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The 7 Best External Hard Drives for Gaming

Are you running out of storage space on your PC or console? The best external hard drive for gaming may be your best tech investment this year.

External hard drives increase your gaming rig’s storage capacity (and thus your games library) by several fold. What’s more, they’re ridiculously easy to setup for techies and non-techies alike! You simply plug them in via USB, and voila — you’re ready to download, install, and play your favorite titles without messing around inside the chassis.

This article walks you through the best external hard drives for gaming on the market, giving you a look at the top HDD options available. We’ll also take a look at how to choose the best option for your setup (external hard drives work for PC and console) and peek at the major benefits behind the hardware. If you’re ready to scope out the most reliable picks on the market, let’s dive in.

Zoom Out: Comparison Table of the Best External Hard Drives

This comparison table will give you a quick overview of all of the external hard drives for gaming. They are in the same order as our more detailed summaries in the following section.

1. WD_BLACK P10 Game DriveHDD500GB-5TB
2. Seagate Portable External HDDHDD500GB-16TB
3. Samsung T7 Portable SSDSSD500GB-2TB
4. Toshiba CanvioHDD1-4TB
5. Silicon Power A60 ArmorHDD1-5TB
6. G-Technology G-DriveHDD4-18TB
7. WD My PassportHDD1-5TB

Zoom In: A Closer Look at the 7 Best External Hard Drives for Gaming

Starting with our #1 pick, let’s jump right into the list of external hard drives.

1. WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive

WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive

The best external hard drive for gaming overall

Manufacturer: Western Digital | Type: HDD | Storage Space: 500GB–5TB | Transfer Technology: USB 3.0 | Price: 💰💰💰

If you’re seeking a quality, multi-platform storage solution that works as well on Windows 10 as it does on PlayStation, you need to take the WD_Black P10 for a test drive.

Built like a tank and designed exclusively for gaming, the P10 is ready to handle all your storage needs. It’s pre-formatted to work alongside all major platforms and features insane speeds up to 140MB per second that guarantees pixel-perfect performance in today’s top titles. You can also get this bad boy in storage capacities up to 5TB, which is equivalent to one-hundred 50GB games!

The major downside to such power? The drive is a little loud and the speed consistency can slip in certain situations. That said, it should always remain stable enough for reliable performance, and noise is nothing if you’ve got a pair of sweet headphones, right?

Overall, the WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive is an exceptional option from one of the most reputable storage manufacturers around. The team at HGG highly recommends it for most users.

  • Preformatted for top gaming platforms
  • USB 3.0 w/ speeds up to 140MB per second
  • Affordable price considering performance
  • Fairly loud
  • Works on PS5, but can only store PS4 games
  • HDD won’t load as fast as an SSD from WD’s P50 lineup

2. Seagate Portable External HDD

Seagate Portable External HDD

The best external hard drive for gaming on a budget

Manufacturer: Seagate | Type: HDD | Storage Space: 500GB–16TB | Transfer Technology: USB 3.0 | Price: 💰💰

If you’re looking for a quality portable hard drive on a budget, look no further. The Seagate Expansion does it all (and then some) without breaking the bank. That’s all thanks to its universal compatibility with PC and consoles, massive storage capacities up to 16GB, and cutting-edge USB 3.0 technology from a manufacturer with the expertise to get it done right.

Use the Seagate HDD to store and play your favorite titles, and take them on the go no problem-o with the slim form factor. Plug-and-play technology makes jumping into your favorite games a cinch, and the 120 MB/s transfer speed ensures top-tier performance throughout the entire experience. Overall, a great storage option with fantastic user ratings.

  • Under $50 for 1TB
  • Syncs with Windows, macOS, and consoles
  • Fits in the palm of your hand, roughly 4.5 x 3.2 x 0.6 inches
  • Only 1-year (limited) warranty
  • More of a multipurpose option that strictle gaming drive
  • Privacy advocates beware — requires registration with Seagate

3. Samsung T7 Portable SSD

Samsung T7 Portable SSD

The best external SSD for gaming

Manufacturer: Samsung | Type: SSD | Storage Space: 500GB–2TB | Transfer Technology: USB 3.2 | Price: 💰💰💰

While this article is primarily about external hard disk drives, we couldn’t help but include the T7 SSD by Samsung.

The T7 SSD is a staple in many modern gaming arsenals for one simple reason — it performs exceptionally well. Thanks to its trailblazing USB 3.2 data transfer I/O and modern solid-state components, it offers read and write speeds up to 1GB per second! In other words, games load in record time, with no lag or delays.

This SSD also sports an attractive metal design that’s smaller than a deck of cards and weighs just a few ounces. But big things come in small packages, and you can buy the T7 in sizes up to 2TB, complete with awesome features like Dynamic Thermal Guard and AES 256-bit hardware encryption.

The downside is the price. SSDs use more expensive internal components, and you can expect to shell out 2x the price of a comparable HDD.

  • Blazing-fast speeds up to 1GB/s
  • Compact design measures 3.3 x 2.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Compatible with PC, Mac, consoles, even smartphones
  • Subpar integrated software
  • Runs fairly hot despite Dynamic Thermal Guard
  • Requires USB 3.2-compatible device to take advantage of full speeds

4. Toshiba Canvio Gaming HDD

Toshiba Canvio Gaming HDD

The best external hard drive for PS5

Manufacturer: Toshiba | Type: HDD | Storage Space: 1–4TB | Transfer Technology: USB 3.0 | Price: 💰💰

Lucky enough to get your hands on the new PS5? The Toshiba Canvio Gaming is a crucial accessory for expanding your games library, especially with the Digital Edition.

Like all PS5 external drives, the Canvio can only store and play PS4 games, but it does so with record speed and performance. This is largely thanks to Toshiba’s special firmware, which features an “Always-On” mode for snappy responsivity and stable performance. It’s also due to the USB 3.0 I/O that offers read and write speeds up to 500MB/s (though you’re not likely to reach those speeds on a hard disk).

Overall, it’s an excellent option for PlayStation gamers looking for an affordable, speedy solution.

  • Zippy speeds courtesy of USB 3.0
  • Syncs perfectly with PlayStation 4 and 5
  • Portable size starts at 4.4 x 3.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Subpar cable
  • Drive heats up quickly
  • PS5 displays an error if put into rest mode while downloading games

5. Silicon Power A60 Armor HDD

Silicon Power A60 Armor HDD

The best external hard drive for Xbox X|S

Manufacturer: Silicon Power | Type: HDD | Storage Space: 1–5TB | Transfer Technology: USB 3.1 | Price: 💰💰💰

If you’re seeking the best external hard drive for gaming on consoles (specifically Xbox), the Silicon Power A60 is a fantastic option.

The Silicon Power A60 Armor is a gaming juggernaut that’s comes in sizes up to 5TB and features the latest USB 3.1 tech for quick transfer speeds and zippy gameplay. Moreover, it’s outfitted with a plug-and-play design as well as military-grade armor for quality performance and protection (wouldn’t want anything to happen to your games library)!

Take it on the go with the cable-carry design, and play your favorite Xbox One or Series X|S games wherever, whenever.

  • Stays put thanks to underside grips
  • Plug-and-play on Xbox and PlayStation
  • Rugged design w/ shockproof, water-resistant shell
  • Speeds tend to fluctuate
  • Cable lock prone to breaking
  • No password protection option

6. G-Technology G-Drive HDD

G-Technology G-Drive HDD

The best external hard drive for PC gaming and Mac gaming

Manufacturer: G-Technology | Type: HDD | Storage Space: 4–18TB | Transfer Technology: USB 3.1 | Price: 💰💰💰💰

The G-Drive is, without a doubt, one of the best external hard drives for gaming PCs and Macs.

Why, you ask?

For starters, it features easy plug-and-play connectivity on macOS and a simple reformatting process for PC and Xbox. It’s also equipped with a USB 3.1 interface that offers full USB 2.0 backwards compatibility, as well as 4 to 18TB of storage space. That’s a lot of games.

As for style? This modern drive features a sleek aluminum case that’ll make you feel like an executive as you’re raking in the dough during Game Dev Tycoon or Railroad Corporation. And it’s not all for show, either — the metal shell is extremely durable, and G-Technology offers a full 3-year warranty that guarantees the safety and performance of this unit.

Everything comes at a cost, however. This versatile external hard drive is the most expensive on our list, and you can expect to pay well over $100 for the base model.

  • Sleek aluminum design
  • High storage capacity, up to 18TB
  • Extremely versatile; ideal for gaming and professional use
  • Very expensive, over $150
  • Requires its own power source
  • Must reformat for use with PC and console

7. WD My Passport External HDD

WD My Passport External HDD

The best portable storage drive for gaming

Manufacturer: Western Digital | Type: HDD | Storage Space: 1–5TB | Transfer Technology: USB 3.0 | Price: 💰💰

The Western Digital My Passport series is all about quality storage on the go. This latest iteration of their mega-popular external hard drive starts at 1TB and boasts USB 3.0 technology for swift data transfers on all major operating systems and gaming platforms.

My Passport also ships with a number of unique safety features, including password protection and 256-bit hardware encryption to keep your files safe and sound. While you’ll need to reformat the drive to use it on devices other than PC (quick guide here), it’s still a fantastic buy and one of the best portable gaming storage drives.

  • Stylish color options
  • 256-bit hardware encryption
  • Plenty of space, from 1 to 5 TB
  • On the more fragile side
  • Users dislike new WD Discovery software
  • Must reformat to use with macOS or console

External Drive Guide Part I: What is an External Hard Drive for Gaming?

External Hard Drive Interior
Image: Pixabay

An external hard drive for gaming is like a regular hard drive for gaming, except it’s uniquely designed to work outside the computer chassis. This means you can expand your storage capacity without the hassle of a full installation. Instead, you can keep your favorite titles and files on the external drive and plug it in via USB when you’re ready to download, transfer, or play your games! It’s super convenient and the perfect solution for gamers short on storage space.

How Does an External Hard Drive for Gaming Work?

Like standard HDDs, external hard disk drives use magnetism combined with adjustable internal components to read and write digital data.

Picture the following scenario.

Eager to play your favorite flight simulator, you plug in your external drive and double click on Microsoft Flight Simulator. The external drive whirrs into life, beginning its search for the title. A magnetic arm at the top of the external drive glides over a stack of magnetic rotating disks to communicate with the data storage bank below. The magnetic arm, aka the actuator, gathers the necessary digital information and prepares it for transfer. Once ready, this information passes along to the motherboard via USB, which processes the instructions and launches the game — all in the span of a few milliseconds.

That’s all well and good, you may be saying, but are external hard drives good for gaming? For the most part, yes! USB 3.0 technology ensures fast data transfers for lag-less play, and recent innovations in storage mean you can store hundreds of your favorite games on a single drive.

External Drive Guide Part II: Benefits of External Hard Drives for Gaming

Let’s take a look at the top benefits of using an external hard drive for gaming.

  • Easy to operate. External hard drives allow you to expand your storage capacity without fussing with the internal workings of the computer. Simply plug one in via USB, and you’re ready for action.
  • Works for PC & console. The best external hard drives for gaming are optimized to work with PCs and consoles. No matter how you choose to play, all your gaming needs are covered.
  • Holds your Favorite Titles. The best external hard drives for gaming range in storage capacity, but many options offer 1TB or more of space! This is perfect for taking your whole game library wherever you go.
  • Affordable. Starting under $50, external hard drives are easy to use and extremely cost effective! What’s not to like?

Plus, each model comes with its own set of specifications, like USB 3.0 (or higher) technology, built-in hardware encryption, even specialized firmware integrations.

The only downside to so much variation is that it can be hard to choose the ideal option!

External Drive Guide Part III: Choosing the Best External Hard Drive for Gaming

An External Hard Drive for Gaming
Image: Numbeos via Canva Photos

Choosing the best external hard drive for gaming can be tough. Let’s go over the main considerations for picking the perfect fit:

  • Platform compatibility
  • Storage capacity
  • Transfer speeds
  • Bonus features
  • Price

First off, you need to ensure that your external hard drive is compatible with your gaming platform of choice. While most hard drives work with multiple platforms out of the box, you’ll want to double check the product details (especially if you’re a console or macOS gamer). Also, shoot for a model with 1TB or more of storage. Games are only growing larger in size, and it all adds up more quickly than you might expect.

As for transfer speeds? USB 3.0 is 10x faster than the previous generation, and USB-C 3.1 is even quicker. Naturally, the faster the transfer rate, the more fluid the gameplay. Combine this with bonus features that enhance your playing experience through software and/or hardware, and you’re all but guaranteed a quality gaming experience.

If you’re still unsure which to choose, our list contains a bunch of excellent options, each of which features an award highlighting its strong points. Decide on your budget (we recommend a starting point of $50), and choose the one that best suits your needs. More storage space and plenty more gaming awaits!


Our Process

For this guide on the best external hard drives for gaming, our writers spent 4 hours researching over 50 of the most popular options from brands big and small. After comparing this data, we then read over 100 user reviews and narrowed our list down to the top 7 external hard drives on the market. All of this research adds up to recommendations you can trust.


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Give feedback on the article, share additional tips & tricks, talk strategy with other members, and make your opinions known. High Ground Gaming is a place for all voices, and we'd love to hear yours!

Robert Pipes

Hi , I have a MSI gaming laptop, I have games on origin, steam about 90 and now blizzard the 3 latest call duty games and Im running out of space, Would the G drive work and be compatible, As games are getting larger in GB, I only use my laptop for gaming so would this G deive be ok or what would .

The G-Drive will work great for your needs!

Check out this guide for info on how to move your Steam Library over.


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