A lot of casual gamers don’t really think about the quality of their hard disk drives (HDDs) when playing. It’s usually enough for the HDD to store the game in full. If it can store a few other things, that’s an added bonus.
The more ardent player will want something more. A good HDD ensures fast access to the game, high volumes of storage space, and fewer delays when playing. All of these are desirable HDD traits for those who spend a lot of their time playing. Conversely, low quality HDDs may not prove suitable, especially when used to store modern AAA titles that often take many gigabytes of space.
Quality is key when buying a HDD for gaming. There are many factors that you should consider before making your purchase. To help you along, we have compiled a list of three of the best HDDs for gaming that are currently available.
Weighing in at a pretty meaty one terabyte, the WD Blue offers plenty of storage space for gaming. Let’s say the average AAA game takes up 30 gigabytes of storage space. That would mean you could store over 30 games on this HDD alone. Of course, that number increases if you play games that don’t need as much space.
Beyond storage, the WD Blue includes IntelliSeek technology. This ensures the HDD can quickly find whatever game you’re trying to open. This lowering of seek speeds means the HDD consumes less power and doesn’t make as much noise as comparable models. The former point is particularly important, as lower power consumption means you save money on energy bills over time.
The HDD also comes withNoTouch Load technology, which ensures the HDD’s recording head does not come into contact with the disk’s surface. You also get Data LifeGuard, which is a series of advanced algorithms that keep track of the data you store on the HDD to ensure it stays at optimal levels.
It’s not all great news. The HDD does not come with any accessories. That means you will need to purchase any cables or screws needed to mount it yourself. It also doesn’t come with a manual, so you may need to seek advice elsewhere if you haven’t mounted a HDD before.
Even so, this is an excellent and cost-effective choice for experienced gamers who have mounted HDDs previously. Retailing at $49.99 at the time of writing, the WD Blue also comes with a two-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.
WD returns with another sleek HDD. At first glance, it doesn’t appear to offer much different to the WD Blue. Both HDDs have the same storage capacity. Further, they’re also both capable of 7,200 RPM (Revolutions per Minute). The WD Blue even has a larger cache, clocking in at 64 megabytes compared to the WD Black’s 32 megabytes.
So, why the higher price tag for the WD Black? For one, the WD Black offers a lot more freedom when it comes to use. As a mobile hard disk, you can install it into a notebook or other portable computer where the WD Blue is for desktops only. That isn’t to say you can’t use the WD Black for desktop computing. It just means that it offers more disk space than you may typically find in a mobile solution.
WD has also focused on improving the architecture design of this HDD. It features StableTrac technology to enable it to find data quickly and safely. The HDD also has an anti-vibration technology that protects the disk during intense use. Additional protection from disk corruption comes as standard, as does the same NoTouch load technology that acts as a key feature for the WD Blue.
Unfortunately, the WD Black does not come with any of the screws or cables you’ll need to mount it. What it does have is an industry-best five-year warranty from the manufacturer. That makes it something of a steal for the current price of $71.95.
The first thing you’ll notice about Seagate’s FireCuda is the larger storage space. Coming in at two terabytes, this SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive) can hold twice as much data than the two WD models we’ve already examine. That means double the gaming on your desktop. It also offers a 7,200 RPM and 64 megabyte cache. There’s also a one terabyte model, if you want to save some money.
What separates the FireCuda, apart from the storage space, is the fact that Seagate built this SSHD with gamers in mind. It’s capable of withstanding the pressure placed on it by even the most intensive gaming sessions. You’ll get smooth performance whether you have been playing for one hour or 10.
It comes with Flash enhancement, which boosts the performance levels further. In fact, Seagate claims that the SSHD technology it uses means this hard disk works five times faster than standard HDDs.
Beyond that, the FireCuda also feels at home for those who need a solid SSHD for video editing or power computing. It may focus primarily on gamers, but this is an SSHD that offers versatility, too.
The FireCuda matches the WD Black’s five-year manufacturer’s warranty, meaning you’re protected from any issues for longer. It also clocks in at a higher price, costing $90.99 at the time of writing. Still, you get higher levels of performance than the WD HDDs and you’ll see where that money went from the moment you load it into your rig.
We’ve tested all of these hard disks extensively and have come to the conclusion that the Seagate FireCuda offers the best performance of the lot. It runs faster and allows you to store more games, meaning it will be a while before you feel the need to upgrade.
That’s not to say the WD HDDs don’t have their positives. The WD Blue offers a lot of great things in its own right and is certainly a great choice for those looking to shop on a budget. Mobile gamers should go for the WD Black as it is the only one of the three that you can use away from the desktop setup.