Hard disk drives still hold a significant advantage over SSDs in terms of price per gigabyte. The very best hard drives for gaming offer huge storage capacities, great reliability and lightning-quick data transfer rates, and load times that won’t leave you grunting in annoyance. However, if money isn’t a concern and performance is your number one priority, SSDs are the way to go. Many gamers are opting to use a smaller capacity SSD as their primary boot drive and then using a large capacity hard disk drive as their secondary storage. They then use the HDD to store massive game libraries as well as things like videos, music, and other files. An alternative technology that is growing in popularity are the all-in-one shiny new SSHDs (solid state hybrid drives).

So if you’re a gamer seeking the best storage options for your PC, this article is the perfect starting point. We’ll take a look at the top models on the market, ranging from HDDs to SSHDs, and peek at the science and major benefits behind these critical PC components. Ready to give one a test drive? Let’s check ‘em out.

Best Hard Drives for Gaming of 2019

We’ve curated this list of the top 10 best hard drives for gaming to make your search for storage quick and easy.

1. Toshiba X300 Performance Hard Drive

Our pick for best internal hard drive for gaming performance

Toshiba X300 4TB Performance Desktop and Gaming Hard Drive 7200 RPM

The Toshiba X300 is quite possibly the fastest HDD for gaming thanks to its high-performance 7200 RPM spin speeds and a best-in-class 256 MB cache size. It ships with 4 to 10 terabytes of storage and boasts a universal 3.5 inch form factor for easy installation. Plus, it’s developed with data protection in mind, and it includes shock sensors and a 2-year warranty to protect your investment in the long run. A fantastic internal hard drive for gaming.

Snapshot:

  • HDD hard drive
  • 4TB-10TB storage capacity
  • 7200 RPM rotational speed
  • 3.5 inch form factor
  • Shock sensor, 2-year warranty, and more

2. Western Digital Black Hard Drive

Our pick for best HDD for gaming PCs

WD Black 4TB Performance Hard Drive - 7200 RPM

Western Digital is known for their exceptional storage hardware, and the Black series is among the high rated in their lineup. Perfect for gaming, this hard drive comes in 2.5 or 3.5 inch form factors for a variety of gaming rigs. Plus, proprietary StableTrac and Dynamic Cache technology deliver exceptional reliability and overall performance. To that end, the Western Digital Black is our top pick for best HDD for gaming PCs.

Snapshot:

  • HDD hard drive
  • 4TB-6TB storage capacity
  • 7200 RPM rotational speed
  • 2.5 or 3.5 inch form factor
  • StableTrac, Dynamic Cache, 5-year warranty, and more

3. Seagate FireCuda SSHD

Our pick for best SSD and HDD setup for gaming

Seagate 2TB FireCuda Gaming SSHD (Solid State Hybrid Drive)

The Seagate Firecuda combines the best of both worlds to deliver an exceptional solid state hybrid drive. It does this by utilizing hard disks for storage and solid state technology for enhanced performance and responsiveness. The result? A zippy 3.5 inch drive with up to 2 terabytes of storage space for all your gaming needs. With thousands of flawless consumer reviews, and a 5-year warranty to back it up, you can rest assured this is the best SSD and HDD setup for gaming.

Snapshot:

  • SSHD solid state hybrid drive
  • 1TB-2TB storage capacity
  • 7200 RPM rotational speed
  • 3.5 inch form factor
  • Improves system responsiveness by 30%, and it’s backed by 5-year warranty

4. Toshiba L200 Internal Hard Drive

Our pick for best laptop hard drive for gaming

Toshiba HDWL120XZSTA L200 2TB Laptop PC Internal Hard Drive

The Toshiba L200 is a 2.5 inch drive that offers exceptional gaming performance alongside extreme durability. You’ll get up to 2TB of storage that’s preconfigured with Advanced Format technology to optimize your storage system in real-time. Plus the 128MB cache provides low latency and additional power during gaming. The verdict? It’s a damn good HDD for gaming on a laptop

Snapshot:

  • HDD hard drive
  • 500GB-2TB storage capacity
  • 5400 RPM rotational speed
  • 2.5 inch form factor
  • Low power profile, cache technology, shock protection, and more

5. Seagate BarraCuda Internal Hard Drive

Our pick for best 1TB HDD for gaming

Seagate Barracuda Internal Hard Drive

Another great drive by Seagate, the BarraCuda is a performance powerhouse that comes with proprietary Burst technology and storage capacities up to 14TB. In other words, it’s ready to tackle your most demanding games. But how does it fare in the safety department? This unit boasts a number of security features including self-encryption and Instant Secure Erase for drive retirement. Best of all, you get full ease of mind with a 2-year manufacturer warranty.

Snapshot:

  • HDD hard disk drive
  • 500GB-14TB storage capacity
  • 5400 RPM rotational speed
  • 3.5 inch form factor
  • Burst performance technology, Instant Secure Erase, SED, and more

6. Fantom Drives PS4 Hard Drive

Our pick for best hard drive for PS4

Fantom Drives 2TB PS4 Hard Drive Upgrade Kit with 32GB Flash Drive-min

While most of the hard drives on our list are geared towards PC gamers, we couldn’t help but add an option for our console friends. Enter the Fantom PS4 Drive. It comes with everything you need to upgrade your console’s hardware including all the installation tools and pieces. The end result? 2TB of storage for all your favorite titles and 32GB of flash storage for zippy load times and a competitive edge.

Snapshot:

  • HDD hard disk drive
  • 2TB storage capacity
  • 5400 RPM rotational speed
  • PS4-compatible form factor
  • Includes aluminum HDD enclosure, enhances PS4 performance, and more

7. Fantom Drives Xbox One SSHD

Our pick for best hard drive for Xbox One

Fantom Drives Xbox One 2TB High Performance Seagate Firecuda Gaming SSHD-min

If you’re seeking an easy snap-on solution for expanding the local storage on your Xbox One, you’re in luck. This SSHD by Fantom features a plug-and-play design that’s ready to go right out of the box. It enhances the performance and load times of your console while effectively doubling its available storage. Plus, the multi-tier caching system delivers blazing fast startup speeds and ultra low latency. Sound too good to be true? Each model comes with a 5-year warranty for guaranteed operation.

Snapshot:

  • SSHD solid state hybrid drive
  • 2TB storage capacity
  • 7200 RPM rotational speed
  • Xbox One-compatible form factor
  • Plug-and-play design, multi-tier caching, and 5-year warranty

8. Western Digital Blue Hard Drive

Our pick for best budget HDD for gaming

WD Blue 1TB PC Hard Drive - 5400 RPM-min

Do you drive a hard bargain? If so, Western Digital’s line of Blue storage solutions may be just the right answer. This cost effective hard drive is available in sizes up to 6TB, and you can find 2.5 & 3.5 inch form factors for all your PC builds. Plus, choose from 5400 or 7200 RPMs for the perfect solution to your particular gaming setup. A reasonable 64MB cache delivers extra performance and Notouch ramp load guarantees your gaming rig’s overall stability.

Snapshot:

  • HDD hard disk drive
  • 500GB-6TB storage capacity
  • 5400 or 7200 RPM rotational speed
  • 2.5 or 3.5 inch form factor
  • Affordable pricing, built-in cache, and 2-year warranty

9. Western Digital Caviar Green Internal Hard Drive

Our pick for best internal HDD for gaming

WD40EZRX Western Digital 4TB Internal Hard Drive IntelliPower-min

If you’re looking for a kickass internal hard drive with all the bells and whistles, the Western Digital Caviar Green stands above the rest. It’s perfect for gaming thanks to proprietary IntelliPower technology that perfectly balances the spin rate and IntelliSeek which calculates the optimal seek speeds. As for storage, this unit comes in sizes up to 6TB for your entire gaming library. A 2-warranty tops it off for complete ease of mind and security.

Snapshot:

  • HDD hard disk drive
  • 500GB-6TB storage capacity
  • 5400 RPM rotational speed
  • 2.5 or 3.5 inch form factor
  • IntelliPower, IntelliSeek, power management, 2-year warranty, and more

10. Seagate BarraCuda Pro Internal HDD

Our pick for best hard drive for gaming

Seagate BarraCuda Pro HDD-min

This Pro version of the BarraCuda Internal HDD is loaded with the best features on the market. Naturally, it boasts a best-in-class 7200 RPM rotational speed for lightning-fast data rates and low power management for automated performance. Combined, you can expect burst data rates up to 6Gb/s during your most intensive in-game moments! As for data security? This unit comes with Ultimate HDD Recovery and a 5-year warranty that ensures the safety of your entire system.

Snapshot:

  • HDD hard disk drive
  • 4TB storage capacity
  • 5400 or 7200 RPM rotational speed
  • 3.5 inch form factor
  • Low power management, Ultimate HDD Recovery service, 5-year warranty, and more

Hard Disk Drive Guide Part I: What is a Hard Drive for Gaming?

A hard drive for gaming is a digital storage device that houses digital information for gaming-oriented computers. Moreover, they store all the data on the computer, from the base operating system to the gaming software and miscellaneous files. They’re also responsible for the transfer of data, including considerations like latency and buffer time. To that end, the best hard drives for gaming are crucial to achieving the best in-game speeds for optimal performance. But how do they work?

Hard Drive Diagram

How Does a Hard Drive for Gaming Work?

The hard drive assembly is made up of two primary components: the storage area and an access assembly. The digital data itself is stored in the storage area. The access assembly includes the platter, a magnetic rotating disk, and the actuator, a moving arm with a magnetic head that touches the surface of the platter. When the hard drive is active, the actuator springs to life, gliding across the surface of the platter to access and encode data in the storage area.

This symbiotic process provides the user with moment-by-moment data transfers that make computing fast and efficient. But what if it could go even faster?

HDD vs. SSD vs. SSHD

Workers on Hard Drive

What’s the difference between these three types of drives?

HDD hard disk drive: A digital storage container that utilizes a moving magnetic assembly to store, read, and write data.

Hard drives aren’t the only storage container that modern gaming computers rely on. Meet the SSD.

SSD solid state drive: A digital storage container that uses integrated circuits to store data. It contains no moving parts and speeds up the data transfer process immensely.

So what’s the difference between an SSD and HDD for gaming? Well, hard drives contain moving parts that can’t transfer information as quickly as the best solid state drives. But, they’re inexpensive and great for storage. On the other hand, SSDs boast great performance and can read and write data at rapid speed, but they cost more.

To solve this discrepancy, many gamers combine an HDD with an SSD for the best of both worlds. It’s referred to as an SSHD or solid state hybrid drive, and it’s a great option that offers loads of flexibility. To that end, you can find a couple great pre-configured models on our list.

Regardless of your preferred setup, all the best hard drives for gaming offer a number of fantastic benefits.

Hard Disk Drive Guide Part II: Benefits of the Best Hard Drive for Gaming

There are a number of benefits to using a hard drive for gaming:

  • Large storage capacities. Hard disk drives are perfect for high-storage seekers, and they’re designed to hold all your favorite titles with ease. This includes save logs, DLCs, and all the updates you can handle.
  • Ultra reliability. HDDs were invented over a half-century ago, and they’ve become the standard for gaming PCs due to their reliability and efficiency. The best models feature durable builds with extended warranties and data backup options.
  • Quick load times. As technology improves, so does the rate of data transfer. The best hard drives for gaming feature lightning-quick load times that have you in the game and ready for action near-instantly.
  • Optimized gaming performance. Given that they’re designed with gamers in mind, the best hard drives for gaming offer a competitive advantage. Load into the game faster and experience lower ping and latency to outpace your opponents and achieve victory.

If that weren’t enough, the best hard drives for gaming each feature unique options that give them an additional edge. You’ll find features like power management, shock protection, cache technology, and more! But with so many options, how do you find the right fit?

HDD

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

Let’s take a look at some of the top considerations for choosing the best hard drive for gaming:

  • HDD vs SSHD
  • Storage capacity
  • Compatibility
  • Performance Ratings
  • Brand
  • Price

First, consider whether you want a standard hard drive setup or one that’s combined with solid state technology. An SSHD can offer a serious performance upgrade and the cost differential is negligible. In addition, maximum storage capacity is critical as modern games are huge. To that end, aim for 1 terabyte or more and always choose an option with more storage than you think is necessary.

As for compatibility? Check your hard drive slot, but note that most standard builds utilize a 3.5 inch form factor. From there, it comes down to performance ratings and brand loyalty. All the options on our list are exceptional choices, and there are some great deals mixed in.

Hard Disk Drive Guide Part IV: How to Install a Hard Drive for Gaming

Installing a hard drive for gaming is just like installing any gaming computer component. Most builds feature a simple installation process that involves a handful of screws and a few minutes of your time. But the devil’s in the detail.

For a visual guide, check out the following video by Austin Evans over on YouTube. He takes you through the ins and outs of the installation process and offers tips on configuring your setup.