The Best Gaming External Hard Drives 2020 for PC, PS4 & Xbox One

Using an external hard drive is a great way to create more storage space. This is essential for most gamers these days due to the file sizes of games stored on hard drives.

Gaming requires a lot of memory on your computer, and external HDDs can take the pressure off your machines and give you the ability to store more games at the same time.

You can have all the gaming power, without having to work on the inside of your computer. For individuals who are not particularly tech savvy, the process of working with the inside of your computer to install an internal hard drive can cause damage to it. While it is possible to have a professional install an internal hard drive, this will add a substantial cost to the product. The best external hard drives are extremely easy to use. All you need to do is plug them in.

In addition, an external hard drive can be a great way to install games on multiple computers. Generally speaking, no file formatting is needed to use an external hard drive for gaming. However, there are circumstances when it may be necessary to reformat files. In order to do this, it’s important to choose an external hard drive that is compatible with your operating system.

Furthermore, the access to the external hard drive appears in a different place depending on the operating system that you have. On Macintosh computers, the external hard drive will appear on the screen as soon as you turn on the computer. If you use Windows, the external hard drive will appear on the start menu. Below we have a number of external HDDs that are ideal for use with PS4, PC and Xbox One.


What Are the Best External Hard Drives for Gaming?

1. Seagate Backup Plus

This hard drive is designed to enhance both portability and storage capacity. It is capable of holding 6 TB of data. Here are the key features of this hard drive:

No battery: The device is entirely powered through the USB cable.

Fast transfer of data: USB 3.0 is used, and this ensures that data is transferred rapidly.

Compatibility with a wide range of devices: It’s possible to use this hard drive with both Mac and PC computers, as well as the PS4.

Backup of data: Games stored on the hard drive can be backed up with Seagate Dashboard. This software allows you to come up with a backup plan that is well suited to your needs.



2. G-Technology’s G-DRIVE ev RaW

G-Technology is a reputable manufacturer of hard drives, and this product has been rated highly by customers on Amazon. This is a great option for those who are PC gaming, and is available in 1TB, 2TB and even 4TB options to allow you to potentially store hundreds of games.

Here are some important features of the product:

High quality casing: This product’s exterior has a stylish multicolored design. The case of the product also is designed to improve the drive’s durability.

Fast transfer of data: USB 3.0 technology is used, and this ensures that games run smoothly.

Warranty: The product comes with a 3 year limited warranty.



3. LaCie Rugged Thunderbolt

LaCie is often considered to be Seagate’s best brand, and this hard drive is a very popular product. This product is rated at 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon out of 920 reviews. Here are some important features of this product:

High storage capacity: This device can hold as much as 2 TB of data.

Fast transfer of data: Data can be transferred at a rate of 387 megabytes per second. This is possible due to the fact that a powerful USB 3.0 system is used.

No battery: The device is entirely powered through the USB cable.

Durability: The exterior is designed to be dust, shock, and water resistant.

We have even more rugged external HDDs reviewed here.


4. WD Orange My Passport (4 TB)

This hard drive can hold 4 terabytes worth of games. This is enough for numerous games. It also is a very popular product, and it has been rated highly on Amazon. Here are some important features of this product:

Backup protection: If the hard drive is damaged, it’s possible to save your games. The product comes with cloud storage software made by WD, which is designed to be exceptionally secure.

Dual USB compatibility: It is possible to use this product with either USB 3.0 or USB 2.0 cables.

System compatibility: This product is compatible with either Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10. It can be used on Macintosh systems, but reformatting will be required.

Password protection: Data contained on the hard drive is password protected, and the drive uses hardware encryption.



5. Seagate Game Drive For Playstation (2 TB)

This officially licensed 2TB Playstation hard drive allows you to hold a massive 50 or more games. If that’s not enough, there’s also a 4TB version for just a little bit extra on the price.

Seagate is known to make quality products for file storage and this is no different, with an extremely sleek design and a robust build. Here are some important features of this drive:

Fast data transfers: High speed USB 3.0 cables are used, and this ensures that games run smoothly while you’re using the external hard drive.

Port compatibility: It’s possible to plug the device into any of the ports on your Playstation 4.

Guided setup process: The setup process of the hard drive is guided by instructions that are shown on the console. In addition, the setup is completed in under three minutes.



6. Seagate Game Drive For Xbox

This product can store 50 Xbox One games. It has 2 TB of storage space. In addition to being great with Xbox One systems, it also is compatible with Xbox 360. Here are some important things to know about this hard drive:

No battery: The product is powered through the USB cable.

Transportability: The hard drive is designed to be as compact as possible.

Fast transfer of data: USB 3.0 is used to ensure that data is transferred as quickly as possible. Data is streamed at speeds as high as 140 megabytes per second.



7. Samsung 850 Pro

This drive can hold 2 TB of data. This is no ordinary hard drive; it is a solid state drive. Here are some important things to know about this device:

Compatible with many operating systems: It can be used with Windows 7, 8, or 10. It also can be used with Windows Vista SP1 or greater, and with Windows Server 2008 and Linux.

Compact size: The diameter of the device is only 2.5″.

Fast transfer of data: The solid state drive improves the speed of data transfer. In fact, data can be streamed at more than 500 megabytes per second.

Warranty: A 10 year limited warranty is offered.

Energy efficiency: The product is designed to be exceptionally energy efficient.

Free software programs: The drive comes with two free software programs from Samsung. You can download Samsung Magician and Samsung Data Migration for free. These programs help you to manage space on your solid state drive, and they can improve the installation process of games.

Security: The security complies with the standards set by TCG Opal v2.0.



8. Fantom Drives High Performance Seagate Firecuda Gaming

This drive is a hybrid drive. This means that the drive incorporates features of a solid state drive. Hybrid drives tend to have higher performance than traditional hard drives. Here are some important features of this product:

Easy to format: It is easy to format the drive for Playstation 4, PS4 Slim, and PS4 Pro.

Fast transfer of data: This drive uses fast USB 3.0 technology. The system allows data to be transferred more than ten times faster than with USB 2.0. The transfer of data is also flash accelerated as multi-tier caching technology is used.

No battery: This power is supplied through the USB port.

Durability: The exterior is shock resistant.



External Hard Drives for Xbox One – Drives, SSD & USB Enclosures Reviewed

If you have the base model of the Xbox One, the 500GB storage capacity is simply not enough these days. 500GB might sound like a lot, but you also have to consider the fact that only around 360GB is actually usable (the rest is system-reserved). And with AAA games these days needing anywhere from 20-50GB or more, even 1TB of storage may end up being grossly inadequate. Yes, there is a 2TB version of the Xbox One, but that one costs a couple of hundred bucks more. A more affordable and convenient option would be to simply buy an Xbox One compatible external storage drive or disk.


USB Enclosure – Sabrent 2.5” SATA to USB 3.0 Enclosure for SSD

If you have a spare notebook HDD or SSD lying around, this enclosure will convert it into a USB 3.0 drive compatible with the Xbox One system. It is dirt cheap and can save hundreds of dollars you would otherwise end up forking out for a new SSD drive. It doesn’t require any tools, and has a simple plug and play feature. It supports UASP SATA III so that it will work correctly with SSD and HDDs.


USB Enclosure – Inateck Aluminum USB 3.0 HDD/SSD Enclosure 2.5” + 3.5”

If you want a bigger, versatile enclosure that can support both 2.5″ and 3.5″ drives, this Inateck enclosure made from durable aluminum might be worth a look. It has SATA I/II/III as well as UASP compatibility, so you can use both older HDDs as well as the latest SSDs. The max supported storage capacity is 10TB. The enclosure has soft PU internal layer and anti-slip rubber pads on all corners. It comes with plug and play support, two LEDs, and a power adapter as well.


SSD – Samsung T3 Portable SSD

The Samsung T3 is available in four different storage capacities: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB. Unless you have bucket loads of cash just lying around, the smaller 250 and 500GB options are your best bet for the Xbox One. The others will cost as much, if not more than a brand new console! The drive is compact and lightweight, with a durable metallic body.


SSD – PNY Elite USB 3.0 SSD

These are pretty affordable SSD drives available in two different storage capacities: 240GB and 480GB. The drive shell is sleek in black and much smaller than a credit card in size. The device comes with a three-year warranty. It is compatible with both Windows and Mac.


SSD/HDD – Seagate Game Drive For Xbox

This drive sports an Xbox logo on its case and has been designed specifically to work with the Microsoft console. And it has multiple editions to choose from. There is the Standard Edition decked out in green, a white Game Pass edition that comes with one-month Game Pass membership, a cool Halo Wars 2 edition with the face of Atriox emblazoned on the case, as well as a USB Hub version, and an SSD version. The HDDs range in size from 512GB all the way up to 8TB HDDs, with 2GB and 4GB versions also available. The Hub is only available in 8TB storage, while the SSD is restricted to 512GB.


HDD – WD Elements External Hard Drive

These USB 3.0 drives start with a minimum storage capacity of 1TB. There are also 2TB and 3TB options available for gamers who need more storage capacity. If you want a 4TB option, we would recommend the portable edition over the Desktop edition offered by WD. The drives all sport a plain, all black design. The drive speed is a standard 5400RPM.


HDD/SSD – Oyen Digital U32 Shadow

The Shadow is available in both black and white color options. The storage capacity on the HDD versions range from 500GB to 1TB and 2TB as the maximum possible. If you want faster load times and file transfer speeds, an SSD option is also around, with a total storage capacity of 500GB. The disks all have aluminum cases and come with a 3-year warranty.


HDD – Toshiba Canvio Basics

If you want a protective case along with your external drive, the 1TB and 2TB options from Toshiba might be good choices. There are also 500GB, and 3TB capacity drives available in the Canvio series. Black, white and silver cases are available, though only the black version is available across the entire range of storage capacities. The drives are shipped with 1-year limited warranty from Toshiba. The HDD speed is only 5400RPM.


Desktop External Drive – WD My Book Desktop External Hard Drive USB 3.0

If you value storage capacity above portability, then a full sized desktop drive is the only option available. The WD My Book is available in both single drive and dual drive options. The larger, more expensive drives have storage capacities ranging from 3, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, to 20TB at the higher end. These massive drives are USB 3.0 compatible and use RAID storage.


Xbox One Hard Drive Buying Tips

1. Get at least a 500GB external hard drive

It doesn’t make sense spending cash on a hard drive that gets filled up the next time a special sale or deal season comes along. And with storage space costing peanuts these days, you should at least aim at matching the storage capacity on your Xbox, if not doubling it. If your budget permits, look for higher storage space.

2. Nothing less than USB 3.0

Okay, this is a commonly known fact, but one that can be overlooked nonetheless. If you want your new drive to work with the Xbox One, it needs to be USB 3.0. And just in case you are planning to use a USB hub, remember that it needs to be USB 3.0 as well!

3. Don’t bother with data security

Many storage devices come with advanced data security and backup features, which make sense if you plan to use the drive to store sensitive data. But those features are not essential for a drive that you intend to plug into your gaming console at home. Save your money by looking for cheaper drives that do not have such unnecessary features.

4. HDD vs. SSD vs. Third Alternative?

Physical HDD drives result in much slower loading times, while buying an SSD will result in dramatic increase in speed and performance in more demanding titles like GTA V, but at a steep price. A better option would be to repurpose any spare SSD drive (internal, with SATA interface) you have lying around.

This can be done with the help of a USB 3.0 enclosure. They cost only around $10-$15 and are readily available online. If you are low on cash or don’t mind the longer load times, stick with a cheaper HDD, but preferably one with a higher RPM. The standard storage drive inside your Xbox One only has 5400RPM, so if you can get an HDD with 7k RPM, that would be a nice boost.

5. Don’t worry too much about brands

There is really not much to distinguish between brands in the storage drives market. Focus mainly on factors like price, features, read and write speeds, instead of just blindly sticking with one brand. As long as it is USB 3.0, it should work smoothly with your Xbox One.


Featured image by Mark Cruz

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