HomeTech GiantsMicrosoftWD_BLACK P40: External SSD as a Memory Expansion for Your Video Game...

WD_BLACK P40: External SSD as a Memory Expansion for Your Video Game | Analysis / Review

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The WD_black P40 is a state-of-the-art portable gamer external SSD, which seeks to bring a more compact body than the P50 predecessor, with the differential of coming with RGB LEDs. It has capacities of 500GB, 1TB and 2TB. Western Digital gave TechSmart the intermediate version for this test, and we’ll tell you all the details in this full review.

design and construction

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We started with the design, highlighting the advancement of the brand to make the product more compact than the previous generation. Now, it’s just 13 mm tall and 78 grams in weight. The accessory literally fits in your hand.

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It has a reinforced construction with an aluminum top cap for easy impact resistance. The manufacturer says it is possible to survive a fall of up to two meters. We didn’t get to test the durability, but this unit was accidentally dropped nearly three feet, and we didn’t have any damage.

For the P40, Western Digital decided to remove the ventilation openings at the bottom. Now, the heat dissipation is all done only in the metallic layer of the SSD. But we don’t find any big problems here. It even gets a little warm while running a game, but it doesn’t get hot enough.

The USB-C port is located at one end and contains a deep fit in relation to the body, due to the frame that surrounds and protects the product from side impacts. Despite all this durability, it is worth noting that it is not waterproof.

Image: Rafael Barbosa / TechSmart.com

Another novelty in this product is the RGB lighting. It is made by the strips located on the underside of the piece, one on each side. The lights are on as soon as you plug the SSD into the USB port.

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Overall, it’s clear to pick up this product that it’s quite robust and has a premium look and feel despite its small size.

In the box, you will find the device, the USB cable with a Type-C connector at both ends, an adapter to plug into a USB Type-A port and the user guides.

Connectivity and software

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This portable SSD uses USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 technology, but also supports other standards, such as USB 2.0. The difference is that older technologies will not allow you to exploit its full speed, which can reach up to 2,000 MB/s.

One quality is that it works plug and play. That is, just plug it into a compatible port to start using it. But before thinking about plugging it into a console, we recommend opening the P40 on a computer first. That’s because it comes with an executable to install your management software.

Within the program called Dashboard, the user can check the status of the unit, in addition to updating the firmware and checking how it is performing at the moment.

But the highlight is the choice of RGB LEDs. This is where you select the lighting colors or transition type. By default, it comes in a rainbow format, which constantly switches between shades. You can still choose options that leave only one color and others that insert some extra effects.

Image: Rafael Barbosa / TechSmart.com

We miss some security feature here. Since we are talking about a durable product on the outside, a tool that guarantees file protection was missing.

Whether it’s an external lock or an encryption solution in your own software, this functionality would be very welcome as it would avoid problems like corruption, loss and deletion of any file within it.

Performance and functions

Moving on to the performance part, how does WD_BLACK P40 work in practice? First, we ran a speed test on it through the CrystalDiskMark program on a Dell Alienware M15 R7.

What we got is well below the promised 2,000 MB/s. Perhaps the USB port here results in some limitation, but the results are satisfactory for use without major problems.

Image: Rafael Barbosa / TechSmart.com

After all, is it possible to use this external SSD as additional storage for a console? We tested it on an Xbox Series S to find out. As soon as you plug the device into the video game, it immediately recognizes the unit and asks you to choose how you want to enjoy it.

If you just want it for media, you don’t need to clear storage. As for installing games, you will need to format it to be able to enjoy the titles. This is one of the reasons we recommend connecting to the PC first, as you will need to install the Dashboard that comes with the product.

After the process, you can copy games from the internal storage to the SSD, or choose to have new titles installed directly on the external drive. Here we have already seen a better performance than the tests on the computer, but they still don’t reach the maximum level.

Copies range from 1.30 GB/s to 1.50 GB/s. Anyway, it’s enough to copy a game of just over Twenty Giga in about three minutes. In the reverse process, the Xbox’s internal SSD shows more speed and is stable above the 2.00 GB/s barrier.

Open in Full Screen

In the latest generation of video games, manufacturers freeze the playback of optimized games on external devices. This means that you can even copy the games to the P40, but an error message appears when playing them.

On the other hand, titles from older generations, such as those from the Xbox One line, can be played directly from the external SSD without difficulty. We tested a few to see how well they performed and were surprised at how quickly they booted. You can open the game in about two seconds, practically the same time as we have with the internal storage. After all, we are talking about SSDs here, regardless of the method.

Image: Rafael Barbosa / TechSmart.com

In Forza Motorsport 6, not only does the fluidity keep up with the maximum that the Xbox Series S allows, even at high speed, but the graphical quality of the tracks is maintained without any drop.

Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy is another example of a game running on external SSD. We notice here that the movements do not suffer any kind of delay in response when exploiting the P40 for this.

Given the points already mentioned, we recommend the player to leave all backward compatible games on the external SSD, and save the internal storage only for optimized titles.

If the native drive gets full, you can move games you haven’t played in a while to the P40 just to save and then transfer back to the internal disk when playing. It’s more convenient and faster than having to download everything again.

Final considerations

What can we conclude from WD_BLACK P40? Well, it was certainly designed to meet the most demanding gamer. In its design, we see important items that were not left out. From its reinforced resistance, to the presence of RGB lights, one of the basic requirements of this market.

And speaking of them, the possibility of managing transitions through the Dashboard program is a quality of this product. Too bad there isn’t some security feature to keep its built-in protection.

At least, the absence of ventilation outlets was not felt. The metallic inner part does the trick when it comes to keeping the SSD without getting hot while gaming. We didn’t feel unusual heating at any time, and that’s a positive point that the manufacturer has achieved.

When we talk about performance, despite the limitations on new generation consoles, it is a good option for those who want to keep their games there and avoid having to download everything again when they want to play; or even explore the product in its entirety in backward compatible titles.

Even without having the same transfer rate as a console’s internal SSD, the high speed it offers is not far behind in practice. Probably, this drop will not be felt during the game.

analysis.gif" width="23" height="23" class="ok">robust designcompact sizeefficient coolinghigh capacityfast performancePlug and PlayUSB-A adapter in the box
Practical performance does not reach 2,000 MB/sLack of encryption featureNot suitable for running high-end games

The WD_BLACK P40 is expected to arrive in Europe at the end of September 2022. So far, Western Digital has not yet confirmed the suggested prices for the domestic market.

If you prefer an SSD that doesn’t have as much reinforcement in the finish, but has an encryption solution in the files, the way out can be the Lexar SL 660 Blaze Game. It has similar performance, despite not offering a 2TB alternative.

What did you think of WD_BLACK P40? Is it worth having one of them as extra storage for your console? You can speak freely there in the space below.

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