Nintendo Nintendo Switch

Here’s Some Additional Details About Nintendo Switch Storage And Cartridges

European gaming publication Game Reactor recently caught up with Nintendo to discuss storage options for the Nintendo Switch and the size of the cartridges that the system uses. It would appear that Nintendo representatives have said that the cartridges are not rewritable and are read-only solid memory units. Here’s a few more details:

  • Nintendo Switch by default supports up to 2 TB of additional storage via high capacity SD cards (microSDXC), though that size isn’t available yet (you can manage with smaller ones meanwhile).
  • Nintendo Switch is also able to support external hard disk drives via the USB 2.0 ports placed on the side of the console’s dock. However, this option has not yet been activated on the system: Nintendo is still considering it, mainly for mobility reasons, as if you save your games on an external USB memory drive connected to your dock, you wouldn’t be able to take them with you in handheld mode, which goes against main feature and philosophy of the new system.


Thanks to Retrogaminglord for the tip!


  1. We know the system has a USB 3 port where the power and HDMI ports are housed, so technically the Switch ‘could’ support USB 3 devices. Might be an idea for Nintendo to just appease to those that want the external hard drive support.

    Up to 2TB via SD though? That’s good enough for people who use 128GB SD Cards on a regular basis.

    1. I highly doubt that the USB ports will be utilized for storage. I say that because it would be way too complicated…
      If you are playing off an external USB device (which are all located on the dock) then the portability feature is hindered and you are essentially paralyzed. Also, If you happen to undock the console while playing, the drive running the game may crash or interrupt.

      1. Well like the article says, it’s already possible for the dock to support HDD. It should at least be an option for those that don’t plan on ever taking the Switch off its dock. As for the possibility of undocking the Switch while playing, that’s already a possibility if you happen to unplug an HDD while playing on a console, or if you hit the disc eject button while playing.

        1. I know, but the article also says that USB storage hasn’t been activated because the main feature of portability would be compromised. I know the joy cons can be removed but if you want to remove the actual tab (console) from the dock WHILE playing the game from a USB, you can’t because the dock/usb is nolonger feeding the game to the tab. This is why the game card slot and the SD card slot is in the console rather than in the dock. So either way, an SD card is the best option.

          1. Omega King Kalas Ridley X3 (Greatness Awaits at Nintendo Switch & Sony PlayStation 4! Come join us in the Light of Darkness!!) says:

            Still, it’s our problem to deal with if we choose to use an external HDD. Same old Nintendo, though. Always trying to control us in some form or fashion.

  2. MicroSD is surely the preferable option to an external hard drive. Yes, I guess you can get more memory for less money with an EHD, but MicroSD is surely a cuter and more convenient solution that you can still get adequate memory with. I think given this easy expandability the small storage size of the Switch is honestly the least of its problems right now!

  3. Woah Woah Woah, is that a typo? You just said it supported 128GB cards yesterday. WTF is a 2GB card doing to do? Download 4 VC games? Which is it?

  4. There seems to be one blue USB port in the back, those are usually 3.0 ports.
    Would be pretty retarded if they insist on using USB 2.0 for storage, so frontal USB’s are probably for peripherals.

  5. 256GB microSD card is 220€.
    2/3 of what Switch is going to cost.
    I might go for 128GB for 80€.
    Or 64GB for 40€ and buy 2 of those if no game on eShop takes more than 60GB.

      1. Thats an SD card, Switch uses microSD, cant get those for cheaper than 180$ from China either.
        They should have use SD though, I’m sure they could have been able to fit it in the console.

      1. ok, I just could not find that info.
        Though I do not think that will be affordable on our life time, let alone Switch’s.

        1. No you haven’t. Im pretty sure there are only prototypes of 1tb micro sds. Even then, a 256 GB one costs much more than that. Eithed you are misinformed or you are being ripped off

    1. It’s not about nothing. 32GB is TINY for onboard storage which is typically faster than SD storage. Micro SD cards are fine for music, Videos and saved data, but it may not be fast enough for actual games downloaded on it.

      For example; The Typical speed for a Micro SD card is 10mb read, 10mb write. 30mb write for U3 (UHS speed) cards. The typical SSD speed is 550ms read/ write. That’s a massive difference!

      Don’t just dismiss people’s criticism out of hand. Not everyone critical of Nintendo hate them.

      1. Them being saved on an SD card wouldn’t affect the speed at all. Many games you download via eshop are saved on sd, and launch and run at the same speed as disk or cartridge games. It’s all for nothing.

        1. Games stored on the Wii U internal storage load faster than ones on its disc drive or external drive.
          Not by much, of course, but there you go.
          Off the top of my head I noticed visible difference with Devil’s Third, Pokkén Tournament and Xenoblade Chronicles X when I ran them next to eachother internal vs external

      2. Most “good” SDXC cards read at 80-100mb. That’s a lot faster than the specs you’re quoting and the hard drive in the Xbox One and PS4 is no where near the speed of a SSD either. The write speed of the SD card on a video game system is far less important.

  6. The way I would do it is that you could easily switch games from the internal storage, SD card, and external hard drive. If I know I’m going out of town for a weekend, I could move a few games from the external hard drive to the SD card, and that would take a few hours max probably? Anyway, that way I could buy a 64gb SD card and a 1tb hard drive. It would save customers a lot of money.

  7. Memory is definitely a problem if the game cartridges are not going to be re writable. I was hoping they would be. All this news popping up is a little worrisome tbh. I’m not worried about 1st party software because Nintendo usually is good with releasing complete games. The problem is with 3rd parties that release games with bugs and then have huge day one patches that are sometimes easily over 32 GB. Of course these 3rd parties should be releasing complete games just like Nintendo but unfortunately thats not the case with most companies. Nintendo messed up by not including more memory on the system. Personally, I really don’t want to invest in an expensive memory card just so I can have it filled with updates which is going to happen with 3rd parties unless Nintendo waits for the inevitable patch releases after months so that they can be included in a cartridge. 256gb micro SD cards cost more then $100. When 2tb cards are released imagine the price it will be for those. Ps4 and Xbox have storage for 500gb or 1tb included with the system. I would be willing to invest in an external drive but how could that possibly work with the portability. Nintendo constantly does this they take two steps forward and three steps back

      1. Yes I agree on the point that it’s a problem and yes the age we live in is not the ideal one. Since many people allow these companies to get away with these types of things it’s become the norm even among major developers. Square enix has a huge update file for ff15 that was over 30gb I believe. CD projekt red has it for Witcher 3 etc. It’s also important to note that many companies have planned dlc for their games as well. Nintendo should be aware of this trend it’s not anything that’s new. If the only solution they can come up with is to have customers buy expensive memory cards that’s just unacceptable for me at least personally. If Sony can make a console with 500gb hard drive and better graphics for $300 why can’t Nintendo include more memory in their console. The only thing it has going is portability and the same motion controls that have been around for years with the wii. Does that justify a $300 dollar price tag with all these omissions? I don’t think so but of course I have no idea wt it costs to produce the switch and what profit margin Nintendo is trying to achieve by pricing at that point

  8. Here you go guys, the best MicroSD Cards.(prices may vary).
    I was trying to find Western Digital microSD, but i think they don’t sell those. Only HDD/SDD.

    -SanDisk Ultra® microSD UHS-I Card 256GB = $170
    -Samsung 256GB 95MB/s EVO Select Micro SDXC = $150-$200
    -KINSTON 256GB MICRO SDXC I CLASS 10 SDC10G2/256GB = $150+

    Source: Amazon.

  9. This sounds a bit like future proofing, but how many years away are we from affordable, 2 TB micro SD cards? I’m willing to bet it’s more than a typical Nintendo console generation. It sounds like Nintendo is releasing this console just a couple of years before the technology required to make the situation ideal exists. At least they designed the dock to be able to accept HDD’s. I’m almost certain we’ll see that feature being activated before the end of the year, more than likely before that.

    The read-only cartridges were expected. It would’ve been great if game updates and dlc could be written onto the game cards, but this would have given hackers an easy opportunity to play around with the game files; and we all know how much Nintendo hates potential piracy.

    Finally, none of this really affects me at all. I buy all my games physical, unless they’re digital only; in which case I will buy on my PC before buying on a console. I never had a problem with my Wii U storage. About a year ago I ended up buying a 128GB flash drive for it, and the only reason I needed it was because Humble Bundle had a Nintendo indie bundle available. No way I was gonna pass that up. Honestly, there is absolutely no viable reason why anyone should prefer digital over physical, at least not yet. The system is too imperfect. There are so many problems with digital that I simply won’t go into right now because this comment is already long enough.

    1. Omega Kalas Ridley X3 (Greatness Awaits at Nintendo Switch & Sony PlayStation 4! Come join us in the Light of Darkness!!) says:

      Better activate the ability to use external hard drives. In fact, they better tell us they intend to let us use external hard drives very, very soon. *points to my comment below* Then again, they said they might allow a universal account system on the Wii U later so our data wouldn’t be console locked & we’d get to use cloud saves & be able to move our digital purchases to a new Wii U without the need of a system transfer & we all know how that ended.

  10. Omega Kalas Ridley X3 (Greatness Awaits at Nintendo Switch & Sony PlayStation 4! Come join us in the Light of Darkness!!) says:

    *right eye twitch* Fuck the portable aspect! Let us use external hard drives, damn it! STRIKE TWO!!!

    I still have 47 days to change my mind about getting this console!

    1. Omega Kalas Ridley X3 (Greatness Awaits at Nintendo Switch & Sony PlayStation 4! Come join us in the Light of Darkness!!) says:

      And damn it! I was really, really hoping the cartridges would allow for patches & DLC to be saved directly onto them. :/

  11. 32GB (again) and can’t save on the cards? So $299 for system. $24.24 tax. Now $69.76 for a SanDisk Ultra 200GB Micro SD. That’s 392.99. Not including any games to buy, which is another 59.99 a pop.

    Once again Nintendo charges a lot for little space.

    1. At least you dont have to pay Canadian prices. Our Switch is $400 plus %14 tax $56 = $456 canadian or $347.47 USD…. our games are $90 with tax. It’s insane.

  12. Some company out there is going to create some kind of mobile dock case with both extra battery life and an external battery. I give it 2 months post release before we start seeing them lol

      1. I’m talking like goofy add-on specific though. One that fits over the entire console and makes it an inch or two thicker for even more battery life and storage. Throw on some nerf foam and it’s perfection.

  13. “Nintendo Switch is also able to support external hard disk drives via the USB 2.0 ports placed on the side of the console’s dock. However, this option has not yet been activated on the system”

    PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, ACTIVATE IT. As someone whose collection of games on the 3DS is half digital, this is more highly important than they think it is.

  14. According Nintendo themselves and USB 3.0 port is placed on the back witch should be the accepted format for external hard drives but yeah I think most people should go SD cards witch can be taken on the go. Personally I will go for a 200 GB one.

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