A computer without space won’t operate to its highest capacity and if you’re a gamer, this simply won’t do.
Although most gaming PCs come with a built-in storage system or solid state drive (SSD), there may be times when you need more, so what’s a gamer to do?
An external hard drive is an ideal solution, but you can’t just choose any old one to get the job done when gaming is your primary focus. You’ll need to find the best hard drive for gaming specifically, ensuring that your game runs quickly, smoothly, and without a hiccup.
So, what should you look for in a gaming hard drive?
Good hard drives for gaming should have the right capacity, speed, and form factor, which will depend on your laptop or PC and what requirements you have. To determine the best option, consider what you need to game effectively and what your computer already offers, and find one to make up the difference.
There’s nothing better than having the machinery behind you to game to your full potential, and with the best hard drive for gaming PC, that’s exactly what you’ll get. This guide will walk you through some of the best options on the market and a little more about what they offer, so you’ll be an expert at hard drives in no time at all.
Our Recommendations for the Best Hard Drive for Gaming – Reviews for 2021
A hard drive has a unique set of requirements when it’s there to assist with gaming, so you have to know what you’re looking for.
To help you out, we’ve assembled a list of our favorites in this category and with specs and features to make everyone happy, and the ultimate in hard drives made for gaming.
Winner: Samsung 970 EVO Plus
- Storage: 1TB
- Read speed: 3500Mbps
- Hardware Interface: PCI Express x4
Samsung are tech giants and it’s no surprise that they know how to make a powerful hard drive. Their 970 EVO Plus is our pick for best hard drive for gaming computer and laptops thanks to its low latency, breakthrough read and write speeds and powerful performance. This hard drive is a must-have for gamers and features 1TB space so you’ll never want for any more.
According to happy customers, the best thing about this hard drive is its speeds, and you’ll notice just how fast it is when you’re gaming. If you’ve tried others and found them lagging and with low latency, having the whopping 3500Mbps speeds they’ve set for this hard drive will be clearly superior. Some users even found it went above and beyond in the benchmark tests that they ran at home.
On the negative side of things, the Samsung 970 EVO Plus is not the best budget hard drive for gaming and may be out of the reach of most. Considering its price, the software could use with an overhaul and a definite upgrade. Some people were frustrated at how long it took to work and Mac users had a whole new set of problems altogether, so be prepared to put in the effort to get the benefits.
The 970 EVO Plus from Samsung uses cutting edge V-NAND technology and an NVMe interface so it operates just as powerfully as a built-in SSD in the latest and greatest gaming computer. The hard drive is made specifically for gaming, as well as artists, designers, and tech lovers, with lightning fast speeds for reading and writing, and up to 600,000 IOPS Random Read.
This hard drive runs with the Samsung Magician Software which allows full management of the SSD, even if it is a little clunky during setup, and this covers your hard drive’s security and updates. They’ve included a dynamic thermal guard to prevent overheating which can be a lifesaver for gaming and saves you from worrying about something else while you’re playing.
The Samsung 970 EVO Plus comes with an impressive five year limited warranty from the manufacturer, and if you buy online at Amazon, you’ll benefit from the lowest price as well as free postage to your door. This is a serious choice for serious gamers and if you want the best internal hard drive for gaming but in an external and portable package, the 970 EVO Plus is our favorite by far.
Runner Up: Western Digital WD Black SN750
- Storage: 1TB
- Read speed: 3430Mbps
- Hardware Interface: PCI
Western Digital has thrown their hat in the ring for the best 1TB hard drive for gaming with their SN750. This hard drive is made for the demands of gaming and features a PCI hardware interface, 1TB of storage for all of your games, and a read speed of 3430Mbps making it ideal for quick retrieval and up to six times faster than its previous SATA SSD.
The coolest thing about this hard drive is that you can switch it to gaming mode and give yourself the absolute best in settings for this specific purpose. Unlike other hard drives that have one mode of operation, Western Digital has thought about what their customers want, and delivered the best hard drive for gaming that can be set up to deliver in all of the important benchmarks.
However, it’s not as fast as some others we’ve reviewed but still priced pretty high so you have to weigh up what matters most. In addition to this, customers didn’t like that this hard drive didn’t feature a heatsink so you’ll have to supply that yourself. Although they’ve made a space for it when paired with most modern gaming computers, you’ll need to pay extra to get the model with that part included or find one that comes with it included.
These issues aside, there are still lots of great features that the WD Black SN750 Hard Drive brings to the table. There are lots of space options available due to the use of the 64 layer 3D NAND which enables them to create hard drives as small as 500GB through to 4TB. The non-heatsink variety comes in sizes 250GB to 4TB, and it’s been built to allow for space to add this in.
The Western Digital Black SN750 is ideal for computer builds and fits right in with RGB lighting thanks to its red LED lights. With an NVMe drive, it’s not compatible with SATA interface but runs on PCI instead.
Everything can be set and adjusted using the dashboard that’s downloaded when you install the hard drive onto your computer, so it gives you easy access to make changes. You can use this function to turn it into gaming mode which will disable the system sleep mode and ensure you get the best and fastest experience for gaming.
The Western Digital Black SN750 Hard Drive might not be the fastest but it’s still got a lot to brag about, including its five year limited warranty. Found for the lowest cost online at Amazon and with free shipping, it’s still a good deal if you’re looking for the best 4TB hard drive for gaming or less. The SN750 is powerful, reliable, and easy to use, making it a top pick for both newcomer and expert computer builders.
Alternative: Samsung 860 EVO
- Storage: 1TB
- Read speed: 550Mbps
- Hardware Interface: SATA 6.0
If you don’t need a top-tier SSD and want to spend a little less, something like the older model Samsung EVO might be more your style. The 860 EVO runs with SATA as its hardware interface, clocks read speeds of around 550Mbps, and write speeds around 500Mbps. This Samsung SSD has storage options from 250GB up to 4TB and even though it’s an older model, it still has a lot to offer gamers.
Customers’ favorite feature of the Samsung 860 EVO is its consistency, which can be noticed during gaming and transferring of files. This is thanks to the TurboWrite technology used in this model which allows it to perform even under heavy workloads. Any gamer knows the importance of consistency in speeds, which are sometimes more important than the speed itself.
However, there appear to be some issues with compatibility which is to be expected in these earlier models of hard drives but still disappointing. You’ll want to check that yours is going to work, as people have experienced issues with AMD motherboards and Mac computers, just to name a few. The speeds are a little slower as well, and this is where you save money, so consider how many Mbps you need for the ideal gaming experience.
The Samsung 860 EVO has a buffer size of 78 GB and uses the innovative V-NAND technology that the brand is known for. This allows the SSD to read and write at good speeds which helps with gaming and rendering 4K videos and 3D data. The addition of this SSD can boost your computer’s performance and help manage a lot of the space that’s being taken up.
This hard drive is a 2.5-inch form factor so it fits with most PC builds and is compatible with Windows 8, 7, and Server 2003, as well as Mac, OSX, and Linux. You’ll be safeguarded, along with all of your data, and you can choose which security option you prefer during setup, including AES 256-bit encryption for your protection. Included with the hard drive are your user manual and SSD, but you’ll need to provide your own screws and brackets for installation.
Samsung offers a five-year limited warranty on this hard drive and 1.5 million hours of reliability, but some customers have found issues with the process, so you’ll be hoping it never happens to you. Priced very low for such a quality build, you can find it online at Amazon, and also benefit from fast shipping at no extra cost. The Samsung 860 EVO might be an older model of hard drive but it’s great for gamers who need the extra space, and all without breaking the bank.
Alternative: Western Digital Blue PC Hard Drive
- Storage: 1TB
- Read speed: 6000Mbps
- Hardware Interface: SATA
Western Digital has a reliable name in the hard drive game but if you don’t want to spend a fortune for this brand but still want the perks, their Blue PC Hard Drive is a great alternative. This hard drive is a 3.5-inch form factor, has ample space for whatever you need up to 6TB in size, and with shockingly good speeds of 6,000 megabytes per second.
For its price, the speed of this hard drive is impressive, and although there don’t seem to be too many other bells and whistles, you’ll notice a difference when you’re gaming with 6,000Mbps read speeds. This will boost response time and reduce latency which makes it compatible with all of the latest games and ensures you’ll never feel the lag as long as it’s working for you.
The Western Digital Blue PC Hard Drive isn’t built to last as long as other hard drives but is a good stop-gap if you’re looking for something to use for the next few years. The warranty coverage is less than half of the others and even the packaging that the drive came in left a lot to be desired. You’re not spending on the extras when it comes to this option and it shows, even if the other features are great for gaming.
This hard drive also comes with a free version of Acronis True Image WD Edition cloning software which lets you copy all of the data from your old drive to this new one and without any fuss. The Blue PC Hard Drive is compatible with all makes and models of computers thanks to rigorous testing and design, but you should check the specs of your just to be sure.
The Blue PC Hard Drive uses SATA as its user interface which is slightly dated but still impressive, and if you need a little more you can upgrade to the Blue 3D SSD from Western Digital hwich features SATA 2.5”. The options for sizes start as small as 500GB but they have some of the largest offerings with a 6TB hard drive available, which puts it miles ahead of other competitors.
Although it only features a two year limited warranty, it’s still got a lot to offer, and the reputable name of Western Digital behind it. As one of the cheapest options we’ve reviewed, it allows you to build on a budget, and you can purchase it for the best price at Amazon. The Blue PC Hard Drive is good for casual gaming and freeing up space, but still has impressive read and write speeds for something of its time.
Alternative: Seagate BarraCuda Compute
- Storage: 3TB
- Read speed: 185Mbps
- Hardware Interface: SATA 6.0
Seagate is no newcomer when it comes to computer accessories and parts, and their budget friendly BarraCuda is one of the best hard drive for gaming laptop options well under $100. The BarraCuda runs on SATA 6.0 hardware interface and has 3TB of space to give you ample room for gaming with the optional extras like a data recovery plan and additional memory available.
The best thing about this device is its longevity, and the same can be said for all of the products that Seagate creates. Although it has a smaller warranty period the make alone will ensure it lasts for many years beyond this, until the point where you’re ready for an upgrade due to other reasons.
It does have some downsides though, and for something this price, you’d have to expect a few. Some customers noted that it was noisy compared to drives they’ve used in the past, especially for its slower reading speeds, and others found the installation process to be a hassle. Downloading the driver presented some problems and led to over an hour for the entire thing to be setup. If you want speed and efficiency in your software, you’re not going to get it with the BarraCuda.
This hard drive is only a 3TB storage option which saves some money and is better for those with fewer needs, but their drives expand through to a mammoth 14TB if you prefer. With a SATA hard drive interface, you’ll find it compatible with almost everything you want to do on your PC, and it suits several different form factors and capacities.
The BarraCuda has a hard disk rotational speed of 5400 rpm which is fast for something at this price, even if it is a little noisy. Made for laptops, the hard drive also comes in an SSD option as well as M.2 SSD if you need something different. The brand boasts 20 years of experience creating these devices and it shows, with the quality construction and long-lasting efficiency that make them a smart investment.
If you don’t want to spend more than $100 but still want a reliable and consistent hard drive for your gaming laptop, look no further than the BarraCuda Seagate. This hard drive is available at Amazon for a great price, comes with free shipping, and a two-year limited warranty from the manufacturer that you’ll likely never have to worry about. Although it’s not the fastest reader, it’s still got plenty to offer and suits the budget friendly builder who wants a powerful gaming machine.
Hard Drive For Gaming FAQs
Choosing a hard drive for gaming is easier done when you know a little more about what they offer.
There’s some difference between these hard drives and others, so if you want to learn more, read on to see the answers to some commonly asked questions to get you started.
Is SSD Or HDD Better For Gaming?
An SSD offers better performance for gaming and is common in modern computers of today, but not always an option. If you’re building a computer from scratch, have an older model, faulty drive, or laptop without much space, using an HDD could be a better option if you want to continue gaming with the same performance.
What Is A Good Hard Drive Size For Gaming?
The size of the hard drive you need for gaming will depend on the games you’re playing. Modern games range between 20GB and 180GB in size, and as long as you have enough space to install them on your computer and plan on deleting them when you’re done, you shouldn’t have any issues.
Is 7200 RPM Hard Drive Good For Gaming?
A 7200 RPM hard drive could be used for basic to moderate gaming needs as they offer fast reading and writing capabilities and can run operating systems and programs. However, depending on the type of game you’re playing, you might something more high performance to be better suited.
Are External Hard Drives Ok For Gaming?
An external hard drive can be helpful for a gaming desktop or laptop, but it depends on the capabilities of the drive. Although they can increase the storage space and memory of your computer, they need to offer a fast response and load time to be effective, which not all hard drives can offer.
Sorting Out Your Storage
Many gaming PCs are set up to handle whatever storage and memory requirements your favorites have, but as we know, everyone’s station is unique.
There may be times you require a hard drive to game, for whatever reason, so making sure you’re equipped with the most efficient and responsive is key to carrying on.
The best hard drives for gaming will look different for each person, but with our recommendations of the top performers, you can choose the one that suits you best. With this additional storage, you’ll have room to play as you please, and it could be the one thing missing from your setup that will make the world of difference.