The Nintendo Switch only comes with 32GB of internal storage, but part of that is reserved for the operating systems and other software apps. So the amount of available storage space is significantly less than the 32GB that is listed. With the advancements in video gaming, over time the games have increased in size and take up larger and larger portions of your built-in storage, which means that many people will quickly use up all their available storage space. Being able to utilize the memory card slot on the Switch to expand your storage becomes vital. This can be especially true if you like to play multiple games. So knowing things like the maximum SD card size that Nintendo Switch can accommodate becomes very important.
So let’s talk about the types of memory cards the Switch can handle along with storage capacity, price, and other considerations.
What Type of Memory Card Does the Nintendo Switch Use?
The Nintendo Switch uses the smaller microSD cards, which come in a wide range of storage capacities.
Maximum Storage Size (Capacity)
While it is theoretically possible for microSD cards up to have storage capacities of up to 2 terabytes, the microSD cards that are currently available don’t go up to 2 terabytes. I suppose that it is possible that 2TB options will be available in the future, but right now the best thing you can do is buy a 1TB card. This means that the max card size (storage capacity) for the Nintendo Switch is 1TB.
Types of microSD Cards Supported By the Nintendo Switch
microSD cards are divided into 3 groups: SD, SDHC, and SDXC. Each of these designations relates to the card’s storage capacity. Here is how it breaks down:
- microSD (up to 2 GB)
- microSDHC (4 GB – 32 GB)
- microSDXC (64 GB and above) Note: If you opt to use a microSDXC card Nintendo notes on their site that a system update will be required.
In addition, for best gameplay performance you will want to use a microSD card with a high transfer speed. Nintendo recommends cards with the following:
- UHS-I (Ultra High Speed Phase I) compatible
- Transfer speed 60 – 95 MB/sec
Is a microSD Memory Card Included When You Buy a Nintendo Switch system?
No. A microSD card is not included with any of the Nintendo Switch systems, but they are readily available to purchase from Nintendo or any number of other retailers including Amazon.
However, you may find an occasional retailer that tries to create their own Nintendo Switch bundle that includes a compatible microSD card.
Usually the larger the storage capacity, the more expensive the card, and with a wide range of storage capacities you will see a wide variety of prices. For example, if you go with a 2GB microSD card, which is becoming increasingly harder to find and are probably too small for most people, can commonly be found for less than $10. On the other end of the spectrum, you can find 1TB microSDXC cards, which might be overkill for many people, that easily cost over $100.
So the key to not spending too much money on a memory card for your Nintendo Switch is to understand how much additional storage you are likely to need and purchase accordingly.
How Large of a microSD Card Do You Need for Your Nintendo Switch?
When deciding how much additional storage space will fit your needs you first need to understand the types of things that you will be able to store on the card. These things include:
- Downloadable software
- Software update data
- Downloadable content (DLC)
- Captured videos
It is important to note that the game save data is saved in the system memory can’t be saved or transferred to a microSD card.
With many of today’s games requiring 10GB or more of space the actual games themselves are what will take up the largest amount of storage space on most people’s memory cards.
Do You Prefer Physical Copies of Video Games or Digital Copies?
The amount of storage you will need on a microSD card will have a lot to do with your preference for physical or digital video game copies. If you are unsure of which to go with, you may want to read our article Physical Video Game Copies vs. Digital Copies – Which is Better?, where we examine to pros and cons of each to help you make an educated choice.
If you want to buy digital video game copies for your Nintendo Switch, especially if you are the type of person who gets a lot of games, it’s probably best to get the highest capacity microSD card you can afford. Conversely, if you prefer to buy physical copies of your video games you might be fine opting for something like the 64G, which might seem like too much, but you need to remember that some game titles can only be downloaded and may not be physically available for purchase.
What Should You Do If You Find All of These Specifications Confusing?
If you find it a little overwhelming to think about having to find a memory card that has the proper specifications we mentioned above to allow it to work well with the Nintendo Switch, don’t worry. You will be happy to know that SanDisk has partnered with Nintendo to create microSD cards that are licensed specifically for the Nintendo Switch. So if you buy one of these cards you can feel confident that it meets the specs that Nintendo needs for their system.
Here are the SanDisk cards that are licensed by Nintendo:
Final Thoughts – Our Recommendations
I really don’t want to break the bank on a memory card. If I have a lot of extra money available to spend I would rather use it to buy a game. So, I think a 256GB, 128GB, or even a 64GB microSDXC card is plenty for most people. But, if you are someone who really wants to go all out you might consider getting something like the SanDisk Ultra Class 10 UHS-I 1TB microSDXC memory card.
Last update on 2022-11-29 at 13:22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API