Capacity: 5 TB
Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 1
Connector: Micro USB-B
Compatibility: Windows 8.1, 10, PS4, Xbox One, macOS 10.11+
Dimensions: 4.65 x 3.46 x 0.82 inches
Warranty: 3 year limited warranty
An external hard drive is never going to get the pulse racing, but it's still a useful tool to have in your collection. It's somewhere to store your most precious files (be they images, videos, documents, etc), as a quick and dirty backup of your main system, or for adding storage to a laptop or system that is fit to burst. It's portable too, which means it can be an easy way of moving data around.
If you're not talking about much data, then the traditional route here is to pick up a USB stick and be done. However, while the size of such devices is improving all the time, they can't compete with the capacity offered by spinning hard drives. These platter-based wonders still offer the best bang for your buck for storage.
The Western Digital WD Black P10 is a case in point. Here is an external drive from a reputable manufacturer that costs just $130 (£124) for 5 TB of space. You obviously don't get five terabytes of SSD space inside the robust and attractively styled case for so little cash, but you do get plenty of raw capacity to play with. It's bus powered too, so you don't need to carry around an external power connector, which helps in the mobility stakes.
The WD Black P10 is not going to rewrite the hard drive performance record books. This is an external drive connected over USB 3 that uses a 5,400 rpm spinning mechanical drive. When it came to synthetic testing, ATTO maxed out at 120 MB/s for the reads and 112 MB/s for writes, while CrystalDiskMark 6.0.2 produced slightly higher sequential read figures of 130 MB/s and 125 MB/s writes. Random access performance isn't great, but there's no surprise there.
When it comes to real world performance, you can't beat copying across data to see how the drive stands up (we used an SSD as the source). First up was Hearthstone, which weighs in at a mere 3.4 GB, this took 57 seconds, which equates to 61 MB/s. I then copied across a World of Warcraft install, which is a mixture of some huge files, and plenty of tiny ones (there are 10,742 files altogether, with the whole lot coming to 73.8GB), this took 16 minutes and 35 seconds, which averages out at 75 MB/s. Nothing to be sniffed at.
There are a few drives in the WD Black P10 range: 2TB for $80 (£81), 4TB $120 (£97), and this the largest member, the 5TB model for $130 (£124). This model makes the most sense financially, and is the one we'd recommend dropping your hard earned cash on. There are plenty of external hard drives out there of course, and there are cheaper ones than this, but with decent performance, a whole lot of space, and a strong brand behind it, this WD Black gets the nod here.