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Tuf drives a hard bargain

Can an external hard drive speed up a gaming computer? If it’s the Asus Tuf A1, the answer is yes, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

What is it?

The Tuf Gaming A1 is not an external hard drive, but an external enclosure that transforms into a hard drive that brings a data transfer speed normally not found on a computer.

It is equipped with USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 connectivity, which translates into lightning-fast transfer speeds of up to 1050MB per second, depending on the drive installed in the enclosure. It lives up to its Tuf label with IP68 water and dust resistance, as well as military-grade drop resistance.

It is made of aluminum alloy, making it a rugged portable drive, and includes thermal pads for heat dissipation, although this may not always be as effective as advertised.

We tried a version in which we installed a Kingston Fury Renegade 1TB solid state drive (SSD). Installation is not quite plug and play, as one must use a hex key – fortunately included with the A1 – to unscrew four screws to open the enclosure and install the SSD and screw them back again.

Our Mac laptops did not initially recognise the external drive, while a Dell machine recognised it but did not want to provide access until Disk Management settings were tweaked.

Once installed, plugged in and set up, it provides an astonishing edge in gaming, although that is not its only benefit. It also allows one to backup a large number of files and encrypt them, and to manage your storage space, in a durable device that will survive extremes of travel, weather and use. That means it can also be used to backup and transfer game data.

Ultimately, it is targeted at content creators and light gamers who care about good value and durability, as well as use in both rough and wild environments. Think heavy, extended gaming sessions with caffeine and energy drinks flowing, and peripherals flying, The Tuf A1 drive can handle most of it.

How much does it cost?

The Asus ESD-T1A Tuf Gaming A1 Type-C M.2 NVMe SSD Enclosure, to give its full name, is a bargain at R796 from

The SSD we tried costs R2,399 from

Why does it matter?

Gamers look for any edge when milli-seconds count. Increasing data transfer from the hard drive to the computer and hence to the display and keyboard can provide just the edge that makes the difference between winners and runners-up.

What are its biggest negatives?

  • No LED indicators to show power or activity status.
  • No ventilation, so can get hot during extended use.

What are its biggest positives?

  • It can be used as a durable, portable storage device, protecting s solid state drive from water, dust, and drop shocks.
  • It has a simple and clean design.
  • It is not a quick install, but is straightforward.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee

For more infomation on the Tuf A1, click here.

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