When you think about the essentials for an ideal gaming experience, one thing that comes to your mind is a good hard drive. Of course, you might have the best gaming keyboard, a gaming pad, a special mouse, a gaming monitor, and even a gaming chair, but these are worthless when you have no storage space to install your favorite games, which is why you need the best HDD for gaming.
Besides allowing you enough storage space for your games, it’s optimized to minimize gaming lagging and reduce the load time.
Top picks for the best HDD for gaming
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Why Do You Need Hard Disk Drive for Gaming?
A hard disk drive (HDD) is an electromechanical data storage gadget that usually stores and retrieves digital data using magnetic storage and one or even more firm swiftly rotating platters. Hard drives are a type of non-volatile storage which usually retains stored data even when powered off.
As a gamer, Hard drives for gaming are available in large storage space where you can easily install games that require lots of storage concurrently and be left with spare space. Besides, the HDD models are cheaper compared to SSD models, so you won’t have to empty your savings account to secure the device. Also, the good thing is there are available in either internal or external so you can choose one that suits you.
Now that we understand why you need the drive, let’s check out the best hard drives for gaming and other information you need when buying one. Read on!
- Store more, compute faster, and do it confidently with the proven reliability of BarraCuda internal hard drives
- Build a powerhouse gaming computer or desktop setup with a variety of capacities and form factors
- The go to SATA hard drive solution for nearly every PC application from music to video to photo editing to PC gaming
- Confidently rely on internal hard drive technology backed by 20 years of innovation; Max sustained transfer rate OD(MB/s): 190 MB/s
If you are looking for a fast hard drive with large storage space, count on the Seagate Barracuda ST4000DM004 model. The hard drive has an 8TB storage, enough to store all your favorite games and still leave enough space for media files and other important files storage. Additionally, it builds a powerhouse gaming desktop or computer set up with different capacities and form factors.
The 3.5-inch HDD usually uses Seagate’s quad-tier caching technology and 7200 RPM to load the most-opened files and program faster, so you spend little time waiting for your favorite game to launch and more time racking up wins. Also, the read and write speeds clocking in at 190MBps, providing you with transfer speeds in the upper tier of standard HDDs.
The Seagate Barracuda HDD comes at a slightly affordable price that you can’t resist, especially due to the storage capacity. If you don’t like deleting your games, you can install up to 160 25GB games without a hassle. So, without a doubt, this HDD is the best all-around internal drive for gaming.
- Compatible devices: Gaming Console
If you’re looking for the best hard drive for your Xbox One, look no further than the Seagate Game External Hard Drive. The Seagate STEA4000402 model has a bright Xbox-green design, letting gamers know it’s built for their console. In addition, the drive comes with 4TB, which offers enough storage, and you can game directly from the drive with lagging or any other issue. Besides, in most scenarios, it’ll outperform the internal drive.
This unit’s read and write speeds are 130MBps and 75MBps, respectively, which is actually enough speed for console gaming and great load times. The HDD is powered by USB 3.0, so you won’t need extra wire or plugs. However, there is a bit of installation and configuration needed when setting up the device. Furthermore, the drive comes with a one-year limited warranty as well as a one-year rescue recovery service so that you can have a bit of peace of mind.
- Reliable everyday computing
- WD quality and reliability
- Free Acronis True Image WD Edition cloning software
- Massive capacities up to 6 TB available
If you’re looking for the best budget hard drive, we recommend the Western Digital WD Blue WD10EZEX model. The Western Digital (WD Blue) comes with a storage capacity of 1 TB and is ideal for you if your game library is not that big. In addition, the Western Digital HDD comes with a cache size of 8MB and a rotation speed of 7200RPM, which provides a decent load as well as access time.
Generally, this Western Digital (WD Blue) HDD gives you many bytes for your buck. It also features WD’s Acronis True Image software that allows you to clone the drive. Though you’ll have to compromise the size and number of games you play, you’ll get the best value for your money, considering the price. Moreover, the Western Digital HDD comes with a 2-year warranty, and you can return it to the manufacturer for a full refund.
- Store games and play them faster with an internal SSHD drive delivering SSD performance and HDD capacities
- Perfect for PC gaming and laptop gaming, this hybrid hard drive helps load maps and boot levels faster with flash enhanced speeds
- Choose from a variety of capacities for an optimized rig
- Low power consumption means a more cost effective setup
- Get long term peace of mind with the included 5 year limited warranty
For the best hybrid hard drive, count on the Seagate FireCuda 2TB ST2000LX001 model. This Seagate Fire Hybrid Hard Drive combines high-capacity storage and the speed of solid-state drives (SSDs). The Seagate FireCuda Hybrid HDD spins at 5400 RPM, and the 8GB solid-state cache is used for those data that you frequently access so that it can pull up those files fast when called upon.2 TB data and then its
Furthermore, the Seagate FireCuda ST2000LX001 model can fit up to 2TB. The speed boost from the SSD cache is better when you consider that this HDD usually spins at 7,200 RPM. You can play your games with this Seagate FireCuda hybrid HDD. Also, it has a low power consumption. Besides, it’s easy to see why it’s one of the best hybrid drives you can purchase today. You will have peace of mind since this Seagate FireCuda model comes with a five-year limited warranty.
What Are the Main Differences Between Hard Disk Drive and Solid State Drive?
- Hard disk drives (HDDs) usually use spinning magnetic disks for the storage of data. Read and write heads, then change the data as required so that you can hear their spinning sounds. Conversely, solid-state drives (SDDs) usually use small gate transistors in cells that flip on/off based on the electric pulses. They’ve no moving parts whatsoever, thus the name.
- HDDs are significantly slower than SSDs in many scenarios; however, they’re cheaper when compared. The HDDs are also larger and more easily damaged. If the budget is tight and you need ad much storage space as possible, go with a regular HDD. Furthermore, if you purchase the drive mainly for long-term data storage and data backups, go with a regular HDD.
- HDDs are preferable for gaming when compared to SSDs.
Factors to Consider Before Buying the Best HDD for Gaming
1. Storage size
When looking for the best HDD for gaming, storage size is a major concern. Hard drives are usually popular among gamers due to their storage capacity. HDD users can easily install games that require a lot of storage, like Flight Simulator, Warzone, and Red Dead Redemption 2, concurrently with space to spare. As PC gaming becomes more demanding while moving to 4K, game sizes are also blowing up. What used to be the best 1TB hard drive for gaming is now a second or even third backup drive.
Furthermore, 2 TB of storage space on an HDD is becoming outdated. Some drive manufacturers produce drives with up to 16 TB of storage which is ideal for gaming. Though one can offer advice against putting all the data in a single storage capacity, you won’t have to worry about losing any saved games or other gaming content with the best drives for gaming.
2. Performance and speed
The best gaming hard drives need to have great performance and high read/write speed. No one wants to waste half of their day waiting for data to transfer. So, choose a drive that has the fastest possible speed under the HDD category. Transfer speed of more than 150MB/s is more than enough for an internal drive, while for the best external hard drive, 100MB/s speed is acceptable.
So, what affects your hard drive’s performance?
The speed at which the platters usually rotate is crucial. The best internal hard drive for gaming should operate at 7,200 RPM or faster. Anything less and game loading becomes much difficult. This speed can be problematic for 2.5 HDD gadgets installed on laptops and run at 5,400 RPM. However, since the last generation of game consoles popularized modding of storage space, most manufacturers are now offering fast small-form drives.
Furthermore, it isn’t about sheer speed. All those RPMs are useless if the hard drive doesn’t connect via a speedy interface. The external HDD standard is a USB 3.0, while it has to be a SATA III connection for internal HDDs. So the fastest gaming hard drive has to meet these requirements. Besides, if you intend to hook up your external hard drive disk to a console, it has to be USB3.0 compatible for smooth and exceptional gaming considering other factors constant. Anything slower, and you will have rough time gaming.
3. Intended use
Before you get the best hard drive for gaming, you need to know where you will be gaming from since the choice of the hard drive will significantly affect the performance of games. So, when choosing a hard drive, you need to stick to the parameters of the device:
- For PlayStation 3: All PlayStation 3 units have 2.5-inch SATA drives that you can replace and upgrade without hassle.
- For PlayStation 4: All PlayStation 4 units, including Pro and Slim, have 2.5-inch SATA drives that you can replace and upgrade without hassle. Also, they support external HDDs through USB 3.0.
- For PlayStation 5: At the writing time, you can use external USB 3.0 drives (or faster) on PlayStation 5.
- For gaming PC: Any HDD will function as long as you’re aware of the form factor of the HDD bays in your case and the types of connections on your motherboard. Once again, it is most likely 2.5 -inch for laptops, 3.5-inch for desktops, and possibly interface SATA connections.
- For Xbox One: The Xbox One usually supports external hard drives through USB 3.0, meaning you can even use any SSD. Unluckily, there is no easy way to replace the internal hard drive.
- For Xbox One X: The Xbox One X usually supports external hard drives through USB 3.0 as well, with a minimum storage size of 256GB. Unluckily, there is no easy way to replace the internal drive, which will tamper with your warranty.
- For Xbox Series X & S: The Xbox Series X &S usually comes with an expansion bay, great for the 1TB Seagate Expansion Card. The Seagate Expansion Card is optimized for use with the Xbox Series X/S. However, you can also use USB 3.0 or 3.1 external hard drives with the consoles.
- For Xbox 360: The original Xbox 360 usually uses 2.5-inch hard drives put within custom cases. You will need to purchase one of Microsoft’s overpriced replacements to upgrade or replace. Though you can use third-party hard drives, you need to apply them with Xbox-compatible firmware.
- For Xbox 360 S & E: The HDDs used in Xbox 360 S & E consoles are usually incompatible with the Xbox 360, and vice versa. The 4GB, hard drive models have internal flash memory that cannot be replaced or removed. Besides, you can upgrade the 250GB models to 500GB by buying one of Microsoft’s overpriced replacements.
4. Portability & durability
If you want an external drive for only backups that you will store at your home, network-attached storage (NAS) gadgets may be a great bet. They usually come as stand-alone wired devices on your local network, packing different drives and storage modes. QNAP, Synology, and Promise Technology are some of the manufacturers that specialize in NAS gadgets. Nonetheless, if you want to keep your HDD on you when out, portability is crucial. The HDD needs to be lightweight and compact, so you can stuff it in a bag or pocket to access it instantly and quickly.
However, most external HDD is far from weighty, and some are compact, providing huge digital storage capacity while still being pocket-size. Conversely, when HDDs are not very durable compared to SDDs, the best hard drive disk is durable in their way under the category.
Hard drive cache or buffer usually plays a vital role in the general performance of the device. Caching helps your HDD process information by briefly storing it in the memory before writing. It is particularly handy during multitasking as the hard drive usually makes some apps load faster if they are store in the cache. Besides, the bigger the cache, you will experience better performance.
Furthermore, nowadays, the difference between 32MB and, for example, 64MB cache drive is represented in some 10 percent faster loads of 64MB cache drives. Unfortunately, these differences are rarely noticeable by a common user. However, if you’re purchasing outdated second-hand drives with 8MB or even less cache, there is no reason to worry much. Additionally, if you can buy the HDDs with more cache, you won’t actually notice a significant difference even if you go for the ones with fewer MB.
Before buying the best HDD for gaming, it’s important to understand the connectivity of the hard drive. Internal hard drives usually provide interface SATA connectivity. Nowadays, interface SATA III is a standard though you might come across slower SATA II drives. If you can, however, we recommend you going for a faster interface SATA option.
Additionally, when it comes to external drives, they mostly provide USB connectivity. Though USB 2.0 is acceptable, it’s better to go for the hard drives with a USB 3.0 standard, leading to faster data transfer.
7. Internal hard drives vs. external hard drives
Another thing to consider when looking for the best HDD for gaming is whether you will use this drive externally to connect to different devices or house it in a laptop body/ desktop case. External HDDs are perfect for external storage, data transfers, and backups. They usually connect using USB 2.0, 3.0, or 3.1 with maximum transfer speeds of 60MB/s, 625MB/s, and 1,250MB/s correspondingly. USB 3.1 is preferable, especially if you are transferring hours of data every day.
Additionally, external HDDs are portable. You can share them between different computers effortlessly. Furthermore, you can plug one into a television or media center for direct media playback. Conversely, in all other scenarios, internal HDDs are preferable.
Note: You can use any data drive internally or externally. External HDDs are essentially internal HDDs put in a special protective casing. So if you purchase an external HDD, you can take it out of the casing and use it internally and vice versa.
When looking for the best HDD for gaming, especially external models, you need to consider security and privacy. If the data you intend to store on your external drive is sensitive, encryption is a wise idea. Many HDDs are compatible with software encryption solutions. However, if you take data security and privacy more seriously, you need to look for a hard drive with hardware encryption. You can also opt for a physical security system such as the pin-code input.
Furthermore, some hard drives come with sturdy casings to prevent any physical tampering. Luckily, this design usually makes it hard for anyone to access the memory chips in the hard drive physically.
Hard disk drives usually involve lots of moving parts that wear out over time and eventually break down. The unfortunate thing that can happen is a complete Steam folder because of failure or losing your gaming montages. That is why it is wise to look for a hard drive that has a long warranty. Also, it is better if an HDD is more durable than its warranty.
Warranties for hard drives are between two to three years. However, some manufacturers give extended warranties for particular, high-end hard drive models. Other manufacturers may add a money-back guarantee.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the Best Hard Drive for Gaming
1. Why would you purchase an HDD instead of an SSD?
Hard disk drives are the cheapest option on the market. Besides, when it comes to bulk storage, HDDs are the best option. If you are storing bulky files or a bunch of media, HDDs are the cheapest way to store them. Furthermore, barring that, you can go for an external HDD that you can use on multiple PCs.
2. What’s a good hard disk drive speed for gaming?
The best hard drive for gaming should operate at 7,200 RPM and preferably have at least 64 MB or 128 MB of cache. Also, the hard drive should be SATA 3 compatible or, in the scenario of portable hard drives, have a USB 3.0 connection. Before, drives ran at 10,000 RPM, but they are rare and very expensive to use in a gaming PC. Therefore, it would be best to get HDDs with more cache and support for the fastest connections.
3. How many gaming HDDs can your PC or desktop support?
Your PC can support as many hard disk drives as it has SATA ports. These connectors are usually found on the edge of your motherboard. Besides, most motherboards have different SATA connections that you can use for either HDDs or SSDs.