Hard Drive Guide

One question I see on a daily basis, is what External hard-drive should I get.

So here’s a few tips on what to look for.

Firstly you MUST ensure the hard drive …….

  • Has capacity of 256 GB or more
  • Uses USB 3.0.

Anything that isn’t is fine for storage & media, but the above is required to use for “Games & Apps” where your Xbox will treat it as an Xbox drive, and allow you to store your full game installs.

So, you need a USB3 External Hard drive that’s at least 256gb,
as a guide

  • HDD size – Average number of games
  • 500gb – 12
  • 1tb – 25
  • 2tb – 50

You can alwasy look at 3-4tb or more, but generally having access to 50 games at once is more than enough for most people, as you can always reinstall from disk, or redownload for digital if you find yourself wanting to go back to an old classic a few years down the line.

I’s easy enough to use this to work out roughly what you’ll be getting, using an average Game size of 40gb, Although some like Halo (The Master chief Collection) hit nearly 60gb, whereas others like the Lego games fall below 10gb.
But across the major popular releases, I think 40gb average is a safe bet.

There’s two main types of External drives, a Portable, and a Desktop, Both plug in via USB, and can vary in price and performance.

a Desktop external is usually larger, housing a full 3.5″ HDD, and because of this normally also requires external power (So you have a cable to a plug socket as well as a cable to the Xbox)

a Portable external is smaller, encases a 2.5″ HDD and is generally more robust, and longer lasting, these rarely use external power, pulling what power is required via USB.

There’s also the option of buying a separate Dock/Caddy and HDD which effectively does exactly the same, If you take apart an external drive, you’ll nearly always find a small board with the port attached, that plugs into a standard Sata connection, How this board works, is generally more important than how the hard drive works, but we won’t get into anything too technical.

Firstly, drives have various speeds, most commonly 5400/7200 this is measured in rev’s per Minute (RPM) and while years ago a 7200rpm drive was better and faster than 5400rpm, its not as much of a dead cert in this day and age as the technology in that connecting board improves.

So we will have a look at 4 of the most common Portable drives, 2 from each of the top 2 manufacturers for Portable Externals.

Seagate Backup Plus Slim (£75)
Seagate Expansion (£60-£70)
Western Digital My Passport Ultra (£75-£80)
Western Digital Elements (£65-£70)

(Links to Amazon)

Firstly Seagate.

With the Backup Plus Slim, as their best portable drive, it is said to give average speeds of 87mb (read) and 86mb (write)

It’s sibling drive, the Seagate Expansion is often found marginally cheaper, so get’s plenty of attention, however average speeds drop to around 60mb (read) and 40-50mb (Write)

The second set, by Western Digital

are the My Passport Ultra, which shares very similar (although marginally slower) stats to the Backup plus slim
with 83mb (read) and 82mb (write)

and It’s sibling drive the Western Digital Elements matching the price and performance of the Seagate Expansion.

However…..
All drives can drop speed and give averages of 25-30mb depending on the size and content trasnfering.
But when your Xbox One is accessing data from an external hard-drive, it’s usually a collection of small files, many are no larger than 1gb and everything else is done gradually,
So much of the time, the maximum speed is all that’s truly important and most will reach speeds of around 120mb meaning you could see loading time improvements with any drive.

But, under certain conditions, and depending which files are being accessed the faster average speeds, will result in better performance, and on paper, you’re getting a 30-40% performance increase for 15-20% price increase,

so for that my personal drive, and my recommendation is a 2tb Seagate Backup Plus Slim.

However if you are on a budget, the readily available Seagate Expansion, or Western digital Elements are both great choices, although shopping around, you could find a drive from Samsung, Toshiba, Adata or many other manufacturers for closer to £50.
And they will all fall in line with the Expansion / Elements in terms of performance, Just make sure you buy from a reputable place, and look for a name you know / trust.

There’s no complaints against the larger desktop drives, however it means external power, and should you ever wish to take your game collection to a friends, a portable is easier all-round.

((Please note, these suggestions, details and prices are simply from information gathered across the internet, I spent many hours researching drive when making a purchase, and chose the Backup Plus Slim.))

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2 thoughts on “Hard Drive Guide”

  1. John says:

    My tip: The Seagate Backup Plus Fast Portable 4TB. It’s RAID0 and completely bus powered. It works great with the Xbox One and doesn’t even require the additional USB port with the Y cable that comes with it. It’s truly the best external USB3 drive there is for gaming.

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