Sometimes I do miss the absolute glut of tie in merchandise that accompanies a big release. The vast majority of it was completely useless, and we certainly do get armies of little black eyed vinyl figures now, but it’s nothing compared to the sheer consumerist avalanche that went along with anything with a marketing budget and a character they could put on a lunch box. What is nice, however, is finding a piece of merchandise that is actually practical rather than a shameless promotion, like a hard drive.
The fine folks at Seagate, notable consumer storage mavens, have released a 2 terabyte external game drive alongside The Last of Us Part 2, optimized to work specifically with the Playstation 4. This little device is solidly built with the game’s title printed big and bold across its face and a laser etching of Ellie’s simple foliage tattoo. It looks great, feels sturdy, and is smaller than a cell phone, so perfect to cart around should you ever want to rearrange your living room or show off a game to a friend without having to wait on a lengthy download. It utilizes a USB 3.0 connection, so you should be able to get a solid and speedy connection with whatever you jack this drive into.
Despite my crippling addiction storage devices, it has been quite a while since I upgraded an external drive; I tend to use a lot of microSD and thumb drives. Recently, I had an aging 2TB HHD finally call it quits on me, so I am still in mourning for all the data that went out the window with that. That thing ran like a jet engine taking off and felt like it would be better suited to building a house or smashing a window than for storing copious amounts of data, so I am perpetually in awe of the amount of data you can pack into such a small device. Needless to say, this slim 2TB passport sized bit of tech makes me feel like a dinosaur.
Setting it up on a PS4 or PS4 Pro is simple. Plug it in, configure it through the console’s setting, and you’re good to go. Transferring data between the console and the drive is equally simple and relatively quick. I transferred a couple of games, both roughly around the forty gigabyte mark, in about a half hour. Installing games from the Playstation store directly to the drive is pretty seamless as well, and you might not even be aware that you’re doing it. Additionally, playing a game from the drive works just as well as playing one off the Playstation’s internal storage, and I never detected any slowdown reading from the device. If you are running out of room on your console, you could do a lot worse than this Game Drive, but, unfortunately, you could also do significantly better.
The thing is, all of that is great; the speed, the design, the ease of use, etc, but at the end of the day, it’s not a solid state drive. If you really want the fastest speeds both reading and writing, then solid state is really the best option. The problem is that those tend to be prohibitively expensive, especially when we’re talking about terabytes rather than gigabytes. Additionally, if you really are trying to live on the cutting edge of gaming, we are getting to the end of this console’s life cycle and the Playstation 5 is promising extremely fast drive speeds that this just won’t keep up with.
Now, if you’re a little more technically minded, you can use a little partitioning magic to convert it from a game drive to an external drive for your PC. It certainly will take some time, but it’s a step you probably won’t need to do right out of the box. So, when you no longer need this as a Game Drive, it may find a better home sitting next to your computer. Doing this, I was able get some more specific numbers for the speed through benchmarking programs with an average write speed of 60 MB/s and a read speed of 77 MB/s. In other words, it’s still pretty fast, in fact maybe even faster (Probably due to the Playstation’s system architecture) when hooked up to a computer, but still note matching the speeds an SSD could reach. That being said, next to my laptop is most likely where this thing will stay.
The biggest problem I have with this drive is its price. It falls in at nearly double the cost of its competitors with only rally a shiny design and sleek form factor to separate it from the pack. If you’re really a diehard fan of mushroom faced zombies then it might be worth considering, but I wouldn’t fork over that kind of cash lightly. Also, I should point out that I have seen other reviews on this type of drive complaining about a high failure rate after a few months, but obviously I cannot speak to that, having not had access to it for nearly that long. I can say that I am a big fan of Seagate products and have had success with them in the past.