The digital download era has changed many industries over the past several years. More and more forms of entertainment are reducing the amount of physical products in favor of a more practical digital version. VUDU, Groove Music, digital game downloads, and others have become the norm. Though they are practical and convenient options, they do require the user to have a plethora of hard drive space.
Companies like Google, Microsoft, Apple, and Dropbox have seen this as an opportunity to provide digital consumers with online storage options. This works perfectly for some, like Plex Cloud and Groove Music users, but these storage options are not available for keeping digital copies of your games. Well, a man can hope, but it isn't available yet. For gamers especially, external and internal hard drives are the only way to go.
External Hard Drives
When it comes to consoles, external hard drives are a relatively new feature. PlayStation 4 didn't have this ability until the 4.5 firmware update which was released a couple of weeks ago. External hard drives have a couple of advantages. If you play games, but are not tech savvy, external hard drives are easy to install. All you have to do it plug it in. They also have various cases and designs for those that like customization.
As for use, since games would be installed on the external hard drive, boot times and system stability would improve. I haven't tested this on the PlayStation 4, but it was extremely noticeable on my Xbox One. The downside to external hard drives is that it kind of kills the aesthetics of your console. Don't get me wrong, there are some really cool looking cases, but you still have to connect the USB to the console.
Internal Hard Drives
In previous generations, changing your internal hard drive just wasn't possible, or would void your warranty. The Xbox One internal hard drive is not user friendly to replace in the slightest. It is possible however. For PC and PlayStation 4, its a very simple process. Though you will likely need a tutorial video if you have never done it before, its nice not having yet another device on your desk/TV stand. You won't need to worry about where to save your games if you plan on disconnecting your external hard drive, since they would all save to the internal.
Both > VS
Let be real though. You don't have to have one or the other. Unless you don't got the money for both at first. Expanding your drive space with a large capacity internal hard drive and having an external hard drive would be the best case scenario, at least for us console gamers. Until digital games and content can be played from cloud services, you will want to get both.
Even when you buy a game on disc these days, you will still need several GB available for it to install. Your other option is to constantly delete content to make space for more. Then you are constantly downloading games and waiting. Plus, ISPs have started putting data caps on broadband users in various communities, and you definitely don't want to pay more that you already do for your internet bill.
HDD vs SSHD vs SSD
This is the real question. What will be the better hard drive type. SSD is going to be the best, but it is also the most expensive. Due to NAND shortages, SSDs have been too expensive for some, but that should change in the coming months. Provided the shortage has ended. SSDs will provide faster load times, and from my experience, run quieter. The Patriot Ignite SSD I installed in the video, cut my load times on Horizon: Zero Dawn by a whole minute. Doesn't seem like much until you have to wait that full minute. Pro-Tip, Not all SSDs are the same, you will want to check how many layers it is. (ie. SLC > MLC > TLC)
SSHD is a hybrid drive. Its got a bit of both worlds. It is definitely an improvement to HDDs, but not quite as fast or reliable as an SSD. They are much more affordable though. So if you are looking for something faster, but don't want to pay the difference for an SSD, you should consider a SSHD.
The good ol' HDD. It's is the cheapest of the bunch. It's not incredibly slow, but definitely takes games and content longer to load than a SSD or SSHD. There is no harm in getting a larger capacity HDD to replace your current one, but if you are going to upgrade, I think you should go the extra mile and get a SSD or SSHD.
In a perfect world, you would have they highest capacity internal and external SSD that is compatible with your device. In a more realistic world, you would get an internal SSD and an external HDD. All in all, do something about you storage, because you can and will run out of it.
What do you think is the best option/combination? Have you considered upgrading your hard drive? Do you think that cloud storage is a realistic future option?