Skip to Content

What Is A Gaming Hard Drive? Is It Worth It?

What Is A Gaming Hard Drive? Is It Worth It?

The 21st century is built on silicon chips, data storage devices, and the internet. Computing hasn’t stopped evolving, so it’s no wonder that specialized hard drives have popped up in today’s data-driven world. 

Gaming hard drives are an essential commodity in the gaming ecosystem and are a part of every gaming PC. In this article, gamers will find answers to all their questions about gaming hard drives.

What Is A Gaming Hard Drive?

A gaming hard drive is the same as a regular hard drive, but it has higher write and read speeds to allow it to load levels faster and improve overall performance. Gaming hard drives can be either HDD or SSD. 

Solid State Drives (SSD) and Hard Disk Drives (HDD) are the two main types of storage used today. Choosing one will be the first decision you’ll face when buying a gaming hard drive. 

Both drives perform the same functions, but they handle data differently. HDDs employ moving components to read and write data, whereas SSDs use semiconductor chips.

Generally, an SSD will be faster than an HDD. On the other hand, HDDs have much larger storage capacity, on average. 

A gaming hard drive is one of the most critical components of any gaming system. Besides storing game data, it handles saves, cache, and in-game files. Any game that uses a lot of in-game loading will perform better on a faster hard drive.

What Is The Difference Between A Gaming Hard Drive And A Regular Hard Drive?

The main difference between gaming hard drives and regular hard drives is their read/write speeds. Typically, regular hard drives clock speeds of 5400 RPM, while gaming hard drives have a maximum speed of 7200 RPM. Gaming hard drives are also superior in terms of efficiency. 

There’s been some debate about the difference between a gaming hard drive and a regular hard drive. Many new gamers are usually unsure if there are differences between both disks, primarily because the gaming industry is known for using marketing ploys to boost sales. They are fundamentally the same thing, with a few little differences.

Often, gaming hard drives are of higher quality than standard hard drives, with a larger cache and better performance management. They also usually come with more space than regular drives.

Gaming hard drives are also generally more expensive than standard hard drives and come with more extended warranties. 

Can You Play Games Off Of An External Hard Drive?

You can play games off of an external hard drive. You will notice no loss in game quality or effect on the gameplay experience. However, you may experience slower load times with some games. 

External hard drives are handy tools for professionals who interact with apps and files that need a lot of storage space. It’s no secret that games can take a lot of storage, so it would be handy to be able to move them out of your PC’s internal storage.

If you’re determined to play on an external drive, I recommend you use an SSD. They’re faster than HDDs, even when used as external drives.

Is An External Hard Drive Good For Gaming?

An external hard drive is good for gaming. It allows you to increase your storage space and install more games on your computer. Since external hard drives connect to your PC via USB, load times may be slower compared to an internal hard drive. However, game performance should not be affected.

While modern data interfaces such as USB 3.0 allow for transfer speeds up to 600MB/s, most external hard drives need to convert the output from SATA to USB 3.0.

This additional conversion means an external hard drive may not reach the same speeds as an internal hard drive, which can transmit data directly to the mother board via a SATA connection.

If you have the extra space in your gaming rig, I would recommend sticking to an internal hard drive with a SATA III connection; however, if you prefer the portability of an external drive and don’t mind slightly longer load times, then an external drive will work well for gaming.

Best Hard Drive for PC Gaming?

The Seagate BarraCuda is the best gaming HDD. It stores up to 8TB of data and has a read/write speed of 150 MB/s. The best SSD for gaming is the WD_BLACK SN850, with 7000MB/s and 5300MB/s read and write speeds and 1TB of storage.

When it comes to gaming hard drives, you need to find the right balance between read/write speed and storage space. SSDs will nearly always have faster read/write speeds, but generally offer less storage space.

Also, SSDs are much more expensive than HDDs. An SSD with only 2TB of storage is often more expensive than an HDD with 8TB of storage.

On the other hand, HDDs can provide plenty of storage space for VODs, game files, and movies, but may be slower than their SSD counterparts. This means your games will not load as quickly, but in-game performance won’t be affected.

If you’re on a somewhat limited budget, I recommend getting a fast HDD. This will give you ample storage space for all your games, without the prohibitive cost of an SSD.

Best External Hard Drive For PC Gaming?

The best external HDD for gaming is the Western Digital My Passport. It’s USB 3.0 and 2.0 compatible and can hold up to 5TB of data. The best external SSD for gaming is the SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD, with USB 3.0 connectivity and read/write speeds of 484MB/s.

The main difference between these two options is read/write speed, storage, and price.

When it comes to read/write speed, the SAMSUNG T5 Portable SSD really stands out. It has a maximum data transfer speed of 540 MB/s, compared to the My Passport’s 110MB/s data transfer speed (according to this benchmark).

On the other hand, the Western Digital My Passport can store up to 5TB of data, while the SAMSUNG T5 tops out at just 1TB. For reference, Call of Duty Modern Warfare takes up nearly 200GB of storage space, so 1TB (roughly equal to 1,000GB) isn’t much.

Finally, the Western Digital My Passport is much more affordable than the Samsung T5. On most sites, the Western Digital My Passport with 5TB of storage is significantly cheaper than the Samsung T5.

Best External Hard Drive For Console Gaming?

The best external hard drive for console gaming is the Western Digital Elements Portable External Hard Drive. It delivers fast read and write speeds and up to 5TB of storage space at an affordable price.

More gamers are starting to use external hard drives for console gaming, and it’s not a bad idea. You can’t easily expand the internal storage space of your console as you would do with a PC.

You can find hard drives specially made for specific consoles, but there aren’t that different from a normal hard drive. The WD Elements provides the best bang for your buck and is compatible with both Xbox and PlayStation consoles.

Final Thoughts

Gaming hard drives tend to be faster regular hard drives, but they are otherwise the same thing. If you want to get the best performance possible, the thing that really matters is to get an SSD. If you want to maximize storage space, go for a HDD.

You can play games on an external hard drive, and its performance will be almost the same as using an internal hard drive. At most, you’ll experience slightly longer loading times.


👋 Hey There, I'm Eric!

Since 2018, I've been making streams come true.

I like gaming, streaming and watching other people stream. I created this website to help streamers, viewers, and gamers answer questions they have regarding live streaming, gaming, and PCs. I am a Twitch affiliate and currently stream on Twitch 3 days a week. I also have a Youtube channel where I make videos about streaming. I hope you find my content helpful. Feel free to stop by one of my streams to say hi.