Review: Western Digital 2TB Gaming Drive

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Okay, I paid good money for some fanfare music, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Eh, just read the article and have your wallet handy.

One of the more easily solved gamer issues is also something that still seems to stymie some gamers who should already know that a mere 1 terabyte of dedicated storage (which is actually less than 1TB thanks to mandatory system clutter) is far too small once one starts purchasing more content. Demos, DLC, system themes, video footage, screenshots and more all require precious space and yes, that 1TB is very rapidly filled (usually sooner than one thinks). Sure, you can delete content left and right when a new game drops, but this becomes problematic for a few reasons.

Western Digital’s Gaming Drive (available in 2TB ($79.99) and 4TB ($119.99) versions) is a solid, solidly built, supremely easy to use affordable solution to this problem and yes, makes for an excellent purchase for yourself and/or any PS4 gamer on your list.

Pop open the box and you get the following (presented outside of the plastic casing you can keep inside the box if you prefer):

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So easy to use, you’ll plotz. Or just be thrilled you don’t have to delete a thing off your original HDD unless you’re moving content around.

Flip that slip of shiny paper with “Hello” over for the world’s easiest installation instructions:

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Make sure your PS4 (or PS4 Pro or PS4 Slim) is shut off, plug the drive into one of the USB ports and turn on the console, which will handle everything once you press a few buttons. You’re ready to roll after than and can either transfer data to the new drive, use that new drive to download new games and other content or do some sort of mix of the two. No fuss, no trouble right out of the gate.

Note: Some users who’ve had their consoles for a while that are experiencing sluggish downloads or frequent login issues with PSN who live in areas with decent to otherwise excellent connections may need to run the PS4’s Safe Mode in order to rebuild their original HDD database BEFORE using the Gaming Drive. But don’t worry about this at all if you have no issues with PSN or download speeds.

Once your new external HDD is ready, you may feel free to dance around singing George Micheal’s “Freedom” if you prefer (but not too loudly if you have thin walls and cranky neighbors). Just don’t go bragging about it much because you may have acquaintances who’ve already taken the plunge who may chuckle as they chime “What took you so long?” Brag if you must otherwise, as WD will be smiling from those word of mouth sales. The only thing stopping you is your ISP’s bandwidth cap if you’re paying for a service that limits how much you can download per month. Otherwise, the sky’s the limit.

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Small enough to fit in a pocket, but you can’t connect it to your PS4 from there, so you may just want to keep it plugged into that console.

 

While the box notes that 50 games can be stored, that’s a “more or less” figure that may likely be “more” to most users who buy indie to AAA games that are smaller file sizes. I ended up moving 28 game files to the drive plus about 30 more downloads of assorted size and still have room to spare. The sole caveat (which isn’t really one): yep, you need to tweak your PS4’s XMB so it shows less games so you don’t have to scroll through everything.

So far, so good, right? You’re also protected should you accidentally disconnect the drive or there’s some sort of power outage (the latter happened here a day ago), as the drive will note that disconnection by reading and repairing itself (which takes a fairly short time). The drive has a 3-year limited warranty and amusingly enough, the only other piece of paper in the box. It has that warranty in a load of different languages so it’s the size of a small to medium map when when it’s unfolded.

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While I’d not recommend sticking this in a back pocket like you do that cell phone, the Gaming Drive is travels well when you need to take it on the go.

 

Oh, don’t get kooky and think you can run this external drive over to a pal’s place and let them get a free game or a bunch of free games, now. Your own PSN account is required to unlock the licenses needed to play and you’ll need to sign in and become that other console’s primary user. So, unless you’re planning on giving up gaming for good and transferring your old account over, that’s not a smart idea. Overall, this is a solid recommend as well as a great WD product that’s reliable and built to last. Recommended.

 

-GW

-Review sample provided by WD

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