PC Gear Lab

5 Best External Hard Drives for Steam Games in 2020

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.

Comparison of Top External Hard Drive for Steam Games

ProductTypeConnectivityTransfer
Speed
Max
Size
Check
Price
WD Black D103.5"
HDD
USB 3.2
Gen 1
~250
MB/s
12TB
Buy at
Amazon.com 
WD Black P102.5"
HDD
USB 3.2
Gen 1
~130
MB/s
6TB
Buy at
Amazon.com
Silicon
Power A60
2.5"
HDD
USB 3.1
Gen 1
~110
MB/s
5TB
Buy at
Amazon.com
G-Technology
G-DRIVE
3.5"
HDD
USB 3.1
USB-C

~160
MB/s
18TB
Buy at
Amazon.com
SAMSUNG T7NVMe
SSD
USB 3.2
Type C/A
1050
MB/s
2TB
Buy at
Amazon.com 

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.

  1. WD Black D10 – 3.5” – Recommended External Hard Drive for Steam Games
  2. WD Black P10 – Slim 2.5” Drive for Gamers
  3. Silicon Power A60 – Affordable and Popular Rugged HDD
  4. G-Technology G-Drive – Uses USB-C for Fast Transfers
  5. SAMSUNG T7 – High Speed NVMe SSD

1. WD Black D10 – 3.5” – Recommended External Hard Drive for Steam Games

WD Black

A stationary 3.5″ external hard disk with one of the best per GB value and a fast speed for gamers. Great if you are looking for an affordable large external HDD.

What makes the WD Black one of the best external hard drives for steam games is that it’s very affordable for an option that has a high 250 MB/s of transfer. This makes it convenient especially for users who have a large library of steam games that need to be stored in an external drive.

Most of the stationary 3.5″ desktop external hard disk have much slower speeds, almost half as much. However, due to its faster 7200 RPM, it can achieve excellent transfer speeds for your gaming needs.

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.

This device is a great balance between cost, performance, and storage space. It’s good for cheaply storing large files externally.

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2. WD Black P10 – Slim 2.5” Drive for Gamers

Sale
WD Black P10

A purpose built portable 2.5″ hard disk for gamer. Slim, reliable and popular.

The WD Black is a hard drive Portable that was built with gamers in mind who want to travel with their games. 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 5 TB. In addition to that, the drive has above average performance with an transfer speeds of 120 MB/s.

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.

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3. Silicon Power A60 – Affordable and Popular Rugged HDD

Silicon Power A60

A rugged 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.

Its rugged case is shockproof and water-resistant and the drive itself is a great performer.

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4. G-Technology G-Drive – Uses USB-C for Fast Transfers

Silicon Power A60

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.

Its support for new devices, large storage, and durability make this a great device for users.

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5. SAMSUNG T7 – High Speed NVMe SSD

Sale
SAMSUNG T7

A highly compact external SSD with ruggedized exterior. Reaches a transfer speed of whopping 1050 MB/s, which is at least 7 times as fast as high performance based 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 isn’t an ordinary SSD either. Being a new entrant and a huge upgrade over its predecessor the Samsung T5, this is an NVMe SSD with a whopping faster 1050 MB/s transfer speed. This makes it twice as fast as the older SSDs.

The only issue here is that this is expensive compared to the hard disks mentioned above. So while this may give you a butter smooth performance for your games running via the external drive, it may not be able to store as much.

This SAMSUNG T7 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.

Being an SSD, the device has no moving parts and this can be seen in its performance. Furthermore, no moving parts means this is less prone to mechanical failures. This adds to the reliability factor of an SSD.

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.

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FAQ

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.

Also Read: Best Hard Drives for Media Server

Do You Loose Performance with External Hard Drive When Gaming?

What to Look For in an External Hard Drive for Steam Games

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

wd black D10
3.5 Inch external HDD, aka Desktop External HDD are the cheapest but they are large and they require a power source. Source: WD My Book

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

wd black
2.5 inch external HDD are slim and portable and do not require an external power source, but they are more expensive per GB. Source: WD Black

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

samsung t7
External SSD are the most expensive, but they are multiple times faster. Source: Samsung T7

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.

7200 RPM for Hard Disks Preferable

For good transfer rate, it is recommended that you stick with external hard disks rated at 7200 RPM as these can achieve transfer speeds of about 140 MB/s.

3.5″ External HDDs usually boast 7200 RPM where as the small 2.5″ Hard Disks generally do not.

You don’t need to worry about this parameter if you choose to go for the SSD route.

Final Words

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.

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