The 5 best external hard drives and SSDs for Xbox Series X and S

You can never have enough storage.

Seagate Expansion Card for Xbox Series X and S - Image via Seagate

Consoles feature powerful hardware, and games generally run better on consoles since developers fine-tune their titles to work flawlessly on Xbox Series X and S. There are countless different PC builds out there, but there’s only a single type of Xbox Series X/S, making it easier to optimize games for the platform. Once this level of optimization is combined with powerful SSDs, players get to experience lightning-fast loading times.

The Xbox Series X ships with 1TB of storage while the S version comes with 512GB. Considering the operating system also occupies a certain portion of the included SSDs, the Series S ends up with 364GB of available space, which is not even close to being average when it comes to storing games. Game sizes have increased a lot over the last decade, and most users will find it impossible to fit their collection into their consoles alone.

While the game sizes will be around 30 percent smaller when downloaded on Xbox Series S, a game like Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War will still take up around 100GB of storage. If you prefer keeping your game library at arm’s length, you’ll need an external storage solution to expand your Xbox Series X/S’s limits.

Now that the latest generation of consoles has started relying on SSDs, external hard drives (HDDs) have become a lot less popular. While they’re still the most cost-efficient solution for increasing your storage space, their slower loading times have become a lot more noticeable after gamers got a taste of what SSDs can do.

Before picking the perfect external SSD or the HDD for your needs, you’ll need to consider a few factors. Both storage and the physical sizes of the drives will play an important role since you’ll be able to use all of them as storage solutions in your daily life. Writing and reading speeds are also a key aspect since they’ll indicate how fast you’ll be loading into your games.

Here are the best SSDs and HDDs that will take your Xbox Series X/S to the next level since you won’t be forced to delete games for new ones until you run out of storage again.

Seagate Expansion Card for Xbox Series X and S

All storage giants and Microsoft were aware the players would eventually need more space on their consoles. While the developer could add more storage during the manufacturing process, this would eventually increase the consoles’ cost. Having options with multiple storage sizes would also create supply chain problems. As opposed to making things complicated, Microsoft decided to add a small port to the back of its console and allowed anyone who’d like to upgrade their storage to do it in a seamless manner.

The Seagate Expansion Card is the official and the recommended way of increasing your Xbox Series X and S’s storage since the product is also endorsed by Microsoft on the consoles’ official pages. While most traditional SSDs and HDDs will work with Xbox Series X and S, the game will only boot up through the internal SSD. This means that you’ll need to move the games you want to play in and out of your external storage while doing the math to have just enough space on your internal SSD.

Seagate Expansion Card is the only storage solution that doesn’t require you to go through this hassle since it’s fully compatible with Xbox Series X and S. Any game you put on it will work without requiring you to do anything extra.

The Storage Expansion Card Xbox Series X and S has a total of 1TB storage and delivers on performance. Though it’s currently the only storage option in the market that takes advantage of Microsoft’s Storage Expansion port, other third party manufacturers are bound to catch on, meaning Seagate’s competition will increase throughout 2021.

Seagate Game Drive SSD for Xbox

If you’re looking to keep things compatible with your console, Seagate will hardly ever disappoint. As nice as Seagate’s Expansion Card is, it’s rather one dimensional if you’re also looking to use it to store your personal files or use it as your daily storage solution.

The Game Drive for Xbox powers itself through USB 3.0, meaning it will work on any device that has a USB port. You can choose from three different storage sizes, 500GB, one, and 2TB. Like most Seagate drivers, this one’s also fully compatible with Xbox Series X and S. The SSD usually ships with a two-month-long Xbox Game Pass membership, so make sure to double-check to see if yours has it.

With reading and writing speeds up to 540 megabits per second, Seagate Game Drive SSD will load you in to your favorite games before you can scratch your head.

 Samsung T5 Portable SSD

Getting an external storage solution that’s officially backed by Microsoft will always be ideal, but it doesn’t mean that they’re the only options on the market. Any gamer who’s ever built a PC will know that Samsung is one of the most formidable competitors when it comes to SSDs and the same applies to the portable ones.

Samsung T5 Portable offers writing and reading speeds up to 540 MB per second and comes in three different storage sizes: 500GB, one, and 2TB. Like supported drives, you won’t have to spend a single second to set up the T5 Portable since it’ll simply start working upon connecting to one of your console’s USB ports.

Western Digital My Book

There are essentially two types of gamers. Players that play the same games all the time, and the ones that try to play all the games that they can get their hands on. The latter will need a lot more storage, especially if they have a collector’s soul. Games stack up in sizes faster than you may realize, and getting a portable SSD with a storage size more than 2TB will be quite costly. HDDs may be considerably slower than SSDs, but you’ll pay significantly less for the amount of storage you’ll get.

Western Digital My Book is potentially one of the bulkiest external storage devices you can find in any shop. The My Book has storage options ranging from three to 14TB. Despite its gigantic storage sizes, My Book still has an impressive writing/reading speed for an HDD at 190 megabits per second.

Besides being a storage juggernaut, Western Digital’s My Book allows users to set personalized passwords with its built-in 250-bit AES hardware encryption support. While using this encryption method may make it harder to use your HDD on your Xbox Series X/S, it can be a nice to have feature if you ever decide to retire it and start using it to store your personal data.

Samsung 860 EVO SSD

The other SSDs and HDDs on our list will work on your device without any problems and will save you from the hassle of setting everything up. While it sounds like how it should be, gamers who are into do-it-yourself (DIY) projects may find themselves wondering if they’d be able to build a portable SSD. It’s possible to build your own portable SSD, and you can also save a decent amount of money while doing so.

Samsung’s 860 EVO is a highly-regarded SSD due to its off-the-charts price/performance ratio. 860 EVO is available in four different storage sizes ranging from 250GB to 4TB. Each version of the SSD has writing speeds up to 550 megabits per second and reading speeds up to 520 megabits per second.

Its compact design allows it to fit in any USB 3.0 enclosure, which you’ll need one to use with your Xbox Series X/S. USB enclosures basically turn your SATA SSDs into USB ones and cost around $5 to $10.