Using gaming external hard drives has been a phenomenon in this era. You won’t find any serious gamer without having at least one external hard drive for their gaming purposes. The external hard drives that game enthusiasts pick have to be powerful and very reliable. For this reason, not just any external hard drive fits for video gaming. There’re standards the drive must meet in order to be suitable for this kind of use. Here, in this article, we’ll go through the best external hard drives for PC and laptop. Additionally, these drives suit gaming PCs/laptops very well. So, if you have a gaming PC or a gaming laptop, the external drives listed below are the ones to choose from. They offer the highest possible gaming performance compared to other external hard drives on the market.
What’s the Best External Hard Drive for Gaming?
It’s a fact among savvies that solid-state drives (aka SSD) are the best storage devices ever by all means. An SSD is much faster than the fastest mechanical hard drive and even much more reliable. Do you know that an SSD can last more than 5 years without a single error/failure? And since gaming works need powerful devices, there’s no better I can recommend than external SSDs for gaming.
For that reason, the first three recommendations here are external SSDs, whereas the last two are the best regular gaming external hard drives.
It’s worth to note that don’t use a portable external hard drive for gaming. Portable hard drives are made up of spinning glass or metal platters, making them a poor choice for heavy workload tasks—especially if you carry them around. Desktop external hard drives or portable SSDs are better here.
Samsung T5 External SSD
If you’re serious about getting the best gaming external hard drive in all terms, don’t look any further. Samsung T5 External SSD must be your first consideration.
Samsung is a company that has made some brilliant portable SSDs, however the Samsung Portable SSD T5 is our pick of the best portable SSD of 2019. It builds on the brilliant design and performance of its predecessor—the Samsung T3 SSD. It brings its predecessor up to date with an incredibly fast USB Type-C connection that ekes out every last drop of performance from the solid state drive inside. Of course, it’s also backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 if your PC doesn’t have USB Type-C. It’s expensive, but it’s well worth the cash.
Overall, the Samsung T5 is just the simplest no-frills external SSD that you can get. The exterior design is clean and inconspicuous, the frame is sturdy, and it is very lightweight and highly portable. Meanwhile, the performance is the usual 540 MB/s read/write speed that is the norm with NAND SSDs, so it’s more than fast enough – at least as far as external storage is concerned. On top of that, it is also cheaper than most other external SSDs, though not by much.
Our only qualm with the T5 is that choosing the color is not an option, as blue is only available for the two smaller variants and black for the other two versions with greater storage capacity.
- Storage Capacity: 250GB – 2TB Solid State Drive
- Form Factor: Portable SSD. Color: Blue/Black
- Dimensions (W x H x D): 2.91 x 2.26 x 0.41 inches. Weight: 1.80 ounces
- Interface: USB 3.1 Gen 2 (Up to 10Gbps). Backwards Compatible
- Data Transfer Speed: Up to 540 MB/sec (Performance may vary depending on host configuration and test software)
SanDisk Extreme Portable External SSD
If you’re looking for fast external USB storage for gaming, the SanDisk’s USB 3.1 Gen 2 Extreme Portable SSD is one of the best to go for. It’s just a tad slower than Samsung’s T5, but one-ups that worthy drive with a svelte and cleverly ergonomic design.
Remember that USB 3.1 Gen 2 offers a 10Gbps data transfer rate, but it requires a Gen 2 port for full performance. Connecting this drive to a USB 3.1 Gen 1 port (5Gbps) will limit throughput to around 300MBps.
When it comes to price and performance, there’s not a whole heck of a lot to choose from between SanDisk’s Extreme Portable SSD and Samsung’s T5. The design may be a bit too much for some people, but even if you prefer a simple and clean exterior, there’s just no denying: this is the best external SSD if portability is your chief concern. It is also IP55-certified for water and dust resistance, all the while the rubber exterior ensures it won’t get damaged easily.
So, all in all, if you’re just looking for a fast drive for backup and gaming, the Samsung T5 SSD is probably the better bet—it will save you appreciable time over the long haul. If, on the other hand, the drive is going to travel, the Extreme Portable SSD is far more practical and comfortable to use.
- High-speed transfers with up to 550MB/s read speeds let you move hi-res photos and videos fast (Based on internal testing; performance may be lower depending on drive capacity, host device, OS and application.)
- Ruggedized, water- and dust-resistant (IP55-rated) (IEC 60529 IP55: Tested to withstand water flow (30 kPa) at 3 min.; limited dust contact does not interfere with operation. Must be clean and dry before use.)
- Shock-resistant solid state core for greater durability (Shock-resistant (up to 1500G) and vibration-resistant (5g RMS, 10-2000 HZ), Non-Operating Temperature(from ‐20°C to 70°C), operating temperature (from 0°C to 45°C)).
- Compact and pocket-sized.
- For PC and Mac users; Compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista and Mac OS 10.4+.
- Built by SanDisk, a technology leader and pioneer of the modern day SSD, to deliver superior performance.
- 3-year limited manufacturer warranty.
Seagate Fast SSD
Seagate is a well-known brand when it comes to storage, and it’s brought its impressive experience to the portable SSD market with the brilliant Seagate Fast SSD. This is an impressively slim external SSD, at only 9mm thick with a footprint of 94 x 79mm. It’s great for use as a gaming external storage device.
Best of all, it’s affordable – with prices likely to drop – and it’s an excellent performer, relatively small, plus it has a nice design and a three-year warranty. Well worth considering if you’re looking for a the best portable SSD for a low price.
Seagate didn’t leave anything off the table when naming the new Fast SSD. Everything they wanted shoppers to know is right into the name. This is supposed to be a fast SSD, but there is a bit more to the story. The Fast SSD is a portable model that uses the new Type-C connector to keep the design very thin. Inside it uses a Phison PS5010-S10 SATA controller paired with Toshiba 3D flash memory.
The drives use a USB-to-SATA bridge to deliver up to 540 MB/s sequential read and 500 MB/s sequential write speeds. On the host side, the Fast SSD features a USB 3.1 Gen 2 that allows Seagate to get the last 40 MB/s out of the USB bus (USB 3.1 Gen 1 is only 5Gbps or around 500 MB/s). On the other side of the bridge where the SSD connects, is where the Phison S10 SATA 6Gbps controller fits in.
That said! This drive is a great choice for gaming. You won’t find a gaming external hard drive that can beat the performance the Fast SSD offers.
- Up to 2TB of storage
- Sleek, stylish and ultra-modern design
- Lightweight and shock resistant solid state drive – take it everywhere
- Future proof USB-C technology; transfer speeds up to 540MB/s
- Folder syncing software helps keep your important files up-to-date
WD Elements Desktop Hard Drive
If you don’t want to get an external SSD for its high price, the best to go for is desktop external hard drives. They are more reliable and faster than portable drives. And since gaming works are resource demanding, I strongly advise to go for desktop/stationary external hard drives.
The best I can advise here is Western Digital Elements. Without hesitation I pick this as the best external hard drive for gaming. Whether you have a gaming PC or gaming laptop, this is the drive that fits both systems.
WD Elements desktop storage with USB 3.0 offers reliable, high-capacity, add-on storage, fast data transfer rates and universal connectivity with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices. The sleek design features up to 10TB capacity plus WD quality and reliability. Compatible with PC.
- Fast data transfers; Formatted NTFS and compatible with Windows 10, Windows 8.1 or Windows 7
- High-capacity add-on storage
- Plug-and-play ready for Windows PCs
- WD quality inside and out
- 2-year manufacturer’s limited warranty
What is a Gaming External HDD
A Gaming external hard drive is, as its name implies, an external HDD used for gaming. If you have a large photo or video collection—perhaps you are a photo or video editor, or maybe a movie buff—you’ll likely need several terabytes of space in which to store it. So your best option is a desktop-class drive. We define these as having one or more spinning-platter drives inside and requiring its own dedicated power cable. The best external hard drive for gaming PC is somewhat you have to care about when looking for the right one. Of course, in this scenario, your files are going to have to stay at your desk.
External-drive shopping can pull you deep into specs and features, but the most important two numbers for consumers are capacity and price. Many assume the lowest-cost drive gets you the most value, but it often doesn’t. In fact, dollar for dollar, it’s often the worst deal.
PC and Laptop Gaming
Whether you want the external hard drive for a PC gaming, or you look forward to use it for laptop gaming, these drives listed here will fulfill this goal well enough. A desktop drive with a single platter mechanism inside will typically use a 3.5-inch drive inside and will be found in capacities up to 12TB, and most are roughly 5 inches tall and 2 inches wide. Even when trying to get an external hard drive for gaming laptop, you have to be careful about its performance. In addition to storing large media collections, these drives can also serve as inexpensive repositories for backups of your computer’s hard drive that you schedule using either the software that came with the drive or a third-party backup utility.
The performance of gaming is an important factor to consider when looking for an external hard drive. Additionally, If you’re paranoid about backups, consider getting two backup drives, possibly in different colors, and then alternating complete backups of your PC to the drives every few month. This should mitigate data loss should a drive die. Truly paranoid people will even take the second drive to work so there’s no chance of losing both drives to the same local disaster.
The next size up for consumer desktop drives is about the same height but twice as wide to accommodate additional drive mechanisms in the chassis. You must prioritize gaming performance over all other factors here. Something such as with the Western Digital My Book Duo. These larger drives are more expensive but also much more capacious; the highest-capacity current models employ two drives for up to 20TB of storage. Note: In the case of these and single-platter-drive products, you’re not meant to swap out the drive or drives inside.
What to Look for in a Gaming External Hard Drive
There are a few aspects to look for when picking an external hard drive for gaming. Once you bear these in mind and correctly make your choice, you’ll have an impressive gaming experience. They are:
- Capacity – The capacity you need really depends on your lifestyle. If you’re a photographer or videographer, for instance, you’ll want something with a large capacity that can store all of your RAW files. A gaming external hard drive must have a capacious storage space. In that case, go for 4TB and above. If, however, you’re a student who just needs to back up some term papers and smartphone photos, 1TB should be plenty.
- Transfer speed – Backing up your files takes time, no doubt. For a better gaming experience, the external hard drive you choose for gaming must be fast enough. If you have a lot of data to copy, you could be looking at a couple hours at the least. If speed is important to you, buy an external hard drive with transfers speeds of at least 120MB/s for writing and 130MB/s for reading.
- Portability – There are some pretty hefty hard drives out there, but if you’re often on the go, portability is key. Some devices are as compact as a deck of cards, which make them easy to toss into your bag for convenient backing up. You better, after all, pick a stationary external hard drive for gaming instead of portable drives.
It’s not difficult at all to find a good gaming external hard drive. Also, it’s no secret that external SSDs now are the best fit for this purpose. Therefore, if you’re quite serious about improving your gaming experience, having an external SSD is mandatory. But if you find it expensive and want a capacious drive that offers moderate speed with solid reliability, go for a stationary desktop external hard drives. They are faster and more reliable than portable hard drives. They can give you the gaming experience you expect from an external hard drive. Just be careful about what external HDD to go for and enjoy your what you choose.