Gaming hard drives are important components for any customized gaming rig. A great gaming hard drive won’t just act as storage for your games, it also allows you to load them faster – without lagging. There are many factors that must be considered when using and choosing a drive, mostly depending on the kind of gamer that you are. How often you will be playing and how many different game titles you’re planning on playing also play a role when choosing a hard drive.
To make the best informed decision, read on below to understand how gaming hard drives work. This way, you’ll also be able to make better sense of the specs listed for each product offering. Our main source of information comes from: http://www.gearforgaming.com/best-gaming-hard-drives/ which has great information on gaming hard drives.
The next important thing is the size of storage the hard drive has. When you save a file, a photo, or a game into a hard drive, it consumes “memory” space. In general, text files eat up the least space, followed by photos, music and the biggest chunk comes from videos. This space is measured in a unit known as a “byte” – kilobytes, megabytes, gigabytes, and terabytes.
Storage capacity is the first thing that gets noticed on any hard drive. Gamers who are just beginning with custom rigs usually start with 1TB or higher. It is important to keep in mind that apps and games will take up more real estate as updates and DLCs pour in. Needless to say, there are different available storage capacities to fit different needs.
500GB is mostly the standard for typical gaming setups. However, it won’t hurt to acquire extra space early on. The extra space will come in handy not just for your titles’ downloadable content, but also for gaming-related activities such as live streaming and video capture, which will eat through your drive in just a matter of minutes at 1080p and 1440p.
Luckily, hard drives (or storage, in general) are not as costly these days. Thus, you shouldn’t wince too much at investing in a bigger hard drive capacity, especially putting into account how it can save you the trouble of [inevitably] upgrading down the road.
Is speed important? Think of it this way. Whenever you turn on your machine, play a video, play music, access a document, or load a game, your hard drive is utilized. Whenever you use the hard drive, the discs inside it start spinning. As a rule, your computer works faster and easier the faster the discs spin. When they spin faster, it means that the machine is able to find what you’re looking for quickly – without issues.
The spinning is referred to as revolutions. This is measured through rpm (revolutions per minute). Now, speed is already an essential factor even for non-gaming uses. So you can imagine its weight if seen from a gamer’s perspective. Sure, 5,400 rpm should work well enough to load a game and get you playing, but we cannot promise a seamless experience. You are more likely to experience loading errors. The worst of which is a frozen screen where everything just stops. Most tech experts and pro gamers recommend a minimum of hard drives with at least 7,200 rpm.
Gamers get a couple of options for storage: gaming hard drives and solid-state drives. Both have advantages and disadvantages. There’s a misconceived rule going on in the gaming community, however, that simply choosing an SSD should automatically improve your gaming. There is a lot of debate about this, but the one thing that is certain is that SSDs can give you quicker loading times.
SSDs are more expensive than HDDs. They also fare better with file storage solutions. If you’re saving an operating system or a program, an SSD can be beneficial for you. However, if your needs are purely on the gaming side, you can settle for the mechanical option. The trade-off for those seconds lost during load times is the abundance of space, which you will need if you’re going to play the latest AAA titles – most go over 40 GB prior to DLCs. And don’t worry, the frames per second (FPS) that you’ll get won’t be affected.
A third option presents itself in the form of the Hybrid Drive. It basically combines the positive characteristics of both HD and SSD. Hybrid drives have a huge storage capacity and high speeds and cache. This is definitely an interesting alternate route to take. The price isn’t that different from conventional drives, either. If you are a seasoned custom rig gamer, you may have some fun experimenting with a hybrid drive – it may be wise to stick with branded ones, though.
There are different kinds of gamers. Each kind has a different set of priorities and needs. Depending on how you want to use your custom rig, you will require a specific kind of drive.
For instance, if you see yourself jumping from one title to another or if you share the rig with an entire household that plays different games, then you should get a large-capacity hard drive. A 1 TB should be sufficient in most cases. Those who play on their own most times or those who only occasionally play games (on vacation or on weekends) can do well with smaller and cheaper hard drives.
There are four main ways on how to connect a hard drive to your machine:
- USB – if you have an external HDD, it’ll most likely use this. There is no setup required. You just plug it into the bus port and once the computer is finished recognizing the drive, you can access and save files right away.
- FireWire – this works similarly like the USB connection, but it is substantially a lot faster. Users who often transfer bigger files (videos, software) prefer the FireWire 800 option.
- SATA – internal hard drives found in computers by default use this option. It is the standard for hard drives that you can buy in the market, unless you ask for a different one. The SATA III interface, which has been the standard for years now, can top out at 6Gpbs.
- eSATA – not many computer users know about this, but it is not that uncommon in PCs. It is a high-performance option that performs a lot like an internal drive. It can also run at up to 6Gpbs.
Of course, choosing one for your own gaming setup will depend on your personal preferences. We hope this guide is helpful in steering you towards the right direction. With all of this information available to you, you should have a clearer idea of what gaming hard drives are for and which ones can fit your needs. After all, hard drives are the soul of your machine. Replacing every other component of your PC will be easier than having to reproduce the contents of your gaming hard drive.
Sticking to known brands is a good tip to remember when shopping for a new gaming hard drive. Unless you’ve got years of custom-rigging under your belt, it’s best to buy credible pieces of hardware to avoid disappointment along the way. This is the safest bet, especially if you are willing to invest a lot into your gaming setup anyway.
Now that you’re fully informed of the things that you need to know about hard drives, which one will you pick? Are there any particular games that you’re most excited about?