The Switch supports microSD, microSDHC and microSDXC when it comes to adding more storage space to the console and portable hybrid system. So what are the best memory cards to buy for Nintendo’s gaming platform? If you are having a hard time deciding, then you should take a look at our buying guide for the best UHS-I and UHS-II Mark 3 Class 10 microSDXC Cards to purchase for the Nintendo Switch.
Do I need a Micro SD Card for the Nintendo Switch?
So, do you actually need to purchase a Micro SD Card for the Switch? The short answer is that your purchasing decision on a memory card is dependent on how you want to use the system. The long answer is a little bit more complicated.
With that said, one undeniable fact is that the Nintendo Switch comes with 32 GB of internal memory built in. However, a portion of the free space will already be reserved for the operating system. Furthermore, the game cards are read-only, meaning that it won’t store any add-on content. As a result, any save data, patch updates and DLC packs are going to use the 32 GB of internal memory or a Micro SD Card.
On the bright side, the Nintendo Switch should not require any mandatory installations as game cartridges load much faster when compared to the game discs on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
If you are planning on only buying game cartridges, then you might not need a Micro SD Card until your save data, patch updates, DLC packs as well as other data fill up the 32 GB of built-in internal memory. If you are going to buy a lot of digital games, however, then getting a memory card for the Nintendo Switch is highly recommended.
microSD vs. microSDHC vs. microSDXC
The Nintendo Switch supports microSD, microSDHC and microSDXC. microSD can only hold up to 2 GB of data, so it is not really suited for the platform. While the microSDHC can hold up to 32 GB of data, that still isn’t really a whole lot.
Thus, we highly recommend getting a microSDXC as it can theoretically hold up to 2 TB of data (although, commercially, the biggest size available is currently 512 GB). Keep in mind that, if you are buying Nintendo Switch at or shortly after launch, you will need update the firmware of the system to add support for microSDXC memory cards.
UHS-I vs. UHS-II
In terms of microSDXC, there are multiple speed factors that you need to be aware of. The first of which is the bus speed. While UHS-II is faster than UHS-I, the latter is cheaper and currently has more size options (512 GB maximum vs. the 256 GB max storage capacity of the UHS-II).
You can tell which bus speed a particular Switch compatible memory card is by the roman numeral. The roman numeral of “I” represents UHS-I while the roman numeral of “II” represents UHS-II.If you don’t mind the high price and/or don’t see the need for 512 GB of add-on memory, then we suggest getting an UHS-II microSDXC. If you are price conscience and/or need 512 GB of space, then you should look into the UHS-I microSDXC cards instead.
UHS Class 1 vs. UHS Class 3
Another speed factor is the UHS (or Ultra High Speed) class. There are two UHS Speed Classes, labeled as 1 and 3. UHS Speed Class 3 cards are faster than UHS Speed Class 1 although it comes at the trade off of higher price tags.
The Speed Class rating are identified by the number inside a “U” shaped logo on the Micro SD Card.
Speed Class 2 vs. 4 vs. 6 vs. 10
One last element is the speed class. There are four tiers: 2, 4, 6 and 10. Like the previous ratings, the higher the number, the faster the card has been rated.
You can identify the speed class by looking at a “C” shaped logo on the card. A lot of the microSDXC cards currently on the market are based on Speed Class 10.
If you want the fastest Switch memory cards possible, then you should be looking at microSDXC cards that have the bus speed of UHS-II, UHS Class of 3 and Speed Class of 10. Those that want a bigger size and/or a cheaper alternative should check out cards that have a bus speed of UHS-I (the UHS Class and Speed Class ratings should not matter in this case as you won’t care about rate of data transfer). You can find a list of our recommended Nintendo Switch compatible microSDXC cards below:
Best UHS-II, UHS Class 3 and Speed Class 10 microSDXC cards for Nintendo Switch
- Lexar Professional 2000x 32GB SDXC UHS-II Card
- Sony Memory Card 32GB, UHS-II SD, CL10, U3
- Transcend 32GB Class 10 SDHC UHS-II SD Card
Best USH-I memory cards for Nintendo Switch
- Lexar Professional 633x 64GB SDXC UHS-I Card
- PNY Elite Performance 64GB Flash Memory High Speed SDXC Class 10 UHS-I
- Samsung 64GB 80MB/s EVO Select Micro SDXC Memory Card
- SanDisk Ultra 64GB microSDXC UHS-I Card
- Transcend 64GB SDXC Class 10 Flash Memory Card
- Patriot LX Series 128GB High Speed Micro SDXC Class 10 UHS-I
- PNY Elite Performance 128 GB High Speed SDXC Class 10 UHS-I, U3
- Samsung 128GB 80MB/s EVO Select Micro SDXC Memory Card
- SanDisk Ultra 128GB microSDXC UHS-I Card
- Transcend 128GB SDXC Class 10 UHS-1 Flash Memory Card
- Komputerbay Professional 256 GB High Speed SDXC Class 10 UHS-I, U3
- PNY Elite Performance 256 GB High Speed SDXC Class 10 UHS-I, U3
- Samsung 256GB 95MB/s EVO Select Micro SDXC Memory Card
- SanDisk Extreme PRO 256GB up to 95MB/s UHS-I/U3 SDXC Flash Memory Card
- Sony 256GB Class 10 UHS-1 SDXC up to 70MB/s Memory Card
- Kingston Technology SDXC Class 10 UHS-I 90 Read 45 Write Flash Card
- PNY Elite Performance 512GB SDXC Class 10 UHS-I, U3
- SanDisk Extreme Pro 512 GB SDXC UHS-I Card
So, if you are planning to add more storage space to the Nintendo Switch, make sure you check out the above UHS-I and UHS-II microSDXC memory cards.