Having the right hard drive is another crucial part of an immersive gaming experience. Your hard drive will determine how many games you can keep on your computer, as well as how fast you can retrieve those games to use. A good hard drive is like a great shelf to keep all your games. In this round-up, ValueGamers analyzes the best hard drives for gaming.
What Is A HDD For Gaming?
Most gamers will tell you about an HDD for gaming that is different from a normal hard drive. First of all, a gaming hard drive has more storage space that makes data transfer easier. The best HDD for gaming has high-performance write speeds. Why is this important in the gaming world? Gaming hard drives are built with incredible speed and faster read/write times. Because they are faster than a normal hard drive, they can process large media files.
Additionally, most HDDs, especially for sequential reads, fall under the head faster and can thus be returned to the system faster. You can then play your favorite games much more easily. Furthermore, a gamer always knows not to load a normal external drive or hard disks with the bulk of their gaming files. This leads us on to our next question, are hard disk speeds important?
Modern games have advanced to a large extent. This means that when playing games, you require at least 7200RPM or more write speeds. Why? Because video games nowadays require quick reactions and reflexes. Therefore, gaming hard drives should have a high capacity, fast storage, and extra storage. If you have a gaming pc, the entire system is supposed to be super fast. On the other hand, however, a normal PC and with a small storage capacity will load your game very slowly. At some point, even 1TB on your storage device will seem small.
We have rounded up the top 10 Best HDDs for gaming in our list below:
What is the best hdd for gaming?
Best HDD For Gaming
Best Value HDD
1) SeaGate Barracuda 4TB Internal Hard Drive
- Store more, compute faster, and do it confidently with the proven reliability of...
- Build a powerhouse gaming computer or desktop setup with a variety of capacities...
- The go to SATA hard drive solution for nearly every PC application from music to...
- Confidently rely on internal hard drive technology backed by 20 years of...
Whether it's for the 2.5 or 3.5-inch variation, you will get the most memory per dollar with the SeaGate Barracuda series. You can find this hard drive from 500 GB all the way up to 5 TB, with the latter costing less than $180. With just over 2 TB, you can store upwards of 2,000 games (assuming 10 GB per game). You likely won't have that many games to store, which means you'll have plenty of other room for music, videos and whatever else you may want to store on your computer.
The only downside to the Barracuda is that most of the drives are 5,400 RPM as opposed to 7200 – making it a wee bit slower than the other hard drives we discuss below. The Barracuda is still a great buy, however, because of its 128GB cache memory. We believe that more than makes up for the slightly slower RPM.
2)Seagate FireCuda 2TB Solid State Hybrid Hard Drive
- Store games and play them faster with an internal SSHD drive delivering SSD...
- Perfect for: Gaming, creative pro applications, this hybrid hard drive helps...
- Choose from a variety of capacities for an optimized rig
- Low power consumption means a more cost effective setup
This hybrid drive has a large storage capacity. This makes it perfect for pc gamers and gaming consoles as well. Additionally, it helps to boot levels faster and with flash enhanced speeds. You can also select from a variety of more storage spaces to optimize your gaming PC. This hard drive delivers both SSD (solid-state drive) and HDD capacities all in one hard drive. Most hybrid drives have very fast loading times because of the solid-state and high-performance memory.
With both speed and high storage capacity, the firecuda hard drive is one of the best gaming hard drives. Additionally, you can store multiple PC applications on it and other important files and still have enough space to store media files in 4k. Having this hard drive is amazing because you get a cost-effective setup with it. It still has value for money and a long 5-year warranty. Lastly, you can also enjoy the compatibility with PCIe M.2 slots and graphics cards.
Best Performing HDD
3) Western Digital Black Performance Internal Hard Drive
- Desktop performance gaming hard drive
- Performance storage available in up to 10TB* capacities | * As used for storage...
- Designed for gamers, system builders, and creative professionals.
- Western Digital’s StableTrac and Dynamic Cache Technology increase reliability...
The Western Digital Black hard drives are the best performing HDDs on our list. Though they usually run a bit costlier than the Barracudas, their reliability and performance are undeniable. Like the Barracuda, the Western Digital Black series comes in a 2.5 and 3.5-inch variety with storage capacity ranging from 500 GB up to 6 TB. Unlike the Barracuda, the RPM for the Western Digital Black is 7200, making it a faster system on paper.
What the specs don't say is that the Western Digital Black are work horse's and are built to last longer than most standard HDDs. On all models with 2 TB and above, there is StableTrac Technology which secures the motor shaft inside the hard drive. Western Digital claims this increases reliability and also reduces impacts from due to vibrations from other components of the HDD.
4) Toshiba Canvio Gaming External Hard Drive
- Designed for Gaming Console and PC (check compatibility at Toshiba's Consumer...
- Built for gamers. Features a firmware-customized “Always-On” mode for a...
- Expand your game library. Store up to 25 games* (1TB (1)) (* Estimated game...
- Compatible with: PlayStation 5 (Play and store PS4 games / Store PS5 games) and...
With the singlehanded capacity to hold up to 100 games, this external hard drive is perfect for gaming. Apart from gaming, it is also useful as a storage drive for video editing and storing important data, among others. Additionally, the Canvio storage drive is compatible with Xbox, PlayStation, or PC gaming systems. This gives you the utmost freedom to play with ease on your console of choice. It also gives your Pc operating system a speed boost with how much storage it has.
Furthermore, you can easily transfer files from your primary drive to your external hard drive. This range of hard drives have capacities ranging from 1TB to 4TB. It is important to note that a drive formatted for use with one console platform will not be compatible with another platform without erasing data and reformatting. The large capacity and speed makes it one of the best HDD for gaming, and its compatibility makes it perfect for any console gamer.
Best Gaming Hard Drive on a Budget
5) WD Blue PC Hard Drive HDD
- Reliable everyday computing
- WD quality and reliability
- Free Acronis True Image WD Edition cloning software
- Massive capacities up to 6 TB available
Like its cousin, the Western Digital Black, the Western Digital Blue comes in a 2.5 and 3.5-inch variety – though at a lower price than the Black version. The main gaping difference between the WD Blue and Black WD hard drives is the RPM. The WD Blue is a bit slower than the Black with a 5,400 RPM vs. a 7,200 on the Black. The Blue also has far less cache memory than the Black, meaning you're going to sacrifice speed significantly if you go with the WD Blue.
Nonetheless, the Western Digital Blue is a solid hard drive for gaming. If you are new to PC gaming and don't have an extensive library or use your computer exclusively for gaming, the Western Digital Blue is a solid choice. Western Digital also has flash memory solid state drives with a SATA interface internal connector in case you feel it might be a better choice for you.
6) UnionSine 1TB Ultra Slim Portable External Hard Drive
- 【Upgraded version】-The mirror logo strip is combined with the striped...
- 【Upgraded version cable】The aluminum anti-interference layer is added to the...
- 【Ultra-Fast Data Transfers 】- The external Hard Drive is used in conjunction...
- 【Plug and Play】 - With no software to install, just plug it in and the drive...
With a Read speed of up to 140M/s, and a write speeds of up to 120M/s, this is one of the best hard drive for gaming. Gaming hard drives also make the best storage drives. Additionally, this drive is your best bet if you are on a tight budget. It is affordable than most traditional mechanical hard drives. Furthermore, it offers a variety of uses, including video editing. The format of the hard drive is EXFAT, and it is compatible with windows, Linux, Android, and Mac computers.
This budget hard drive has a range of storage space. If you own A PS4 and above or an Xbox, ensure you purchase a hard disk with a lot of storage space. Furthermore, it is the best hard drive for gaming because, unlike most HDD manufacturers, it's a plug and play type of hard drive. Additionally, it is also compatible with a desktop pc as long as you have a sub port on there.
Most Reliable Hard Drive:
7) HGST Ultrastar
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According to Backblaze, The HGST Ultrastar is the only hard drive with a consistent fail rate of less than 1%. The Seagates and WDs all have at least one or two models that will fail over 1% and upwards of 5%. Overall, the average fail rate, as in the number of times the data on your hard drive will be inaccessible, was about 2%. If safety for your games is a number 1 priority, then going with a system that fails the least could be the way to go.
The Ultrastar comes in both 2.5 and 3.5 inches. It's a fast hard drive, with all models for differing memory space having a 7,200 RPM. It also has very high write speeds and is the best hard drive for gaming. Additionally, it also offers cloud storage and hyperscale storage for traditional and rapidly growing scale-out storage applications. Lastly, it helps protect your data from unauthorized use by offering security and encryption options.
8) Fantom Drives GFORCE3 External Hard Drive
- Fantom Drives Gforce3 features USB 3.0 connection allowing transfer rates up to...
- The Gforce3 USB 3.0 hard Drive is perfect for Audio and video professionals...
- Rugged features provide optimal storage for all your photos, videos, and backups
- The USB 3.0 is backwards compatible with USB 2.0. Plug & play simplicity.
This Fantom hard disk has a 16TB storage space and a 7200RPM speed. This makes it versatile and excellent for other PC applications, including video editing and architecture designs. Furthermore, it is compatible with any operating system. It is also one of the best hard drives because it has faster transfer rates. It is also compatible with Windows 7 or newer, and you can easily reformat it with Mac to HFS+ and APFS.
For gaming, it is immediately compatible with Play Station 4 and above and Xbox one. Using high quality aluminum, the GFORCE 3 does not need a fan and as it also doubles at a heat sink. This means that the device keeps itself cool by re-directing heat from itself. For maximum performance and reliability, it is 33% faster than the normal 5400 RPM hard drives. Additionally, it is perfect for both audio and visual professionals.
9) Silicon Power External Hard Drive
- Flexible cable-carry design for easy cable storage.
- Military-grade shockproof and IPX4 water-resistant protections.
- Stylish and slim exterior design. USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface, backward compatible...
- Ideal for gaming enthusiasts Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS4 Pro and PS4 Slim (PS4...
This 2TB Game drive contains all the room required to store multiple games and data. For almost the same price as some of the best HDD for gaming, it is suitable for sharing data between different platforms. With a slim exterior design, this hard disk is suitable for professional gamers as well. It is compatible with Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4, PS4 Pro and PS4 Slim. It has a USB 3.2 Gen 1 interface that enables blazing-fast speed performance.
In instances such as transferring large files, including HD videos, high-resolution photos and great numbers of documents, the hard disk does it in seconds. It is also compatible with PCs and Macs, which is perfect for newbie gamers or professional gamers. Furthermore, the hard drives exist with a 3-year warranty backing.
10) Avolusion HDDGEAR PRO X External Gaming Hard Drive
- Built-in 8TB Capacity USB 3.0 External Gaming Hard Drive
- You can play PS4 games directly from USB extended storage, which lets you save...
- Compatible with PS5 Game Console, PS5 File System Pre-Formatted, Expand game...
- Add extra storage to your game console without opening up the case
With an 8TB storage space, this hard drive and a USB 3.0 interface, it has a speed of 5.0 Gbit/s. It is most compatible with PS5 to store and receive data. Additionally, it is also the perfect portable storage solution for you. It makes it easier to store and backup your game data, music, pictures, documents and videos. It is now easier to expand your PS5 storage significantly with this state of the art hard drive.
Lastly, it has a sturdy construction which is designed to work with a game console hand in hand. Additionally, if you need to re-purpose the PS5 hard drive, then you need to reformat it. It is also perfect for use in other instances, such as a computer backup for documents and other media files in different formats.
Why Do You Need A Hard Drive For Gaming?
Gaming is a worldwide activity. All gaming Pcs have an internal hard drive. An external hard disk drive has now become a necessity when you get a gaming console. Additionally, in a general sense, hard disk drives work very well for gaming. Modern games usually take up a lot of space. The smallest capacity games take at least 20GB. The largest games need up to 100GB for a single installation. Additionally, hard drives with a fast speed are recommended.
Here are some reasons why you need a hard drive for modern gaming:
a) Data Backup
Backing up data is an important process in every aspect or industry. Backing up data is a good idea. While computers come with internal hard drives nowadays, they get full very quickly. Apart from that, they are also susceptible to crashes. A computer crash or hard disk drive failure can lead to the loss of important data and documents. Additionally, malware can also wipe out an entire internal drive permanently and lose important documents.
The purpose of a backup is to create a separate copy of your data. You can then recover your data in case your primary boot drive gets a data failure. Additionally, the backup copies allow your gaming data to be reinstated from an earlier point in time. If you run a business, it can significantly help the business recover from an event that is out of your control.
Booting is actually very important for your operating computer system. When you are using an operating system, for example, Windows or Linux, that is stored on the hard drive, you have to boot it on the hard drive. The hard drive facilitates the booting because it copies the boot files that need to load the windows on to the computer. Without a hard drive, it is impossible for your computer to even work. However, you can still turn it on.
If games are stored on your hard drive, then you need to boot the hard drive to load the game into the computer so you can play. Additionally, backups need to be consistent and regular because games are always getting updates and bug fixes that need to be installed. The size of the update files is usually large, and they also require a large storage space.
c) Gaming Performance
Gaming hard disks are usually different from other standard disks. This has to do with the read/write speeds as well as the RPM (rotations per minute). Gaming hard drives have different speeds. The most common processing speeds are 5400RPM and 7200RPM. Both are excellent gaming hard drives. You might not even notice the negligible difference in speed. However, if you have multiple games that require a lot of storage space, you might feel a bit of a lag in performance with the 5400RPM.
Your game performance can also be affected. With a slow disk drive, it takes a while for your game to load. If your computer cannot access content from storage regularly, then the performance will lag. Furthermore, your hard drive needs to be fast enough to support the graphics of the games you enjoy. Otherwise, there will be a lag in the graphics as well. Playing games requires excellent speed and storage. Some HDDs are equipped with flash storage for faster performance.
d) Pc Applications
Other files and programs apart from game files also require storage space on a hard disk. Additionally, some software's required by games also require storage. Applications and other files and programs might not download, open, or run without a hard disk drive. Furthermore, adding an external storage device is important if you wish to expand your storage. Additional storage for gaming files, software programs and data files is always a welcome addition to anyone's computer setup.
It is noteworthy that some hard disk drives now come with flash storage or flash memory to help with added storage space. This enables your drive disk to be faster and store more items. Remember, the best part about added storage is added speed, and you can download any files or games you want to. When it comes to an HDD, you can also re-purpose it for other things, such as a backup for media files.
Differences Between SSD And HDD
What are the differences between Solid State Drives and HDD? We have broken down the answers in the following section. Solid state drives are preferred by some peoples. On the other hand, other people prefer hard disks. There are some differences that are worth mentioning between SSD and HDD.
i) What Are They?
An HDD device is covered in ferromagnetic coating. A write head writes across the magnetic coating on the disk. This saves and stores data. Most of the operation of a drive is magnetic. This makes it very delicate, and it cannot be subjected to being thrown around. This will severely damage it, and it could lead to a loss of data.
On the other hand, a solid state drive or a small SSD device is a device that uses flash memory for storage. It stores a lot of information, and most have higher storage compared to HDDs. You can instantly access the information you store on an SSD card. They are usually readily available. However, before you make a choice between the two, you have to consider and weigh the pros and cons.
An SSD card can copy or move files faster than an HDD. For example, when moving a large file of 20GBs, an SSD card will move it or copy it in a mere 10 seconds. An HDD will move it in about 2 minutes. SSD cards are faster when it comes to sequential read/write operations. If you know that your computer functions revolve around copying large files across platforms, then an SSD card would be the better option.
For smaller read/write operations, SSD cards are still in the lead. When it comes to browsing the internet or opening programs in 4k, SSD cards are faster. An HDD card would usually operate at 0.1 to 1.7 Mb/s. On the other hand, an SSD usually operates at 50 to 250 Mb/s. Those are super fast speeds. The faster it can read and write, the faster the performance will be.
SSD and HDD endurance has been a topic of debate for a long time. However, those are usually not the issue nowadays. As usual, technology is still progressing. Therefore, an SSD card can be worn out with too much data reading and writing. An SSD can go through about 3000 cycles of writing before needing replacement. Theoretically speaking, the more data is written on a storage device, the more it wears out. However, to counter wear and tear, SSD cards are made to be larger.
HDD cards, on the other hand, are much more resilient. Part of the resilience has to do with the size and mechanism of how HDDs work. You can write on an HDD every minute for a day, and it will still take many years to die or wear out. If you plan on having longer backup times and storing your data for over a decade, then an HDD device is the way to go.
Here is where the deal breaker is. The whole point of an HDD or SSD is storage. If the capacity is too small, it might not work for your needs. Therefore, before purchasing any storage item, ensure the capacity is up to per with your requirements. For gaming, ensure your storage item is at the least 1TB (there is no such thing as "too much storage"). Additionally, both storage options can be re-purposed and reformatted.
If you bought a storage item for gaming and you want to upgrade, there is no need to retire your old storage device. You can also format it and use it for other storage purposes such as documents backup or other media files.
When selecting the right storage item for your computer or PC, you should ensure you are within your budget. In our top 10 list in the above sections, we have highlighted a few budget storage devices that are durable and will last long. Furthermore, they are the same price that is more likely to fit within a strict budget range.
Depending on the storage size, market and brand, SSDs have significantly increased in price. However, HDD devices still cost a significant amount. Faster and higher-end models are also more expensive. Keep that in mind before purchasing any brand. Conducting research is also a good way to go before purchasing a storage appliance, whether internal or external.
How to Buy the Best Hard Drive for Gaming
When it comes to buying an HDD for your PC, you should take into account the speed, memory, size and durability of the drive. The first 3 have specs that you can compare side by side, while durability is a bit harder to gauge. All the models we list in our round up above are reliable hard drives, though some tend to last longer than others. Here's what you should consider when getting an HDD.
If you're just looking for a hard drive to store large files, then RPM will matter less to you. If you are looking for a hard drive for the computer you will be running games from, investing in a 7,200 hard drive is worth it. Provided you had two identical hard drives, a 7,200 RPM hard drive will operate 33% faster than a 5,400. Obviously, it becomes more complicated when comparing different models. Things like a lot of cache memory, which we discuss in the next paragraph, can help compensate for a slower RPM – though to an extent. There is also the fact while 7,200 RPMs can be upwards of 33% faster, they are usually at least 40 to 50% more expensive than 5,400 RPM hard drives. If you are on a budget but want to game intensively, you'll need to rely on other factors to make your buying decision.
b) Durability and Reliability
Reliability is incredibly important because you can spend well over $100 on your hard drive, store all of your games (and photos and videos) on it, only for it to fail. That is the inherent risk with going with an HDD as opposed to an SSD. Unfortunately, durability and reliability are the hardest metrics to gauge on a hard drive. There is no convenient number to look up like RPM or TB. Luckily there are organizations like Backblaze that laboriously tested hundreds of hard drivers over a period of 3 years for their fail rates.
Of the hard drives in which they have solid data, failure doesn't generally go higher than 5%, with the average sitting around 2%. It's a low number, and there isn't that much variation between the hard drives we discuss above, but if you're the cautious type, going with the lowest (the HGST models) can be the way to go.
We put memory and cached memory as the last thing to consider. Honestly, anything over 1TB is a lot of memory. Assuming 10GB per game, just 1 TB can hold about 1,000 games. Assuming most of you reading this likely have a number of games in the range of 10 to 200, you will still have plenty of memory for videos, applications, photos, etc., with just 1 TB of memory space. Being honest with how much memory you really need can save you lots of money. Going with the WD Black 2TB (which is 7,200 RPM) vs. the WD Blue 4TB (which is 5,400 RPM) will only cost you $10 more.
d) Hard Drive Cache
The hard drive cache is analogous to the RAM for a computer. Also known as "disk buffer," the cache memory is a temporary storage your hard drive holds as it writes and reads data. Video buffering" is a good analogy to use. A video that is buffering will take a longer time to view because each bit of the video is being downloaded as you are watching the video. It's better if the latter parts of the video are downloaded while you are watching the beginning part.
That is similar to hard drive cache. At any given time operating your computer, especially with gaming, your hard drive has to pull data from multiple places. If it has a place to temporarily store things while it works on other data, it speeds the process along. With that being said, in terms of overall speed of the hard drive, RPM is a better metric. A cache can speed up a hard drive, but not as significantly as a 7,200 RPM vs. 5,400.
The Bottom Line
Data loss is a heartbreaking event. With every time spared during data transfer and backups, data is lost. Gamers all over the world invest in storage appliances every few years. Storage appliances are a great way to have the extra cache, and they offer lots of terabytes. They also have fast read/write speeds. Either way, a gaming storage appliance is a must if you intend on storing games.