Best SSDs for the M1 iMac in 2021

The recently launched M1 iMac is a powerful machine that brings breakthrough performance with Apple’s in-house processor and macOS Big Sur. It features clean aesthetics, a stunning 4.5K Retina Display, an improved camera, Thunderbolt 4 ports, and blazingly fast performance. The M1 iMac 2021 packs 8GB unified memory and 256GB SSD. If you store a lot of movies, games, high-resolution videos, and other data, you can easily run out of storage on your iMac. 

Buying an external storage device is an easy and cost-effective option to expand your iMac storage rather than going for an SSD upgrade. Besides, you can create a complete backup of your important data, which is a savior in case of a drive failure event. 

When we talk about storage devices, we usually come across two terms- Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and Solid State Drive (SSD). Although both of them are used to store data, HDDs and SSDs are quite different from each other in terms of performance. 

An SSD is lighter, faster, and consumes less power as compared to an HDDs. Whereas, the Hard Disk Drive is slower and comparatively cheaper than the SSD. If speed really matters to you, a Solid State Drive is a better option. We’ve also rounded off the best Hard Drives for the M1 iMac, if you need one, make sure to browse through our recommendations.

With hundreds of options available in the market, it can be quite difficult to choose the best SSD for your latest M1 iMac. To make things easier and help you pick the best option, we’ve handpicked some high-performing, fast, and responsive SSDs for the M1 iMac. From budget-friendly to premium options, we’ve covered everything in this roundup. 

Before we jump to the list, we would like to mention that when you’re looking for an SSD, you must consider the speed, storage capacity, connectivity options, portability, as well as overall built. 

List of the Best External SSDs for the M1 iMac

1. Samsung X5 Portable SSD

Storage options: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB

Highlights

  • Durable design
  • 2800Mbps read and 2300Mbps write speed
  • Upto 40Gbps data transfer speed
  • 3-year warranty

If you’re looking for the best responsive and super-fast SSD for the M1 iMac, get yourself the Samsung X5 Portable Solid State Drive without thinking twice. It’s a durable and lightweight SSD that features a full-body metal design with a glossy top and anti-slip bottom mat. Besides, this shock-resistant SSD is sturdy enough to withstand drops from up to 2 meters. One of the most impressive features of this SSD is the 2800Mbps read and 2300Mbps write speed, which makes it one of the fastest external Solid State Drives that you can get for your M1 iMac.

It’s an advanced external SSD that brings the power of Thunderbolt 3 to deliver a data transfer speed of up to 40Gbps, and NVMe that can handle heavier data at a blazingly fast speed. This helps in faster transmission of 4K and 8K videos, making it a perfect SSD for video editors and content creators. This durable SSD for the M1 iMac also embeds Dynamic Thermal Guard technology that helps to maintain optimal temperature and performance, even during those high-intensity tasks. Not to forget, this portable SSD for the M1 iMac is backed by a three-year warranty. 

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2. Sandisk 1TB Extreme Pro SSD for the M1 iMac

Storage options: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB

Highlights

  • Upto 2000MB/s read and write speeds
  • A 5-year warranty
  • Upto 2-meter drop protection
  • IP55 water and dust resistance

Sandisk Extreme Pro is a fast and portable SSD for your M1 iMac that delivers powerful NVMe solid-state performance, making it an ideal pick for faster data transfers and heavy tasks. It delivers upto 2000MB/s Read and Write speeds on compatible devices. The forged aluminum chassis feels premium, delivers extra protection, and also acts as a heat sink to deliver higher speeds, without any issues. 

The IP55 water and dust rating, paired with the ability to survive drops as high as 2-meter makes the Sandisk Extreme Pro, one of the best rugged external SSD for M1 iMac users. Besides, you can always secure this drive to your backpack or belt while you’ve on the go. What’s more? The Sandisk Extreme Pro SSD is backed by an impressive 5-year warranty.

As a bonus, you can take advantage of the AES 256-bit hardware encryption technology to password protect your SSD and keep your private data safe.

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3. LaCie Rugged SSD Pro

Storage options: 1TB, 2TB

Highlights

  • Upto 2000MB/s speed
  • Ultra-fast and tough
  • Five-year Rescue Data Recovery Services
  • IP67 Water Resistance 

LaCie Rugged SSD Pro

If you’re a content creator, video editor, or filmmaker who needs the best external Thunderbolt 3 SSD for the M1 iMac, have a look at the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro. It offers high-speed data transfers and editing power of up to 8K resolution videos & super slo-mo footage. This portable SSD harnesses the power of a Seagate FireCuda NVMe solid-state drive to maximize Thunderbolt 3 capabilities and deliver a super-fast speed of up to 2800MB/s. It’s one of the toughest and most durable SSD for the M1 iMac that we’ve got on our list. This portable backup drive features IP67 Water resistance, two-ton car crush resistance, and up to 3-meter drop tolerance, which makes it sturdy enough to tackle any terrain. 

The LaCie Rugged SSD Pro offers one free month of Adobe Creative Cloud All Apps Plan that lets you turn your raw footage into flawless productions. This external SSD is covered by 5 years of data recovery services, therefore, if something wrong happens with the drive, you can still recover your data.

All in all, the LaCie Rugged SSD Pro is one of the best portable and rugged Solid State Drives that you can get for your M1 iMac in 2021. 

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4. Seagate Barracuda Fast External SSD

Storage options: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB

Highlights

  • Sleek design
  • Wide compatibility
  • Included backup and Sync Plus software
  • Three-year Rescue Services

Seagate Barracuda Fast Portable SSD

Here comes a budget-friendly backup drive for your M1 iMac that features a sleek design and delivers reliable performance. Seagate Barracuda Fast External SSD delivers ultra-fast file transfers with accelerated read and write speeds of up to 540MB/s. It a well-made SSD with a glowing green LED on the top panel that indicates when the drive is in use.

This minimalist and portable SSD for the M1 iMac is available in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB storage options. The drive features a USB-C port on its edge, allowing you to plug a USB-C to USB-C cable or a USB-C to USB-A cable. This external Solid State Drive also includes Seagate ToolKit that helps to keep your files updated on your iMac. As a bonus, the Seagate Barracuda SSD gives you a four-month complimentary membership to the Adobe Creative Photography plan. The compact and lightweight design, reliable performance, and 3-year Rescue Services make Seagate a fantastic pick for users who need the best portable SSD for M1 iMac at an affordable price.

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5. WD My Passport SSD

Storage options: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB

Highlights

  • A 5-year warranty
  • Shock and vibration resistant
  • 1050MB/s read and 1000MB/s write speed
  • 256-Bit AES Hardware Encryption

WD My Passport SSD

Have a look at the Western Digital My Passport SSD that’s designed with the latest NVMe technology to offer read and write speed for up to 1050MB/s and 1000MB/s, respectively. It’s a portable and lightweight solid-state storage that offers reliable performance and additional security features at a budget-friendly price. It’s compact enough to easily slip inside a bag and sturdy enough to withstand drop at up to 6.5ft. This external SSD for the M1 iMac is available in a wide range of colors, including Gold, Red, Silver, and more. Besides, the sleek and stylish design of this portable SSD goes beautifully with your M1 iMac. It packs a USB-C interface and includes a USB-C cable and USB-A adaptor to pair this SSD with other devices that don’t have a USB-C port.

The included backup software helps to create a simple backup of high-capacity files to your drive or cloud service account. 

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6. Sabrent Rocket Nano Rugged SSD

Storage options: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB

Highlights

  • IP67 water and dust resistant
  • Rugged design
  • Ultra-slim, durable, and portable
  • Up to 10Gbps throughput

Sabrent Rocket Nano Rugged SSD

If you need the best compact SSD for your M1 iMac, the Sabrent Rocket Nano Rugged SSD is sure to become your front runner. The drive is made from high-grade Aerospace Aluminum Alloy using CNC machines that add to the durability and also prevent overheating issues. It’s an ultra-compact solution for all your storage needs that offers an impressive throughput of up to 10Gbps, a USB 3.2 interface, and a transmission speed of up to 1000MB/s.

This ultra-fast Solid State Drive makes it easy for you to transfer large files, 4K videos, and other data within seconds. One of the peculiarities of this backup drive is the magically compact design. The size of this SSD slightly bigger than a pen drive, which makes it one of the best compact and portable SSDs that you can get for your M1 iMac in 2021. The SSD doesn’t take too much space and gives a minimalistic look to your workstation. 

Putting it simply, the Sabrent Rocket Nano Rugged SSD is a perfect fusion of performance, design, and reliability.

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7. G-Technology 1TB G-Drive Mobile SSD

Storage options: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB

Highlights

  • Up to 3m drop protection
  • Durable design
  • IP67 water and dust resistant
  • A 5-year warranty

G-Technology 1TB G-Drive Mobile SSD

Here comes a portable, fast, and durable SSD for the M1 iMac 2021 that offers a transfer speed of up to 560MB/s to let you save and edit large files. The G-Technology 1TB G-Drive Mobile SSD sports a rugged design with IP67 water and dust resistance, and impressive drop protection of up to 3-meters. On top of it, this compact SSD can withstand up to 1000lbs of pressure without breaking. The aluminum core prevents overheating issues and ensures optimal performance during any task. 

You can pair with external SSD with your M1 iMac via the USB-C port, and there’s an included USB3.0/2.0 adapter for backward compatibility with older devices. 

Besides the 1TB storage option, you can also pick the monstrous, 2TB option to store your 4K videos, raw photos, and media libraries in this pocket-sized backup drive for your M1 iMac. 

To conclude, if you need the best portable SSD for your M1 iMac, the G-Technology G-Drive Mobile SSD is an excellent pick. 

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If you don’t have any budget constraints, you can also go for the G-technology G-Drive Mobile Pro SSD that offers a super-fast speed of up to 2800Mbps. It’s worth mentioning that this variant is not as portable or compact as the non-Pro model. It’s almost twice the size of the G-Drive Mobile SSD.

8. U32 Shadow External SSD

Storage options: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB

Highlights

  • A 3-year warranty
  • Better heat dissipation
  • Includes a water-resistant padded pouch 
  • Wide compatibility

U32 Shadow External SSD

For all power users who’re looking for the best performing Thunderbolt 3 compatible SSD for your M1 iMac, the U32 Shadow External Solid State Drive is a fantastic pick. This SSD is fully compatible with all USB & Thunderbolt 3 devices and delivers a speed of up to 540MB/s. The aluminum casing offers excellent protection and better heat dissipation to keep the drive cool even when you’re multitasking or playing heavy games. The drive features plug-and-play connectivity for macOS, Windows, as well as Sony PS4 and the latest PS5. Therefore, you just need to plug the SSD into your M1 iMac and start using it right away. 

This external SSD for the M1 iMac is available from 500GB to 4TB storage options. Besides, if you need extra protection, you can also check the Rugged version of the U32 Shadow External SSD.

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9. Samsung 870 QVO SATA SSD

Storage options: 1,2,4,and 8TB

Highlights

  • Available in up to 8TB storage options
  • Reliable performance
  • Samsung Magician software
  • Suitable for multitasking and 8K video processing

Samsung 870 QVO SATA III SSD

Here comes one of the best external SSDs with high storage capacities that you can get for your M1iMac in 2021. The Samsung 870 QVO SATA III SSD is a fantastic option for content creators, video editors, or other professionals who need to manage and store a lot of data. A larger variable buffer allows the SSD to work faster and longer, which makes this SSD capable enough to deliver reliable and long-term performance. It offers Sequential Read speeds up to 560 MBps and Sequential Write speeds up to 530 MBps. This high-performing SSD is designed to handle even the most demanding tasks like 8K video processing. Plus, there’s a powerful MKX controller that ensures a steady performance during multitasking.

The Samsung Magician 6.1 software allows you to easily manage the drive, monitor its health & status, and enhance its performance. Besides,  there are a lot of storage options. The Samsung 870 QVO SSD is available in 1, 2, 4, and 8TB storage capacity and is backed by a 5-year warranty.

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10. Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD 

Storage options: 250GB, 500GB, 1,2,and 4TB

Highlights

  • 5-year warranty
  • 1050MB/s read and 1000MB/s write speeds
  • 2-meter drop protection
  • IP55 water and dust resistance

Sandisk 1TB Extreme Portable SSD

Looking for the best durable and portable SSD for your M1 iMac?

Have a look at the Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD. It’s a high-capacity, portable, and sturdy SSD that delivers impressive performance with its read and write speeds of up to 1050MB/s and 1000MB/s, respectively. This makes the Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD, one of the fastest external Solid State Drives for photo and video editing tasks. For security, the drive comes with password protection featuring 256‐bit AES hardware encryption to keep your private content safe. You can easily attach this SSD to your backpack or a belt loop while you’re on the move. The SSD sports a durable silicone shell that feels premium and can survive drops as high as 2 meters. Besides, the drive also boasts IP55 water and dust resistance.

This SSD is also backed by an impressive 5-year warranty. To conclude, the Sandisk Extreme Portable SSD is one of the best external storage devices for your M1 iMac. 

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11. Crucial X8 Portable SSD

Storage options: 500GB, 1,2,and 4TB

Highlights

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Broad compatibility
  • Portable design
  • Durable

Crucial X8 Portable SSD

The Crucial X8 Portable SSD offers a reliable way to expand your M1 iMac storage and delivers an incredible read speed of upto 1050MB/s. It features a durable design with an anodized aluminum unibody core that makes the drive strong enough to survive drops from up to 7.5ft. Besides, the Crucial X8 Portable SSD can withstand extreme temperatures and vibrations to keep your data protected in every situation. It’s one of the best versatile SSDs that work with a wide range of devices like Mac, Windows, iPad Pro, Android, PS4, and more. Therefore, you can easily hook this external SSD to a variety of devices without getting into compatibility issues. 

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12. Samsung T7 External Solid State Drive

Storage options: 500GB, 1,and 2TB

Highlights

  • Affordable
  • Embeds Dynamic Thermal Guard Technology
  • Available in Blue, Red, and Gray finishes
  • Wide compatibility

Samsung T7 External Solid State Drive

If you need a budget-friendly external SSD for the latest M1 iMac, the Samsung T7 Solid State Drive is a smart choice. This external SSD for the M1 iMac delivers read speeds of upto 1050Mbps and write speeds of up to 1000Mbps. This makes your video editing workflows much faster and also helps in the easy storing of your movies and games. It embeds advanced heat control mechanisms, which will automatically reduce the data transfer speed to prevent the SSD from reaching excessive temperatures. This shock-resistant Solid State Drive can withstand drops from up to 6ft. 

You can pick from 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB storage options which are available in Red, Blue, as well as Gray finishes. 

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That was all for our roundup of the best SSDs for the M1 iMac in 2021. Pick the best SSD for your latest iMac and chop down the hassle of struggling with low or out-of-storage issues. Which storage device do you use with your Mac? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. 

Also, don’t miss our list of the best apps for the M1 powered MacBook Air and MacBook Pro.

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