Reserved space takes a toll on the flash
In a surprising development, we are now finding out that Wii U buyers that opted for the lower cost system with only 8GB of flash memory storage could be more than a little unhappy when they find out there is a lot less than 8GB of actual usable flash memory.
How much less than 8GB of flash memory storage, you might ask? Well, apparently once the system claims its reserved space for what Nintendo is calling ‘profile and system data’, users are left with only 3GB of remaining free space. To put this in perspective, the 32GB Wii U unit is left with 24.8GB of usable space, which will still disappoint some.
To put this in better perspective, the 8GB flash storage formats out to 7.2GB of usable data space once formatted. The system then reserves (or claims, if you will) 4.2GB of space, which leaves owners with 3GB of free space. To give you an idea what that 3GB of free spaces equates to, it is enough to download New Super Mario Bros U which comes in at 2GB, but it isn’t enough space for the 3.2GB necessary for Nintendo Land.
So, this does mean that you will need to take advantage of the USB ports to add more storage. While you could use an SD card or a USB flash drive, Nintendo is apparently not recommending those as the best option; and instead is suggesting that the cycling capability of the flash memory in the USB drive can or could impact gameplay. It suggests that users connect a USB hard drive to the unit for storage.
It looks like those buying a Wii U will have to budget for a hard drive, as well, and lucky for them the price of these external USB hard drives is reasonable. The Wii U will support USB external hard drive up to 3TB, but the drive has to be formatted using the Wii U’s proprietary format, so you will not be sharing the drive with your PC or Mac.