Storage is likely one of the last stops for gamers looking to convert dollars into fun. One might expect that games would at least load faster on more expensive drives, but our testing over the years has repeatedly disproved that theory. But that doesn't stop manufacturers from trying to seduce the gamer market with outlandishly named and styled SSDs. Even with that in mind, would any company be crazy enough to attempt to sell gamers on external solid-state storage? Hold HyperX's beer.
The HyperX Savage Exo joins the ranks of the plethora of portable SSDs we've reviewed in recent months. However, the Exo is differently-shaped than the rest, with a footprint of 4.9" x 1.9" x 0.4". Its weight is still negligible at a mere 1.98 ounces (or 56 grams), but its length lends it an oddly bulky feel when handled alongside other drives. Nonetheless, the Exo is still far smaller than your standard flagship smartphone and easily fits into a pocket. There's no bead-blasted aluminum or pricey magnesium here—the Exo is clad in hard gray plastic with a similar feel to that of Adata's SE730H.
That gamer claim to fame isn't so insane once you read who HyperX thinks this drive is for. The company promises to get your games "patched, installed, and booted faster" over the drive's USB 3.1 Gen 2 interface and touts broad compatibility across PCs, Macs, PlayStation 4s, and Xbox Ones. Here lies the most logical market for a drive like this. Both Microsoft and Sony continue to hobble their consoles with spinning rust, and the average gamer may not be intrepid enough to crack open his expensive system to do a drive swap. Neither console supports USB 3.1 Gen 2, but even over USB 3.0's 5-Gbps constraints, the Exo should run rings around external hard drives.
Speaking of cracking things open, the Savage Exo didn't yield without a fight, but my array of spudgers eventually overcame its defenses. Laid bare, our 480-GB sample revealed a full M.2 2280 gumstick attached to an ASMedia ASM235CM USB bridge. The M.2 SSD is powered by Marvell's 88SS1074 controller and Kingston-branded NAND packages which are really 64-layer Toshiba BiCS flash in disguise. Sound familiar?
The Savage Exo doesn't offer encryption acceleration, but it does come backed by a three-year warranty. HyperX helpfully includes both USB Type-A and USB Type-C cables in the box. You can purchase the Exo 480 GB for $128 directly from the HyperX website or from Amazon. If you hate money, Newegg has it for a bit more. $128 isn't bad at all for a fast external storage device, but plummeting SSD prices have made for some pretty juicy deals on portables of late. HyperX's external SSD will have to have to prove its chops in our test suite before we deem it worthy of the dosh.