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The Best Gaming Hard Drives

Best Hard Drives for GamingWe compared some of the best hard drives for gaming across various budgets. These hard drives are ideal for gamers or anyone else looking for affordable storage in bulk.

While solid state drives are significantly cheaper than they have been in the past, traditional mechanical hard drives can still be solid options for the right user.

Also Read: SSD vs HDD for Gaming: Do SSDs Make Your Games Run Faster?

Your hard drive isn’t going to have the hugest impact on your gaming experience. However, they are still extremely important as they hold all of the important data, programs, and applications that are on your computer.

*NOTE: If you’re looking to increase the amount of storage in your laptop, make sure you get a 2.5″ drive and not a 3.5″ drive—as they will  not fit inside of a laptop.

**NOTE: Need an external storage solution? Check out our guide on the Best External Hard Drives.

How Much Storage Do You Need for Gaming?

As far as gaming goes, the only area where hard drives will make a difference is in the time it takes to load your game. Although, having a lot of storage is important for most gamers, who typically also have large amounts of music and videos. Some gamers even record their own videos. If that is the case, then the size of your hard drive is going to be extremely important.

I usually recommend a storage device with 1TB of storage space. This gives you plenty of space and it’s fairly affordable. If you’re working with a budget, then you’ll have to consider going with a smaller HDD or SSD and upgrading to more storage later.

In any case, you should look to get an HDD with a speed of at least 7200RPM. This will give you decent results in game load time and how quickly your system starts up (although, even at that speed, HDDs still lag significantly behind SSDs in load times).

Also Read: The Best SSDs for Gaming

If you’ve got a lot to spend on your new build (or upgrade), you might want to consider getting an SSD, and if you have a medium-range budget, getting a smaller SSD now, and adding more storage down the road might be the best option.

Quick Look: The Best HDDs for Gaming

The following table showcases our picks for the best hard drives, including our selections for the best traditional HDD, the best hybrid hard drive (SSHD), the biggest hard drive, the best option for laptops, and the best external hard drive.

NAME SPECS RATING
HDD
Western Digital 1TB WD Blue

Western Digital Blue

  • 1TB
  • 7200 RPM
  • 64MB Cache
  • 3.5-Inch
8.5/10

See Price »

Read Review »

HYBRID
Seagate FireCuda 2TB Solid State Hybrid Drive Performance SSHD

Seagate FireCuda

  • 2TB
  • 7200 RPM
  • 128MB Cache
  • 3.5-Inch
8.7/10

See Price »

Read Review »

CAPACITY
Seagate IronWolf Pro 20TB NAS Internal Hard Drive

Seagate IronWolf Pro

  • Max 20TB
  • 7200 RPM
  • 256MB Cache
  • 3.5-Inch
8.7/10

See Price »

Read Review »

LAPTOP
Seagate BarraCuda Pro 2.5

Seagate Barracuda Pro

  • 1TB
  • 7200 RPM
  • 128MB Cache
  • 2.5-Inch
8.6/10

See Price »

Read Review »

EXTERNAL
Western Digital Black Game Drive

WD Black Game Drive

  • 2TB
  • 5400 RPM
  • 128MB Cache
  • 2.5-Inch
8.4/10

See Price »

Read Review »

*For more information on the hard drives above, click the “Read Review »” link and you will skip to our overview of that HDD. To see our Honorable Mention picks, keep scrolling down.

1. Western Digital Blue

The best value hard drive for gaming

Western Digital 1TB WD Blue
  • 1TB Capacity
  • 7200RPM
  • 64MB Cache
  • 3.5″ Format

Our Rating: 8.5/10

Check Price on Amazon

A full 1TB of hard drive space is enough to match the needs of any budget-oriented gamer.

And, coming in at under $40 for the 1TB version, this 7200RPM Western Digital HDD is the sweet spot for budget gaming PC builds.

Now if you’re looking to do a lot of video editing and you have a larger budget, you’ll probably want to look at a solid SSD and pair it with the 2TB or 3TB version of this hard drive.

Otherwise, this HDD will give you everything you need storage-wise.

Ultimately, if you’re looking for a cheap storage option that will give you plenty of space to hold all of your games (has the ability to hold ~80 25GB games), then either this Western Digital Blue or the Seagate Barracuda drive below will be your best bet.

2. Seagate FireCuda

The best hybrid drive for gaming

Seagate FireCuda 2TB Solid State Hybrid Drive Performance SSHD
  • 2TB Capacity
  • 7200RPM
  • 128MB Cache
  • 3.5″ Format

Our Rating: 8.7/10

Check Price on Amazon

The Seagate FireCuda SSHD is unique in that it combines a traditional mechanical hard drive with flash memory technology. Or, in other words ,it is a mechanical hard drive with a small SSD built into it.

The SSD is used to store the data that you use the most, whether that’s from games or other programs. This helps improve load times in the applications that you use the most.

A lot of people recommend to just get a smaller SSD for the same price and then just add a mechanical hard drive later down the road to maximize your storage capacity. However, if you need the storage capacity now and don’t want to wait to get it, you can go with an option like the FireCuda and get a bit more speed to go along with your higher capacity drive.

Ultimately, if you’re building a budget gaming PC, I would probably recommend the typical route for storage, and that is to start with a smaller SSD and add more storage down the road. And, if you have a larger budget, you can either just start out with a large SSD, or combine a smaller-to-mid-size SSD and a large mechanical hard drive right from the get-go.

The FireCuda does come in 1TB and 2TB versions and both come in at under $100.

3. Seagate IronWolf Pro

The largest hard drive for gamers

Seagate IronWolf Pro 20TB NAS Internal Hard Drive
  • 20TB Capacity
  • 7200RPM
  • 256MB Cache
  • 3.5″ Format

Our Rating: 8.7/10

Check Price on Amazon

If you need an enormous amount of storage and you’ve got the budget for it, the Seagate IronWolf Pro series of hard drives is probably what you’re looking for. The IronWolf Pro lineup offers hard drives ranging from 4TB all the way up to 20TB capacities.

These drives are probably best-suited for creators who need a lot of space to hold their video files. However, if you’re a gamer that has a huge library of games that you like to cycle through, one of the IronWolf Pro drives might be a good option for you.

You won’t be able to load your games as quickly as compared to if they were installed on an SSD, but you will be able to fit all of your games with ease.

4. Seagate BarraCuda Pro

The best option for laptop users

Seagate BarraCuda Pro 2.5
  • 1TB Capacity
  • 7200RPM
  • 128MB Cache
  • 2.5″ Format

Our Rating: 8.6/10

Check Price on Amazon

If you’re gaming on a laptop and you’re looking for a new hard drive, then Seagate’s Barracuda Pro series might be what you’re looking for. These drives are similar to Seagate’s standard Barracuda lineup—just in a 2.5-inch format.

This series offers 7200 RPM speeds and 128MB cache—which is standard for traditional hard drives.

Although, considering the fact that, for just ~$10-$20 more, you can get an SSD with similar storage capacity and much higher read/write speeds, a 2.5-inch hard drive is a hard sell. In the end, I’d recommend getting an SSD instead. But if you absolutely need something for under $50, this would work.

5. WD Black Game Drive

The best external HDD for gaming

Western Digital Black Game Drive
  • 2TB Capacity
  • 5400RPM
  • 128MB Cache
  • 2.5″ Format

Our Rating: 8.4/10

Check Price on Amazon

If you’re looking for a portable storage option that you can keep all of your games on for easy access wherever you are, this Western Digital external drive is an option worth considering.

The Western Digital Black Game Drive series ranges in capacities from 2TB up to 5TB. It sports 5400 RPM speeds and 128MB of cache and comes in a smaller 2.5-inch format.

And, while you could opt for an external SSD for more performance, on a per/GB capacity basis, external hard drives are still much more affordable. This 2TB external hard drive comes in at a little under $60, whereas a 1TB external SSD will run you closer to $100.

So, if you need a good amount of storage space that you can take on the go, the WD Black Game Drive is a good choice.

Which Drive is Best for Gaming?

With SSD prices continuing to drop, it is becoming more and more difficult to recommend hard drives to gamers. SSDs offer significantly better performance and, on a cost-per-GB basis, they are quickly closing the gap.

However, there are still some use-cases where traditional hard drives make sense. And, if you’re looking for a hard drive for gaming-specific reasons, one of the options listed above should suit your needs.

But, in the end, for most gamers, we believe you’d be much better off spending your money on an SSD. Check out our guide on the best SSDs here.

Hey, I’m Brent. I’ve been building PCs and writing about building PCs for a long time. Through TechGuided.com, I've helped thousands of people learn how to build their own computers. I’m an avid gamer and tech enthusiast, too. On YouTube, I build PCs, review laptops, components, and peripherals, and hold giveaways.

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