Gaming drives are tailor-made for game applications, but there are a lot of buzzwords and acronyms to navigate.
If you like to play many games during the week, you need a lot of storage space.
A solid-state drive is an upgrade in data transfer speed, but you won't get as much storage space as the best hard-disk drive.
A few brands have carved out a space in the Digital Storage Wars.
No matter how you play, there's a drive for you.
If you like to hop between multiple games per month — whether it's Halo Infinite or Call of Duty — storage space quickly becomes a consideration. To ensure you get performance, you need a hard drive.
In this article, HaloHype goes through all of your storage device considerations, the differences between solid-state drives (SSD) and hard-disk drives (HDD), their uses, and which fast gaming storage benchmarks you need to consider to get the most out of playing. Time to get into it!
Differences Between Internal Gaming SSDs and HDDs
Acronyms are often hit-and-miss, but for the above two, they're absolutely essential. Gaming hard drives, whether an HDD or SSD, alter your gameplay in two crucial aspects: storage and data transfer. They're used to store and access game files and other necessary data for running the game.
Of course, even the best SSD for gaming must keep other things like video and picture capture, your HBOMax login, and others. Still, the primary purpose of drives is to store the massive data your 250GB installation of Modern Warfare II requires.
Data transfer speeds provided by your drive determine how long you spend in loading screens and how well your software performs. If you have many games installed but have a high-performing drive, you can hop between multiple games and streaming apps seamlessly, keeping you glued to the screen for as long as you want.
According to your console requirements, the ultimate gaming hard drives balance storage with data speed. If you're a streamer, you need an SSD with top rates. If you're more casual and looking to save money for more games or even new controllers, an HDD for gamers fits the bill perfectly.
Whatever you get, your drive must ensure that the games you play most frequently are installed, updated, available, and quickly accessed. Smoothness is the name of the game, and both variants of drive do that. However, there are significant differences to consider.
Classic, Reliable Mechanical Disk
External gaming HDDs are the tried and true — a classic mechanical drive, complete with a rotating disk platter, offering huge storage spaces at a much lower price point. The solid-state drive hasn't entirely supplanted the external gaming HDDs because they're just consistent.
An HDD is easily swapped in and out when you need an upgrade, but understand that there is often a speed cap of 150 MB per second. They reliably get the job done, but you compromise speed.
A solid-state drive, often called an "internal gaming SSD," uses flash memory to increase speed and durability. They're considerably smaller than an HDD, but with this speed comes volatility.
Why should you pick an SSD over an HDD, other than just raw speed? Drive developer Crucial weighs in: "SSDs deliver faster load times for games, applications, and movies. Because of the technology they use, internal gaming SSDs are lighter and better able to withstand movement and droppage. In addition, solid state drives use less energy, allowing computers to run cooler."
There you have it; HDDs are more reliable and offer huge storage space, while SSDs run cooler and faster for your applications. Plenty of players run both portable gaming drives and external ones, which often correlates with dedicating certain games to a specific kind of drive, so know that you always have options.
Now that you understand the differences, here are the best drives to consider when you're thinking about an upgrade.
Samsung 970 EVO Plus SSD
A high-performance internal NVMe SSD, the 970 EVO Plus offers what every great SSD does: lightspeed load times, a large storage capacity of 2TB, guaranteeing performance with including the well-reviewed Samsung Magician software to keep your drivers up to date and running squeaky clean. You could do a whole lot worse.
Western Digital Black SN850 NVMe SSD
Western Digital's internal SSD — licensed for the PlayStation 5 — transfers 7,000 MBps for those pristine games in 4K of high-capacity gaming storage. As a result, this drive provides lightning-fast speeds, console-compatible storage, and 2TB of capacity, which means dozens of games install instantly. Easily hop between more games for longer with this drive.
Seagate FireCuda 520 SSD
It has a badass name, and the Seagate FireCuda high-speed internal NVMe SSD boasts low latency and a heat management system. It ensures top PC play, including for gaming laptops, bolstering the stellar reputation Seagate has cultivated over the years.
Crucial P5 SSD
Crucial, as featured earlier, knows their drives. Their P5 SSD is another responsive and quick-loading drive with 2TB of storage and up to 3,400/3,000 MBps reading and writing speeds. It's a reliable and fast internal NVMe SSD that'll satisfy gamers on any platform, making the brand an industry leader in knowledge and product quality.
WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive
Western Digital has been in the computer drive game for a long time; it's no surprise that their external P10 HDD is one of the best on the market. This bad boy stores up to 5TB storage capacity, specifically designed for gamers to expand their console or PC game library with as much speed as possible.
It doesn't matter if you're on Xbox, PlayStation, or PC; the P10 has a three-year warranty to ensure your gaming storage devices are up to snuff.
Sabrent Rocket Q4 NVMe SSD
This Sabrent Rocket is the high-performance internal SSD players need, with up to 4TB of high-capacity gaming storage, providing fast read and write speeds for an enhanced gaming experience. Its power management features are exemplary and yet another reason Sabrent is well known, making them a top brand to consider when shopping for gaming storage devices.
Seagate Game Drive for Xbox
This licensed console-compatible storage HDD, with high-capacity gaming storage of up to 4TB, is designed to match and expand Xbox console storage seamlessly. This angelic feature is a must if you subscribe to Xbox Game Pass.
Do you want to grind through Gore Nests in DOOM Eternal but seamlessly switch to Minecraft when your girlfriend enters the room to avoid grossing her out? This is how to do it because Seagate's load times are impeccable.
OWC Envoy Pro Elektron
This rugged and compact external SSD is another capable drive from OWC. It's an affordable entry point for 1-2TB expansion with high transfer speed and durability should you like to play on the go with a laptop, Steam Deck, or even lug your desktop around for an old-school LAN party. Portable gaming drives like this are even compatible with devices like iPad Pro and Chromebooks.
No Matter How You Play, There's A Drive For You
Gaming drives are a top priority for players who must balance storage capacity and data transfer speeds. Even if you're in the market to expand your storage with a zippier SSD, ensuring it has enough storage space for the next massive AAA multiplayer game and subsequent updates is a battle every player experiences.
An HDD for gamers is the tried and true affordable storage tank, whereas the best SSD for gaming is the Flash of hard drives, ensuring you get there fast, but might sacrifice a bit in storage.
No matter how you play, there's a fast gaming storage drive out there for you. There aren't any wrong answers here, and plenty of players run both an HDD and SSD simultaneously. Choosing wisely gets you that much closer to the seamlessly smooth and enjoyable gaming experience you've always hoped to achieve.
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