionsWith Stand: 3.77 x 1.8 x 2.38 in
(96 x45.9 x 60.5 mm)
Without: 3.77 x 1.37 x 2.28 in
(96 x 35 x 58 mm)
4.65 x 2.44 x .55 in  
(11.8 x 6.2 x 1.39 cm)
WeightWith Stand: .3 lb (137 g) 
Without: .28 lb (125 g)
 .52 lb (.230 g)
Included CableUSB-A to USB-C USB-A to USB-C
USB-C
Host CompatibilityPlayStation 5 (Play and store PS4 games; archive PS5 games)
Xbox Series X|S (Play and store Xbox One games; archive Xbox Series X|S games)
PlayStation 4 Pro or PS4 (OS version 4.50 or later)
Xbox One
Windows 8.1 (and later)
macOS 10.11 (and later)
Same
Release DateMay 26, 2021 August 20, 2019
MSRP$90 (500GB)
$150 (1TB)
$270 (2TB)
$150 (500GB)
$250 (1TB)
$450 (2TB)
$750 (4TB)
Warranty3 years5 Years
Hardware specifications: WD Black D30 vs P50

Extra: Notes on Xbox X/S and PlayStation 5

Games made specifically for Xbox X/S and PlayStation 5 consoles require a different type of connection for gameplay.

As a result, all portable drives, including the D30, can only work as Xbox X/S and PS5 game archiving storage space. You need to first transfer the game to the console’s internal (or gameplay-compatible add-on) storage to play it.

However, you can play older games made for Xbox One and PS4 directly from a USB portable drive, even on the latest consoles.

WD Black D30: Generic storage space, no security features or software

Like the case of the P50, the WD Black D30 is a drive with pure generic storage space. It has no security features, nor does it comes with any software.

But that’s normal for a game drive. I fact, if you use any security measure with a portable drive, you might not be able to use it with a console anymore since there’s no mechanism to unlock it.

By the way, you can always use Windows’ or macOS’ built-in security and backup software with it. In that case, reformating it into a support file system might be necessary.

The D30 sure seems tough and rugged. While WD doesn’t provide any specifics on the drive’s toughness, you sure can squeeze it all day without damaging it.

One thing is for sure: the drive is not waterproof or resistant. Despite the tight look, the drive’s case assembly has no gasket at the joint. As a result, water can get inside easily. (I speak from experience — don’t try it!)

WD Black D30: Extra detail photos

WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD
The WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD’s box content.

WD Black D30 Portable SSD 3
Despite the thick body, the WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD is actually really light.

WD Black D30 Portable SSD
On the back, the WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD comes with a USB-C port.

WD Black D30 Portable SSD 0
The WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD has a little white status light on the font.

WD Black D30 Portable SSD
The WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD’s retail box.

WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD: Excellent performance

I tested the 1TB version of the WD Black D30 using USB 3.2 Gen 2 and USB 2.0 and was happy with its performance.

No, the drive wasn’t the fastest I’ve seen (for its specs), nor was it even close to the rated 900MB/s. Nonetheless, it was fast with the sustained copy speeds of more than 560MB/s for reading and almost 520MB/s for writing.

WD Black D30 Performance

It worked well with USB 2.0 and average around 40MB/s, which is the case with almost all portable SSDs.

What I liked the most about the WD Black D30 was the fact it just worked. I tried it with a couple of computers and used it with my XBOX One for a couple of days and had no issues at all. And in the console’s case, games stored on it indeed loaded faster than those stored in the internal hard drive.

On top of that, unlike the P50, the D30 remained cool at all times, even during long operations. That was likely thanks to its thick body, which dissipate heat better.

Conclusion

While the WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD is a slower drive than the P50, it’s a better option overall if you are a gamer. That’s because chances are your game console has USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) anyway.

On the other hand, if you want a super-fast portable drive for your computer, especially one with Thunderbolt 3 or USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20Gbps), the WB Black P50 is better, thanks to its faster performance and larger storage option.

(Chances are you’ll find the D30 at 4TB in the future, but right now, it caps at 2TB.)

But when you factor in the cost, the WD Black D30 sure is an easier recommendation of the two. Get one, or check out these alternatives!

See also  Best Portable Drives of 2021: The Ultra-secure, Extra-rugged, and Super-fast
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2 thoughts on “WD Black D30 Game Drive SSD Review: Solid Add-on Storage for Consoles”

  1. Be aware owners, you need a special expension card version SSD to be able to play X Series games directly from external SSD! With other fast external SSD you have to transfer back to the XBOX X Series Console to play games directly.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the input, D. This is more of an issue with the consoles’ design and speed requirements as mentioned in the compatibility part is the specs.

      Reply

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