If you’ve been feeling like your Nintendo Switch is a bit slow when running games, you might want to check your microSD card. The only way to add more storage to your Nintendo Switch is with a microSD card. There are many options for microSD cards of various brands and capacities, and the price gap is also large, but not all of them can meet your expectations, and using some microSD cards may also slow down your game speed.
How does the microSD memory card affect the speed of the Nintendo Switch?
The Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite consoles have 32GB of built-in storage, and the OLED models have 64GB, but the operating system takes up some space on all models. That may only leave you with enough room for a handful of games, which is why there’s also a microSD card slot on the Nintendo Switch that can support up to 2TB. With the microSD card loaded, you can download new games or game data directly to the memory card, or move data back and forth between internal and SD storage as needed.
Not all microSDs are created equal on Nintendo Switch
The main issue with microSD is performance, even the fastest SD cards and microSD cards read and write slower than other types of flash. For example, Samsung’s new Pro Plus microSD card has read speeds of up to 180MB/s and write speeds of up to 130MB/s, which is faster than most USB flash drives but less than half that of a typical SATA SSD (Samsung 870 EVO The maximum speed is 560MB/s). NVMe storage in newer PCs and game consoles can also typically push up to 7,000MB/s.
Since we’re dealing with such slow storage, every bit of performance matters, even if game performance ends up being limited by the rest of the hardware in the Nintendo Switch. Ideally, you should choose the fastest memory card possible, especially A2 grade. The so-called A2 means that the card is designed for storing applications that require good read and write performance. Read speed is critical for games on the Switch, as it will determine game load times and allow for faster storage writes, downloads, and copying of data.
Ninendo Switch internal storage and microSD card testing
How much does microSD speed do for Nintendo Switch gaming? In order to answer this question, the foreign media How-To Geek conducted a game loading time test with two different microSD cards and the internal storage of the Nintendo Switch. Among them, SanDisk Extreme 256 GB is the representative of A2, and Samsung Evo UHS-1 is the representative of lower order. While this test is not perfect, as some game data cannot be moved to external storage, and other factors such as temperature can affect performance, it can give you a general idea of how the memory card affects the game.
|built-in storage||A2 microSD||Low-end microSD|
|memory card speed||N/A||Write: 94MB/s
|46 seconds||56 seconds||1 minute 23 seconds|
|9 seconds||11 seconds||15 seconds|
|37 seconds||37 seconds||41 seconds|
(loading training ground)
|6 seconds||6 seconds||6 seconds|
|Animal Crossing Friends Club
|42 seconds||38 seconds||46 seconds|
Note: The Outer Worlds was tested using a physical game piece, which requires a large content download. All tests were performed on the Nintendo Switch OLED in handheld mode using the same stored profile. The test environment is to use Mac mini (M1) with Anker USB-C Hub and Blackmagic Disk Speed Test.
Broadly speaking, there isn’t much difference between loading games from an A2 memory card and the internal storage, the most notable difference being the speed of loading saves in The Outer Worlds. Since The Outer Worlds is an open world game that loads a lot of textures and other data from storage, the speed at which it loads can have a noticeable impact. In other games, the difference in speed difference is not so obvious, such as “Doom 3” does not need to load so much data at a time, so the storage does not affect it much. The rest of the bottlenecks you’re experiencing with game speed are likely due to the Switch’s aging processor and graphics chips rather than storage.
Nintendo and SanDisk co-branded cards are not faster
It should be no problem to buy the microSD card that Nintendo cooperated with SanDisk, right?
Nintendo cooperated with SanDisk to launch a memory card with patterns related to the Mario, Zelda, and Mori Friends series, but although it is promoted as a Switch recommendation, it is not a high-speed card. Take Mario’s 256GB microSD card as an example, its theoretical reading speed is only 100MB/s, and its writing speed is 90MB/s.
Make sure your Nintendo Switch is using a high-speed memory card
If you already own an A1 memory card, or even a basic UHS-I card from SanDisk and Nintendo, you probably don’t need to retire it right away and buy a new microSD, because some games will only load in 2 It’s only a 3-second gap. If you need to buy a new memory card anyway, speed is definitely something you should consider.
On the other hand, if your Nintendo Switch is using an old or extremely cheap microSD card that doesn’t even have any UHS rating, it’s likely to be the main reason for interrupting your game. If you are not sure, please try to transfer the game data to the Switch internal storage first from the settings, then play for a while, if you notice shorter loading times or overall faster performance, it is time to switch stuck.
The next time you buy a microSD card for your Nintendo Switch, or any device that will run apps or games directly from the memory card, make sure the memory card you buy has the A2 designation on it. Since it is common for profiteers to pretend to be high-speed cards with counterfeit and low-standard cards, it is recommended that you not be greedy for petty gains, and you can buy them from trustworthy, reputable, and long-established platforms, stores, or even original manufacturers.