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WD 6TB Portable HDD Review

by Lyle Smith

WD strikes a nice balance of affordability, capacity, and reliability with their new high-capacity additions to their popular line of portable HDDs.

With the increasing demand for high-capacity, affordable, and portable storage solutions, WD has expanded its product lineup to include 6TB models in three of its popular portable HDD series: the WD My Passport, WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive, and SanDisk Professional G-DRIVE ArmorATD.

These drives cater to a diverse range of users, from everyday consumers needing reliable backup options to gamers seeking extra storage for their non-AAA game libraries, and professionals requiring secure data storage in rugged environments.

WD 6TB Portable HDD hero

These new 6TB drives utilize Shingled Magnetic Recording (SMR) technology and feature a 6-disk platform with a 1TB/disk aerial density. SMR allows for higher data densities and more storage capacity within the same physical space, albeit at the cost of slower write speeds compared to traditional Perpendicular Magnetic Recording (PMR) drives.

Drive removed from the 6TB My Passport

That said, the 6-disk platform with 1TB per disk ensures a relatively compact design while delivering ample storage for various user needs. They’re also powered over USB, so there’s no need for extra cables or power bricks.

Among these drives, we are specifically testing the My Passport Ultra and the SanDisk G-DRIVE ArmorATD. But first, let’s take a quick look at the features and benefits that these WD external HDDs offer.

WD My Passport 6TB Lineup

Over the years, we’ve reviewed many products from the My Passport series and found them to offer a great combination of style, capacity, and security. This lineup includes the My Passport Ultra, My Passport Ultra for Mac, My Passport, My Passport for Mac, and My Passport with USB-C, all of which now come in a 6TB model.

All models in the My Passport series are built with portability and durability in mind. The My Passport Ultra and Ultra for Mac feature a sleek metal design with USB-C connectivity, ensuring compatibility with modern devices. The standard My Passport and My Passport for Mac utilize a Micro-B connector, while the My Passport with USB-C provides the flexibility of both USB-C and USB-A connections via an included adapter. All models use the USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface.

wd my passport ultra 6tb portable hdd

With capacities now up to 6TB, these drives offer ample storage for photos, videos, music, and important documents. The performance across the models is consistent, with potential read and write speeds reaching up to a modest 130MB/s.

Each drive in the series is equipped with the usual 256-bit AES hardware encryption and password protection and comes bundled with Acronis True Image for Western Digital software, which provides robust protection against ransomware threats and seamless data backups. This makes the drives suitable for both personal and professional use, where data security is important.

Western Digital has also designed these drives with sustainability in mind. The enclosures are composed of more than 50% post-consumer recycled plastic, and the packaging is made from over 50% post-consumer recycled pulp, which is fully recyclable.

While reliable for storage and backup, these drives are (of course) not intended for direct video editing, graphic design, or other high-performance tasks. Their data transfer rates and IOPS are sufficient for general use and data storage but fall well short in demanding applications requiring rapid data access. For tasks like video editing or graphic design, where speed is crucial, a high-speed external SSD would be a much more suitable choice.

The entire family of 6TB WD portable HDDs is shipping now with prices ranging starting at $189 on Amazon (affiliate link).

WD My Passport Line 6TB Specifications

Model Connector Interface Encryption Compatibility Dimensions (L x W x H) Weight Price Performance
My Passport Ultra USB-C USB 3.2 Gen 1 256-bit AES Windows 10+, macOS (with driver) 4.33″ x 3.21″ x 0.87″ 0.52lbs $199.99 Up to 130MB/s
My Passport Ultra for Mac USB-C USB 3.2 Gen 1 256-bit AES macOS 4.33″ x 3.21″ x 0.87″ 0.52lbs $199.99 Up to 130MB/s
My Passport Micro-B USB 3.2 Gen 1 256-bit AES Windows 10+, macOS (with driver) 4.22″ x 2.95″ x 0.81″ 0.46lbs $179.99 Up to 130MB/s
My Passport for Mac Micro-B USB 3.2 Gen 1 256-bit AES macOS 4.22″ x 2.95″ x 0.81″ 0.46lbs $179.99 Up to 130MB/s
My Passport with USB-C USB-C USB 3.2 Gen 1 256-bit AES Windows 10+, macOS (with driver) 4.22″ x 2.95″ x 0.81″ 0.52lbs $184.99 Up to 130MB/s

 WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive 6TB

The WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive also now offers a 6TB model. WD indicates that it is designed specifically for gamers who need more storage to expand their game library. Its robust and portable design ensures that it can be easily transported, allowing gamers to take their entire library on the go.

The P10 Game Drive features a Micro-B connector and a USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface. Using a Micro-B connector on external storage devices nowadays is largely driven by cost considerations and the existing infrastructure in production and supply chains. While USB-C ports offer superior performance and versatility, Micro-B connectors remain less expensive to implement.

As we indicated with the WD Passport external HDD, it’s important to note that the P10’s performance tops out at the same 130MB/s in ideal conditions. WD suggests that these speeds will “push your console or PC to new levels of performance,” which is far from accurate. Most modern AAA games perform poorly on HDDs, even high-end ones like the P10. These speeds are adequate for storing and playing less demanding games like Stardew Valley, but for graphics-intensive games, an SSD is a much better choice.

Nonetheless, the drive’s compatibility with various gaming platforms, including Windows, macOS, PlayStation, and Xbox, adds to its versatility.

The WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive 6TB features a cool-looking design that would complement modern gaming setups. The drive boasts a nice portable build that feels sturdy in our hands, characterized by its sturdy metal casing and a sleek black finish that aligns with the aesthetics of gaming equipment. Its compact size, measuring 4.65 inches in length, 3.46 inches in width, and 0.91 inches in height, makes it easy to carry and use across different gaming consoles and PCs.

WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive 6TB Specifications

Feature Description
Capacity 6TB
Connector Micro-B
  • Windows 10+
  • macOS 11+
  • PlayStation 5 (play PS4 games, store PS5 games)
  • PlayStation 4 Pro or PS4 with system software version 4.50 or higher
  • Xbox Series X|S (play Xbox One games, store Xbox Series X|S games)
  • Xbox One
Sequential Read Performance Up to 130MB/s
Interface USB 3.2 Gen 1
Transfer Rate Up to 5Gb/s
Dimensions (L x W x H) 4.65″ x 3.46″ x 0.91″
Weight 0.55lbs
In The Box
  • WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive
  • USB Type-A to Micro-B cable
  • Quick Install Guide
Warranty 3-Year Limited Warranty

SanDisk G-DRIVE ArmorATD 6TB

The SanDisk G-DRIVE ArmorATD, one of the drives we will test in our performance section, is built for users who need a rugged, reliable storage solution in challenging environments. Now available in a 6TB model, its all-terrain build features IP54-rated protection against dust and rain. This makes it suitable for outdoor photographers, videographers, and professionals who need to protect their data under harsh conditions, such as outdoor adventurers and field professionals.

The G-DRIVE ArmorATD features a premium aluminum enclosure with an easy-to-grip rubber bumper, ensuring durability and protection against accidental drops. It is compatible with both Mac and Windows systems, offering flexibility and convenience.

Performance-wise, the G-DRIVE ArmorATD delivers speeds with a USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface, also supporting transfer rates up to 130MB/s. This allows for moderate backup and file transfer speeds.


Feature Description
Capacity 6TB
Connector USB-C
  • macOS 11+ (Time Machine-compatible)
  • Windows 10+ (via reformat)
Interface USB 3.2 Gen 1
Transfer Rate Up to 5Gb/s
Dimensions (L x W x H) 5.24″ x 3.5″ x 1.26″
Weight 0.84lbs
In The Box
  • G-DRIVE ArmorATD
  • USB-C to USB-C Cable
  • USB-C to USB-A Cable
  • Quick Start Guide
Warranty 3-Year Limited Warranty

Backed by a 3-year warranty for all models, here’s a pricing rundown of the WD’s new 6TB external drives:

  • WD My Passport Ultra 6TB and WD My Passport Ultra for Mac 6TB: $199.99 MSRP each.
  • WD My Passport 6TB and WD My Passport for Mac 6TB: $179.99 MSRP each.
  • WD My Passport with USB-C 6TB: $184.99 MSRP.
  • WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive 6TB: $184.99 MSRP.
  • SanDisk Professional G-DRIVE ArmorATD 6TB: $229.99 MSRP.


For our review, we tested the new SanDisk G-DRIVE ArmorATD and My Passport Ultra 6TB models with a Lenovo ThinkStation P520 Workstation.


First up is the usual Blackmagic test. Here, the WD My Passport Ultra was able to reach speeds of 110.2MB/s read and 107.7MB/s write. There were no specific quoted top speeds from WD for this drive, but the test results indicate performance on the lower end for an external/portable HDD.

The SanDisk G-DRIVE ArmorATD posted slightly better results, hitting 122MB/s read and 118.4MB/s write.


Next up is the IOmeter test, which helps us determine how a storage device will perform in real-world scenarios, such as transferring large files (sequential performance) or accessing small files randomly (random performance).

Here, the WD My Passport Ultra 6TB demonstrated read and write speeds of 110MB/s and 108.9MB/s respectively for 2MB sequential tests, and 45.61MB/s and 103.97MB/s for 2MB random tests. For 4K random, it achieved 98 IOPS (read) and 2661 IOPS (write). The SanDisk G-DRIVE ArmorATD 6TB showed slightly higher performance in the 2MB sequential tests, with read and write speeds of 123.55MB/s and 122.11MB/s respectively, and also performed better in 2MB random tests with 47.52MB/s (read) and 114.65MB/s (write). For 4K random, it achieved 101 IOPS (read) and 2410 IOPS (write)

IOMeter (1 thread)
USB 3.2 Gen 1 Performance 2MB Sequential 2MB Random 4K Random
Read Write Read Write Read Write
WD My Passport Ultra 6TB 110MB/s 108.9MB/s 45.61MB/s 103.97MB/s 98 IOPS 2661 IOPS
SanDisk G-DRIVE ArmorATD 6TB 123.55MB/s 122.11MB/s 47.52MB/s 114.65MB/s 101 IOPS 2410 IOPS


In an age where SSDs are the norm for portable storage, it’s easy to overlook the continued relevance of external HDDs. However, devices like the WD My Passport Ultra and SanDisk G-DRIVE ArmorATD in their new 6TB iterations serve as a reminder of the value these drives still hold against much more expensive portable SSDs. The HDD’s cost-effectiveness per terabyte, combined with substantial storage capacities, make them excellent choices for users with extensive media collections, backup needs, and even moderate gaming requirements. That said, they are not meant to be used for high-end workloads like direct video/photo editing—that’s a better job for SSD.

While their HDD performance limits their application, these new WD 6TB models offer competitive pricing (starting under $200), robust designs, and the added benefit of sustainability with recycled materials. They are built to last, with durable construction that can withstand everyday wear and tear, and their use of recycled materials reflects a commitment to environmental responsibility.

If you’re a user or professional looking for a reliable, substantial external storage solution, these HDDs offer a practical and cost-effective choice. They provide a significant amount of storage at a fraction of the cost of SSDs, making them suitable for storing large volumes of data that do not require fast access times. However, it’s important to manage expectations—these drives won’t match the blistering speeds you would get from an external NVMe SSD, but they excel in offering storage capacity and reliability.

6TB HDDs at Amazon (Affiliate link)

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