Many gamers have been enjoying the Nintendo Wii U since it came out in November 2012.
While it was not the most powerful console at the time, it became popular thanks to its offering of great first-party games and an intuitive UI.
The biggest drawback with it was that the standard version shipped with only 8GB of memory whereas the more beefed-up units had 32GB.
Because of this, if you need extra storage for your games and media files, you may have to invest in the best external hard drives for Wii U.
List of Best External Hard Drives for Wii U in 2020
The following external hard drives are popular and provide an excellent solution for Wii U.
- Seagate Expansion Drive Portable – Minimal Recommended External Hard Drive for Wii U
- WD Elements Portable – Basic affordable drive, 100MB/s
- WD Black D10 – Large storage gaming hard drive
- Adata SD700 – Rugged Water/Dustproof 440MB/s SSD – Affordable SSD for Wii U
- Fantom Drive Gforce 3 – High-performance USB 3.2
1. Seagate Expansion Drive Portable – Minimal Recommended External Hard Drive for Wii U
The Seagate Expansion portable drive offers great storage options for data storage in a minimal and portable package.
It’s great for storing files on and has great performance to ensure that you can move your game files around with minimal issues and lags.
To further improve its performance, you get a USB 3.0 interface that makes file transfer between devices much faster.
This good performance makes this one of the best external hard drive for Wii U as you can get one quite affordably and store your games easily.
Storage capacities for the device range from a small 1TB unit to a larger capacity 5TB drive. This will allow users with a large collection of games gathered over the years since the console was launched to have an offline games library of their preferred size.
It’s easy to use as all you need to do is plug it into the console and get to work.
2. WD Elements Portable – Basic affordable drive, 100MB/s
For users who just want a basic hard drive that can store their games and comes with large storage capacities then the WD Elements Portable is the best external hard drive for Wii U.
The drive has a simple plastic case that houses a spinning drive inside. As such, you do not get great durability, especially against the elements.
Nevertheless, you get the benefit of having large storage capacities for a small affordable price and that’s great for Wii U users who are on a budget or aren’t out looking for a high-performance drive.
Speaking of performance, you get speeds of about 100MB/s with this drive. This is okay to run small titles but with very large games, you may need to wait for a few seconds to fully load the game up.
The drive is very portable, hence the name and while you can take it with you on travels, you will have to take extra care of it because you don’t get any durability features, so if you damage it you may lose your library of games and have to redownload them.
3. WD Black D10 – Large storage gaming hard drive
The WD Black External is one of the drives you will need to consider for your gaming console.
Having been built with gamers in mind, the WD Black D10 is one of the best external hard drive for Wii U.
The drive is quite durable, thanks to the tough exterior casing. This gives you extra protection if you drop it.
Besides that, you get great performance with the WD Black D10. This can be attributed to the 700RPM disk that it comes with.
This allows you to get better performance than you would from a regular hard drive. As a result, the drive can produce read speeds of up to 250MB/s.
Perhaps the most important thing about the hard drive is its large storage capacity. The D10 comes in sizes of up to 8TB.
This may be a bit too high for console games alone, but if you also have other media files and have set up your console to stream them, you can store them on the hard drive as well.
4. Adata SD700 – Rugged Water/Dustproof 440MB/s SSD – Affordable SSD for Wii U
For those looking for fast performance on a rugged external hard drive, the Adata SD700 is the best external hard drive for Wii U.
It has a waterproof case with an IP68 rating that keeps the SSD’s electronic components safe from water and dust that may cause problems.
At the same time, the device is rugged and this gives it a good deal of shock-proofing. As a result, minor falls and shocks will not cause too much damage to the device and if you need to carry it around you can be comfortable knowing your files are safe.
Despite its rugged build, the drive itself is quite small and hence very portable. It weighs about 75g making it easy to carry around.
The drive’s performance falls a little below other SATA SSDs. It does about 440MB/s. However, this is good performance considering many HDDs barely even come close to those speeds.
5. Fantom Drive Gforce 3 – High-Performance USB 3.2
An external desktop hard drive like this one is great for users who do not need to carry their hard drives around unless necessary.
The drive was built to stay in one place, and you can leave it at home next to your console. It has an aluminum case that provides high durability and as such keeps it safe.
The conductive aluminum body also acts as a heat sink, radiating away the excess heat produced during operation thus eliminating the need for a cooling fan.
At the same time, the drive can be stored vertically or horizontally, to make better use of the space in your gaming area.
With this drive, you can add extra space to your Wii U, and you get capacities of up to 8TB. This will let you store most if not all of your games and allow you to play them on demand thanks to great performance.
You get a USB 3.2 interface with support for USB 2.0. Coupling this with its great performance and durability makes this the best external hard drive for Wii U.
How to Connect an External Hard Drive to the Wii U Console?
The procedure to connect your external hard drive to the console is fairly straight forward.
The process is as simple as connecting the hard drive, formatting it to Wii U system and then selecting the right settings from the System Setting -> Data Management.
It should be noted that once your hard drive has been formatted to be used with the Wii U console, you may not be able to use it with other systems.
Also, the message that prompts you to format the external hard drive should appear as soon as you have powered your Wii U console On with the hard drive connected.
If it does not not show, that probably means that your hard drive isn’t getting enough power to power on. In that case, you may need a Y-cable.
You may read the exact steps required to install an external hard drive with the Wii U Console here.
The Need for The Y-Cable
The USB ports on the Wii U may not have the current required to operate a particular external hard drive.
As such, you may be forced to invest in a Y cable for yourself. The Y Cable basically allows you to connect two USB cables to the two USB-out ports on the Wii U and one to the external hard drive.
This allows you to basically combine the power of two USB ports which is sufficient to power a portable hard drive.
If you hard drive does operate on a single USB port, we still recommend the Y cable for optimal stability and performance.
What about the 3.5″ Hard Drives?
The large stationary external hard drives are generally highly recommended. These require a dedicated external power source and do not rely on the Wii U USB ports in order to operate.
They only use the USB ports to transfer Data. They receive the power to operate from the socket.
On top of that, the constant powering on an off for the Wii U console can make smaller hard drives unstable. The larger drives with external power source would not suffer from this issue.
How to Look for the Right Wii U External Hard Drive?
When getting an external hard drive for gaming purposes, there are a few main things that you will need to consider beforehand.
Also Read: Best External Hard Drives for Gaming Laptops
Performance for Wii U
External hard drives come with different specs and as a result, you get a wide range of performance features.
If you want a good performance you can go for a 7200RPM drive. This will give you slightly better loading times compared to a 5400RPM drive.
However, if you want the best performance, you should opt for an SSD.
These are better performers in terms of read/write speeds and will not drastically bottleneck your console.
Additionally, getting one with support for modern generations of the USB interface will go a long way in ensuring you get good performance from your Wii U.
Fortunately, though, you don’t quite need a high performing Hard Drive for Wii U. Any good hard drive with USB 3.0 or higher support would work perfectly for you.
Also Read: Best External Hard Drives for GoPro Videos
This is possibly the biggest reason why most users will be getting an external hard drive for their Wii U console.
With a maximum of 32GB internal storage in their top tier models, users will most definitely be forced to choose which games to download from the store.
However, you can avoid this hassle by getting an external hard drive with sufficient storage for the console.
Doing this will let you take full advantage of the console and have all your games ready to play when needed.
Since Wii U is a stationary gaming console, if storage is your main requirement, you would benefit the most from a large stationary 3.5″ external hard drive like the WD Black D10.
Ease of Use no Fluff
When getting a hard drive, it’s important to invest in one that will be easy to use with your console. Therefore, leave out exotic features that the console won’t be able to use, like one-click backups or disk encryption.
These tend to come with proprietary drivers that work on devices running specific operating systems.
As such, it wouldn’t be wise to spend a lot on a hard drive for your console that has novel features when you will barely use them.
Portability is Optional
If you’ll need to bring your games like to a friend’s house to play, you will need a portable hard drive.
Getting one that you can conveniently move with will be very beneficial. Additionally, if you get rugged one you will be better off as these can withstand a lot.
However, because you will rarely be moving around with a console, you may opt to get a desktop drive with high capacity storage for your games or your media.
These are cheaper in the long run and great for those who don’t intend to be traveling with their files.
In this article we looked at the best external hard drives for Wii U from various price ranges as well as sizes.
We also talked about how to connect an external hard drive with the Wii U console and also what to look for in a compatible hard drive.
We generally recommend that you stick with budget oriented large capacity hard drive with a USB 3.0