Tesla’s $350 1TB SSD Can Withstand Vehicle Vibrations Like All SSDs

Yesterday, Tesla launched its 2022 Holiday Update, which has traditionally been the most significant update of the year for the company’s electric vehicles. The biggest addition to the Holiday Update was support for Steam games on 2022+ Model S and Model X vehicles. These EVs feature a potent Ryzen SoC with RDNA2-class graphics and 16GB of RAM, making them perfect for gaming on the large 17-inch center display or the 8-inch display for the rear passengers.

But what will you do for storage with Tesla’s ever-expanding gaming portfolio? Well, Tesla would love for you to purchase its new, wildly overpriced 1TB Solid State Drive (SSD). The storage device showed up in the Tesla Shop this week, promising to store everything from “Tesla Arcade games” to “Dashcam footage.” That sounds all well and good, but Tesla is asking an astonishing $350 for this 1TB SSD.

Tesla 1TB SSD

(Image credit: Tesla)

To put that price into perspective, we took a quick trip over to Amazon and found several significantly cheaper portable 1TB SSDs, many of which are well under $100:

  • Crucial X6 1TB Portable USB 3.2 SSD – $69.99 (opens in new tab)
  • Crucial X8 1TB Portable USB 3.2 SSD – $79.99 (opens in new tab)
  • Samsung T7 Shield 1TB Portable USB 3.2 SSD – $89.99 (opens in new tab)
  • SanDisk 1TB Extreme Portable USB 3.2 SSD – $99.99 (opens in new tab)

So, why should you buy Tesla’s branded 1TB SSD when it’s five times the price of popular, name-brand portable SSDs? Tesla claims that its 1TB SSD is “automotive-grade,” designed to “withstand extreme cabin temperatures” and survive “vehicle shocks and vibrations.”

Tesla provides no figures beyond these claims. However, Micron’s automotive-grade SSDs have an extended operating temperature range of -40 degrees Celsius to between 85 C and 105 C, while some of Western Digital’s automotive-grade SSDs (opens in new tab) are ruggedized with shock resistance of 1,500g at 0.5ms and vibration resistance of forces of 30g at 7 Hz to 2,000 Hz. Neither company appears to have a portable automotive-grade SSD in its portfolio; regardless, it’s likely that Tesla’s SSD will be able to withstand some extreme conditions that the average SSD can’t. 

That said, normal portable SSDs are more than capable of withstanding vibrations and bumps from a regular moving vehicle. As for temperatures, the $89 Samsung T7 Shield (opens in new tab) has an operating temperature range of 0 C to 60 C, a non-operating temperature range of -40 C to 85 C, and an operating humidity range of 5% to 95%. 

So, unless you have the cabin temperature below freezing while you’re driving, the Tesla SSD is unlikely to offer any tangible durability advantages over run-of-the-mill SSDs in non-emergency situations. 

Tesla 1TB SSD

(Image credit: Tesla)

Tesla also provides no figures or specs that we could use to compare to existing products on the market. Instead, the product page simply states that its SSD will offer similar read/write speeds. Most of the portable 1TB SSDs we found for under $100 feature read/write speeds ranging from 800 MBps to 1,050 MBps.

Most Tesla EVs come standard from the factory with a 128GB USB thumb drive for Sentry Mode storage. If you’re looking to take advantage of the expanded gaming capabilities in the Model S and Model X, there are plenty of great portable SSDs that have more storage and cost less than the new Tesla SSD, which doesn’t really seem like a good option unless you like throwing money away. 

But if your heart is set on a brand-new Tesla-branded 1TB SSD, the drive will go on sale in February 2023 for $350.