The best hard drive for gaming today is an SSD. Jokes aside, today, SSDs are the ones that rule and deliver the best performance results. For a long time, hard drives were the ones to do that, but time has surpassed them. Although they are still used in a large number of gaming computers, the fact is that their importance is deteriorating every day.
The thing that keeps them in life is their price. SSDs are faster, USB flash drives are more practical, but when looking at the capacity vs. price ratio, hard drives are the clear winners. They offer the most capacity for the least possible cost of all the drives.
Although they are pushed out of focus, there are still models that deserve attention and deliver decent performance, worth mentioning. Here are a couple of things you should keep in mind when choosing one of them.
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How to Choose the Best Hard Drive for Gaming
For a number of people, this is the most important thing. Since things are getting larger and larger over time, including games, there is never enough space. Therefore, always go for more, you can’t fail with that.
Read/write speeds are important because they directly influence how fast your applications will open, how much time you will need to transfer a file or files from one location to another, etc. That’s why it is crucial for them to be as fast as possible. No one wants to spend half of their day waiting for a 25GB game to transfer from one hard drive to another. In other words, always go for the biggest possible speed.
Nowadays, cache isn’t as important as it used to be. Between a 64MB and 32MB cache hard drive, you won’t notice any serious differences (the game will load some 10% faster, or similar) and most of today’s hard drives have that amount of cache or above. It is advisable to choose the one that has larger values since it will be faster by at least a couple of percent, but that is not a mandatory thing – you won’t lose much.
Although most of the people forget about it, a warranty is one of the most important things when buying hardware these days. There is a constant demand for a decrease in production costs and the production of cheaper and cheaper products, and as a result of that, devices nowadays last much less then they use too. Therefore, a warranty is basically your only protection against the decreased quality of today’s hardware.
10 Best Hard Drives for Gaming
Seagate BarraCuda Compute
HDD with Excellent Technology Inside
As one of the most trusted brands for Hard Drives, Seagate offers Barracuda HDD, which comes in several different packages, allowing you to choose from 1 to a maximum of 8 TB of storage space.
This amount of space is generally enough for all your activities, whether it is just gaming or for performing other various tasks as well, such as working, listening to music and watching movies.
All models have similar characteristics though, with the exception of RPM. So, they are all 3.5 Inches SATA Hard Drives with 256 cache, made exclusively for Desktops.
When it comes to RPM, or revolutions per minute, which tell you how many times the disc inside your HDD spins in one minute, things are a bit different.
1 TB and 2 TB models have 7200 revolutions per minute (RPM), while 3, 4, 6 and 8 TB models have 5400 RPM, meaning that the ones with less storage are quite faster.
- Comes from a company with an excellent reputation
- Offers great speed
- Price is very good
- Includes 2-year warranty
- A bit slow when it comes to making large backups
WD Black 2TB (WD2003FZEX)
A Hard Drive Made for the Power Users
If you want the top performance out of your hard drive, WD Black Performance Drive 2TB is the right fit for you. This is the hard drive made for the power users with an excellent combination of performance, price and capacity.
Its rotational speed of 7200 rpm and 64MB of cache are up to today’s standards, but its read/write speed of 180MB/s is among the best. One of the interesting facts about its officially declared read/write speeds is that in the benchmarks, these speeds are even higher, which is very rare these days.
One of its rare downsides is that it is a bit loud when in full action, but besides that, this is a great successor to the old Caviar Black hard drives series. Its 5-years warranty is the best proof of how much durability you can expect from it.
If you are looking for the best hard drive for gaming, this is surely one of the best choices you can make. Fast, reliable and with a history of quality that Black series built for ages.
- 5-year warranty
- premium performance
- A bit loud
WD Blue 1TB (WD10EZEX)
A Middle-class Hard Drive That Knows How to Fight Its Way Through
A limited budget is always a problem, but luckily, there are usually quality solutions that can help you cope with it. Western Digital 1TB Blue (EZEX) is among those solutions – affordable, with a decent performance, specifications and a capacity.
WD Blue has a solid read/write speed of 150MB/s, the rotational speed of 7200 rpm and 64MB of cache. Nothing special, but it’s up to today’s norms. Where this hard drive shines is its combination of affordable price, good performance and reasonable reliability. In that department, its only competition is Toshiba DT01ACA100 (upgraded Hitachi Deskstar 7K1000.D 1TB), that is a bit cheaper but offers only 32MB of cache and, according to some rumors, has a bigger failure rate.
All in all, this drive is a good solution for being used as an addition to SSD, but also as a single hard drive for your OS. Of course, it is recommended to use an SSD for gaming, but WD Blue is a good all-around hard drive that handles every role well. If you are looking for the best 1TB hard drive for gaming, for small bucks, WD Blue is the most reasonable choice.
- Good price
- Decent capacity per dollar ratio
- Read/write performance
Seagate FireCuda 2TB (ST2000DX002)
A Hybrid That Gives You the Best from Both Worlds
Seagate FireCuda 2TB is a hybrid hard drive that combines the speed of NAND flash memory (8GB) and large capacity of a traditional hard drive (2TB). Thanks to the combination of these two technologies, this drive delivers amazing performance, with sequential read/write speeds of over 210MB/s.
Due to its Adaptive Memory technology, this drive analyses your frequently accessed data and stores the most accessed data on the flash drive. Then, with the help of Multi-tier caching technology, it makes loading times for that data, and the overall hard drive performance, much better.
Although this drive can be used for all the purposes, it is good to know that was actually primarily made for gamers. This is a rebrand of a Seagate SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive) series that proved to be a good budget solution for everyone who wanted better hard drive capabilities, but also the storage capacity.
Seagate FireCuda 2TB holds the same 5-year warranty as its major competitor WD Black 2TB, but has higher sequential read/write speeds and more importantly, it costs less, which puts it in a really good position among the other gaming hard drives.
- NAND flash memory
- Sequential read/write speeds of over 210MB/s
- Good price
- 5-year warranty
- Sometimes there is too little flash memory
Toshiba X300 6TB (HDWE160XZSTA)
A Hard Drive That Gives the Best Capacity for the Bucks
Toshiba X300 6TB offers a great performance and a large capacity in one hard drive. This is one of the best Toshiba’s hard drives, with a standard rotational speed of 7200 rpm and fairly big 128MB of cache. According to its performance, X300 is basically positioned between the more mainstream P300 and the NAS dedicated N300.
Its features include an internal shock sensor and the ramp loading technology that are responsible for data protection and today’s must-haves, a dual-stage actuator that prevents read/write heads from misaligning when looking for the data (a very common problem because of increased density of hard drive platters). X300 is very fast with sequential read/write speeds of over 200MB/s and it gives a very quiet performance, even with a full load.
This is a solid hard drive, with a great price per TB ratio, which makes it a very good choice for gamers who need many titles installed on their PC at the same time. X300 is not the best hard drive for gaming according to its performance, but more due to a number of things combined, like its capacity, speed and price.
- Decent performance
- Internal shock sensor
- Dual-stage actuator
- 2-year warranty
WD Elements 4TB (WDBU6Y0040BBK-WESN)
Basic Stuff for a Low Price
WD Elements 4TB is a drive that doesn’t offer tons of features besides the basic ones. Because there is no encryption or password protection, this is not the best choice for keeping your confidential data, but since you are mostly going to use it for storing games or for game consoles, this is an excellent value for money.
Its read/write speeds, that are around 95MB/s, are expected from the USB 3.0 based external hard drive and are nothing huge, but are up to standards. When compared to its direct competition such as Seagate Expansions, it doesn’t offer that much of a difference. The expansion is a bit faster, but Elements costs less.
Its bad sides are summed up in its 1-year warranty, which is more than disappointing, and the already mentioned lack of encryption. If there wasn’t for the warranty issue, this would surely be the best external hard drive for gaming for such a price.
- Good capacity vs. price ratio
- 1-year warranty
- no security features
- no free backup software
Seagate Portable External Hard Drive
The Best External HDD for Gaming
If you are looking for high-quality external HDD for gaming, then you don’t have to look any further because Seagate Portable External Hard Drive will most definitely fulfill your needs.
It comes in several variants, depending on what you are looking for and how much storage space you may need.
You can choose between several models, going from 1TB to a maximum of 5TB, which is enough to satisfy most gamers, movie-lovers and regular people alike.
It’s very easy to connect this portable HDD to your PC since it uses standard USB 3.0 technology, which means it can be used on most desktop PCs. The cable is 18 inches long and comes in a package.
To make the device functional, simply connect it with this cable and, if your PC has software that allows it to automatically recognize new devices, it should instantly work.
When it comes to compatibility with different operating systems, this hard drive is compatible with Windows and Mac OS.
- Offers a large amount of storage space
- Supported by both Mac and Windows
- Easy to set up
- USB cable included
- Comes with a 1-year warranty
- It is not very durable, so be careful when handling it
WD My Book 4TB (WDBBGB0040HBK-NESN)
A Great External Hard Drive that Needs Just a Bit to Become the “King”
WD My Book 4TB is a “big brother” of WD My Passport, in both size and storage capacity. Other differences are colors; My Passport comes in six different ones, while My Book offers only the basic black. Besides that, they are very similar and share some features, such as 256-AES encryption and WD Backup software.
When talking about WD My Book 4TB alone, it is important to mention that there is no USB Type-C support, which automatically prevents its use with a MacBook without an adapter. Also, some of its competition, such as Seagate Backup Plus Hub, offers additional USB ports and work also as a hub, which is a nice feature that WD My Book 4TB lacks.
On the other hand, its read/write speed of 170MB/s is around 50% better than the My Passport’s, but still 10MB/s slower than the Seagate Backup Plus Hub’s speed. Don’t get us wrong, this drive is still a great storage solution and well worth buying.
- Compact design
- Easy-to-use software
- Great encryption
- No capacity indicator
- No USB Type-C support
- 2-year warranty
Seagate FireCuda Gaming
Perfect for Gaming PCs and Laptops
Have you ever wondered what could be the best combination ever and realized it could be to have performance SSD offers and storage space HDD gives?
Well then, FireCuda from Seagate is definitely for you!
It combines the best from two worlds, making it a perfect hybrid SSHD capable of delivering excellent and speedy performance, while also keeping a pretty good amount of space for your games, files, and videos.
FireCuda Gaming comes in three variants. You can get 500GB, 1TB and 2TB models, which is more than enough for even the most hardcore gamers.
As for technical specs, FireCuda is a 2.5-inch SATA drive with 6GB/s and acceleration technology for better gaming performance.
Because of this, your loading times will be much shorter, which will make your gaming experience much more enjoyable.
On average, with this SSHD, you will be able to store about 80 games, depending on their size and the length of your game library.
- A perfect combination of SSD and HDD characteristics
- Option to choose the storage capacity
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- Very fast performance
- Quite durable
- Max capacity is 2TB, which might be a turn-off for some people
Western Digital WD_Black P10 Game Drive
Excellent External Drive for Consoles
P10 Game Drive comes with different capacity options, allowing you to select between three storage options: 2TB, 4TB, and 5TB.
This amount will certainly satisfy most people, even the most hardcore gamers, who like to keep all their games installed, just in case they want to play at any time.
On that note, if we say that every game is around 36GB big, then it means that you could store about 125 games on this external drive.
This makes WD Black P10 a perfect choice for people who want to hold a lot of games on their hard drives, and especially for console users.
When it comes to performance, P10 offers great performance and faster loading screens, which is very important to every gamer.
As for durability and portability, it can be said that this external HDD is very durable and easily portable, so you can bring all your games with you, no matter where you go.
- Comes with quite a good amount of space
- High-speed performance
- Very durable design
- Easily portable
- Compatible with most PCs, laptops, and consoles
- Costs too much, compared to similar HDDs
Although the days of hard drives are counted, and in some 10 to 20 years, they will completely disappear from the computer world, they still have a lot to say. They will soon become history, but until then, enjoy in their best editions ever. We’re sure you’ll find the right one for you in our list, so – happy gaming!