PC and console gamers alike usually save games on their gaming device. It just feels like if that main storage drive was put there then it has to be the best one for storing and running your games right?
Well, that may not be entirely true, as games take up more space and the performance of different storage drives grows, having an external hard drive for storing your games may benefit your gaming experience more than you’d think.
Games are getting bigger
Games on all platforms have reached graphics and gameplay quality we couldn’t even imagine a decade ago. But that performance comes at a price since all that juicy graphical and computing data takes up way more space than those older, inferior games. This is why having an extra storage device for your games is a good idea and a lot of external hard drives these days offer as much as internal ones. Getting a couple extra terabytes for all of those new games is easier than ever before. Add to that the portability and accessibility of an external drive and you will find that external hard drives are a pretty good option for storing your games in one place.
Most external hard drives function at 5400RPM, though, and while SSDs are super-fast, they are also super-expensive. But don’t worry because nowadays you can very easily build your own external hard drive from an internal drive and an enclosure. Less than 10 seconds of attaching the right connection, closing up the enclosure, and you’re done! This gives you the option to pick from the much larger internal HDD and SSD market with much cheaper drives that can yield higher performance.
Speed up loading times
Speaking of performance, your internal drive isn’t necessarily the best storage device for running your games, especially for consoles. You might think that all those fancy connections inside your computer should be much faster than the handy USB ports on the outside, but they’re actually starting to fall behind in terms of transfer speeds.
The most popular internal hard drive interface is SATA, with its newest version ver 3.0 reaching up to 6Gbps. Meanwhile, the newest version of USB – USB 3.0 can reach 5Gbps, both of which is plenty for any hard disk drive and most SSDs. If you’re lucky enough, you may have the USB 3.1 port which will grant you 10Gbps of bandwidth – plenty for any drive out there. There are also Mac-specific super-fast Thunderbolt (and outdated FireWire) ports, as well as the newer USB-C ports on some Macbooks and other computers.
That said, what affects the actual loading speeds of a hard drive are its own sequential and random read/write speeds because a fast port won’t make a slow hard drive go faster. Solid state drives (SSDs) are the way to go here if you have the money to spare for one. Otherwise, a 7200RPM will do you well enough with speeds almost 1.5 times higher than those of 5400RPM drives. Whether a new external drive will be faster depends on the one inside your PC, which may already be a fast enough drive for running games. But when it comes to consoles, most drives will be much faster than the default internal one that it came with, especially with Xbox One.
The days of buying physical copies of games are over. While accessing games is much easier today with different cloud store services for all platforms, you may be the kind of person who enjoys playing games face-to-face with your friends. In this case, a handy device for carrying that $60 game to your friend’s house instead of having him buy it again may be a great idea. Even the clunkiest enclosures are easy to carry with you for this purpose.
Even if you’re a more modern gamer who gets all of his games from online stores and only plays online, having one orderly storage device for all your games won’t hurt. Plus, if you’re using cloud gaming services like G-cluster or Playstation Now to play your favorite games, having a copy of these games on your own drive in case you lose your internet connection is a good idea. Not to mention the difference between hard drive transfer speeds and your internet connection that isn’t exactly intended for loading entire games.
A must-have for console gamers
All of the previous reasons for having an external hard drive for games have been somewhat vague because of how any PC gamer may already have a good enough internal drive. While there are a million and one different PC builds, consoles come pre-built. That build is far from being the best one for gaming because the internal drives that your Xbox One or PS4 consoles come with are pretty slow and small.
This is why having an external hard drive for games is very optional for PC gamers but pretty much a must-have for console gamers, since it’s much easier to just connect an external drive than it is to change the internal one of your console (Xbox One doesn’t even allow it). Console internal drives will quickly run out of space and will be slower than any external hard drive from a respectable manufacturer, so make sure you have a special external drive for your Xbox One, PS4, or any other console because it’ll definitely improve your gaming experience.