Although hard drives have long passed their peak, there is still a large demand for them, as storage, but also as a system drive. Fact is that SSDs offer faster performance, and flash drives more practicality, but hard drives still offer the most storage space, for the lowest cost. Thanks to that fact, they are still very present in the IT industry, and gaming as our major point of interest.
Even though they have been long gone from the spotlight, they can still produce some decent performance that will satisfy most gamers. Therefore, buying the best hard drive for gaming purposes is still a welcome move.
Our Top Picks
Last update on 2022-12-03 // The links above are affiliate // Images from Amazon
How to Choose the Best Hard Drive for Gaming
When choosing the perfect hard drive, you should keep a couple of things in mind. Think about what you need it for, what your budget is, how often you are going to use it, etc. Having those answers will help you a lot because it will give you the proper perspective of what you are really looking for and which of the following characteristics of a hard drive you should pay your close attention to.
When talking about the important aspects of a hard drive, capacity is probably at the top of the list. No matter how large your storage space is, eventually it will be full. That’s a simple fact of a life.
Therefore, always buy the hard drive that offers more capacity than you think you need. If you think you need 500GB of storage, buy one with 1TB. If you need 2TB, buy one that has at least 3TB, etc. Always go for bigger numbers, you can’t go wrong with that.
Speed is the second most important characteristic of a hard drive. No one wants to spend half of his/her day waiting for a data to transfer. For that reason, choose the drives that have the fastest possible maximum sequential read/write speeds. They are more expensive, but every cent will pay off.
Transfer speed above 150MB/s is more than good for an internal hard drive, while for external drives, the acceptable speed is around 100MB/s.
In the past, this used to be a much bigger issue, but today, the difference between 32MB and, for instance, 64MB cache drive is represented in some 10% faster loads of 64MB cache drives. These differences are hardly noticeable by an ordinary user.
In other words, unless you are buying outdated second-hand drives with 8MB, or less cache, there is not that much to be worried about. If you can, purchase the drives with more cache, but on the other hand, you won’t notice for significant difference even if you take the ones with fewer MB.
Internal hard drives usually offer SATA connectivity. In the recent times, SATA3 is a standard, but you might also bump on slower SATA2 drives, that are left on the stock. If you can, always go for a faster SATA3 option.
When talking about external hard drives, they mostly offer USB connectivity. Although USB2.0 is still acceptable, it is better to go for the drives that have a USB3.0 standard, which ultimately leads to faster data transfer.
8 Best Hard Drives for Gaming
WD Black HDD
An Excellent PC Hard Drive Made for Serious Gamers
If you are into serious hard drives that will deliver a high-quality performance, 3.5” WD Black should be high on your list. Reliable, with a promising 5-year warranty and enhanced performance, all thanks to StableTrac and Dynamic Cache Technology, this hard drive will fulfill every task that gamers put in front of it.
The rotational speed of 7200 rpm, 64MB (500GB-2TB) or 256MB (4TB-6TB) of cache and the usual SATA3 connectivity, is nothing impressive when compared to the competition, but its average reading/writing speed of 180MB/s, that can rise to the staggering 281.9MB/s when reading large files, is more than a convincing argument that shows how good this drive is. Equipped with a dual-core processor and FIT tested, just like the data center HDD’s, this hard drive will never leave you in the most important moments.
WD Black is simply the best hard drive for gaming you can find. Its combination of great performance, reliability and good value for the money are a winning formula that will leave no one disappointed.
- 5-year warranty
- StableTrac and Dynamic Cache Technology that improve reliability and performance
- it gets hot
Seagate BarraCuda Compute Pro
Solid Choice for Gaming
The Seagate BarraCuda Compute Pro is part of the company’s Guardian series and it’s designed to bring affordable performance to everyday users, i.e. faster data transfer speeds at bargain prices. Specs-wise, the BarraCuda Pro 6TB HDD plays in the “uber-normie” category and it features 7200rpm and 256MB of cache via optimized read/write caching technology; in layman’s terms, this is a pretty quick HDD from an “ancient technology” standpoint.
We know, there are SSD drives out there which offer 6 TB of storage capacity and blazing fast access speeds compared to old school HDDs, but if you take a look at the price tag, you’ll understand why the BarraCuda Compute Pro is the definition of no-compromise capacity, performance and reliability for enterprise environments and, why not, even for hard-core home users: this HDD offers 250MB/s maximum sustained transfer rate and a 300TB/year workload rate limit reliability, which means you can use it for long-term storage whether we’re talking cloud, movies, games, music or whatever.
Here’s a hint for our readers: remember to download and install the Seagate Disc Wizard software from the company’s official website if you want the installation process to go smoothly and hassle-free.
- fast and efficient
- easy to install
- low noise, smooth operation
- lots of storage capacity for the buck asked
- comes with Rescue Data Recovery Plan (optional)
- some users report quality control issues (DOA drives)
Seagate FireCuda Gaming SSHD
A Quality Upgrade of a Traditional Hard Drive
If you want to enjoy the benefits of SSD technology, but are limited with budget resources, Seagate FireCuda may be the best fit for you. This drive presents a combination of 8GB NAND MLC flash and a traditional hard drive, which places this hybrid above regular hard drives, but slightly below SSDs according to performance. All this makes a Seagate FireCuda a great option for a primary drive or a very fast secondary drive.
When talking about sheer performance, mostly due to the flash drive component, this drive makes maximum sequential read speed of 216.9MB/s and write speed of 211.4MB/. The hard drive itself has SATA3 connectivity, the rotational speed of 7200 rpm and 64MB of cache that are basically today’s standards for a hard drive. Its capacity of 1TB or 2TB should be enough for most users, while its 5-year warranty guarantees for its longevity.
You should know that this is not an SSD for gaming, but a hybrid drive, with 8GB of flash that are enough for playing a game, or opening one or two apps. This drive just isn’t made for a simultaneous work on multiple applications and in that case, its performance may deteriorate even below regular hard drive performance. If you are fine with that, Seagate FireCuda may be a great companion and the best hard drive for gaming you can find for yourself.
- 5-year warranty
- NAND flash
- good value for the money
- when working on multiple apps simultaneously, it often lacks flash memory
WD Blue HDD
An Affordable Hard Drive that Will Keep Everyone Satisfied
WD Blue is a decent-performance hard drive which can be successfully used both as a secondary drive, and as a budget solution for a system drive. SATA3 connectivity, the rotational speed of 7200 rpm and 64MB of cache are its specifications, and they won’t impress anyone. That can also be said for its transfer data speed of around 150 MB/s that certainly isn’t among the best in the class, but on the other hand, high performance is not what makes this drive so attractive.
Its key advantage is a combination of different aspects that include its price, good reliability, variety of capacities and modest, but still good enough, performance – the features according to which it can be compared only to the Toshiba DT01ACA hard drives.
WD Blue is the drive that does the job without breaking the bank and that is its key advantage over the competition that makes it so attractive for numerous users and variety of purposes.
- good value for the money
- sequential read/write speeds could be better
Toshiba X300 HDD
A Hard Drive Designed for Gamers
If you are into hard drives that deliver extreme performance and offer plenty of capacity at the same time, Toshiba X300 should be your choice. Its variety of capacities (4TB-10TB) will certainly allow for more than a handful of installed games, while its very recognizable maximum sequential read/write speeds of over 200MB/s (that can almost be compared with the Seagate FireCuda, which is a hybrid drive) will guarantee for the fluidity of games.
Toshiba X300 offers quiet performance even under full load, while its internal shock sensor and dual-stage actuator are ensuring the data integrity. Its SATA3 connectivity and the rotational speed of 7200 rpm are up to today’s standards, while its 128MB or 256MB (10TB) of cache help this drive stand out from the bunch, and help its high-quality performance.
You can’t expect much more than this from the best hard drive for gaming. Therefore, if you are a hardcore gamer, you won’t go wrong with this one.
- good performance
- nice capacity
- modest 2-year warranty
Seagate Portable External Hard Drive
Gaming on the Go
If you’re looking for an affordable back-up solution on the go, this external hard drive from Seagate has your name on it. For something like $100, give or take, you’ll get 5 GB of storage, and this HDD works just as well on Windows and Mac in a “plug and play” fashion, i.e. all you have to do is to connect it to your computer via the 3.0 USB cable (18 inch USB cable included in the retail package) and the automatic recognition software will kick in.
As usual, when it comes to dirt cheap storage solutions, there are caveats, and the most annoying one, in this case, is the 5400 RPM writing speed, which means this Seagate drive is pretty slow for today’s standards; however, if you’re only looking for cheap storage solutions to complement your, let’s say PS4 gaming console, this portable external hard drive from Seagate would make for a nice addition to your gaming rig. The setup is super simple, as your PlayStation/Xbox One will recognize the drive instantly, and moving files around between the drive and the console is easy as pie.
Also, playing games off the drive presents no significant problems, like slowdowns or glitches, so, if you’re looking to expand your gaming console’s storage capacity, look no further than this cheap Seagate external HDD.
- easy to setup and to use
- excellent for expanding one’s gaming console storage capacity
- amazing value for money
- compact design, USB 3.0 connectivity
- works on Windows and Mac out of the box
- just 1 year limited warranty
- relatively low writing speeds
- can get noisy
WD Elements Portable External Hard Drive
A Hard Drive that Offers Sheer Storage Space for Small Bucks
Similar to Seagate Expansion, WD Elements also offers plenty of space, but for even a lower price. The price difference lies in the fact that the WD Elements is a much slower drive since its sequential read/write speeds of around 95MB/s, are some 30% slower than those of its Seagate rival.
WD Elements is highly affordable and offers capacities from 1TB to 4TB of space, has USB3.0 connectivity, but similar to the Expansion, it lacks special features such as encryption or backup software. Therefore, if you want cheap storage space, devoid of extra features, this drive is a great option for you.
You won’t get super-fast speeds but will get a Windows- and Mac-compatible device, with a ton of space for your games and other data, and all that for a ridiculous price.
- an excellent money vs. storage ratio
- 1-year warranty
- no special features
Seagate Game Drive for Xbox One
An External Hard Drive Destined for Xbox Gaming
If you are into Xbox gaming, this drive is made for you. Seagate Game Drive for Xbox One is the only external hard drive made solely for Xbox. That includes Xbox One, Xbox One S and Xbox 360 consoles.
This drive comes in 2TB or 4TB capacity that will certainly be enough for you to keep all your favorite titles in one place, has USB3.0 connectivity and offers a plug-and-play function for easy use. Its sequential read/write speeds are very fast (140MB/s), which is impressive for an external hard drive.
Highly compact, with a 2-year warranty and an overall great performance, Seagate Game Drive for Xbox One is without a doubt the best hard drive for Xbox one can find.
- good performance
Hard drives have been with us for a long time and they are going to be with us for at least a couple more years to come, but that doesn’t change the fact that their days are numbered. Luckily, they can still deliver great performance for an acceptable. Therefore, enjoy them while you can.