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External SSD for gaming?

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Feb 25, 2013
Hello all,

I had a question I was hoping you could help me with. I've been playing most of my games on my HDD with the exception of an MMO which I feel benefits (quicker load times) from my SSD. Some of the programs I've been using for school are required to be installed on the C drive which is chewing up my 128gb of space. I was thinking about moving my game to an external, SSD via USB. Does anyone have any experience with external SSDs?

All of my SSDs have been connected via sata so I'm not sure how usb 3.0 compares (speed wise.) What do you think? Thank you!


Western Digital Representative
Jul 30, 2014
Hi @yaiie!

You can use an external drive for gaming, but there are two possible cons you may want to have in mind.

First, you may experience some problems with the OS due to the registry keys of the games. Even if you decide to do so, keep in mind that the game would take longer to load and it would be slower to load maps/levels compared to SATA since the USB 3.0 bandwidth is not as fast as the one of the internal SATA ports.

The second thing is about the loading speed. There's no sure way to say how fast exactly it will be. Basically the maximum bandwidth of USB 3.0 is 4.8 Gb/s, or around 600 MB/s, which is quite slow for gaming and may cause lag spikes. Also, keep in mind that the HDD speed won't affect your FPS or gaming performance, but only the mentioned loading times.

Hope this helps, mate. :)


AKA: JrMiyagi
Sep 25, 2015
Why not just install the SSD in the case?

It may be a laptop? Not sure...he didn't post his system specs.

Another suggestion...if you have an SSD that is larger (a 250 GB SSD is pretty cheap now), you can clone the old to the new and have more space. If you go with a Samsung, they come with cloning software that works very well.

I have several old hard drives that I put into a USB enclosure and run that way.

In general, most SSDs won't be able to saturate the USB 3.0 bus for large file transfers. However, the USB protocol has a bit more overhead than the SATA protocol. So, you MAY (key being may) notice a slight difference if the game loads lots of small files versus a few large ones.

When I have tested SSDs connected via USB 3.0, they were still fast...much faster than a hard drive connected by SATA.

If you go this route, you get the best speed in Windows by using "write caching" for the drive. You connect it to USB, and then you have to turn on write caching through the device manager. Pro, it works pretty fast. Con, you have to use the "safe removal" feature of Windows before unplugging.

I hope this helps!


Feb 25, 2013
Hood morning, all!! I forgot to mention imy using a laptop this time around. Asus ROG G752VT (970M/16GB Ram / i7 / SSD / HDD. Recent I sold my last custom rig or I'd have popped another SSD In there. There is a 2.5 Bay or two (extra) in this laptop though I have no experience messing with the internals of a laptop and I'm somewhat hesitant to try.

For now I'm going to try to use my HDD for this game. I use it for all of my other games and It does quite well.

Thank you for the input. I wasn't sure how 3.0 compared with sata.


Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Dec 15, 2008
I dont see why not.. Yes, its a bit slower, but still WAY faster than HDD...

USB 3.0
4800Mbps each way
600 MBps each way

6000Mbps each way
750 MBps each way