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Best Hard Drives for Gaming | Buying Guide | Comparison Table | Frequently Asked Questions

Calendar10.02.2020
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Hard drives are one of the oldest and the most well-known source for storing data on a computer. Even though they have long passed their peak success, they are still in great demand as storage and as a system drive.

Hard drives have many key benefits overs SSDs such as longevity and lower price. These advantages make them a bigger, long-term storage solution to achieve more satisfactory performance. So which models are in these days? More importantly, which hard drive should you be looking for?

In this extensive guide, we are going to list down some of the best hard drives for gaming so you can choose the best product according to your individual requirements.

1. HGST 6TB SATA III 3.5-inch HDD Internal Hard Drive

Best Hard Drives for Gaming - Dell HGST 6TB SATA III

HGST has expanded its line of hard drives by introducing HGST 6TB SATA III 3.5-inch HDD Internal Hard Drive. The company has promised performance and reliability from this drive along with 1 million hours of usage and seek time of less than 12ms.

Rotational vibration safeguard features and subtle vibrations caused by neighboring HDDs give an optimized performance and prolonged drive life. Due to these features, this hard drive is suitable to be used for multi-drive environments in NAS.

Unlike other NAS drives that are running at 5400 rpm, this hard drive works at 7200 rpm and provide a blend of consistency and performance. The most significant advantage of this hard disk rotational speed is that it is faster, so you can transfer large media files quickly. It is available in 3 TB, 4 TB, 5 TB, and 6 TB storage capacities and also offers a 64 MB cache size for 3 TB and 4 TB capacities, 128 MB cache size for 5 TB and 6 Tb capacities.

Apart from having a very large cache size, faster speed, large capacity, HGST 6TB SATA III 3.5-inch HDD Internal Hard Drive also comes with a 3-year warranty for the drives and craftsmanship. The retail package includes a sure guide, reading material, the drive, and 4 screws. The drive comes protected and enclosed in an anti-moisture, anti-static bag, and some padding to keep it safe and protected during shipment.

Pros

  • Highly reliable
  • Optimized performance
  • Built for bulk data storage
  • Compatible with desktop PCs, CCTV, NAS, and NVR

Cons

  • Drive surface is susceptible to scratches

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2. WD Blue 4TB PC Hard Drive

WD Blue 4TB PC Hard Drive

Western Digital is a very famous name in the world of hard drives. This brand has been in the field for nearly five decades, and because of the longevity of its products, the owners are working out to add extra storage to their computers. The blue series is the most common one among which the WD Blue 4TB PC Hard Drive is still the most compelling option for many gamers. This hard drive features a small label on top and displays detailed information for your particular HDD. The metal enclosure and SATA 3 plug is present on the base for an active connection.

The 3.5-inch format is best to be used in a desktop PC due to its bulk. Due to this benefit, you can plug it into an external closure with a gaming console or your laptop (directly into the wall in addition to USB connection). This product is best suited for storing and backing up large files like media and gaming.

This hard drive is affordably priced so the users can get a massive size for a fraction of the cost as compared to other products on the list. It is a performance drive that runs cooler and even uses less power unlike some of its competitors.

Cameras and other recording devices that make ultra-high definition video at 30 frames per second and 4K resolution require a large space for storage, but handling all the substantial media is a matter of seconds with this 6TB drive. The hard drive comes with access to Western Digital Acronis True Image Application, where the downloadable software can quickly copy your existing files to the drive without asking for operating system reinstallation.

Pros

  • Less expensive
  • Real-world performance
  • Upgrade and backup files with ease
  • Ideal for gamers and creative professionals

Cons

  • Mixed synthetic performance

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3. WD Black 2TB Performance Desktop Hard Disk Drive

WD Black 2TB Performance Desktop Hard Disk Drive

This hard drive is designed and manufactured for PC power users who want precision and performance. Now, you can give your system reliably, high capacity and strong performance with a 5 year of amazing warranty.

Whether you are a digital artist, gamer, video editor, photographer, and looking to form your personal system, then this hard drive can be your ultimate go-to solution. It delivers incredible performance when it comes to storing large multimedia files such as games, applications, videos, and photos.

It is also a perfect hard drive for gaming and offers a massive capacity to save and store your expanding gaming collection. You can also use this product to future proof your gaming computer with adequate capacity for extra downloadable games with an SSD. This drive can pass the most strenuous and aggressive internal testing, thanks to its 5-year limited warranty.

With WD Black 2TB, you can accomplish a quick read-rate performance and high-speed transfer rate with 128MB of cache size. The Dynamic Cache Technology enhances performance in real-time to optimize and allot cache among writes and reads.

The Dual-Core Processor offers double processing capabilities than a single-core processor to give maximum drive performance for loading games and storing large media files. This drive is also equipped with a StableTrac Technology, which can secure the motor shaft inside to ease the impact caused by system-induced conduction from other components of the product.

Pros

  • Solid performance
  • Aimed for power users
  • Next-generation desktop performance
  • Best for gamers and system builders

Cons

  • A little expensive and may make some noise while running

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4. Toshiba X300 4TB Performance Desktop and Gaming Hard Drive

Toshiba X300 4TB Performance Desktop and Gaming Hard Drive

This hard drive is aimed towards providing high capacity and performance that many creative professionals and gamers require. The Toshiba X300 features 7200 rpm and huge cache size to keep your gaming experience going on unfailingly.

This hard drive can provide you up to 14TB of storage capacity for your entire HD content as well as a growing gaming library. This way, you can store and keep your creations and game accomplishments without worrying about running out of space. The last thing any professional gamer or artist wants is to lag while online. With this drive, the user receives such a high RPM and 256 MB cache size, which is quite enough for a responsive experience when loading large media files and games.

Plus, this drive’s cache technology helps you optimize the cache allocation during the read or write cycle to give high-performance in real-time.

The Ramp Loading Technology and Internal Shock Sensors protect your drive and its data from all sorts of harms so you can easily create, edit, play, and animate as much stuff as you want without worrying about the security of your content. Its Stabilization Technology facilitates the alleviation of vibrations (by stabilizing the motor shaft at both ends) to deliver improved tracking accuracy and ideal performance during play and read/write operations.

Overall, we can say that this product is backed by more than 45 years of exceptional quality and storage expertise of Toshiba, thus a product that can be trusted blindly.

Pros

  • Designed for gaming PC
  • High-performance
  • 2-year warranty
  • Large cache size and RPM

Cons

  • The plastic covering of SATA data pins may come off easily

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5. Seagate Constellation ES.2 ST32000646NS

Seagate Constellation ES.2 ST32000646NS

This hardware is the company’s 4th generation, 7200 rpm premium-class hard drive. This drive is available in 500GB, 1 TB and 2 TB capacities and works very well with both SAT II and SAS interfaces. This drive is not just about high performance and capacity, but also about power management and temperature tolerance for up-and-go applications.

This hard drive stands out among its competitors due to its unique body-color choice. The manufactures have tried to stick to a satin black colored painted body, a silver lid white a white sticker on top of the design. The label comes with all the information about the device such as lot number, model number, voltage requirement, serial number, and firmware revision.

The overall build quality of the drive is excellent, with a design that protects the circuit board through the drive’s body itself in the form of a heat sink. All the chips present over the board except for the RAM module can be in direct link with the device.

The Seagate Constellation ES.2 ST32000646NS reduces support and design cost by constructing on the company’s high-class enterprise storage foundation and features a high range of capacity in a 3.5-inch hard disc drive. It offers a traditional form factor with maximum rotational vibration tolerance as well as high data integrity for the utmost reliability in a cost-effective manner. You can enjoy an MTBF of 1.2 million hours and end-to-end data integrity with its Protection Information Feature.

This product is also useful in a way that it reduces cooling costs, energy with the lowest power consumption as compared to other hard drives in the market.

Pros

  • Five-year warranty
  • SATA and SAS interface
  • Can use 500GB platters
  • SAS model can support self-encrypting device

Cons

  • 60GBPS speed is only offered in SAS model

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6. Seagate Game Drive 4TB External Hard Drive

Seagate Game Drive 4TB External Hard Drive

In itself, this gaming hard drive is a gorgeous, portable HDD, which is quite similar to other hard drives offered by Seagate but with slight changes.

The black with blue aluminum enclosure is tough and sleek and can also complement your entire console-setup very easily. The 4TB version of this device requires a little more space than others, the width and the length are the same, but its height is 20.7mm, which means that the thickness and capacity are double, which according to us, is a fair trade for a price like that.

With this drive, you can store more than 100 games on your desktop PC, considering an average game size of 30-50GB. The biggest advantage of this device is that it is based on a 2.5-inch drive. The USB 3.0 can deliver adequate power via connection cable, so you don’t need an external power supply. This feature makes this device more portable, easier to set up, and lightweight.

The USB 3.0 bus is quick enough to deliver you the performance that is needed. Though this hard drive cannot break any speed barriers, in some cases, it can work even faster than an internal drive with a product like this; you can keep the system on the internal drive and your games within the external hence distributing most of the load on two simultaneous disks.

The setup is also very easy and simple, you just have to plug in this drive in your gaming console or USB port, and you are ready to start using it.

Pros

  • Up to 4TB storage for your gaming console
  • No performance impact
  • The device is bus-powered
  • Durable and portable
  • Plug and play feature

Cons

  • Extra licensing cost

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7. Seagate BarraCuda 2TB Internal Hard Drive HDD

Seagate BarraCuda 2TB Internal Hard Drive HDD

Upgrading your system with the most reliable and cost-effective Seagate BarraCuda 2TB Internal Hard Drive HDD will significantly improve the efficacy of data retrieval and data processing. Improved efficiency delivers instant access to the data, which means you get to benefit from faster game loading times, speedy file transfer, and fast opening for applications.

It is a 3.5-inch desktop hard drive that comes with a 64 MB onboard cache and supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ). This drive is one of the best performance-oriented drives by Seagate, where the speed of 7200 rpm gives it a sustained data rate of 138 MB per second.

This green drive is also intended to decrease hard drive power consumption while providing other benefits like reduced noise levels and cool running. The peak transfer rate for this drive’s interface is 600MB/s, while the average latency recorded is as quick as 4.16 ms. This device is also compatible with other interfaces like SATA I and SATA II. The power is supplied through a SATA-styled power connector only. The device isn’t too loud according to our standards and uses an average operational power consumption of 9.2 Watt.

Pros

  • Offers fast performance
  • Quiet and affordable
  • Energy-efficient device
  • Sheer capacity
  • Supports SATA 6GBPS and has 64 MB cache buffer

Cons

  • Runs a little hot
  • A little expensive

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8. HGST WD Ultrastar

Western Digital HGST WD Ultrastar - Best HDD for Gaming

Built over the foundation of a stress-free data center, Western Digital is sure to provide exceptional capacity hard drives. Among their brilliant products, the Ultrastar DC HC510 is still the most popular product of helium-filled hard drives.

This device is made to handle up to 550 TB workload per year. It uses PMR technology, thus the industry’s first 8TB drive that is drop-in ready for all sorts of enterprise-capacity environments and applications. Based on the 3rd generation HelioSeal Technology, it can deliver one of the lowest power profiles in the market and help data center architects to meet eco-friendly environmental requirements.

The drive is aimed at 2.5 million hours MTBF and offers the most reliable rating available among all HDDs in the field. The HGST WD Ultrastar provides great storage efficiency and value proposition, the features for which includes a 2nd generation, and dual-stage actuator. This feature facilitates data integrity, better performance, and overall drive reliability, particularly in multi-drive settings. This device can be considered as the best option for object storage implementation due to its massive reliability rating and capacity. It also offers encryption options and security to protect your files and data from being harmed through illegal usage such as TGC support-on for SATA models.

Enhanced Rotational Vibration technology utilizes refined electronics to screen the drive and correct the rotational and linear vibration in real-time for improved and better performance. The dual-stage actuator head positioning technology is featured for a high level of accuracy. The primary stage delivers course displacement, and the secondary stage utilizes piezoelectric motion for fine-tuning of the head positioning.

Pros

  • Good reliability
  • Improved data integrity
  • Helium design
  • Dual-stage micro-actuator and rotational vibration gives higher performance
  • Features data security mode

Cons

  • A little noisy

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9. HGST HP Ultrastar He8

Ultrastar - HGST HP Ultrastar He8: Best HDD for Gaming

In an attempt to provide adequate storage for the avalanche of data produced yearly, many storage vendors are now making radical technological advancements. With the HGST HP Ultrastar He8, the manufacturers have tried to store this immense influx of the data economically with good power efficiency and density.

This drive has a voracious thirst efficiency, performance, and capacity. It is the second generation of the company’s helium platform, which enhances density and reduces power consumption by filling the drive with helium rather than air. The media caching technology here is quite compelling and can provide an amazing boost in write/read performance.

The front of the drive consists of the informational sticker with necessary details such as the company's logo, product name, and capacity. The packaging of this device is a bit different; the drives are fused together to seal the helium inside instead of hard drive’s components assembled and screwed together in a shell. The drive is quieter as compared to its competitors and also uses less power than them while working.

Even though this device is not SMR, it still embraces some limitations in terms of deployment. The RAID environment may still be a bit disconcerting due to arrays with large metadata tables, but for people using storage stacks that can benefit from a huge capacity bump, the HGST HP Ultrastar He8 could be the best driver with a sense towards PB-scale deployments.

Pros

  • High capacity PMR drive
  • Low power consumption
  • Idle and active power efficiency
  • Advanced format 512e model
  • Reliable and field-proven device

Cons

  • A bit pricier

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10. Seagate FireCuda 2TB Solid State Hybrid Drive

Seagate FireCuda 2TB Solid State Hybrid Drive

Seagate is a name that almost everyone can rely on when storage devices are concerned. The Seagate FireCuda 2TB Solid State Hybrid Drive is an SSHD device that is designed to possess features of both HDD and SSD in one product. The configuration is the same as those found in basic computer systems. There is a built-in SSD with a small capacity that includes an OS and other commonly used user programs along with an HDD with more capacity for large files (movies and pictures).

The primary purpose of this device is to provide high boot-up times and data transfer speed and is designed mainly for gaming and working with other challenging software. Among all the available versions of Seagate FireCuda, the 2TB drive is the most sensible and versatile one and is also an excellent upgrade option for Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

With this drive, you get blazing, super-fast, progressive write/read speeds for fast loading and respawning with less sputtering, and storage capacity of up to 80 games with 2TB of storage (at 25GB per game). The Seagate FireCuda 2TB Solid State Hybrid Drive is purposefully built for the constant usage of top-tier gaming as well as creative workloads. Performance-wise, this drive lives up to the expectations of the customers with a chronological read speed of 136.8MB per second and a write speed of 121.3 MB per second.

With such amazing features, we can confidently say that Seagate FireCuda 2TB is a good choice for beginners who are not in the mood to deal with many drives at once and are simply looking for a performance model that is easy to use on a PC or a gaming console.

Pros

  • Flash accelerated technology
  • Multi-tier caching technology
  • Adaptive memory
  • 5-year warranty

Cons

  • No brainer for a budget-conscious user

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Buying Guide

When choosing the best hard drives for gaming, there are a couple of features and factors that you should keep in mind. You must think about what you need the hard drive for, what is your budget, and how frequently you are going to use it. Knowing the answers to these questions will help you a lot as you will gain a proper outlook of what you should get and which features you should pay close attention to before making the payment.

  • Storage Capacity

    Every hard drive is graded to save and store a different amount of information/files on it. Most of the drives available in the market range between 120GB and 4TB. According to the standard rules, 1TB is more than enough for the main drive, but you must ensure that your SSD can support at least 120GB or a little more. You can also buy an additional HDD drive for maximum performance and to compliment your SSD drive. The gamers should never settle for anything less than 1TB on their system because games usually need more space than normal.

  • Speed (Rotations per Minute)

    The rotational speed of any hard drive is measured in revolutions per minute i.e., RPM. A good-quality hard drive uses a red-white arm to gain access and write data over the disc as it rotates under it. High rotational speed means better and efficient performance.

    However, it is not so simple because high speed usually brings some issues with it; for example, it will generate more heat and make more noise than usual. Due to this reason, we would suggest you to go for an SSD drive if better and competent performance is your priority.

  • Cache Size

    The cache memory of any hard drive works in a similar way as a RAM for the whole system. It can help store important data so that the processing unit of an HDD can access it in a short amount of time, thus leading to a faster and better working hard drive.

    However, this feature is not a fundamental factor to find a hard drive that is suitable for your needs. In fact, a large cache size will only cause a slight improvement in the performance during challenging tasks, which is something the users are unlikely to even notice unless they are checking two different drives at one time.

  • Size

    The hard drives are usually available in 2.5-inch or 3.5-inch size. As a rule of thumb, 2.5-inch drives are more suitable for laptops (most of the SSD drives are available in this size), and 3.5 inch drives are for HDDs (a little heavy). Despite the variance being 1-inch only, the size difference is a lot in reality.

  • Connectivity

    Many internal hard drives usually provide SATA connectivity. Currently, SATA3 is considered as a standard, but you can also go for a slower SATA2 drives that are still accessible from the market. As far as the external hard drives are concerned, they usually provide USB connectivity. USB 2.0 is still accepted by most of the gamers, but it is still better to go for drives that have a USB 3.0 standard, which leads to quick data transfer.

  • Software

    For SSD choices, this is a very crucial factor to consider as it can make or break your gaming experience. Make sure you own a decent monitoring software to keep your hard drive healthy and in good working condition.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Which One Is Better Among SSD Or HDD?

    The SSD drives are a better option for speed, while HDD drives are more suitable for more storage space. Technology is evolving at a very fast pace right now, and so the SSD drives are getting bigger in size. A lot of people prefer buying an SSD drive and get the right size even if it is a little more expensive than later.

  2. Should I Buy A 2.5-Inch Or A 3.5-Inch Hard Drive Model?

    While 2.5-inch models are often used for laptops only, they can still function as efficiently as a 3.5-inch model. If you are getting a good 2.5-inch drive, go ahead and buy it for your desktop, but make sure your case comes with proper brackets to support the drive; otherwise, you can additionally purchase it alongside the original product.

  3. How Much Capacity Do I Actually Need?

    The amount of storage capacity differs from one user to another as some are fond of gaming only with the provided hard drive. Video editing, gaming, photography, streaming, and other media-related interests need a significant amount of storage capacity so you can expect to need more. An average user who isn’t interested in gaming and never creates anything other than the basic office documents would not need anything more than a terabyte.

  4. What Type Of Hard Drive Is Best For Gaming Purposes?

    When it comes to hard drives, the faster it is, the better would be the results. If your motherboard (and financial situation) allow and support M.2 drive, then go for models with advanced NVMe technology. However, if you need a lot of space, you can also go for a fast, expensive drive for your games and OS.

Final Thoughts

Hard drives have been with gamers for a very long time, and they are going to support and benefit them for at least a few more years to come. Luckily, there are still some products out there that can deliver great performance for an acceptable price rate.

In this guide, we have put together some of the best hard drives for gaming, with the help of which you can make a sensible and tasteful decision of buying a good-quality drive for your gaming purpose while knowing your individual requirements and demands.

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