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Find the right memory card for the Nintendo Switch

The internal storage of the Nintendo Switch and Switch Lite is limited to 32 GB, but the new OLED version offers 64 GB. If you store a lot of games on the console, a memory card for the Nintendo Switch is worthwhile.

The “Switch” from the Japanese manufacturer Nintendo lives up to its name. The hybrid gaming console can be connected and used stationary with an external screen or converted to a handheld console. To do so, the Joy-Cons are attached and detached from the side to control the Switch remotely or directly on the device. On the one hand, this makes the console small, light, easy to transport and flexible. But on the other hand, it is also at the expense of the internal memory. The capacity will already be tight in the medium term with two larger titles. Those who mainly buy their games digitally should therefore look for a suitable microSD memory card for their Nintendo Switch early on.

Memory card for Nintendo Switch – this is what matters

The Switch has an internal memory of only 32 GB out of the box. The same applies to the slimmed-down version, the Nintendo Switch Lite – that’s less than on standard entry-level smartphones nowadays. At least the slightly younger Switch OLED offers a bit more – it has 64 GB of storage. About 6 GB of that is used by the system alone. That does not leave much room for games, even though they usually do not take up as much space as PC games. However, big titles like Nintendo’s “Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild” need 13 GB. If you buy the games analog, this is not a problem. For digital buyers, however, the limit is quickly reached.

There are a few things to keep in mind when buying a corresponding memory expansion. Only microSD memory cards fit in the Nintendo Switch. Supported are:

  • microSD (up to 2 GB memory)
  • microSDHC – Secure Digital High Capacity (up to 32 GB memory)
  • microSDXC – Secure Digital Extended Capacity (64 GB to 2 TB); this variant may require a system update!

Tip: If you want to check how much storage space is used or still free on your Switch, select “System settings” and then “Data management” in the main menu. In the overview that is then shown, you can see the storage allocation of the device and also of the microSD card that may have been inserted.

Nintendo Switch memory card on the bottom microSD card in the console
The microSD card is inserted at the bottom of the Nintendo Switch Photo: atechbook

Also interesting: The difference between megabits and megabytes.

Transfer rates are important

In addition to the memory size, which you should definitely think about in advance, the transfer rates are also important. Nintendo itself recommends a read speed of at least 60 Mbps. However, it is of course true that more is more. Current microSD cards usually fulfill this requirement easily. Especially microSDXC have a higher speed in addition to a large memory. The write speed, on the other hand, can be neglected.

Once the memory card is inserted at the bottom of the Nintendo Switch, hidden behind the stand (see photo above), it automatically selects the console as a storage destination. Digitally purchased Switch games will thus end up directly on the external storage medium without any conversions in the future.

The more memory you buy, the longer the space lasts, of course. However, that can also quickly cost money. High-quality microSDXC cards like the SanDisk Extreme with a terabyte of storage can cost up to 270 Euros. With such a memory card, you won’t have to worry about space on the Nintendo Switch anytime soon. If you don’t want to spend that much money, you can stick to smaller sizes for now; even with an average memory usage of 10 GB, which would already be a lot for a Switch game, a 200 GB version like the SanDisk Ultra or the Samsung Evo Plus variant with 128 GB will be enough for quite a while.

Memory cards for Nintendo Switch cannot be shared

It should be noted, however, that game saves are not stored on the microSD cards, but in the system memory. Accordingly, you cannot swap the cards back and forth between multiple consoles.

In addition, already downloaded titles on the Nintendo Switch cannot be moved to the external memory card. For this, you have to take a small detour and uninstall the games first, in order to download them again from the Nintendo eShop later. However, the reinstallation usually doesn’t take much time. However, screenshots and self-recorded game content can easily be moved from the internal memory to the memory card afterwards.

Topics

  • Nintendo Switch