UPDATE, August 2023:
Numerous stories are emerging from credible tech websites and individual users that some SanDisk and WD-branded portable SSDs are experiencing sudden and unpredictable drive failure, resulting in data loss. We have contacted parent company Western Digital for a statement on the issue but have yet to receive a response. Consequently we cannot unreservedly recommend the purchase of a SanDisk or WD-branded portable SSD until the matter has been decisively resolved.
Not too long ago this storage drive would’ve been part of the G-Technoloy range but the parent company, Western Digital, has rebranded G-Technology as SanDisk Professional. It makes the intended market a little clearer as G-Technology gear was usually aimed at professional photographers.
The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD is a portable drive that fits in the palm of your hand, and features NVMe technology and USB-C connectivity. It comes ready for use with Mac computers but can be reformatted to work with Windows machines.
Max read speed: 1050MB/s
Max write speed: 1000MB/s
Available capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
The G-Drive SSD is available in four capacities, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB. That’s likely to be enough for most users, but intensive shooters on long trips may wish for a larger capacity or need to invest in a second drive.
As I mentioned earlier, it has NVMe technology and this combined with the USB-C (USB 3.2 Gen 2) connectivity enables read speeds of up to 1050MB/s and write speeds of up to 1000MB/s.
While it weighs just 90g, the SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD is ruggedised to survive being crushed by up to 2000 lbs and dropped from 3m. It’s also vibration resistant and weather/dust resistant to IP67.
Perhaps as a result of the introduction of devices like the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2 which offer twice the transfer rate, Western Digital has dropped the price of the G-Drive SSD significantly, making it much more attractive.
The drive also comes with software onboard ready for download and installation on a computer to enable password-enabled 256-bit AES-XTS Hardware encryption.
Build and handling
The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD is only 95 x 50 x 15mm in size, so it fits nicely in your hand and can be slipped easily into a camera or laptop bag.
SanDisk supplies two USB-C cables with the G-Drive SSD, one USB-C to USB-C and the other USB-C to USB-A. Helpfully, these cables are around 49cm in length, which makes the drive easier to use than one with a short cable when it’s connected to the back of a desktop computer or to a laptop on your knee.
The core of the drive is made from aluminum which acts as a heat sync and there are vents in the plastic shell, all designed to stop the most important area getting too hot.
It’s easy to set up a password to protect the drive if you are storing sensitive information but it’s important to keep in mind that this cannot be recovered or reset by SanDisk if you forget the password.
The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD works well in day-to-day use when storing stills and editing 4K video, but to test its data transfer speed I connected it to a 2022 MacBook Air with the M2 chip. I then dragged a folder with 9.74GB of images comprising 100 Jpegs and 100 raw files from the 45.7Mp Nikon Z7 II from the desktop to the drive and it took just under 15 seconds for them to write to the SSD. It took around 12 seconds for the same batch of files to transfer from the G-Drive SSD to the computer. That’s an impressively short time to wait to move files around.
Next, I fired up Blackmagic Disk Speed Test to take a look at the measured transfer rates. While this didn’t show figures quite as high as the 1,050/1000MB/s read/write times claimed by Sandisk, they are still very respectable. I measured read speeds of around 720MB/s and write speed of around 840MB/s. Furthermore, the software confirms that the drive is suitable for use when working with 4K raw video at frame rates up to 60p and even 8K at up to 60p in Blackmagic Raw, but ProRes 422 HQ is a step too far at that resolution and frame rate.
The drive also survived falling on a hard floor from my desk and its weather resistance ensures it copes with a splash or two of water - although it’s more likely to encounter tea.
The SanDisk Professional G-Drive SSD looks smart and feels tough. It also transfers files from a computer and back quickly, if not at the same speed as a 2000MB/s drive such as the SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD V2. However, it’s also more affordable and if you’re not planning on using it as a working drive while you edit 6K or 8K 60p ProRes 422 HQ footage, it makes a great choice. It’s fine for most 4K applications and perfect for storing stills.