It's been a long time since I bought a hard drive for steam...


[H]F Junkie
Mar 31, 2001
Looking to buy a HD for steam games as I'd like to keep more games local for instant play. Games are getting bigger & my ssds are getting full.

I'm thinking 3TB+ and trying to keep it under $100.

What is the go-to bang/buck 7200rpm steam drive people buy these days? Any drives to avoid due to SMR?

Edit: Ok with sub 7200rpm if it is fast for gaming.
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[H]F Junkie
Jul 11, 2001
Hitachi drives have always been the best for me, but since western digital bought them, they've now mostly been absorbed into Western Digital. Western Digital Blue drives are pretty solid. As far as I know, only some of the Red drives have SMR, so those would be the ones you should double-check.

This would be a perfect usage scenario for some type of SSD caching or Tiered Storage. For Intel, since the Z68 chipset, they've supported the ability to use up to 64GB of space on an SSD as cache for a mechanical drive. Now they've shifted their focus to Optane. If you have a spare M.2 slot, and a motherboard that supports it, you could get an Optane module and use it to accelerate a mechanical drive. A game that you haven't played for a while would still be slow to load, but the next time you load it, it would be significantly faster.


Feb 9, 2006
For your price/size, you're looking at Toshiba's 7200rpm drives, the X300 models are CMR. WD Black drives are very pricey these days unless you find a sale somewhere like CDW. The best overall price/perf I've seen is Seagate's 2TB 7200rpm drives for about $60.


May 28, 2020
Would getting a pair of 2TB drives and putting them in RAID0 be an option? Should be faster and slightly larger, ive used these drives before and they seem to last a while, and have decent performance. Alternatively if you can stretch your budget, WD Black is always my preferred performance drive (besides velociraptors....), and you can sometimes find nice 2TB SSD's for under $200 on ebay.