No matter how big the storage capacity of a computer’s internal hard drive is, gamers will always need more storage space. Gamers have a multitude of files that need to be backed up and hence, there is a need for the continuous expansion of their virtual storage cabinet.
Of course, there are online, cloud-based storage options, iCloud for instance, but such services require you to pay a monthly subscription. Aside from that, there’s the security issue that comes with having your files stored in the cloud. It’s also a given that without internet access, you won’t be able to retrieve them.
External hard drives are effective, portable options for extra storage and are more cost-effective in the long run. And while the one-time expense is not negligible, it will surely be less expensive than the accumulated expenses incurred through monthly subscriptions. However, an external hard drive for gaming isn’t really suitable for running resource-hungry applications, much less games.
On the USB 3.0 connection that most external hard drive uses can cater up to 5Gbps, which quite close to the 6Gbps maximum of the internal HDD’s SATA III connection, but it rarely functions near those speeds. Realistically, what USB 3.0 connection signifies is any speed greater than what can be achieved on USB 2.0, which can only handle up to 480 Mbps. Moreover, given that an external hard drive is constantly plugged and unplugged, which prompts drive letter changes, you will likely face errors when playing your titles off of them.
With all that said, a high-capacity internal hard drive is what you ought to get if you need plenty of space for the titles you want to play. While it’s true that these mechanical storage options still can’t beat SSDs in terms of load times, they are getting closer as the technology behind them have also evolved throughout the years. With the increase in speed comes a better price per GB, which is the biggest selling point of HDDs. In fact, you’ll be saving yourself hundreds of dollars if you can compromise for a couple of seconds in load times. Here are some of the best gaming hard drives for 2017.
WD Blue 1TB
Western Digital has always been one of the most reliable names when it comes to gaming HDDs and this WD Blue 1TB hard drive is a sought after model. In fact, it is currently Amazon’s best seller for the internal hard drives category, which doesn’t come as a surprise since, at the moment of this writing, it is listed for only $49 – 64 percent off of the $109 introductory price. This drive, at 7200 RPM, is quite fast. Having a 64-MB cache doesn’t hurt either. It’s truly a good value for money and one that you should consider for your rig, especially if you’re on a budget.
Seagate 3TB BarraCuda
Seagate is another popular brand for gaming hard drives. It’s on this list precisely because of it’s great value for money. Getting a 3TB, 7200-RPM, 64-MB cache HDD for less than $90 is quite the steal. While there are arguments to be made between WD and Seagate, there’s no denying that this drive has quick external and internal data transfer speeds, at least for an HDD. Moreover, it’s also a good option for expanding your PlayStation 4’s storage, which means it’ll have some use if you ever decide to upgrade to a high-capacity HDD.
HGST Ultrastar 7K4000 3TB
While HGST is a WD-subsidiary, it functions as a separate brand. Holding on to its Hitachi roots, HGST continues to produce some of the most durable drives that are out in the market today. In fact, according to storage provider BlackBlaze, HGST drives have the lowest failure rates and thus, less likely to fail compared to offerings from other brands. Aside from the great build quality, this specific model, the Ultrastar 7K4000 3TB, can be had for less than $70, which is truly a good deal for an HDD that runs at 7200 RPM and is complemented by a 64-MB cache.
No gamer can ever go wrong with choosing drives with high storage capacity and decent transfer speeds. Great security features and design are an added bonus. Just bear in mind that these storage options, in most cases, will not give you more FPS. In fact, your gaming computer’s storage is one of the components that have the least to do with the frames you’ll be getting. What you should expect, however, is faster loading and boot times, along with much quicker file transfers and file searches.