Jul 29th, 2014


If you recently purchased a new Wii U bundle, such as the Mario Kart 8 bundle, you may be searching around for options when it comes to hard drive space. Sure, the space on your new Wii U isn’t filled up yet, but with several high profile titles coming out this year and only 32GB of internal space, buying just two large digital titles can put you having to juggle your internal storage space.

Thankfully, the Wii U manages to be compatible with portable USB hard drives, which are traditionally less expensive than drives that are meant to be internal. The Toshiba Canvio line of portable hard drives work particularly well with the Wii U, as a Y USB adapter cord can be purchased to allow the hard drive to pull power from the Wii U, so you don’t have to worry about finding a second power plug for the hard drive.

Amazon currently has 1TB drives available for $59.99, which is the price of a standard Wii U release. If you want to be a little more frugal and don’t mind a smaller drive, the 500GB version is available for $49.99, though for the extra $10 you can double your space.

The Canvio drive the the current drive I have with my Wii U and it works perfectly. It’s plug and play, so once you hook it up to your Wii U, it will be recognized as an external drive that needs to be formatted in order to be compatible with the Wii U. From there, the Wii U will handle everything and once the format is complete, you can begin using the drive to store anything you download on the Nintendo eShop.

If you have any questions about this particular drive, ask in the comments and I’ll answer them for you!

local_offer    amazon  Nintendo  toshiba canvio  wii u  
  • nintendope

    I bought Deus Ex Human Revolution for Wii U yesterday for 16 dollars in Amazon, so I got that going on for me which is nice

    • Awesome. 🙂

    • Bob Charlie

      Incredible game! I prefer to always play it off-tv on the Gamepad!

  • Christian Schoff

    How about a 100 GB one since no one nerds 500 for a Wii U.

    • Ghasfarost

      that is true, unless you plan to go all digital. My digital purchases so far have been only Virtual Console games and indie titles, except for Wii Fit U (free), Wii Sport Club (too lazy to wait for physical release) and Game & Wario (club nintendo platinum)

      • long_dong_donkey_kong

        See I find myself annoyed when I have to get up to change games. I know this is lazy beyond my wildest imagination and it shows that we humans are not a species made to last, but it’s so convenient to just use the touch screen to play a different game.

        • bizzy gie

          YOU aren’t fit to last. Don’t throw your laziness on all of us. XD

        • Peter Lythaby

          Lol yes you are devolving us. How dare you 😉

      • Dimitri Soto

        I already filled up my wii u with downloads, its just so convenient to download at midnight upon release than wait in line at the store, Im kind of glad I di though because now I won’t be tempted to download Zelda or Smash or Starfox when it comes out, I’ll be able to get the boxart and discs.

    • well i have 500 GB, i think is just fine.

    • They have smaller drives, like 320GB. The downside is that they’re just as expensive as higher capacity drives, so it makes more sense to buy the higher capacity than pay the same price for less.

      • that’s, you buy the a better one with almost the same

      • kopaka7

        I use a 1TB drive myself and I’m pretty sure it’s not going to ever fill up. But I have to use a powered hub because I haven’t found a good brand name Y cable to pair it with.

        • Dimitri Soto

          in five years it will. games will be 100 GB each just watch.

          • Rinslowe

            It won’t be the Wii U at that point though.

          • kopaka7

            That’s not possible because the disc capacity of Wii U caps at 25GB, and they’re never going to make a multi-disc game for the system.

      • Christian Schoff


    • firedragonsage88

      Yeah. That’s why I opted for a 64GB “micro” flash drive. Snapped in into the back and it’s like it’s not even there. I already fit 4 games on to the system memory, and still have over 60 gigs for virtual console, which I think is more than enough.

    • Bob Charlie

      I’ve used 150gb of my 300gb external HD for my Wii U.

  • Ghasfarost

    I have 7 GB left from my Deluxe WiiU… not sure if go ahead or just wait until it runs out.

    • don’t wait that. buy one with time.

    • Yen

      Shop around once in a while and get one if you see a good deal. 7GB should be enough for at least one first party game.

    • Dimitri Soto

      better than my one GB, including my 8 GB flash drive.

  • Gamerrr72

    Doesn’t Nintendo recommend a powered external drive? Also, do you get to choose to download to system memory or drive?

    • Yes, you can choose where to download. And yes, Nintendo recommends a powered external drive. This drive is powered, through the Wii U.

      • Gamerrr72

        i meant powered as in its own power supply, plugged in.

        • I’ve used this hard drive receiving power from the Wii U for going on a year and a half now and I’ve had no problems. I wouldn’t recommend it if I were having problems.

          • darkcreap

            Good to know it, because Nintendo specifically recommends those with external supply. Others might or might not work.

          • I have a question. I bought a similar hard drive as the one pictured. Same brand, looks the same, but could be a different model. I plug it directly into my Wii U via USB. And every time I try to download, I get an “error” message telling me that I need more power. Do you use a Y cable with yours? Or am I just doing something wrong?

          • Yes, you need a Y cable in order to use this drive with the Wii U. The single USB port doesn’t provide enough power. I linked a Y adapter in the article that I have and it works perfectly.

          • Forgive my lack of knowledge in this area, but how exactly does a Y cable work? I assume I would plug one to the Wii U, one to the hard drive, and then plug the cable into a wall outlet?

          • James Kephart

            I use a Y cable and you plug both full size USB ends into the WiiU, and then the other end is smaller and plugs into the hard drive. Make sure you get the right type of cable though(Mini-USB, Micro-USB, USB3.0-micro)

          • The Y cable works by splitting the power pulled from one USB to two ports. You plug the drive into the female end of the Y cable, and then both the male ends of the Y cable into the ports on the Wii U.

          • Jaxon Holden

            Need a Y cable. Wii U is EXTREMELY low power output and low power usage, less than the original Wii in fact (which is pretty remarkable actually). Y cable or external power is absolutely a must.

            Most people prefer the Y cable.

          • Wii U’s power draw isn’t the issue. It’s the USB 2.0 specification, which only supports 5v on a port. By using the Y cable, you’re pulling 10v, which is plenty for most laptop sized hard drives.

        • Jeffery02

          The problem comes from the possibility of a current overload. By using 2 USB ports, that problem gets reduced and is much more convenient. If you feel more comfortable for an external that is AC powered though, then by all means, get that instead. This drive wouldn’t be bad for other uses though if you don’t want to use it for your Wii U.

        • Jaxon Holden

          Nintendo recommended it’s own power supply in the event you aren’t powering with a Y-cable through the Wii U. It has to be one or the other. Most people, myself included, use a Y-cable and save the outlet space.


        Whats the name of the USB ? I’m trying to find it on amazon rigth now

        • she puts a link in the same article for the Y cable.

      • James Gassett

        how do you choose where to download? ive never been given the option to choose when i download games.

    • matthew garcia

      Feel bad for people who got the white Wii u. Wasn’t that one only like 4 or 8 gigs I don’t remember. That’s crazy that they would release a console even there base console with that much storage

      • Ghasfarost

        I don’t know, a lot of people i know are good with a PS3 with only 12GB or Xbox 360 with 4 GB… a WiiU with 8GB is just the middle point i guess ¿?

        • matthew garcia

          But Wii u doesn’t belong with 360 or ps3 it belongs with Ps4 and Xbox one which have 500 gigs.

          • Ghasfarost

            yeah, but you know the old argument…”WiiU is last/middle/current gen” hehe. Seriously though, 8GB is not bad if you don’t plan to download anything on it and 32GB is not bad for Virtual Console and indie games. If you want to go “all digital” with the WiiU, then they give the option of a hard drive, which by looking at amazon is fairly cheap storage

          • matthew garcia

            I still think Nintendo could have at least gone with a 100. I have ps4 as well and havnt found it to bad on the space. I just downloaded oddworld which was only 2 gigs

          • it is Flash memory, is more expensive than an HDD, so can’t be 100 GB.

          • tomtank91

            it does, but install size for ps4 and xbone games are ridiculous.

          • Daniel Gonzalez

            True. Not a big deal to most since hard drives aren’t that expensive.

          • matthew garcia

            That’s for sure. I got last of us remastered edition today and it took up 50 gigs

          • Dimitri Soto

            True…BUT with the Ps4 and Xbox you HAVE to install the game on the console and those take up 30 to 40 even up to 50 gigabytes as games get bigger and bigger. that seriously eats up the storage on those consoles, with the wii u you don’t have to install games that are on the disc so it comes down to exactly how many games you can put on each console. the most you can put on a ps4 or xbox is 14 games and those are the ones under 40 gigabytes, with the wii u you can put many more if they are from a disc, which many people use as a primary way to get games, next generation will be different though as digital only is a very possible outcome.

          • Jaxon Holden

            Yes, BUT, most games on Wii U average less than 4gb. NSMBU is only like 2gb. Pikmin 3 is only like 2-4gb. Zelda Windwaker is less than 4gb. Super Mario 3D World is around 4gb or less. The only 1st party game that was larger that I know of is DKC Tropical Freeze, landing at over 12gb.

            So that’s the difference. Nintendo are the masters of compression technology. You’ll get more out of 32gb on Wii U buying DIGITALLY, than you will on a 500gb PS4 or Xbox One buying PHYSICALLY. Real talk. I own all three consoles. PS4/X1 mandatory install even for physical games, so you’re eating up 40-50gb PER GAME. With the Wii U, you eat up a couple megabytes per game for save file space, that’s it. But even buying digitally, you’d probably average the same 7-10 games on Wii U before filling up, as you would buying 7-10 games on PS4/X1 before filling up.

          • matthew garcia

            Your right that Nintendo is great at compressing games but then again Nintendo’s games aren’t that big. Party games and sidescrollers. Even Mario 3dworld is not that big. Will have to see how it is when x and Zelda release then will see what kind of space those take up

          • Epicstuf

            Lego City Undercover was the equivalent to one Wii U disc and it was on the E-shop.

        • i have the white one with 500 GB HDD.

      • Emu

        Get a white Wii U and an external HDD. Benefit: White controller and console shows less or no fingerprints.

    • It doesn’t matter. As long s it gets enough power to run, you’ll be fine. A Y adapter will do the trick. I’ve been using mine that way since launch and have a bunch of games on the hard drive. Works great.

    • Jack

      I’ve had a 500GB hard drive since launch powered by the Wii U via Y-adapter and it’s worked fine for me. They usually only recommend the externally-powered drives to free up USB space.

  • long_dong_donkey_kong

    Any recommendations for a good powered external drive? I can’t imagine I’ll ever need more than 500 GB for the Wii U since Nintendo’s 1st party games usually have small file sizes.

    • This drive I’ve highlighted in the article works perfectly. If you want a drive that is not powered through the Wii U, then you can use this:


      The downside to drives like this is capacity is only going to increase, while the Wii U only supports a 2TB drive. You cannot find 500GB powered external drives that are cheap from good manufacturers because of how fast technology advances. You’ll end up paying the same price as the 2TB drive for older tech.

      The Western Digital MyBook that is the same model as the 2TB drive I linked, with only 500GB of storage capacity costs $30 MORE than the 2TB drive because it is older and is no longer being produced by Western Digital.

      • long_dong_donkey_kong

        Theoretically, is there any reason Nintendo recommends powered externally vs powered from the Wii U? Could there be performance issues or is this them being overly-cautions like when they told us 3D mode on the 3DS could blind your 4-year-old?

        • From my understanding they recommend external powered drives because certain higher-end USB powered drives suck more power than the Wii U is capable of delivering. This isn’t true with the Toshiba Canvio series of drives.

          • Pricess sparkle

            If I get a y cable wouldnt that interfere when I get the upcoming Gamecube Adapter for the wii u ? 🙁 I hope not

    • gerb1977

      If you live close to any Best Buy keep on eye on their in store clearance items…..you can find store specific items on their website. I got a 2TB Toshiba HD for $55 about a year ago from my local store. Normal price was $110

  • Sdudyoy

    I really need to get one of these, I didn’t think I would by buying digital as much as I have.

    • Dimitri Soto

      ME TOO. I never planned to buy donkey kong tropical freeze, child of light, rayman legends, or Pikmin 3 but that easy convenient download got me everytime, plus you get points for the digital deluxe promotions and I got so many codes for $5 that I used to download even more games. Plus I got Zelda WW and Super Mario Bros downloads free. I have no more room now haha

  • TheFreeman87
  • thedeciderU

    thanks for posting. fyi: “The Canvio drive the the current drive I have with my Wii U and it works perfectly.”

  • Thomas Vienna

    Awwe man, I just bought one of these! I shoulda waited for the sale.

  • WT Herrod Jr.

    I have a 2TB Canvio HDWC120XK3J1, it has been flawless. I opted for a model with a power cord which turned out to be a great decision since occasionally my wife’s best friend brings her son and he plugs his Disney Infinity base into the second USB slot.

  • PapaBrownBear

    Maybe I should invest in a hard drive it would be good idea seeing how I never leave a cave for the better part of the year.

  • Can you use the drives for storing data as well as Wii U downloads?

    • Yes. It will essentially act as your system memory-your saves, vc, new downloads, dlc all goes straight to it..you won’t even know it’s there..

      • Oh sorry, I didn’t write that very clearly: can you use these to store data from other sources like a computer as well as for the Wii U or does it have to formatted exclusively to the Wii U?

        • chris

          Partition sections off

  • DC777

    Personally I have been using this drive http://amzn.com/B00EAYFX54 and this “Y” cable http://amzn.com/B005M0ICG2 since Feb. Works great, no issues at all.

    Also if you ever want to use your Pro Controller on PC, buy this http://amzn.com/B00E6553PW works easily and flawlessly and keeps you from messing around wasting time with Toshiba Bluetooth Stacks and whatnot.

  • mojack411

    If you guys don’t think you’ll need so much space for your Wii U remember that you can partition out space in it so that it’s still useable with your computer. I just helped a friend do that so that only 150GB of his 1TB is for Wii U and the rest is for his PC.

  • zelda69

    I got a 2tb Western digital brand its worked great since I got it at launch

  • Jackson five

    I have been needing a hard drive for some time now so this works out. I even had to uninstall a game to make room for other games. When you have an external drive hooked up to wii u is there like a menu for the games downloaded to it, are there game icons like on the regular wii u menu ? Just wondering how it kinda works , or looks.

    • Shootdatrupee!…

      The games automatically download to the USB device if there is one(you need to format it first in settings). After that, anything you’ve downloaded onto the drive will appear in the home menu like normal unless you disconnect the drive.

      • Jackson five

        Cool, thanks for the info.

  • PS4WiiURocks

    Can’t find ..the one i got from gamestop..don’t waste your money it gave out after a few months,,But i need a 500 gb hard drive for my wii u

  • SecretX

    idk if people wanna buy these. these hard rives looks like were meant for the console.


  • Agent721

    I use a 1 gig Seagate & it works great.

    • chris

      1 gig? that’s barely any space these days

  • Des

    I bought a 2 tb Toshiba Canvio external hdd and it stopped working in less than 2 months. I had it replaced (warranty). The second one started having problems. Clicking sounds and the PC would take a while to detect it. I ended up buying another hard drive from a different company. Let me add that I was not using the drive for my Wii U. So perhaps I was adding too much too soon. Who knows? My advice is to read the reviews carefully before purchasing anything.

  • Mikhael Kunkel

    Thanks! I finally bought one, now I can download Wii Party U lol

  • That_Fuzzy_Bastard

    I prefer to use SD cards—less power worries, and I’ve got a million of them sitting around.

    • That_Fuzzy_Bastard

      Ugh—*fewer* power worries. I am history’s greatest monster.

    • Shootdatrupee!…

      You can’t download games onto SD cards

  • Princess Rush

    Instead of a Toshiba I got me a Seagate 500 external HD. Would that Y cable still work with my drive ? Thanks .

    • Will.F. Martinez

      I’m no expert, but looking at the HD they look similar so I would give a shot

      • Pricess sparkle

        Kay thanks :D!

  • c-s-a78

    I got a 2TB self powered hard drive.im now set for a few years of storage!

  • Pricess sparkle

    If I get a y cable wouldnt that interfere when I get the upcoming Gamecube Adapter for the wii u ? 🙁

    • Will.F. Martinez

      You’ll. Still be able to put the gamecube adapter it the front usb slot of your wiiu. The y cable is better off in the back two usb port

      • Pricess sparkle

        Thanks a bunch 😀 . I was seriously having a mini meltdown lol . Could you also answer my other question on here if you know ? Its 2 or 3 people down . Thanks

  • wampdog29

    Being a system analyst for a living, I would always recommend using an externally-powered HDD/SDD. When using a Y cable, you are forcing the Wii U to pull more power, hence causing more heat within the Wii U. With how tight and small these consoles have become, I always opt for the least amount of heat. The Wii U must have a reason that it doesn’t power HDDs through a single USB port, and I believe this is the reason.

    • Shootdatrupee!…

      So…attaching a y cable doesn’t actually adequately power a portable hard disk?

      • gamerinexile

        It can provide enough power, but it can be problematic under certain circumstances and depending on the demands of a given game. Moreover, Nintendo recommends using a drive with a dedicated power source. It doesn’t mean a usb-powered drive won’t work, but it’s not ideal.

      • wampdog29

        No it does…. but a single USB port is enough to power a HDD on a PC, so why not on the Wii U??? Because the Wii U’s motherboard was made to really only power accessories through the USB ports. Hard drives require a bit more power because they are reading, writing, spinning and also being read by the OS of the console. This requires more power than say a controller charging or even a flash drive. A Y cable is nothing more than a hack or a way around the issue.

        All I am saying is simply giving my own advice that an externally-powered HDD or SSD is a much better solution.

  • MOI

    can I divide it to use it with my pc and Wii U???

    • gamerinexile

      No. Once it’s formatted for the wii u, it can’t be used with another device or pc without having to reformat it. And reformatting the drive will wipe its memory.

  • tshill1375

    When was this hard drive made?