Xbox One hard drive replaced with SSD to boost performance

Microsoft may not officially support third-party hard disks on the Xbox One, but that hasn't stopped one modder from testing out new drives on his console

2 Dec 2013
Xbox One

A modder with little regard for his console's warranty has confirmed that it is possible to replace the 500GB hard drive supplied with Microsoft's Xbox One with a speedier model, helping to reduce boot and game load times.

Microsoft and Sony's respective next-generation consoles use very similar components. Both include an AMD-manufactured eight-core accelerated processing unit, with the PS4 enjoying slightly more graphical horsepower and the Xbox One a larger chunk of on-processor cache, but early adopters have noticed a performance disparity. Where the PS4 is ready in around 20 seconds from completely off, the Xbox One takes over a minute - although this figure drops to just 10 seconds when in its default standby mode. Game installation times, too, favour the PS4.

When engineering site iFixit published a tear-down of both consoles it was noted that the Xbox One uses a standard laptop-style hard drive for storage, with the team wondering if replacing it with a faster model would be possible. Now, modder Briand Williams has answered the question by cracking open his own console and swapping the drive over - with impressive results.

Using a 500GB solid-state drive (SSD) in place of the standard mechanical drive supplied by Microsoft saw a reduction in boot time of around 10 per cent, and a 20 per cent decrease in the time it takes to load a game. The move does, however, render the warranty of the console null and void, even if the original drive is put back before a claim is made. This is in contrast to Sony's PS4, which allows the user to replace the easily-accessible hard drive at will.

Williams was able to benefit from the increased performance of a third-party hard drive in his Xbox One, but he has yet to work out how to use the extra capacity of a 1TB drive with the console refusing to see more than 500GB - the same size as the standard hard drive.

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