Microsoft’s Xbox Series X comes with a one TB solid-state drive (SSD), but it actually works out to around 802GB of usable storage space. While this may be adequate for some users, many will need to upgrade at some point because modern games and media files are constantly growing in size.
Adding an external storage device to a Series X is the easiest way to expand its capacity. External SSDs and hard disk drives (HDDs) are easy to install using a USB cable, and they come in a range of sizes and speeds.
The Series X is compatible with most external storage devices and has low minimum requirements. Any external storage connected to the console must have a minimum capacity of 128GB and offer USB 3.0 compatibility. Since the Series X doesn’t have a USB-C port, the external storage must have a regular USB-A connection compatible with 3.0 speeds. Another option is to use an adapter to convert USB-C to USB-A. Users can even add two external storage drives to the Series X if they use a USB hub.
Before buying an external storage device for the Series X, there are a couple of things to consider. The console can only play older Xbox One or Xbox 360 titles directly off the SSD. Newer titles require faster speeds and only work off the internal storage or compatible upgrade card. That said, it’s possible to download new titles onto an external SSD and then transfer them to the internal storage to play.
Here are the best external storage devices for the Xbox Series X.
Best overall external storage
Seagate’s Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S 1TB is designed together with Microsoft as an easy way to upgrade the storage space on an Xbox Series X or Series S. It stands head and shoulders above any of the other external storage devices on this list by being the only option that allows users to play the latest games directly off it.
This device works differently compared to regular external SSDs. Instead of connecting to the Series X via a USB port, it slots into the proprietary expansion port at the back of the console. One of the biggest advantages of the Storage Expansion Card is that it has a simple plug-and-play design that’s ready to go without any formatting.
While the Storage Expansion Card is the best way to upgrade the Xbox Series X’s storage, it still has a couple of disadvantages. It’s currently only available with a terabyte of space, of which 920GB is usable. Considering the limited available space, it’s expensive and costs as much as SSDs with double the capacity.
Best high-end external storage
The WD_Black 4TB P50 Game Drive has one of the best speed, capacity, and durability mixes. It’s designed specifically for gaming and is capable of blistering speeds of up to 20Gbps. While the P50 is capable of high speeds, it can only reach them if it’s connected to a modern USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 port. Since the USB ports on the Series X only offer speeds of up to 5Gbps, users won’t experience the full speed of this SSD.
Apart from its speed, the P50 has ample space for games and media. At 4TB, it quadruples the internal space of the Series X, and many users won’t fill it to capacity.
Western Digital’s P50 is also durable and has a long expected lifespan. It’s shock-resistant and has a tough metal casing. The company also offers a five-year warranty to give users some peace of mind.
Despite the P50’s comprehensive capabilities, there’s one major drawback. It costs more than the console itself, and the high price will put many users off.
Best mid-range external storage
The 2TB Game Drive from Seagate is another external storage device designed specifically for Xbox consoles. It has an acceptable 2TB of storage space, but it’s more expensive than the Game Drive Hub because it is an SSD instead of an HDD. While the Game Drive isn’t as fast as the P50, it’s much faster than the Game Drive Hub, with speeds of up to 540MB/s.
Seagate includes some extras to make the Game Drive an attractive proposition to users. It comes with a one-year rescue service, so the company will recover users’ data if the drive gets damaged. There’s also a two-month Xbox Game Pass membership included so users can download games and play online with friends.
While the Game Drive isn’t cheap, it has enough space for most users and decent speeds. The rescue service and Game Pass membership add more value to it to make it a worthwhile option.
Best budget external storage
Users looking to stretch their budget might consider the WD_Black 2TB P10 Game Drive. This device was designed for the Xbox One and contains an older HDD instead of an SSD. It still has a decent 2TB of storage space, but it spins at 5,400 RPM and has a slower 140MB/s transfer rate.
While the interior may have dated components, the exterior looks modern. It shares the same all-black look and metal cover as the more expensive P50. Despite the metal cover, the P10 isn’t shock-resistant like the P50.
Although the P10 is already more affordable than any other device listed here, it adds more value by including a one-month Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership. The membership gives users access to many new and old games and allows them to save money by not purchasing them separately.
The main reasons to get the P10 are its low price and Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership trial. Its low capacity and slow data speeds make it acceptable for users looking for a bargain, but advanced or more demanding users are better off with something larger and faster.
Best high-capacity external storage
While a couple of terabytes may be enough space for most users, some gamers have extensive media and game libraries and need the most space possible. Seagate’s Game Drive Hub for Xbox has a massive 8TB of storage to ensure that users never run out of space.
The high capacity comes at a price. While the Game Drive Hub has vast amounts of storage space, it contains an older HDD instead of an SSD, with slower data transfer rates. While the P50 operates at up to 5Gbps on the Series X, the Game Drive Hub only goes up to 160MB/s. The slower speeds mean that transferring large data files takes much longer and may inconvenience some users.
Another drawback of the Game Drive Hub is its size. Since it contains a 3.5-inch HDD, it’s much larger than any of the other storage devices on this list, and it also needs an external AC adapter as a power source. The inclusion of a pair of USB 3.0 ports somewhat make up for the Game Drive Hub’s shortcomings and allows users to charge their phone or controllers off of it.
While some users will write off the Game Drive Hub for its older technology, it still has its merits. The Game Drive Hub is worth it for users needing storage space above all else, and it’s way more affordable than the Storage Expansion Card and the P50.