Best External Hard Drive for NVIDIA Shield
Android TVs brought about a whole new dimension to the television experience. To this day in many parts of the world, the only way to enjoy the TV experience is to buy a box from a TV provider and choose a range of channels to pay for. Android TVs on the other hand, basically extend all your phone can do onto a larger screen and merge it with the traditional TV experience.
This way gaming, Netflix, news channels, and all else can be combined into an all-inclusive system. The Nvidia Shield has been rated one of the absolute best Android TV devices for years now, with barely any competition which would endanger its leading position. However, many reviews also note that it is almost essential, or at least very useful to own an external hard drive dedicated to the Nvidia Shield device in order to download games, music, or movies without filling up all the available space. In this article, we took a look at the best external hard drives to buy for the Nvidia Shield.
Best Buy External Hard Drive for Nvidia Shield – Overall
Before we look at the actual products we recommend, we need to clarify something about Nvidia Shield devices. There are two versions of it, Nvidia Shield and Nvidia Shield Pro. There are a couple of differences between these two products, but the one we want to mention due to its importance in these topics is the fact that Nvidia Shield Pro has a USB port, but the regular version, the Nvidia Shield doesn’t. For this reason, one must find different ways of getting around the problem of extending the storage space, which isn’t very much in the first place. The standard Shield comes with “only” 8GB of internal space, while the Pro comes with 16 GB. Extending the storage space for the Shield can be somewhat more tricky than it is for the Pro due to the lack of USB ports.
There are two ways to increase storage space for the Nvidia Shield, one of them being inserting a MicroSD card into the MicroSD card slot on the device, the other one is setting up a NAS (network-attached storage) system in your home. We will primarily talk about different NAS devices since they can contain more space and are really useful for a lot of other purposes as well. Network-attached storage is basically a desktop device or a box, made up most often of two or more separate HDD-s and/or SSD-s. By connecting it to your internet router device, you can access all stored data on it with a password, from any device you are currently using. Once your NAS is set up, you can connect your Nvidia Shield to it through the Shield settings.
The overall best NAS device was chosen by seeing which device is the most balanced according to a couple of criteria like reliability, capacity, performance, affordability, etc. In our opinion, the best external drive, in this case, NAS, is the WD My Cloud Home. It is the perfect, most well-rounded device on the market for such purposes. It is, as the name suggests, a personal cloud device. Basically a more user-friendly type of NAS. It can be ordered in a variety of storage sizes and configurations (Single Bay or Duo), but the basic 2 TB Single disk version is the best option for the average user.
WD or Western Digital is one of the top three names in the external drive world (next to Seagate and Toshiba). They have been around for long, and everybody knows that they are reliable. In some sense, WD external and internal drives as well are somewhat of an industry standard. WD products are always reliable and usually tend towards being better-priced products. Western Digital also owns SanDisk and G-Technology, which two companies help make the product lines of WD all the more diverse, the technology all the more rock solid and cutting edge.
The WD My Cloud has a professional, aesthetic design, and amazing practicality. This device will be the absolute best friend of anyone using it, since setting it up is really easy, and it makes the transferring of files, videos or pictures will be so much easier. It can be connected via Wi-Fi to the surrounding devices, or by ethernet or USB connection. How they are connected determines the speed of the transfer between the chosen devices. Ethernet connection is the fastest of them and probably the most useful in household terms since it can comfortably transfer data at speeds of 120 Mb/s, which is more than enough for streaming video or movies, gaming, or any other everyday task. Wi-FI and USB connections will provide a speed that is determined by the quality of the medium (strong or weak Wi-FI, USB 3, or USB 2, etc.).
We have tested the WD My Cloud, to be able to recommend the device more confidently. If we want to be precise, one of our colleagues tested it for a while, since he has a WD My Cloud 2 TB at home as his home NAS, and he also has an Nvidia Shield, so by chance, we got a look into how life with these devices looks like.
According to our colleague, the WD My Cloud is the best personal NAS that he has used until now because it is well-thought-out. One of the major differences between a NAS and a personal cloud system is that cloud systems can be accessed from anywhere. This means that if our colleague is at work, he can use his smartphone to reach a document he needs or some other file. This is a very useful feature of the WD My Cloud since it extends the reach of the NAS to outside of your home, should you need it. He often uses the NAS to store games downloaded through the Nvidia Shield from places like Google Play and says that he hasn’t experienced any sort of problems with the game streaming. The only possible downside is that this machine costs around 300 USD at the time of writing this article, which might not be the number one wants to see, but is still only a low- to mid-range price for a really good device. All-in-all it is a very good all-around developed device that will not only be a very useful extension to your Nvidia Shield but also to your home as a whole. Check out this link to Amazon if you are interested!
Best Buy External Hard Drive for Nvidia Shield – Budget Pick
In the budget pick category, we were looking at the best machines which offered as much value for money as possible. The Nvidia Shield isn’t exactly a cheap device either, so buying a 300-400 USD home network storage system might not be optimal for everyone. NAS systems and large MicroSD cards aren’t cheap, however, so one should take the possible expenses of extra storage into consideration when buying an Nvidia Shield in the first place.
The Synology DiskStation DS220j is our winner in the Budget Pick category since it delivers a decent storage space and performance for a lower price than usual for NAS devices. You can buy it diskless for around 160 dollars, while you can also buy it with a 2TB IronWolf Seagate HDD included for around 240 USD. It isn’t cheap, but it is one of the cheaper NAS systems you can get and has been rated as one of the best for a home setting.
It can also be connected with an ethernet cable or through Wi-Fi, but it is a NAS only, not a personal cloud-like the WD My Cloud, which means you can’t access your files from outside your home or at least the network which the NAS is connected to. Through the ethernet, it can also reach transfer speeds of up to 130 Mb/s, which is perfectly decent for everyday use. It is very reliable, with an almost perfect track record and good user satisfaction rates.
We ordered a diskless version since we have a couple of HDD-s on-board already. It is a good-looking device that can easily fit into either an office or a home setting. It is not less aesthetic than the My Cloud, so the fact that it is cheaper doesn’t affect the feel of the device. We set it up fairly quickly, connected everything through an Ethernet cable, and off we went with the testing. The device kept the 100+ Mb/s speeds consistently and we had no problems with noise or any sort of lagging. We downloaded a larger multiplayer game from the Play Store onto the NAS device through the Nvidia Shield, and it worked perfectly fine from the device.
We would highly recommend this device for anyone looking for a NAS device they can use for a variety of purposes at home, with one of them possibly be using it as an external drive for an Nvidia Shield. Connecting the device to other gadgets in the home is easy, and 2 TB of space will be more than enough to cover most of your needs. Check it out on Amazon by clicking this link!
Other Good External Hard Drive for Nvidia Shield
The two categories so far are enough to cover most of the average users’ needs, but we know there are specific scenarios and people with specific requirements, may that be better performance, larger storage capacity, or other. For this reason, here are a couple of other good external drive solutions for the Nvidia Shield.
An Alternative Solution
So, as we said, the main focus of this article is on NAS devices, since they are more useful and can be larger than other options of storage extension available for the Nvidia Shield. However, that doesn’t mean it is the only option. There is another way of drastically increasing the available space on your Nvidia Shield if you want to download games, movies, songs, or anything else, and that is a MicroSD card. The problem is, however, that there are not many large MicroSD-s since it is a tricky technology to pull off successfully. It is somewhat of an engineering marvel actually, to make a 1 TB MicroSD card, but that is what the SanDisk company has done.
If you have no need for a NAS system or think it is just unnecessary in your home, you can get a 1 TB MicroSD card from SanDisk and just insert it into your Nvidia Shield device. This way you won’t have to buy a bulky and large external device and connect it to the other tech in your home, which might not be the option of choice for many. There is one problem, however, and that SanDisk is the only company that produces 1 TB MicroSD-s (the others on Amazon, available for 12-20 dollars are scams), and because of the cutting edge technology required to make the card, it is quite expensive. It is available for 229 USD on Amazon at the time of writing this article, but otherwise, the original price is 450 USD.
When comparing 230 USD for a MicroSD which you can’t use for much else than just for extending storage on your Nvidia Shield, with 260 USD for a device that has much more space and can simultaneously handle multiple types of devices and data transfers and can also be used for a bunch of tasks, the NAS seems to come out as the winner for value for money. However, some people don’t care much for those extra benefits while looking to increase storage space for the Nvidia, and for these people, the compact MicroSD solution might be the best one. Check out the SanDisk Extreme 1TB MicroSD on Amazon on this link!
The Performance Beast
There will be a significant minority of people, who will see the task of extending the Nvidia Shield’s storage space as a chance to set up a strong, high-end home NAS system. In this case, if you are looking for a beast of a machine, the Synology DiskStation DS1817 NAS drive is one of your best options.
It has 8 bays, so you can place 8 separate HDD-s into it, which can add up to any amount of space from 16 TB to numbers as high as 96 TB of space, depending on what kind of HDD-s you want to purchase and use. The box has two 1Gbit Ethernet inputs (the same ones that the others have on this list) for cables capable of transferring at speeds of up to 120-130 Mb/s and two 10Gbit Ethernet slots for cables capable of transferring at speeds of up to 1100 Mb/s. The device costs around 800-1000 dollars diskless, which is very high, so we only recommend this for people who really have a lot of work to do at a high performance or people who have money to burn. If you are interested in setting up this beast of a machine in your home to complement all other techs you have in your house, including your Nvidia Shield, click on this link to check it out on Amazon!
The Cheaper Alternative
Okay, so we talked about the 1 TB SanDisk Extreme MicroSD card, which is almost as expensive as a NAS system. This makes it quite an unrealistic purchase, seeing as the NAS can do a lot more and hold a lot more information for a similar price, the only downsides are the size of the physical device and the trouble of setting it up. If you aren’t willing to give that much money for a NAS system or for a MicroSD card either, there is yet another option, but you will have to sacrifice storage space. The fact is, storage simply costs money and there is no way around that.
The cheaper alternative is buying a smaller sized MicroSD. MicroSD cards range from 1GB cards to the terabyte one we talked about earlier, so there really is a lot to choose from. You can decide how much storage space you personally require based on the activities you plan on doing with your Nvidia Shield device. Many people, like an average family, for example, do not require terabytes of space on an Android TV system like the Shield. They might own a PS4 or Xbox console, which would be more than enough to store all their games. They might also own a home cinema setup, which might be able to store all their music and videos. It is highly likely, that such a family will not require a whole terabyte (or more) for their TV system.
For these scenarios, the best option would be a smaller sized MicroSD card. There are multiple available sizes that would suit such a system and every customer should decide which size is the best for them, but we would recommend a 256 GB MicroSD at least, preferably a 512 GB one. An average movie is around 2 GB, though due to the increasing quality of video in our times, the number might actually be around 3-4 GB. A 512 GB MicroSD like the SanDisk Extreme 512GB MicroSD will cost you around 100 US dollars but will fit around 150 movies. For the average household, that will probably be more than enough storage space for saving video or games from the Google Play Store.
Buying a MicroSD has another large benefit over the NAS, which is the aesthetics of your home. If you don’t want a big and bulky device somewhere on your table or near your TV, the MicroSD solution is probably your best bet, since there is a MicroSD slot on one side of the Nvidia Shield. After purchasing the MicroSD card, you just have to insert it into the slot and you have 512 GB extra space which the Shield device will recognize as internal storage, and it won’t take up any space in your home. It is probably the simplest solution as well since you will spare yourself to set up the NAS, which might be a problematic task for some people. If you are interested in expanding your Shield’s storage size without any large external devices but rather an external device you can place inside the reader, which will also be your cheapest option, check out this link to purchase the SanDisk Extreme 512 GB MicroSD.
A Smaller Beast
You might be one of the people who doesn’t really need a device as large and powerful as the previously mentioned Synology DiskStation DS1817, but still requires a powerful device. The best option, in this case, is probably the Asustor AS5304T Personal Private Cloud (4 Bay Diskless NAS).
It has 4 bays, which means half as much maximum potential storage space compared to the Synology, but this device is a gaming-inspired one, which means powerful performance and a gaming-inspired design. With slight red accents, it looks somewhat flashier and cooler than an average NAS. On the front, there is a magnetic plastic panel that hides the bays, the LED lights, a power button, and a USB 3 port. The top and sides are bare and simple, leaving the rear to house the 120mm fan, two more USB 3. ports, two 2.5Gbit Ethernet ports, and finally HDMI 2.0a.
The 2.5Gbit Ethernet ports are the key here. Connecting this device to your Nvidia Shield will let you game properly since the 2.5Gbit Ethernet will provide a consistent speed of around 300 Mb/s and above. That will be more than enough for any game you might want to download onto the device. You can also store a lot of games on this one, since the 4 bays let you extend the device’s storage space to any size from 1TB to 48 TB, depending on the amount of data you will want to store. There is also a 2 bay version of this machine which will store up to 24 TB of space, also depending on the type of drives you use. It is more than capable of handling anything the Nvidia Shield can throw at it, may that be storing heaps of data or streaming a game from the drives, the Asustor can handle it. Check it out on this link if you are interested!
Basic Storage Extension
If all of the devices and systems in this article were too expensive or just too much of a hassle to deal with, we got you covered with a simple solution. It is similar to the Cheaper Alternative part, but even more bare-bones. There are a lot of people who will barely need to download anything to their Nvidia Shield. This can easily be the case for people who don’t play any games or need to store anything heavy. For someone only wanting to save a couple of movies or series, the aforementioned options are just overkill.
In this case, buying an even smaller MicroSD will be perfectly sufficient. The Nvidia Shield device contains 8GB of internal storage space, and for someone who wants extra space to be able to store a couple of movies, an extra 64 GB will be enough. Even most games on Google Play are below 1GB, so basic games will not be a problem with this amount of storage place. With 72 GB of storage, you can store up to 35-40 movies on the Nvidia Shield. The best 64GB MicroSD in our opinion is the SanDisk Extreme 64GB because of its reliability record which is almost perfect.
We named this category as Basic Storage Extension because with this type of extension, you will get a basic amount of storage space on your Nvidia Shield which will be enough for you to store a decent amount of data, and all this for around 13 bucks, which is the best argument for purchasing the SanDisk Extreme 64GB as an extension to your Nvidia Shield. Check out this product on Amazon if you are interested in clicking on this link!