Hardcore gamers and computer enthusiasts will always push for the best and most expensive gear out there. What about the casual individuals who don’t want to spend a fortune to experience the same games they play? You’ll be glad to know that companies don’t forget about the budget market and continue to create inexpensive yet great performing HDD options.
There aren’t many people who’ve moved on to the newest and fastest SDDs on the market; some are still using their old hard drives from 2015. Solid-state drive technology will always blow hard drives out of the water, but there are also reliable HDD options for those just looking for a reliable storage device that won’t break the bank.
WD Blue (Desktop)
No other brand can give you the best performance per dollar like WD does. The WD Blue is probably the best HDD you can get when you’re on a tight budget as it has a 7200 RPM speed with 64mb Cache making it the best HDD for gaming in the 1TB category. The WD Blue will perform decently with less graphically intensive games and serve as a back-up drive.
Hitachi Ultrastar 3.5 Inch (Desktop)
The Ultrastar from Hitachi is another excellent option. Despite being slightly slower than the WD Blue, it offers more headroom for storage options as their lineup can go up to 10TB of storage. SATA 2.0 interface will power this hard drive with a standard 3 GB/s read and writing speed; the 32 MB cache memory is also more than enough for smaller indie game titles.
Seagate BarraCuda 2.5 Inch (Laptop)
Seagate has been creating great storage devices for years, and the BarraCuda has always been one of the top hard drive choices for storing games. The mobile version is quite nimble, too; despite having a 5400 RPM, it has SATA 3.0 at 6 GB/s with 128 MB cache memory. Seagate also equipped this hard drive with multi-tier caching technology for added performance.
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Toshiba DT01ACA100 (Desktop)
Toshiba’s product is maybe on par with the WD Blue both in performance and reliability as it has 7200 RPM, SATA 3.0 at 6 GB/s, but only 32 MB cache memory. That isn’t saying that this is inferior to the WD Blue, but the main reason you would want this over anything else is because of its meager power consumption, at less than 5.2 watts.
Seagate BarraCuda 3.5 Inch (Desktop)
The desktop version of the BarraCuda is even more impressive as it can go from 500 GB to a massive 10 TB of storage. SATA 3.0 at 6 GB/s, 7200 RPM, and 64 MB of cache memory make this one of the best alternatives to an SSD as Seagate assures their customers that the BarraCuda will last longer than most HDD options out there.
Seagate FireCuda 2.5 Inch (Laptop)
This may seem surprising as the FireCuda is a hybrid drive, but it retains the advantages of an HDD while performing at a level comparable to an SSD. The FireCuda is also cheaper than most SSDs, making it a perfect option for budget gamers who want the best of both worlds. We simply can’t leave this out of this list even if it is marketed as an SSHD.
If you want an HDD that is purely for specific games that need a dedicated storage device, then the Velociraptor might be the one for you. With a blazing fast 10,000 RPM and SATA technology at 3 GB/s, this is the quickest HDD you can get in the 1TB category without having to spend a lot.
Buying a storage device for your gaming needs doesn’t have to be expensive as there are options for every budget. HDDs won’t go away anytime soon, and as technology for this aging market evolves, we might see them making a comeback in the near future.