External hard drives are vital for gaming, and the difference between the best ones and the average ones can be seen in the loading times of some games.
Faster drives allow their content to be read much faster, and in running games, this can improve the loading times and even the performance of the game overall.
A steam gamer might need an external hard drive for one of many reasons, whether storing your game library or gaming, for the best results, you would need one of the best external hard drives for steam games.
Also Read: Best Hard Drives for Media Server
List of the Best External Hard Drives for Steam Games in 2020
The following hard drives are some of the best ones for steam games.
- WD My Book – 3.5” – Basic Affordable Drive with Auto-Backup
- WD Black – Slim 2.5” Drive for Gamers
- Silicon Power A60 – Affordable and Popular Rugged HDD
- G-Technology G-Drive – Uses USB-C for Fast Transfers
- SanDisk SDSSDE60-500G-G25 – Compact, Portable and Rugged SSD
1. WD My Book – 3.5” Drive with Auto-Backup
A stationary 3.5″ external hard disk with one of the best per GB value. Great if you are looking for an affordable large external HDD.
What makes the WD My Book one of the best external hard drives for steam games is that it’s very affordable. This makes it convenient especially for users who have a large library of steam games that need to be stored in an external drive.
Because it’s cheap, you can get large amounts of storage for a good price, therefore, saving your money. However, because of its price range, you hardly get any notable features from the drive.
This is a basic 3.5-inch SATA hard drive. It’s good for storing your games when you don’t intend to be traveling with the external drive a lot as it’s rather bulky.
While it is basic, the device comes included with auto-backup software from Western Digital. With this, you can be sure that your games are a little safer.
The device has a USB 3.0 port which allows fast read and write speeds. This can be advantageous when installing or copying large games since USB 3.0 speeds are significantly faster than USB 2.0.
2. WD Black – Slim 2.5” Drive for Gamers
A purpose built portable 2.5″ hard disk for gamer. Slim, reliable and popular.
The WD Black is a hard drive that was built with gamers in mind. It has support for moderately large capacity storage which makes it ideal for storing games for later installation. Furthermore, its price tag is friendly so you won’t have to worry too much about costs.
The 2.5-inch drive is very slim which makes it great for gamers who are always mobile or if you play from a gaming laptop and its storage isn’t sufficient.
This unit comes with storage capacities that go up to 1 TB. In addition to that, the drive has above average performance with an RPM that’s marked at 7200.
In addition to the fast rpm, you also get large cache sizes that allow you to load your game files much faster for even better performance.
The WD Black is a slim HDD that enables gamers to play with minimal hassle. It’s affordable and reliable and offers great performance for its value. That is what makes it the best external hard drive for Steam games in terms of popular choice.
3. Silicon Power A60 – Affordable and Popular Rugged HDD
A rugger external hard disk with a 2.5″ form factor. Great if you move around a lot.
This is a rugged external drive which means that it’s built to last under some tough conditions and survive some impacts. The Silicon Power A60 comes with an IPX4 rated casing which means that it can resist water splashes.
The hard drive itself is very portable and can be taken almost anywhere. Thus, you can have your favorite games even to play on other computers. Its case is built to hold its cable so forgetting the connection cable should no longer be a cause for concern.
The A60 makes use of the USB 3.0 interface which allows faster transfer speeds and the fact that it comes in capacities that go up to 5TB with ruggidized exterior makes it one of the best external hard drives for Steam games. You no longer need to worry about storage running out too fast.
This is one of the most popular hard drives for users. Partly because it’s so affordable, but mostly because it’s reliable and highly durable.
4. G-Technology G-Drive – Uses USB-C for Fast Transfers
A very popular 3.5″ external hard disk that comes with USB Type C form with 3.1 Gen1 protocol. Fast transfer speeds.
What makes the G-Drive unique is the all-aluminum enclosing that gives it extra durability and protection from external shocks.
The drive has large capacity options for users who have a large collection of games and downloadable content from Steam that they need to store. You can get storage from 4 TB to 14TB and the performance will be good.
The drive makes use of a USB C connector and leverages USB 3.1 Gen 1 performance for high transfer speeds. This can help you if you’re playing the games directly from the drive as loading times can be reduced.
The fact that the device has support for newer devices makes it the best external hard drive for Steam games. USB C lets it connect to newer devices that support it, therefore making the G-Drive a future-proof storage option for Steam games.
The device has a plug and plays support for Mac users and the filesystem can be easily reformatted to work on Windows.
5. SanDisk SDSSDE60-500G-G25 – Compact, Portable and Rugged SSD
A highly compact external SSD with ruggedized exterior. Reaches a transfer speed of whopping 550 MB/s, which is at least three times as fast as high performance INTERNAL HDD.
This final entry among is an SSD. This list would be incomplete without the mentioning of a lightening fast external SSD. SSDs have greater performance compared to HDDs and are suitable for users with the need for quick loading times and fast file transfers.
This SanDisk external SSD is a pocket-sized drive that’s very portable. Users who like to carry their files around can reap all the benefits of this unit’s sturdy construction that is not only aesthetic but also protects it from incurring too much damage.
The device has an IP55 rating which means that it’s resistant to water from a jet and protected from dust ingress. It’s also shock-resistant so some falls may even go without causing much harm.
Being an SSD, the device has no moving parts and this can be seen in its performance. You can get speeds of up to 550 MB’s from this drive so moving files or loading games should not take much time.
This rugged unit is very compact and easy to carry around in a pocket. It offers great performance and high reliability.
All in all, if you want unparalleled performance, then this is the best external hard drive for steam games.
Need for Having External Hard Drive for Steam Games?
Not many people would see the value of having an external hard drive for steam games. Possibly because of the fact that the Steam store is online-based and so, all the games you purchase can be gotten straight from your account.
Nevertheless, if you have intermittent connection issues in your area or your network speeds aren’t fast or stable enough, having an external storage for installation and backups can be a good idea.
With your games and other downloadable content safely stored in an external drive where allowed, you can easily install your games without having to endure the long waits for downloads over slow internet.
What to Look For
Having seen that the main reason to have an external hard drive for steam games is so that you can store, backup, and install your games from an accessible location, let’s look into what constitutes a good hard drive for the job.
Stationary 3.5 Inch If on a Budget
If you do not intend to move around a lo with your hard drive, then getting a 3.5-inch drive would be a good idea.
First, these drives are rather large, so even having them inside a small form-factor machine like a gaming laptop isn’t possible.
Secondly, keeping it stationary is good for it as the moving parts won’t be exposed to too many shocks during movement. But, most importantly, a 3.5-Inch HDD is cheaper than a 2.5-inch HDD; so, it’s great for users on a budget.
Also Read: Best Hard Drives for Archiving
2.5 Inch if You Move Around
If you’re up and down most of the time, and you want to bring your steam games with you on an external drive, then you’ll need one with a small footprint.
This is where a 2.5-inch drive might suit best.
SSD External Hard Drive If You Want Fast Access Speeds
For those who don’t want to wait long for disk reads and writes, having an SSD can come in handy.
Since they are fast and relatively inexpensive, getting one will result in speed improvements for most tasks.
Also Read: Difference between SATA and SSD Drives
No USB 2.0
Newer USB standards are much faster. For this reason, if you want an external drive, it’s best to avoid those that come with the older USB 2.0 slots as they will be significantly slower.
Instead, opt for ones with the faster USB 3.0 interfaces, you’ll get better performance from them.
In this article we looked at several external hard drives that can be used by gamers for installing or backing up their steam games.
Generally, the best external hard drives for steam games come in all shapes and sizes. The larger the size, i.e 3.5″, the cheaper it would be.
Other aspects such as whether you want portability, SSD, or ruggedized exterior also contribute to the overall cost of an external hard disk.