The best Xbox Series X hard drives and memory solutions finally have some new blood. The WD Black C50 Expansion Card has arrived, and it's the first major competitor to Seagate's Expansion Card since the start of the Series X and S's life cycle. Mind you, if you don't want to go with an expansion card, there are always external hard drives and SSDs. These are getting incredibly quick these days, and it's as viable a solution as ever when it comes to holding all those Game Pass games you don't want to delete.
Annoyingly, there's no M.2 port in the Xbox Series X or S, which means you won't quite get the benefits of the best SSDs for gaming as PS5 owners do. Having said that, you do have a similar amount of storage space out of the box. Just like the PS5, the 1TB claimed on the packaging of the Series X actually equates more to around 800GB once the OS bloat is factored in. As for the Series S, you're cutting that down by half. So either console can really benefit from one of the best external hard drives.
The fastest solution available to you (for the time being) is undoubtedly going to be the officially licensed Seagate Storage Expansion card. This allows for native performance that's on par with the Xbox Series X's very own internal SSD. It's the closest the Xbox Series gets to matching the best PS5 SSD expansions, and the best part is, you don't need to worry about overly-complicated DIY. Keep in mind that you cannot boot Xbox Series X games off of an external hard drive, whether it's an SSD or HDD, so we tend to view these options more as expanded storage for unused or last gen games.
The Quick List
Best expansion card
The best expansion card for Xbox Series X
Providing a genuine expansion to the console's speedy storage while also sliding under the price of Seagate, the WD Black C50 is the best expansion card for the Xbox.
Best large expansion card
The best expansion card for larger capacities
The OG expansion card still offers something the C50 can't, and that's a larger capacity option. It'll give you more space than you'll ever need, if you can afford it.
Best external SSD
The best external SSD for Xbox Series X
If it's the be-all, end-all in external storage you seek, look no further. The WD Black P40 is so speedy you'll question what external storage means in this day and age.
Best budget HDD
The best budget HDD
If it's cheap and cheerful HDD storage you'd prefer, go for one of these. WD's My Passport is available in lots of colours and gives you up to 4TB of space on the cheap.
Most portable SSD
The most portable SSD
The Crucial X10 is just as easy to carry around as one of the official expansion cards, but it can attach to a keyring too. It's not far off the P40's speeds either.
Best value SSD
The best value SSD
The Samsung T7 is the successor to the very popular T5, and it's easily one of the best external SSDs money can buy. You can usually find it at fairly reasonable prices too.
Best budget SSD
Best budget external SSD
External SSDs aren't always the cheapest, so if you can get one for this kind of price, you're winning. The Silicon Power Bolt B75 Pro is no slouch in the speed department either.
The best expansion card for Xbox Series X and S
There's a new king of Xbox Series X an S storage, and it's the WD Black C50 - the second officially licensed expansion card for the console after Seagate's option has played king of the castle since launch. In testing the C50, we found exactly what was promised, and it's almost a like for like match with the original Seagate Expansion Card.
If you want to maximise value as well as features, this is probably the best option on the market for Xbox gamers. You simply slot this into the back of your console, do a quick format, and you're off to the races. The speed of this small card is such that you can quick resume between games stored on the console's internals and the expansion seamlessly, without any delays signalling there's even two drives in play.
Besides some slow-downs during transfers, the C50 performs excellently, and just about keeps up with the Series X's ridiculous internal SSD. While that speedy drive managed to transfer Atomic Heart which ranges 78.96GB to the Expansion Card in just under two minutes, the C50 wrote it back in just under four. In specific speeds, that equates to the internal drive having a write speed of around 5.95GB/s, and the C50 having roughly 3.94GB/s.
All in all, if you want excellent value for a 512GB or 1TB drive, the C50 is the best you can go for. Although, there really isn't much that separates it from the Seagate option.
The best Xbox Series X expansion for larger capacity
The official Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X is the other best option for expanding your storage with no compromises on performance.
We've extensively tested the load times of this card vs the internal storage of the console along with performance on games enhanced for Series X and it matches the internal NVMe SSD at every turn. As we mentioned, there really isn't much separating the C50 from this when it comes to expanding your game storage. Both are the best options you can go for.
If you can afford it, this is certainly the card to go for if you want larger capacities. the WD Black C50 only goes up to 1TB drives, whereas this goes up to 2TB. Admittedly though, that 2TB is more expensive. Thankfully, the 1TB model has dropped mostly everywhere to match the price of the C50 at £159 / $159. Hopefully, as the 2TB model continues to age we see more price drops.
The best external SSD for Xbox Series X
The WD_Black P40 SSD is the latest in WD's gaming-focused external hard drives, and it's one of the best performers you can get your hands on. It takes the speedy specs and robust design of the P50 and carries both over to a small form factor body that makes use of some lovely ambient RGB lighting.
Unfortunately, the P40 is one of the more expensive options up and down this list, particularly because it's a recent release from one of the biggest names in storage. For your purchase though, you get the drive itself, WD's Windows dashboard, a USB-C cable and USB-A adapter, a quick install guide, and a 5-year warranty I'd be surprised if you need to use.
Read and write speeds were great in testing. The 2000MB/s speed you see on the box is as good as you'll get in an external hard drive, but in reality, it translates to some great load times and transfer speeds on PS5 and PC. I had a load of game capture footage stored on my PS5 I had been meaning to move across to my computer for video editing, and even though it was about 30 clips spanning a total of 22GB, the P40 swallowed it up from the PS5 in about a minute. The same was true of games once I formatted the drive for some extra storage. I transferred three games that added up to 18GB, and it moved across in just shy of a minute.
The best budget hard drive for Xbox Series X
We've seen the outer casing change a few times in recent years, but Western Digital's My Passport series has been a great fit for expanding storage capacities of Xbox and PlayStation consoles for a few years now and this series is always on lists of recommended options from ourselves and plenty of other sites too. With cheap and cheerful HDD storage, you won't get very good speeds, but you also won't break the bank.
Via the retailer links above you'll generally land on our favored 4TB model, but you can find smaller capacity drives are more than enough depending on how many games you want immediate access to without having to redownload them all the time.
WD My Passport has been released in a wide range of colors, so you will have more options to choose from and you should never pay the full MSRP for one of these as they're seemingly always on sale. If you just want plenty of space for the lowest cost without risking losing your data, the WD My Passport is the way to go for on Xbox Series X hard drive.
The most portable SSD for Xbox Series X
Crucial by Micron is no stranger to anyone that knows the digital storage market. In this portable SSD, the Crucial X10 Pro, the brand gives you either 1TB, 2TB, or 4TB of space in a tiny drive you can fit in your pocket. While I was a bit too scared to test its durability properly, it's marketed as being resistant to splashes, dust, and drops. For those reasons, we award it with the best external hard drive for portability.
Its speeds aren't too shabby either. Used with the PS5, I managed to move a hefty 439.5GB from the console to the X10 Pro in 34 mins. While that might seem like a small eternity with today's Gen 5 SSD speeds, just imagine the time it'd take to download that much raw data. Transferring 46GB worth of 2018's God of War from the hard drive to console storage, meanwhile, took only 5 minutes and 16 seconds. The speeds on the box here are 2,100MB/s read, and 2,000MB/s write, so it wouldn't shy away from the absolute best options on the top of this list.
The only problem is, this is meant for professionals, not necessarily gamers. That means it's arguably missing some gaming flare in its design, but I think for such a powerful drive in as small a package as it is, we can't make too many demands. On that "meant-for-professionals" note, it is fairly pricey. Regardless, this is definitely one of the best external hard drives on the market if you want a portable solution for gaming, work, or content creation.
The best value external SSD for Xbox Series X
The Samsung T7 Shield is the latest in Samsung's range of high-speed performance-first external SSDs but this one has an emphasis on durability.
Samsung says that the T7 drives should offer double the performance of the still-excellent T5 drives - and our testing proves that's very much the case. While the 1,050 MB/s read and 1,000 MB/s write won't bother NVMe counterparts, as far as external drives go, the Samsung T7 Shield is certainly offering excellent sequential performance. We found that the claimed figures were largely in keeping with the maximum sequential performance, and solid figures from an external drive plugged in via USB 3.2.
Another main selling point of this drive is the rugged nature of its outer casing. Samsung has stated that the T7 Shield is able to withstand all manner of harsh conditions, with drop tests being done four times from three meters in the air onto solid concrete with no signs of physical damage to the casings or internals.
At around $160 / £130 mark for a 1TB model or $290 / £215 mark for 2TB, it's far from the cheapest Xbox Series X external hard drive around, but those speeds, and tank-like shell, may justify the investment for you.
The best budget external SSD for Xbox Series X
Away from the mega-big boys of the best Xbox Series X hard drive market, manufacturers and brands like Silicon Power quietly go about their business of making equally dependable, robust, competitively priced, and quality hard drives. And SP's Bolt B75 Pro SSD drive is exactly that.
This is an Incredibly light, but incredibly robust unit, which means it's easily transportable yet you can have great confidence in it if you're prone to mishaps, or just want that extra protection. Its military-grade shockproof, aluminium case will look after the important stuff inside easily and the casing definitely exudes the rugged quality that was intended. The unit as a whole doesn't feel solid but that comes from its lightness - some folks may prefer a more hefty unit.
The SSD's performance is very solid, but nothing too spectacular. As a result, if you're after something that offers good value, want to upgrade from an existing HDD to SSD to ensure you get that better and faster performance without number chasing too much, and you want something robust then this is a great contender.
The best Xbox branded HDD
Editor's note: The Seagate Halo Infinite Special Edition Game Drive can be a bit difficult to find sometimes since its popular among a lot of Xbox fans. While that specific option might not be readily available, the other Xbox-branded Seagate Game Drive (which also has green lighting) is easier to find.
The Seagate Halo Infinite Special Edition Game Drive for Xbox is a mouthful but, in essence, what we have here is a supremely cool, special edition hard drive to team with your Xbox console.
While ostensibly this is just a simple-but-effective, and ever-reliable Seagate external HDD, the attraction comes hard and heavy with the design and RGB effects. This really sets the hard drive apart and is perfect for Xbox and Halo fans.
Yes, the performance won't be blistering - it's only an HDD after all, offering those limited speeds, but at least with USB 3.0 interfaces - so it's not going to be one for those looking for only optimized game storage and being able to play those games from the drive. But if you've got a whole bunch of older games, perhaps, that you're keen to keep within arms reach, and keep on something that looks cool as heck then this is an absolutely blinding choice.
The best of the rest
There are some older external SSD drives that perform great, and if you can find them cheaper, we recommend them wholeheartedly. At last we check though, these had higher prices than some of the newer drives listed above, and that isn't worth paying the money for if you can afford the better performance of those other ones.
Still, these are worth considering if you see them:
The WD Black P10 drives are a perfect companion for anyone rocking an Xbox Game Pass. We used a 5TB one a while back to download every single game available on the service for our Xbox One giving us a real home arcade experience with hundreds of games at our fingertips.
And when the Series X arrived, we simply plugged the P10 straight in and started playing our games again. Although we did shift some over to the Series X itself to take advantage of those increased loading speeds offered by the console's SSD. So yes, the speeds on the P10 are just the standard rates of an HDD of around 130Mbps, but given the large capacities you can get for a fraction of the cost of the official SSD expansion card mentioned above, we think this is the best external hard drive (HDD) for the Xbox Series X.
The drive's rugged design makes it a great match if you need to carry it around a lot too when you're taking your digital game collection to someone's else house for games night and the like. Look out for the Xbox branded version if you can as some come with a code for a few months of Game Pass access.
The P50 is one of the best external drives for any device right now, let alone specific consoles or gaming platforms. This is mostly due to the fact that, at its core, this is as close to having a PC NVMe SSD in a case, plugged into your external console ports. It genuinely offers speeds and performances that are usually only seen in those drives within the best gaming PCs and on best SSD for gaming lists. All encased within a unit that has a quality, cool design, and a robust build.
Speaking of that unit, on the outside, the P50 is military metal-styled, rectangular in shape, and features slick molded metal in black along with the traditional WD_Black aesthetics and markings. There's a small but clear LED indicator on one of the short ends which is always a help, but one small downside is that it does get a little warm when in use so it'll pay to keep that in mind when positioning it.
When it comes to speeds, what you're told you're getting and what happens is pretty much bang on. Its incredible performance for an external SSD and the stated speeds of 'up to 2000MB/s' was on the money in our testing. Real-world performance-wise, the P50 gives you everything a high-quality external SSD should do: games were loaded incredibly quickly, files were retrieved in the snap of a finger, and the performance levels were incredibly consistent. It's a sure-fire SSD that will rapidly improve your gaming experience by reducing your time looking at loading screens and increasing the time actually playing. A true winner, and definitely one of the best Xbox Series X hard drives.
Buying tips for Xbox Series X external hard drives
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If you're heading out to shop for your own Xbox Series X external hard drive or are considering seeing if an old drive you have at home might be usable instead, there are a few things to bear in mind.
It's worth double checking what USB type the drive has. For Xbox Series X you'll need one that has a USB 3.0 connection or higher. Legacy USB 2.0 and 2.1, often found on older drives, are a no go. Unlike the PS5, the Series X console does not have a modern USB-C (sometimes listed as 'Type-C') port, so we'd avoid drives that only have USB-C connections as even USB-C to USB 3.0 adapters aren't guaranteed to make them work. Some drives like the Samsung T5 mentioned above have a USB Type C connection going into the drive itself and a USB 3.0 connection on the other end of the cable - this is fine.
When you plug an external hard drive into your Xbox Series X, it will ask for permission to format it. Full warning - this will delete everything else on the drive. So be sure to remove or backup anything on there you were thinking of using. Sadly, you cannot use a single external hard drive to store both PlayStation and Xbox games, so if you had the smart idea to buy one massive drive to use for both, this unfortunately won't work.
If you're still unsure of what to go for, have a look at our frequently asked questions below. We've tried to cover the bases of what you need to know when buying one of the best Xbox Series X hard drives.
Best Xbox Series X hard drives: FAQs
Should I get SSD or HDD for my Xbox Series X/S?
We'd always recommend that you get an SSD, if you can afford it. SSD, even externally, massively outperforms the fastest HDD. While it is more expensive than a typical HDD, we'd say it's worth the extra money for the transfer, read, and write speeds you get. If you're looking for larger capacity drives for more than just games, HDD is much cheaper, and we'd definitely recommend HDD in those cases. Overall though, we'd say the best Xbox Series X hard drives are SSD ones.
Is 1TB enough for Xbox Series X?
1TB is more than enough storage, since it's already more than double what you have to play with in terms of base internal storage. However, if you can get more than 1TB, that will definitely give you more futureproofing. As games continue to get larger, a 1TB Xbox Series X hard drive might not go as far. Whereas, a 2TB drive may not cost much more, but will definitely give you ample storage as we get further into the Xbox Series X/S's lifespan.
How many GB is the entire Game Pass library?
If you want one of the best Xbox Series X hard drives to hold the entire Game Pass library, and spend an awful long time getting it all downloaded, you'll need a hard drive that can hold give or take 10TB at last count. In short, you'd need a gargantuan size of hard drive. For example, this WD hard drive can hold the entire Game Pass library four times (and still have space left over).
What is the fastest hard drive for Xbox Series X?
Your best bet is the official Seagate storage expansion for Xbox Series X, since it's the closest thing to additional internal SSD storage as you'll get. You'll also be able to play Series X games on this drive, since it can keep to the sequential read and write speeds of the internal SSD. For external drives though, we'd always recommend SSD over HDD, simply due to the performance. HDD struggles to reach read and write speeds of 200MB/s, and SSD smashes that by thousands of MB/s depending on the drive, however, will be slowed down somewhat by the USB connection.
Another excellent upgrade to your new console we'd recommend looking into is audio and the best options are covered in our best Xbox Series X headsets guide. We've got you covered if you'd like to see what the best TV for Xbox Series X is too. Of course, if you're after something cheaper, take a look at the best Xbox Series X accessories on the market.