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 the storage in your PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X/S 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 PS5 and Xbox Series X/S 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 1TB PS5 or Series X end even more so on the 512GB Series S. Throw in Day One patches and game updates, 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 Storage: MicroSD Storage FTW!
Bringing home a Nintendo Switch, Switch Lite, or OLED model soon? You’ll need a storage solution for the games. Internal memory for the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite is 32GB. The new Switch (OLED) comes with 64GB of storage, twice the amount of the original, but still nowhere near enough storage to hold more than a couple games. Consider The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. That one title will occupy 14GB of memory. See the problem? We need more storage.
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 Series X/S and PlayStation 5, 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 64GB MicroSD cards, and rule out any 32GB and under memory cards. 64GB is a good middle-ground storage solution. The SanDisk 64GB Extreme UHS-I microSDHC Memory Card should get you on your way. With 64GB, 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.
Better: Up next is the sweet spot storage solution, 128GB cards. This option allows Switch owners to buy many digital-only games and still have room for plenty of DLC and patches. You could simply pick the 128GB and above models of the card listed above, but I wanted to “switch” it up with the Samsung 128GB EVO Plus 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. Want a slightly cheaper matching MicroSD for your shiny new Nintendo Switch (OLED) model? Go with the SanDisk 128GB UHS-I microSDXC Memory Card.
Best: Hardcore, digital-only users will need more storage, so this section applies to anything 256GB and above. Disclaimer, what is best for me may not necessarily 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's a 256GB UHS-I microSDXC Memory Card and a 512GB option as well both from SanDisk.
Xbox Series X/S: External Hard Drives to the Rescue
Microsoft released two versions of their Xbox console, first up we have the Xbox Series S and its older brother, the more powerful Xbox Series X. The Series S comes with an internal 512GB hard drive while the Series X comes equipped with 1TB. With the Xbox Series X, approximately 198GB of it is reserved for system files and the Xbox operating system meaning you really only get about 802GB of usable storage. For the Series S that number is even less, with only 364GB actually being usable. I hope you remember my Battlefield example, from above.
My struggle with the Xbox Series S's 512GB hard drive was immediate. I own many AAA-games; Forza Horizon 5, Titanfall 2, Battlefield 2042, 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 is a caveat with Microsoft's latest generation of Xbox consoles when it comes to external storage capabilities. The higher speed of the Xbox Series X's SSDs won't allow newer generation games to be played from an external hard drive. However due to the fantastic backwards compatibility of the Series X/S users can still use an external drive to play previous-gen games on their console.
Anyone on a 512GB or 1TB system will likely need an external storage solution for their Xbox. I encourage digital hoarding—more storage, more games!
Good: Regardless if you own a Series X or S, adding another 1TB of storage space is essentially entry level for more gaming. Go with Crucial's 1TB X8 SSD. It’s bus powered—no external power required, and it offers a great blend of speed and value. On top of that, the X8 SSD arrives in an aesthetically pleasing metal case that looks super sleek next to my console. Considering I own multiple systems, 1TB continues to do justice for my gaming needs.
Better: My next choice is obvious: 2TB external hard drives, specifically the WD 2TB WD_BLACK D30 Game Drive SSD.
Best: The best storage solution for the Series X/S actually bucks the trend a bit. Remember when I said you couldn't play current-gen games off an external storage option? Instead of simply adding more storage, Seagate's 1TB Storage Expansion Card for the Xbox Series X/S allows you to do just that. This expansion card plugs directly into the rear of your console and utilizes NVMe PCIe 4.0 x2 flash storage to help ensure speeds just as fast as the internal drive. You'll also be able to efficiently switch between multiple titles and resume from where you left off, since the speeds are similar to that of the Xbox's internal storage.
PlayStation 5: Digital or Disc, Storage Still Needed!
Whether you're gaming on the digital or the disc version of the PlayStation 5, you will likely face some storage issues. Both versions come standard with a 1TB hard drive, but for most gamers, that is hardly enough. Fortunately, there are plenty of solutions. For starters, Sony recently released a firmware update that allows users to expand their PS5’s base storage with a compatible M.2 SSDs. If you want to go that route, be sure to check out our recommendations for the best SSDs for PlayStation 5.
The other solution is go to with an external drive.
Good: Although 5TB might sound like overkill, it’s actually more appropriate than you might think. Although it sounds a bit ludicrous, it’s not an exaggeration to say you might only be able to fit one or two games on your PS5’s built-in SSD. To add some much needed space, I recommend the WD's 5TB WD_BLACK P10 Game Drive, which allows you to store and access all your apps and games without worrying about whether you have enough space or deleting and redownloading your games
Better: PS5 owners now have multiple options for M.2 drives. Seagate’s FireCuda 530 series is fully compatible with the PS5 and is available with or without a heatsink. For convenience’s sake, we recommend the model with a heatsink, since it’s one less thing over which to fuss. Currently, the FireCuda 530 comes in four storage options (500GB, 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB) that offer blazing-fast read speeds up to 7300 MB/s.
Best: When it comes to hard drive space and gaming, the math is pretty simple: More hard drive space means more games. One of the best high-capacity internal SSD options for the PS5 is the 2TB version of the XLR8 CS3140 SSD from PNY Technologies. While popular SSDs like the Seagate Firecuda 530 and the WD Black series often draw more attention, testing shows that XLR8 CS3140 is every bit as fast and powerful as those drives and, compared to the Firecuda 530, is the more budget-friendly option. In fact, it's that overwhelming value that helps make the XLR8 CS3140 one of our top picks. Once you consider its blazing-fast write speeds, generous storage capacity, and all-around top-tier gaming performance, there really isn't a better bang-for-your-buck option than the XLR8 CS3140 SSD.
Best External: Samsung released a new version of its 980 PRO Solid-State Drive designed specifically for those who want top-of-the-line performance in their high-end PCs or PS5s. Arriving with a built-in heatsink, the drive meets Sony's own heatsink specifications for SSDs, given the limited space in the M.2 slot.
The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S 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 storage recommendations in the Comments section, below.
Why not go 5tb seagate backup plus not much more money than wd and a 1 full tb more! More is better!!!