Finding a good hard drive for all your gaming needs is never easy, especially with the wide array of choices available nowadays. When looking for a hard drive that is suitable for both fast-paced gaming and traditional storage requirements, one should always pay attention to its transfer speeds, cache, and of course, actual storage capacity.
Having said that, let us point out that not all hard drives are built to meet the same standards, especially those that meet the requirements of hardcore gamers. For this reason, we thought it would be best to make up a list of the ten best hard drives for gaming so as to give you a good idea of what to look for.
Best Hard Drives for Gaming – Reviews
10Western Digital 1 TB RE3 SATA 3
Starting with budget drives first, let us point out that you don’t necessarily have to spend an awful lot on a hard drive as long as the games you play don’t require to process too much information at a time. In this respect, a 32 MB Cache / 7200 RPM drive should be more than enough, especially if your rig isn’t state of the art. As for this particular drive, it should be said that it benefits from a RAFF technology that makes it resist vibrations better along with a multi-axis shock sensor to ensure the long-term safety of your data.
9Toshiba 3.5-Inch 1TB 7200 RPM SATA3 Hard Drive
This SATA3 hard drive from Toshiba should be considered an ideal budget buy for anyone looking to build a gaming PC without breaking the bank. Despite its affordable price, this 1TB drive will more or less meet all the operational standards of much more expensive drives while still being guaranteed to withstand the test of time. Also interesting for an HDD this affordable is the fact that it can reach 6.0 GB/s speeds, which even more expensive drives sometimes struggle with.
8Seagate 1TB FireCuda Gaming SSHD
Due to its Hybrid form, this particular hard drive will perform almost five times faster than regular 7200 RPM hard drives. Not just that but it also boasts a responsiveness of up to three times better than most other disk drives in this price range. Speaking of which, this hybrid drive is surprisingly affordable given its capabilities, which may explain why it is so popular in the first place.
7Toshiba P300 1TB Desktop
It is important for hard drives of any kind to offer data protection and reliability, which are the exact features that make this hard drive stand out. You see, Toshiba’s P300 hard drive benefits from an internal shock detection feature and ramp-loading technologies to help protect your drive along with the data they have stored. On top of all this, it has a PMR feature that offers both robustness and reliability when operating at top speed.
6WD SE 1TB Datacenter Hard Disk Drive
What makes this hard drive stand out is the fact that it has a StableTrac and RAFF features that offer it a much higher vibration tolerance. Another interesting thing about this high-end hard drive is that it has a 128 MB cache, which needless to say, is the desired standard for any hard drive nowadays. On top of all this, it offers more or less the best-in-class performance overall.
5HGST Travelstar 7K1000
The first thing to point out about the HGST Travelstar 7K1000 is that it benefits from an advanced format and an industry standard 4k sector size. At the same time, it features 512-byte emulation capabilities and a 6gb/s transfer speeds, an overall speed that recommends it for anyone looking to engage in some light gaming. Also worth pointing out is that it costs almost half what other drives in its class cost.
4WD Velociraptor WD1000DHTZ
As we enter the high-end range of the market, let it be said that Western Digital’s Velociraptor drive is perhaps the fastest out there. This extraordinary drive operates at speeds of no less than 10,000 RPM, a speed that can be considered impressive by most standards. Not only that but it also benefits from an impressive reliability, as its manufacturers guarantee no less than 1.4 million hours MTBF.
3Western Digital Black 1TB Performance Desktop Hard Disk Drive
This next-generation desktop performance drive from Western Digital represents the highest industry standards in terms of speed and reliability. Thanks to its improved architectural design, it will provide much better data protection than its predecessors through Vibration Control Technologies, Corruption Protection Technologies, NoTouch Ramp Load Technologies, and the longest manufacturer warranty out there.
2Seagate 1TB 3.5-Inch SATA 6GB/s Desktop SSHD
As the name would have you believe, this SSD+HDD hybrid operates at much faster speeds than regular hard disk drives, which makes it perfect for gaming purposes. In fact, it is about five times faster than regular hard drives while boasting a much bigger capacity than most SSDs out there. At the same time, this high-end drive benefits from a 64MB cache with 8GB NAND flash capabilities for added speed.
1WD Blue 1TB SATA Hard Disk Drive
When it comes to speed and reliability, you simply cannot find a better hard drive than WD’s Blue 1TB SATA Hard Disk Drive in this price range. Equipped with a Data LifeGuard feature, it will ensure that your drive is kept at optimal health at all times through the usage of advanced algorithms. Not only that but it also features a NoTouch Ramp Load Technology which safely positions the recording head off the disk surface so as to protect your data in the long run.
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How To Buy A Hard Drive For Gaming
Even though we have selected the ten best hard drives for gaming available, technology progresses, and you may find that you want a hard drive that’s a little more modern. That’s why we’ve decided to put together this little guide. With this guide, we hope to give our readers the skills they need to pick the best gaming hard drives available, even as they’re released to the public.
Why Is A Hard Drive Important For Gaming?
A frequently asked question is: What does a hard drive have to do with gaming? And that’s a good question to ask, so we’ll go ahead and answer it. A hard drive is important because it’s the single component that can be replaced fairly cheaply but will still contribute to game performance. If your hard drive lags, then your game is going to lag. And it’s a lot cheaper to replace a hard drive to squeeze out a little bit of extra game performance then it is to go up to the next level graphics card.
Okay, now that we’ve properly introduced this article, it’s time to get down to business and talk about some of the features that you should consider before buying a gaming hard drive. Since this computer is designed for beginners, we’ve added a section describing what a hard drive is. If you already know what a hard drive is, then feel free to skip that section and get right down to information that might be more useful for you. With that being said, let’s get started.
What Is A Hard Drive?
The best way to describe the functions of a hard drive is to tell you that it’s the part of the computer where information, files, and programs are stored. It’s also the part of the computer where the OS, or Operating System of the computer, is stored. Basically, the information is stored on these discs by manipulating the magnetic fields on the surface of the spinning disc, thereby distributing the material on the disc into patterns. Think of a hard drive as working similarly to how information was stored on cassette or videotapes, and it’s easier to understand. When you open up a program, such as a game or an Excel Sheet, the information is transferred into memory, and that’s where the program is executed or the file is opened. This type of hard drive is known as an HDD—short for hard disc drives.
Of course, HD drives aren’t the only ones available. There are also SSD or Solid-State-Drives. These drives perform the same function as HD drives, but they’re made with solid-state memory instead of a spinning platter. Therefore, SSDs work much the same way that SD cards work. And while they have their own specific advantages over HDDs, they also have their disadvantages.
HDD Versus SSD
To further illustrate the differences between Hard Disc Drives and Solid-State-Drives, we went ahead and thrown together the pros and cons of each type, so you can get a better understanding of each.
Hard Disc Drives (HDD)
- Better for long-term storage
- Doesn’t Fail Suddenly
- Can be noisy
- Isn’t as fast as SSDs
Solid State Drives (SSD)
- Is very fast
- Is better for operating systems
- Is better for storing frequently used files
- Costs more per Gig than HDDs
- Tend to fail suddenly at the end of their lifespan
As you can see from the above Pros and Cons, HDD drives tend to be the cheaper and more reliable solution than SSD drives. But that doesn’t mean that SSD drives should be discounted because these drives are blistering fast and don’t make any noise at all. If you want the best performance, choose an SSD. If you want reliability, choose an HDD. It’s really that simple.
The Hard Drive’s Speed
The next thing that needs to be considered is the speed of the hard drive. Each hard drive has at least one spinning platter in them that stores information. The faster that this platter spins, the faster the computer can access the data on the disc and the faster it can transfer that data into memory. The speed of the hard drive is measured in Revolutions Per Minute or RPMs. The more RPMs a hard drive has, the faster it should operate. Although most standard hard drives are in the 5,400 RPM range, gamers will need hard drives that are at least 7,200 RPMs or faster.
The Hard Drive’s Capacity
Another thing to consider is the capacity of the hard drive. Generally speaking, you’ll want to get an HDD or SSD with the highest capacity possible. HDD drives come in all types of different sizes, but the sizes most suitable for gamers is between 1 TB and 16 TB. SSDs also come in a variety of sizes, but the more affordable ones are generally around 2 to 4 TB in size.
The Hard Drive’s Cache
Another thing that affects performance is the cache size of the hard drive. This is the section of the drive that holds information as the drive accesses information across the spectrum of the disc’s platter. Since hard drives don’t store information all in one place, but instead stores each program in different segments across the drive, the cache is needed as the drive collects all of these bits together. The gathered bits of data can then be transferred to memory as a whole program or file. As you probably figured out by now, that means that a larger cache results in better drive performance as it can transfer the information quicker. Most hard disc drives have a cache capacity of anywhere from 8 MB on up.
The Hard Drive’s Transfer Rate
You’ve probably seen hard disc drive transfer rates listed on most HDD listing. These are often listed as SATA 3.0 GB or SATA 6.0 GB/per second transfer speeds. Even though you do have to make sure that your hard drive is compatible with your particular computer—meaning it uses the same SATA interface, the speed of this transfer method isn’t really important. That’s because the transfer speed is the theoretical speed of the SATA interface, not the HDD’s transfer rate. Hard drives can’t transfer at those speeds anyway, so just ignore the speed and instead make sure that the hard drive can be plugged into your computer’s interface.