A great video game hard drive not only stores all the games you play, but also loads them quickly. So, how do you know what type of drive has the best value? Which drive is big enough for your game collection, and fast enough to keep load times to a minimum?
Ultimately, it depends on what type of gamer you are.
Finding The Right Capacity
First, you want a drive that has enough storage to suit your needs. Hard drives that are 1TB or more in size, such as a WD Red hard drive,
is a common starting point for many gamers, making sure to account for growing game sizes. While 500GB is standard for gaming systems nowadays, things like downloadable content (DLC), video recording, and live streaming, quickly use up the capacity of a drive. Storage space isn’t as expensive as it used to be, so the added investment now could make a huge difference down the road.
Choosing The Right Speed
The speed of a drive is important, and it’ll impact your gaming experience, so a drive that at least runs at 7200 revolutions per minute (RPM) is recommended. While a 5400 RPM drive could work, there are issues of freezing and errors when combined with newer hardware. If you’re building a new PC, or just looking to upgrade, consider something like a WD Black hard drive
and make 7200 RPM the new minimum.
Using The Right Drive
There are two common hard drive types: the tried-and-true spinning-media hard drive (HD) and the snappy solid-state drive (SSD). Each have their pros, cons and a designed purpose. There’s a common misconception that a solid state drive will improve your gaming experience. While the minutiae are still up for debate, the only noteworthy improvement an SSD offers is faster load times.
The reality is SSDs are still on the expensive side, and they work best when they’re used to store programs or an OS. Games, like data, perform best on a traditional hard drive with fast write-speeds. With a traditional hard drive, you can ensure you get a something with the right capacity and transfer rates to run your games with minimal lag or interruptions.
Another solution is a hybrid drive, which combines the characteristics of both solid state and hard disk drives. Hybrid drives come with large capacity of a traditional drive with the speed and cache comparable to some SSDs, making an interesting new alternative. The cost isn’t much more than what you’d find with a traditional drive, so it may be worth the experiment if it’s from a brand you trust.
What kind of gamer are you?
Different gamers have different needs, so it all depends on what you plan to use your gaming rig for. If you constantly play games throughout the week, or have family members who want a wide variety of games, 1TB is recommended. However, if you’re the lone gamer of the house and you only play a few games a year, you can probably stick with a smaller drive at a lower price.
Ultimately, though, it boils down to the type of gamer you are. If you play multiple games throughout the week or have family members who all play something different, then getting a large drive, perhaps closer to 1TB in size, is recommended. If you're the lone gamer in the house, you can likely get away with a smaller drive at a smaller price.
Now that you know where to start, what kind of system will you make? What games are you looking forward to the most? What are you doing to improve your gaming experience?