Vector illustration of a portable external SSD

The Best USB‑C Drives for ATEM Switchers (2024)

This is a complete list of USB‑C SSDs I use and trust for recording with the following Blackmagic ATEM production switchers:

  • Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro
  • Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro ISO
  • Blackmagic ATEM Mini Extreme ISO
  • Blackmagic ATEM SDI Pro ISO
  • Blackmagic ATEM SDI Extreme ISO
  • Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio HD8
  • Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio HD8 ISO
  • Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio 4K8

Samsung T7 Shield

 product image

The best overall USB‑C drive for ATEM switchers.

Get Price at Amazon Get Price at Adorama

I've owned every generation of this drive all the way back to the T1, and they have always been excellent.

Samsung nailed the form factor, performance, dependability, price point, and now the ruggedness with the T7 Shield.

IP65 rating and drop protection up to 3 meters are just icing on the cake.

“bUt THesE arE ACKchyuALLy NOt oN tHe liStS!”

Thank you for that gentle reminder. I'm so glad you mentioned it.

Fun facts:

  1. Grant Petty used the beige T7 Shields for recording in the ATEM SDI series announcement video.
  2. Blackmagic Design recommends the T7 Shields in the Blackmagic URSA Mini Pro 12K Recommended CFast Cards, SD Cards and USB‑C Drives, even for high quality 12K Blackmagic RAW formats.

👀

So if that's not enough consolation, I don't know what is.

One more thing, though...

I should mention that the original Samsung T7 was definitely not recommended by Blackmagic Design due to notorious write speed and caching issues.

Thankfully that caching feature is not in the T7 Shield, so it does not suffer from the same write speed problems.

Rest assured, the Samsung T7 and T7 Shield are not the same drives. This is a good thing.

However, considering that the maximum write speeds required by any of the ATEMs will be well under 100 MB/s, they won't even begin to push the limits of what either of those drives are capable of achieving.

Whether you are recording a single program file or recording program and eight ISO channels, this drive can easily handle it.


Pros

  • Price
  • Reliability
  • High and consistent write speeds

Cons

  • Rubber cover can annoy some and catches lint/dust

Samsung T7 Shield Specifications
Connector USB-C
Interface USB 3.2 Gen 2
Maximum Read Speed 1050 MB/s
Maximum Write Speed 1000 MB/s
Sustained Read Speed N/A
Sustained Write Speed N/A
Durability IP65 rated
9.8' / 3m drop resistance
Available Models Samsung T7 Shield - 1TB Black
Samsung T7 Shield - 2TB Black
Samsung T7 Shield - 4TB Black
Samsung T7 Shield - 1TB Beige
Samsung T7 Shield - 2TB Beige
Samsung T7 Shield - 1TB Blue
Samsung T7 Shield - 2TB Blue

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2

 product image

The best budget USB-C drive for ATEM switchers.

Get Price at Amazon Get Price at Adorama

The SanDisk Extreme Portable SSDs are some of the best selling portable drives out there. For good reasons, too.

They check all the boxes...

  • Fast
  • Consistent
  • Durable
  • Great price

On top of that, the 500GB model is one of only two SSDs to make every list of Blackmagic's recommended drives for ATEM switchers.

So it is really hard to deny the popularity and track record of these drives so far.

However...

I would be remiss if I didn't address the publicized failure rates.

Yes, the 4TB version of this specific drive did have a firmware‑related disconnect issue that could cause data loss.

The problem didn't affect every model or capacity, though. And a firmware update fix is installed on every newly shipped drive.

I also want to be very clear that none of the drives recommended here are on the list of affected models.

I see more of these specific portable SSDs in use than any others in all types of environments, and I have not seen notably consistent failures.

Granted, it is still important to understand that there are always risks involved with writing real‑time video files to external drives of any kind. There are inherently many more potential points of failure involved with USB connectors, cables, and external devices.

Temper your expectations and have a backup plan in place.

Are these failures enough for me to stop recommending these drives?

No.

It is notable, though. And it is enough to prevent this drive from taking the top spot.

But these are still an excellent bang for the buck, and a vast majority of users will see no issues.


Pros

  • Price
  • Consistent read/write speeds
  • IP65 rating gives it great everyday durability

Cons

  • Mass production means quality control can sometimes be lacking
  • 4TB model was part of the firmware failures and should be avoided

SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2 Specifications
Connector USB-C
Interface USB 3.2 Gen 2
Maximum Read Speed 1050 MB/s
Maximum Write Speed 1000 MB/s
Sustained Read Speed N/A
Sustained Write Speed N/A
Durability IP65 rated
Available Models SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2 - 500GB Black
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2 - 1TB Black
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2 - 2TB Black
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2 - 1TB Monterey
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2 - 2TB Monterey
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2 - 1TB Sky Blue
SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD V2 - 2TB Sky Blue

If you are looking for ultimate durability and/or a better overall performance for video editing, go ahead and swipe right on this one.

The SanDisk Professional PRO-G40 offers an impressive list of highlights:

  • USB 3.2 Gen 2
  • Thunderbolt 3 support with USB fallback
  • 2000+ MB/s real world read and write speeds 🤯
  • IP68 rating (full immersion in up to one meter of water for 30+ minutes)
  • 4000 pound crush resistance
  • 9.8' / 3m drop resistance
  • 5‑year limited warranty

Simply put, it's smokin'.

And it will especially flex its muscles if you have a Thunderbolt 3 ready computer.


Pros

  • Speed
  • More speed
  • An extra kick of speed
  • IP68 rating and overall durability

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Top speeds only possible with Thunderbolt 3/4

SanDisk Professional PRO-G40 Specifications
Connector USB-C
Interface Thunderbolt 3
USB 3.2 Gen 2
Maximum Read Speed 3000 MB/s
Maximum Write Speed 2500 MB/s
Sustained Read Speed N/A
Sustained Write Speed N/A
Durability IP68 rated
4000 pound crush resistance
9.8' / 3m drop resistance
Available Models SanDisk Professional PRO-G40 - 1TB
SanDisk Professional PRO-G40 - 2TB
SanDisk Professional PRO-G40 - 4TB

Why You Can Trust Me

I started my career over 24 years ago as a freelance live and ENG camera operator for broadcast television networks including ABC, FOX Sports, and Speed Channel. Since then, I have worked with countless video systems for international television programs, corporate events, houses of worship, sporting events, concerts and festivals, and more. I've recorded many petabytes of video and audio to all types of recorders, storage formats, and price points. Additionally, I have spent the last decade running this website and consulting with organizations to help them find the right gear and maximize their results. Learn more about Joel

✓ Link copied to clipboard