DO you have more games in your PC library than disk storage space for them? Of course you do, everyone does and it’s been that way for a long time.
The folks at Seagate’s FireCuda gaming storage division know this, and have released an absolutely monster storage device in the form of the Seagate FireCuda Gaming Hub, available with either 8TB or (as reviewed) 16TB capacity.
For context: 16TB is by far and away the largest storage device I’ve encountered outside an actual mainframe.
Some basic maths: 16TB divided by 65GB (a rough average size for a modern AAA game) is 246 games. Take into account that not all games are that large, and even though there’s a few 100GB+ behemoths out there (I’m looking at you, Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War) when you average it all out I’m happy saying this thing can hold more than 250 games.
Here’s the kicker, though: This is a Hard Disk Drive (HDD), not a Solid State Drive (SSD). Now, most of us understand than a 16TB SSD would cost eye-watering amounts of money if you could even find one (at time of writing, I’m not aware of any for sale on the “could be bought by an Australian gamer” commercial market). It also connects via USB-A 3.1 rather than Thunderbolt, which I found very surprising – although it does mean the Hub will work with a much larger range of computers.
Size-wise, it measures 206mm long by 49.2mm wide by 128mm high and weighs 1.3kg and can be positioned horizontally or vertically, depending on your space. It also features customisable RGB lighting, as is considered de rigueur for all gaming accessories.
I ran Crystal Disk Mark 8 on the Game Hub and it returned results of 277MB/s read and 255MB/s write, which might sound incredibly slow compared to an SSD but is pretty high side for an HDD.
Despite all this, I found the games I played from the Hub – including Control, Borderlands 3, and Sniper Elite 4 all performed and played exactly the same (at least from a gameplay experience perspective) from the HDD-based Hub as they did from an SSD – Control and Borderlands 3 for example, were running both running in 4K at 60fps+ on an Acer Predator CG437K 43in monitor off the Seagate FireCuda Game Hub via an Intel NUC 11 Extreme system.
While people for whom read/write speeds truly matter (ie, competitive e-athletes) aren’t going to want to be gaming on an HDD, for regular gamers with huge libraries it really isn’t a great detriment. After all, a lot of games don’t actually need an SSD.
Does Age of Empires III: Definitive Edition actually need an SSD to run? Not at all, it’s perfectly playable off an HDD – as are most games, if we’re being frank.
Another area where the Firecuda Gaming Hub will appeal is for content creators with a lot of video. Video, as most of us know, takes up a lot of space, and with 16TB you can fit a lot of it in storage for when you need it (or simply for archival purposes)
On that note, the device also comes with three years of Seagate’s Rescue Data Recovery Service, which includes a free in-lab recovery attempt of the data on the Game Hub, regardless of whether the data loss has come from a mechanical failure, accident, or natural disaster.
Although it’s a useful peripheral, there were a few disappointments with the Seagate FireCuda 16TB Game Hub though.
Firstly, it requires a power point for the AC adaptor, which means it needs to be set up near a power point and as any tech enthusiast can tell you, those things are constantly at a premium.
Secondly, there’s no Thunderbolt connectivity, which really feels like a must-have, especially given the unit costs more than AUD$750. There is a powered USB-A and USB-C port on the front, which is fine for stuff like plugging a phone in – I connected a Mophie Snap+ Wireless stand to it and it happily charged my iPhone 12 – and they also work for plugging in USB sticks/portable storage devices too.
Disappointingly, it didn’t appear multiple devices couldn’t access the Hub storage simultaneously – so I couldn’t have it connected to a desktop PC via the main USB cable and then connect a laptop to it via the front USB ports, so the laptop could access that massive storage space too.
A minor niggle was that I could feel the HDD vibrations through the desk while it was in use. Not a dealbreaker by any stretch of the imagination, but more than once I thought someone was calling or messaging my phone and it was just the HDD doing its thing.
The bottom line, though, is that the Seagate FireCuda 16TB Gaming Hub is one of the largest commercially available external HDDs (there is a Seagate 18TB external HDD; it’s also more than AUD$920) so if you want somewhere to put pretty much your entire PC game library, then this is definitely worth considering on that basis alone.