3 Beast Storage Solutions for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, and PlayStation 4


Gaming in today’s world, you are going to need more system storage to keep up with all the games to which you’ll have access. Upgrading your PlayStation 4 (Pro) or Xbox One S storage is essential. This also includes the Nintendo Switch, as well.

There are usually three types of gamers: those who purchase physical copies only, those who have moved on to digital, and those who purchase whichever one is most convenient. The rise in digital gaming and Indie Games on consoles likely won’t be stopping anytime soon. Even physical-only gamers buy Indie Games, and most of those are only offered digitally.

Even if you could stay “physical,” more storage is necessary. Games on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One install to the hard drive. An average AAA game can take 30-50GB of hard-drive space. This eats away at internal storage quickly on a 500GB PS4 or Xbox One system. Throw in Day One patches and updates to the games, and you are looking at more storage being consumed. The Nintendo Switch will have game cards that do not install to the internal memory, but will also have to deal with patches, updates, and more.

Then there is downloadable content. Better known as DLC, it allows you to get free or paid (optional) content to expand the games you love, but the file sizes can vary. For example, I own Battlefield 4 on both consoles, as well as all DLC, which comes out to more than 75GB per system. Yikes! I also own the two follow-up games: Battlefield: Hardline, Battlefield 1—all paid DLC. On one system, those three games can be a total estimate of 200-225GB on my hard drive. It’s clear—more storage, more games!

Nintendo Switch: MicroSD Storage FTW!

Bringing home a Nintendo Switch soon? You’ll need a storage solution for the games. Internal memory for the Nintendo Switch is 32GB and a portion of the storage is reserved by the system, reportedly 6.1GB, leaving you with 25GB of actual storage. Why is this important? If you download a game like The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it will occupy 14GB of memory. Doing the math in your head? It means we need more storage.

Nintendo Switch

Great news! Expanding storage is as easy as inserting a microSDXC or microSDHC memory card into the device. This is great, as the library of Nintendo Switch games will grow over time, including digital only “Nindies” (Indie Games).

Remember, purchasing The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild game card means you don’t have to install the game on your Switch. Nintendo announced DLC for this game in the future. All DLC will install in the storage of the console, akin to the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, not the game card.

I know what you’re thinking. “I’ll just buy the game cards for everything on my Switch.” That would be a nice way to help save on storage, but do you want to carry around a bunch of game cards with you? I know I don’t, but hey, to each their own. Either way, more storage, more games!

Good: Let’s start with 32GB MicroSD cards, and rule out any 8-16GB memory cards. The Lexar 32GB High-Performance UHS-I microSDHC Memory Card with SD Adapter should get you on your way. With 32GB, casual gamers will gain a lot of flexibility, especially if going the game-cards route. That’s enough to download smaller “digital only” titles, DLC, game patches, and more. Need a faster card? Go with SanDisk 32GB Extreme UHS-I microSDHC Memory Card.

Lexar 32GB High-Performance 633x UHS-I microSDHC Memory Card with SD Adapter

Better: Up next is the sweet spot storage solution, 64GB cards. You could pick the 64GB models of the two listed above, but I wanted to “switch” it up with the Samsung 64GB EVO memory card. The EVO/EVO+ series are water, X-ray, and magnet proof. Since the console is portable, I figured I’d throw in the microSDXC cards that I use for my mobile phone and tablets.

Samsung 64GB EVO UHS-I microSDXC Memory Card with SD Adapter

Why is 64GB the sweet spot? This option allows Switch owners to buy many digital-only games and still have room for plenty of DLC and patches.

Best: Hardcore, digital-only users will need more storage, so let’s start at 128GB. Before I switch it up again, what is best for me may not be for you. In the two sections above, I focused more on the storage aspects—all those cards have 128GB options, and they’re awesome. In case you think I went overboard, here are some 200GB microSDXC cards from SanDisk and PNY.

SanDisk 200GB Ultra UHS-I microSDXC Memory Card (Class 10)

Xbox One: External Hard Drives to the Rescue

Microsoft released a few versions of the Xbox One console, most recently, Xbox One S (and Project Scorpio in the future). The original came with an internal 500GB hard drive. The Xbox One runs three different types of operating systems, and many gaming outlets reported that you get 362GB of hard-drive space on the system (400GB for the PS4). I hope you remember my Battlefield example, from above.

Microsoft Xbox One S All-Digital Edition Gaming Console

My struggle with the Xbox One’s 500GB hard drive was immediate. Purchased in March 2014, I owned many AAA-games; Forza Motorsport 5, Titanfall, Battlefield 4, Tomb Raider: Definitive Edition, and a few smaller titles. Everything had DLC, all ate storage space. In less than a month, I was full. There was no external hard drive solution at the launch of the system. External storage support finally arrived in a summer 2014 update, and I couldn’t be happier. Hey—it changed my life!

Microsoft released updated versions of the Xbox One: the Xbox One Elite console, and received a faster 1TB hybrid hard drive, while Xbox One S had the option of 500GB, 1TB, or 2TB of internal storage.

Anyone on a 500GB system will likely need an external storage solution for their Xbox. For the 1TB owners, that’s debatable. Owners of 2TB consoles, well, they just want more games. I have no problem with that. I encourage digital hoarding—more storage, more games!

Good: For 500GB hard drive owners, upgrading to a 1TB is essentially entry level for more gaming. Go with the Black WD 1TB My Passport USB 3.0 Secure Portable Hard Drive. It’s bus powered—no external power required, and it resembles the original Xbox One model. Considering I own multiple systems, 1TB continues to do justice for my gaming needs.

WD 1TB My Passport USB 3.0 Secure Portable Hard Drive

Better: My next choice is obvious: 2TB external hard drives, specifically the WD 2TB My Passport USB 3.0 Secure Portable Hard Drive. What’s not to like? I forgot to mention that it comes in a few colors. However, if you want the signature Xbox color green, you’ll have to get the officially licensed Seagate 2TB Game Drive for Xbox 360 or Xbox One.

Seagate 2TB Game Drive for Xbox 360 or Xbox One

Best: The best is flexible and depends on the end user. Keeping my theme—more storage, more games. Some would go with high-speed drives, but that is not my lane. 4TB hard drives should be more than enough. Guess what drives I’m leaning toward again? WD 4TB My Passport USB 3.0 Secure Portable Hard Drives. As the adage goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. 

WD 4TB My Passport USB 3.0 Secure Portable Hard Drive

PlayStation 4: Internal or Expanded, The Choice is Yours!

Gaming on the standard or slim version of the PlayStation 4, you’ll face the same storage issues as with the Xbox One. PlayStation 4 (Pro) version comes with a 1TB hard drive. Additionally, both systems have streaming apps, gameplay DVR, video-editing tools and more that stamp my theme “500GB is not enough.” My stock PS4 hard drive ran only once to verify I have a working Day-One system. It worked, I smiled, then swapped for an internal 1TB hard drive. Years later, I upgraded to 2TB. I knew better. This is my primary system, and I need more!

Sony PlayStation 4 Pro Gaming Console

Originally, PlayStation 4 owners needed to do a bit more work when upgrading their console hard drives. From Day 1, PlayStation 4 consoles only supported internal 2.5" laptop hard drives. We have an article on eXplora that explains how you can replace the PS4 hard drive in your video game system.

Finally, PlayStation officially announced PS4 external hard drive support with the PlayStation 4.50 firmware update. Now gamers will have flexibility. I’ve done the internal process one time too many, and it takes too long. Start to finish, you’re looking at six hours, minimum. External is the way, my gamers. Join me… in doing both! (TrollFace.jpg)

Good: Owners of a 500GB PlayStation 4 model can start with a 1TB 5400 rpm hard drive. These 5400-rpm hard drives are the same speed as the stock PS4 drive. The WD 1TB Laptop Mainstream HDD Retail Kit is a good choice. If you’re looking for an external hard drive, then I recommend the WD 1TB My Passport USB 3.0 Secure Portable Hard Drive.

WD 1TB Laptop Performance 5400 rpm SATA II 2.5" Internal HDD Retail Kit

Better: One step above for 500GB owners is a faster 7200rpm hard drive. Staying at the 1TB range (assuming PS4 Pro owners will upgrade to 2TB or more), these drives will load games faster. The Seagate 1TB FireCuda SATA 6Gb/s 2.5" Hybrid Gaming Hard Drive is going to do wonders for your PlayStation 4. The special feature of this hard drive is the hybrid SSD+HDD technology (SSHD). This one-two combo will give you SSD-like performance. For external storage, grab one of the WD 2TB My Passport USB 3.0 Secure Portable Hard Drives.

Seagate 1TB FireCuda 2.5" Internal Hybrid Drive

Best: More hard drive space means more games… So, listing 2TB hard drives is clearly the best for this list. The 2TB version of the FireCuda SATA 6Gb/s 2.5" Hybrid Gaming Hard Drive is the drive I would recommend. The technology behind this hybrid hard drive will still make it a beast for gaming. I’ve seen it in action; it is legit. You can also go all out with external storage by purchasing one of the WD 4TB My Passport USB 3.0 Secure Portable Hard Drives.

Seagate 2TB FireCuda 2.5" Internal Hybrid Drive

Best External: Sure, I can recommend any of the blazingly fast SSDs to fill the bill, but I’ll leave that up to you. At the end of the day, the best hard drive comes down to what is important to the gamer. There are so many hard drives to choose from. Compiling these recommendations will help get you back in the game quickly. There are other drives that are faster, as well as larger.

Samsung 500GB 850 Evo 2.5" SATA III SSD

The PlayStation 4 and Xbox One can support up to 8TB, and microSD support on the Nintendo Switch goes to 2TB (which, unfortunately, do not exist yet). The best fit will be based on individual needs. My motto: more storage, more games. Have fun gaming with your expanded systems!

Share your hard-drive recommendations in the Comments section, below.