What are the Best Drives for Gamers?

If you’re buying a new gaming drive, think about what you value the most – do you want capacity, speed/performance, or affordability? We go over three options here.

First up on our list is the Western Digital Ultrastar HC620, which boasts a whopping 15TB of storage in a single hard disk drive, thanks to its HelioSeal technology. WD started experimenting with helium hard drives a few years ago, to great success. While many have predicted the impending death of the traditional mechanical hard disk drive, solid-sytate drives are still reaching nowhere near the storage capacity seen here. Using perpendicular magnetic recording (PMR) in conjunction with two-dimensional magnetic recording, the HC620’s read performance is super-fast, at 267 MB/s sustained transfer rate. While this hard drive is intended for datacentres rather than home consumers, it’s perfect if you’re streaming 4K video; in fact, WD even market it towards businesses that require large-scale, 4K surveillance recordings. As you might imagine, it doesn’t come cheap – selling at £479.48. Obviously, this isn’t the choice if you’re on a budget, but worthy of consideration if you’ve got a bit more money to spend and storage capacity is your concern.

If you want to balance the speed of a solid-state drive (SSD) with the storage capacity of a hard disk drive (HDD), the Seagate FireCuda SSHD is a great choice. While traditionally storage was split between fast, expensive SSDs and slower and more affordable HDDs, solid-state hybrid drives have burst onto the scene in recent years. As the name suggests, SSHDs combine a traditional, magnetic HDD for capacity, with a smaller amount of flash storage for speed. Typically, they only contain a small amount of flash storage – around 16 or 32GB, which the FireCuda has. So-called “hot data” is cached onto the SSD component of the drive so it’s able to be retrieved quickly; other data is stored on the magnetic platters that form the HDD component. For gamers, this is a win-win situation. Because game data is made up primarily of large media files, you need a drive with a decent storage capacity. But for top level performance, having certain small bits of code accessible quickly is ideal. You don’t need to manually move files around either – the SSHD’s firmware determines what files need to be stored where. Coming in 1TB and 2TB models costing £67.94 and £84.47 respectively, the Seagate FireCuda is a great all-round hard drive for gamers and other home users alike.

If speed and performance are your goals – and they are for an increasing number of gamers – then a solid-state drive (SSD) is the way forward. While it certainly used to be the case that SSDs offered only meagre storage capacities, they’re now available in capacities rivalling the drives that come as standard in PCs and laptops. Sure, you’re not going to find an SSD with a storage capacity like the WD Ultrastar HDD’s 15TB anytime soon, but weigh up if you really need a drive that big for gaming at home. The Samsung 860 Evo is a 1TB SSD that is perfect for gaming, offering fantastic performance and decent performance for a fair price. The 860 Evo has a SATA interface, so while not as lightning-fast as newer NVMe drives, there won’t be compatibility issues. At the moment, the Samsung 860 Evo is selling for £131.32 on Amazon, an incredibly low price for a 1TB SSD.

Samsung SSD