Do External Hard Drives Affect Gaming Performance? Answer

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If you’re a PC gamer and your hard drive is overflowing with games, get an external hard drive to store them. Because your computer will work slower if you’re running out of free space, you should keep this in mind. Adding an extra hard disc to your gaming setup could have a huge impact. So, let’s start with Do External Hard Drives Affect Gaming Performance?

Do External Hard Drives Affect Gaming Performance?

External hard drives can impact fun performance by offering more game files and data space. They can also help speed up load times by reducing the amount of data that needs to be accessed from the system’s internal storage.

Differences in storage media’s impact on game performance. Because hard drives are slower than SSDs, playing a game on one might slow down the game’s loading time and overall performance if the hard drive is unable to keep up with the demands of the game.

External Hard Drives Affect Gaming Performance

Do External Hard Drives Allow You To Play Games?

It’s very uncommon for games to be large and take up a significant amount of storage on a computer or laptop. You may see that your C drive is full before you realize it. Gaming aficionados now frequently ask, “Can I put games on external hard drives?” because of this.

External hard drives are a viable option for storing games. Be aware, though, that you are not using your external hard discs to play games. Instead, you’re using them to load your games. External hard drives have become increasingly popular with gamers who want to free up space on their PC’s internal hard drives.

Even so, a growing number of gaming platforms now allow you to install games on external storage devices. This way, you don’t have to mess with your PC’s internals to acquire the gaming power you need. An external hard drive may result in significantly longer loading times when loading games. When it’s time to play the game, it won’t make a difference.

What Are The Benefits Of Using An External Hard Disc For Gaming Instead Of Your Computer’s Internal Drive?

Installing your games on your hard drive is made easier with the additional storage provided by external hard drives. It’s ideal for folks who want to install their operating system on a smaller-capacity SSD so that gamers don’t clutter up their larger drive.

The ease with which it may be carried around is another factor. You can install your games on other computers, such as those at a friend’s or family member’s house, using a portable drive. If you use a game launcher like Steam, you’ll have to sign in before you can access your games, but you should be able to do so from different devices.

Why Not Use An External Hard Disc When You’re Playing Games?

To play a game on an external drive, you must have the external drive with you at all times. Reinstalling the game if you left your HDD at a friend’s house means that you risk losing your game saves.

Your game will crash immediately, and you run the danger of permanently damaging your hard disc if you lose your USB cord or disconnect your hard drive while playing.

A mechanical hard disc on the go will be more likely to sustain damage from bumps and drops. On the other hand, External HDDs are more susceptible to hard drive loss due to physical damage, which could result in loss of data. Internal HDDs are far more secure than external HDDs.

On the other hand, external hard drives are generally more expensive than internal drives. External drives are generally more expensive than their internal counterparts because manufacturers spend more time and money creating enclosures, packing, and marketing. Compared to mass-market-friendly equipment like portable hard drives, the cost of internal components is generally lower.

What Is The Best Gaming External Hard Drive?

The speed and type of the USB portable drive and the interface’s speed are the two key elements that limit your gaming experience when using USB portable drives. When playing games, using a mechanical hard drive can cause textures and excessive loading times. Hard disc drive speed is also important. A 5400RPM hard drive’s performance will be worse than a 7200RPM one.

Gaming performance is increased by using an external solid-state drive (SSD), which overcomes the restrictions of mechanical drives. Portable SSDs, on the other hand, are significantly more expensive per gigabyte than mechanical hard drives, raising the possibility of a future capacity issue.

The USB connection’s speed can hinder gaming performance. SATA III or PCIe (for M.2/nVME SSDs) are the two interfaces used for internal drives, both of which clock in at 500MB/S read/write speeds.

Only 35MB/s can be achieved with USB 2.0 drives. The maximum data transfer rate for USB 3.0 devices is 500 MB/s. This pushes the HDD to its absolute limit. SSDs, on the other hand, may struggle with USB 3.0’s bandwidth.

You’ll want to use a USB 3.1 if you’re using an external SSD because it allows data transfer rates of up to 10 Gbps or 1250 MB/s. As a result, portable SSDs with USB 3.1 connections are the best external storage for gaming.

Do Games Run Worse On The External Hard Drive?

Yes, the games load more slowly when you have an external drive. In comparison to SSD, this is substantially worse with HDD. But your RAM is also used by games. You won’t see a difference in your gaming experience until the files have loaded.

Are External Hard Drives Good For Gaming?

Using external hard drives, you can put your games on your drive with more storage space. It’s ideal for people who want to prevent filling up their smaller SSD because they are installing their operating system on a lower-capacity SSD. Portability is another factor.

How To Use An External Hard Drive For Gaming?

When utilizing your brand-new portable drive, you should first read the “Quick Start” manual that came with it. If your drive is marketed as being plug-and-play, you can proceed to plug it into an open USB port, and it should show up as a storage drive in “My Computer” (or by Locations on Mac).

Clean Up Your Drive

  1. Format your drive. This verifies that the drive is formatted correctly and removes any manufacturer-default files.
  2. Most high-capacity drives are pre-formatted with Windows’ default file system, NFTS. FAT32 should be avoided because of its 4GB maximum file size. Many games’.bin files exceed this limit (especially those for 64-bit systems), and FAT32 prevents you from placing many games on the HDD.
  3. Because NFTS is native to Windows, exFAT is a viable option for cross-platform drives. This lifts the 4GB limit while keeping Windows and Mac file compatibility. After formatting, a drive letter is assigned. Remember where games are installed.

Play PC Games

Let’s demonstrate installing Steam games on flash drives. Choose the external drive as your default install location using Epic Games and Origin.

  1. To access Steam, go to “Settings” from the top toolbar. Select “Steam Library Folders” from the “Downloads” sidebar.
  2. Choose your portable hard disk’s drive letter. Click “Select” after selecting “New Folder” to add the install location to Steam Library.
  3. When installing a new game, “Choose to install location” appears. After choosing your external drive, it will install.


To conclude Do External Hard Drives Affect Gaming Performance? No, utilizing an external hard drive does not influence the gaming performance of a PC/Laptop. Loading the game may take longer, but it won’t affect gameplay in any way. However, USB 3.0 or higher hard drives can load games faster than your actual system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do games run slower if stored on an external drive?

The majority of a computer game’s world/level/Area/Scene/Track is typically loaded into the RAM. So, playing a game from an external hard drive doesn’t affect performance in any way.

Has an external hard drive’s performance been affected?

Distinguished. You may not notice a decrease in FPS once the game runs, but the loading time will be extremely long. If the game is fully loaded and you use all of your system memory and VRAM, your FPS will suffer because you’re now paging to the USB device, which isn’t ideal.

Is using an external hard drive beneficial to gaming?

To get the best gaming and high-resolution viewing experiences, go for an external hard drive rather than a laptop or desktop computer’s internal hard disc.

Is it possible that the hard drive impacts how well a game runs?

Yes. In terms of page load times, Even if your framerate isn’t dramatically affected, it can impact the whole experience by reducing the amount of time it takes to get things started or transition between different areas.

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