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nintendo switch

Which Nintendo Switch storage medium is fastest?

The Nintendo Switch differs from traditional consoles by using cartridges rather than discs, making for faster access speeds in the process. But a new report has also shed light on the read speeds of microSD cards and the console’s internal storage — and the results are a little surprising.

Eurogamer compared the Switch’s 32GB of internal storage to a 16GB Sandisk UHS-1 microSD card, a super-fast SanDisk Extreme Plus 64GB microSD and Switch cartridges. The result? Well, the publication found that the internal storage would beat both microSD cards all the time, suggesting a speed cap was in place for the cards.

In fact, Eurogamer noted that in its first test, the internal storage was first, the microSD cards were second and the game cartridges were close behind.

The Nintendo Switch uses cartridges, but microSD cards and internal storage are still faster, Eurogamer found

“This isn’t a one-off either. The order of these results is exactly how all later tests play out. If we load another complex area like Kakariko village, Switch’s internal storage is once again in pole position. Likewise, the 16GB MicroSD is always in second place, the 64GB MicroSD in third, and then Zelda played from a cartridge is always last. Whether it’s the giant tower in the Great Plateau or a small shrine with a much shorter loading screen, Switch’s built-in storage always wins in loading speeds, though to varying degrees,” Eurogamer’s Thomas Morgan writes.

It advises users to pick up a cheaper UHS-1 class microSD card rather than the faster UHS-3 standard, as the Switch isn’t making the most out of faster microSD cards. It adds that the UHS-1 class of cards will still give you better speeds than the Switch cartridge.

Another interesting point is that there isn’t a way to move games over from internal storage to microSD cards, necessitating a download again unfortunately. Here’s hoping a firmware update addresses this rather large oversight.

Author Bio

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings almost seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More