Best External Hard Drives and SSDs for Chromebox Android Central 2020

Chromeboxes aren't laptops. Chances are you're not tossing one into a backpack and setting it up at Starbucks; instead, it sits quietly behind a screen of some sort and is always ready. That means there is no reason to try and get by with 16 or 32GB of storage. Most models are easy to take apart and upgrade if you're the DIY type, but adding more storage for your stuff is as easy as plugging in a cable.

Simple and cheap: Western Digital My Passport

Staff pick

WD My Passport is the best bargain external hard drive you can buy. It's a spinning disk drive so you won't be breaking any read speed records, but it's perfect for storing photos or music or video. It's available in 1TB–4TB options.

When you wanna go fast!: Samsung T5 SSD

If you need a big boost in storage for your Chromebox but need to have SSD speeds, the Samsung T5 drive is one of the best ways to make it happen. They use Samsung's own V-NAND to bring read/write speeds of up to 540MB/s over a USB 3.1 connection, are future-proof with a USB-C port, and aren't much bigger than a credit card. You can store and retrieve all of your stuff really fast if that's what you need with capacity from 250GB–2TB.

Take everything with you: SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD

If media portability is a top concern then you'll definitely want an SSD — but SanDisk takes things one step further by wrapping the drive in a heavy duty case that includes a loop to connect to a lanyard. It uses USB-C and USB 3.1 for fast read speeds, and capacity options start at 250GB and go all the way up to 2TB.

Bring your own: ORICO USB 3.0 SATA Hard Drive Enclosure

A drive enclosure lets you safely use almost any 3.5-inch drive as a USB 3.0 device that can plug right into your Chromebox. Just slide it open and drop any compatible inside, slide it shut and you're ready to plug it in. You don't need any tools and it only takes a few minutes.

Use with a drive enclosure: Samsung 860 EVO 2.5-Inch SATA III Internal SSD

Again we'll recommend Samsung's SSD for being among the fastest and well-designed drives you can buy. Pricing varies depending on the amount of storage you want, but your best value would be the 500GB drive. Bought along with the AmazonBasics drive enclosure gives your Chromebox instant access to a sizable media collection for under $100.

Use with a drive enclosure: WD Blue 3D NAND SATA III 2.5-inch SSD

Just like with the external drives, WD manages to undercut Samsung's prices by a fair margin while still offering a solid state drive with comparable read speeds. Choose from drive capacities from 250GB up to 2TB and slip it into a drive enclosure to add all the extra storage you need to your Chromebox.

Plug and play: Seagate Expansion Desktop HDD

The Seagate Expansion Desktop offers storage options starting at 4TB, and goes all the way up to 8TB. That should be more than enough storage, and all you will need is the included USB 3.0 cable and the 18W power adapter to get your storage solution up and running. Plus, you won't have to worry about carrying this with you as it just sits on your desk.

Fast data transfer: CalDigit Tuff Nano External NVME SSD

This external NVMe SSD from CalDigit comes with USB 3.2 Gen 2 thanks to the USB Type-C connector. This provides speeds up to 10GB/s and is backward compatible with both USB 3.0 and USB 2.0. Plus, with the IP67 certification, this portable hard drive can withstand water up to 3 feet deep for 30 minutes, along with dust and shock absorption.

For ChromeOS: Seagate Mobile Drive

Seagate designed the Mobile Drive to be specifically used with Chromebooks and ChromeOS, which means it's perfect for your Chromebox. You will get 1TB of additional storage, with transfer speeds up to 5 GB/s with the USB 3.0 cable. And it comes in either Aqua or White so you can get a color that will either stand out or blend in while matching your setup.

For your fast SSDs: Sabrent M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure

If you already have an NVMe SSD but can't fit it into your Chromebox, you can take advantage of an enclosure and still get the same experience. The Sabrent Enclosure is made from alunimum and provides a USB 3.1 Gen 2 port for even faster transfers, coming in at up to 10GB/s. The best part is that the Sabrent makes it easy to "hot-swap" and switch between SSD's in the event that you need to upgrade to a larger one in the future.

Faster storage: WD Black SN750 NVMe SSD

When it comes to NVMe SSD's these are some of the fastest hard drives you can get your hands on. With the WD Black SN750, you'll get storage options ranging from 250GB to 2TB and a five-year limited warranty. However, you'll need to make sure that it will work with your Chromebox before installing it, or just grab an external enclosure.

Additional heat protection: Samsung 970 EVO Plus NVMe SSD

Samsung's 970 EVO Plus NVMe SSD offers read and write up to 3,500MB/s and 3,300MB/s, while being backed by the company's 5-year limited warranty. This SSD also offers additional protection against heat with the Dynamic Thermal Guard monitoring temperatures to ensure that it doesn't get too warm. As with all hard drives, you will need to verify that it works with your specific Chromebox, or you can snag an NVMe enclosure and use it as an external drive.

Adding extra storage to a Chromebox is easy

Chromeboxes make great computers for plenty of people. In households where there are kids, they're the perfect desktop computer for homework, and attached to your TV they bring the internet and everything that comes with it to your big screen.

Connecting an external drive to your Chromebox is easy thanks to Chrome OS supporting a wide range of file systems. Most drives will basically be plug and play which makes it easy and convenient for anyone to set up and use. Your best value comes from the WD My Passport which gets you 1TB of storage for just $55.

Another option is to use a drive enclosure that lets you dock an internal drive and use it to connect to your Chromebox via USB. For internal drives, we'll recommend Samsung 860 SSD which is top-rated and also a good option if you've got a laptop or PC that could also use a storage upgrade.

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