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Best external hard drive for Xbox One 2023: The top hard drives for Xbox One X and Xbox One S

Too many games, too little storage? Our pick of the best external hard drives for Xbox One can give you all the space you need

Nowadays, having the best external hard drive for your Xbox One is an absolute necessity. Today’s blockbuster games require huge amounts of storage space, with the likes of Red Dead Redemption 2 and Diablo IV consuming 95GB or more. The 500GB of the base model Xbox One or Xbox One S can’t handle many big games, and even the 1TB drive of the Xbox One X fills up fast. Throw Xbox Games Pass into the mix, with its ever-growing library of titles new and old, and you’re going to need a bigger drive.

Luckily, we’ve been busy compiling a list of the best external hard drives you can buy for your Xbox One. All Xbox One consoles will work with up to two external hard drives, and with capacities ranging from 500GB all the way up to 8TB in size there’s no reason to ever feel constrained by storage space again. You can keep all your favourite games installed, and best of all, you don’t have to spend much to make it happen.

Below, you’ll find our guide to choosing the best external hard drive for you. If you already understand the basics, keep scrolling or use this link to skip right to our pick of the best external hard drives for Xbox One.

Best external drive for Xbox One: At a glance

Best all-round HDDToshiba Canvio Flex (From ~£50)Check price at Amazon
Best console gaming driveWD_Black P10 (From ~£85)Check price at Amazon
Best high-capacity HDDSeagate Expansion Portable (From ~£51)Check price at Amazon
Best SSDCrucial X8 (~116)Check price at Amazon

How to choose the best external hard drive for your Xbox One

What are the most important things to look for?

Interface type: The Xbox One series of consoles supports up to two external hard drives, connected via a USB 3 cable. This is important: the Xbox One doesn’t support newer USB 3.1 gen 2, or indeed USB-C or other miniaturised versions of the USB connector (miniUSB or microUSB). Fortunately, most modern external hard drives have a USB 3 cable, so you won’t need to worry too much about this.

Portable or desktop? We will always recommend buying a portable external hard drive for your Xbox One. These drives don’t require a dedicated mains power supply, which just means you have one less cable to worry about. The downside is that they tend to max out at 4TB; if you need more space, you’ll need a desktop external hard drive, and therefore a spare wall socket to plug it in.

Optional extras: Some of these drives will double as a USB 3.0 hub. While they will take up one USB port on the back of your Xbox One, you’ll gain two ports that are easier to reach.

READ NEXT: The best controllers for Xbox One

How much storage space do I need?

Let’s assume you want to keep your entire game library installed. It depends a little bit on how many games you own, although if you’re in the market for an external hard drive you’re clearly looking to install more than just Fortnite, Apex Legends and the latest FIFA.

Game install sizes are getting bigger all the time. Here’s a list of Xbox One blockbusters, and roughly how much space they’ll take up on the Xbox One or Xbox One X.

Game storage requirements – Xbox One X
Apex Legends66GB
Diablo IV38GB
Destiny 298GB
Gears 5: GOTY Edition39GB
Forza Horizon 5138GB
Grand Theft Auto V85GB
Halo: Infinite118GB
Red Dead Redemption II73GB
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II (2022)172GB

As you can see, it’s very easy to fill an Xbox One hard drive with games – especially if you’re stuck with the 500GB model. We recommend buying an external hard drive with at least 2TB of storage; if you buy and download a lot of games – or you’re a heavy user of Microsoft’s excellent Xbox Games Pass service – then 4TB is a pretty sensible investment.

Should I buy an external SSD?

You might think you need an ultra-fast hard disk for gaming, but the drive in the Xbox One X itself is actually an average 5,400RPM hard disk, and most USB 3.0 hard drives will give you equivalent or better performance. This makes it tempting to plump for an external SSD, which has significantly faster read and write performance. However, it’s going to cost you a whole lot more, with prices starting at around £120 to £150 for a 1TB external USB 3.0 SSD.

You won’t actually notice much difference in terms of general gameplay, so the main advantage of an SSD is the significant reductions in your loading times. Here, much depends on the individual game. Red Dead Redemption 2 doesn’t really load any faster with an SSD than it does with an external HDD, but when loading saved games it’s a different story. While you could be looking at a nearly two minute (133 second) wait on Xbox One X with an external HDD, that drops to just 71 seconds with an SSD.

Try Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, and you’ll see loading times for the game itself drop by around three seconds, but the wait while a saved game loads reduced by roughly a third – from 29 seconds down to 19.

That might make the price of an SSD worth paying if you’re tired of long waits to load areas in titles like the above, Monster Hunter World or Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey and Valhalla. And if you’re playing something like Dark Souls III or Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice, those seconds wasted while a save game loads can really mount up. However, it will cost you a little more, with prices starting at around £56 to £80 for a 1TB external SSD, and going up to £95 to £160 for a 2TB drive.

READ NEXT: The best external hard drives for Xbox Series X

How we test Xbox One hard drives

We run two sets of tests when we’re looking at external hard drives for the Xbox One or One X. First, we connect them to a PC and run the CrystalDiskMark benchmark to test their raw sequential and random read/write speeds. Sequential speeds are an indication of how fast the drive can read or write large quantities of data in one sustained burst, which makes a big difference when you’re first running a game, loading a saved game, streaming in all the models and textures in a level, or transferring a game from one drive to another. Random read/write speeds cover smaller data transfers, and make an impact when you’re running a game directly from the hard drive.

Once these initial tests are complete, we connect the drive to an Xbox One X and time how long it takes to copy a game from the internal drive to the external hard drive and back again. We then test how long it takes to load a series of demanding Xbox games, and then how long it takes to load the same saved game in each one. Drives that take longer to load a saved game will keep you waiting longer while new levels or areas load, or when you have to restart after dying.

READ NEXT: The best external hard drives for PC

The best external hard drives for Xbox One in 2023

1. Toshiba Canvio Flex: Best all-round hard drive for Xbox One

Price when reviewed: From £50 | Check price at Amazon

Although Toshiba sells a gaming-specific version of its Canvio external HDD, the Canvio Flex is the current king when it comes to price, performance and value. It’s cheaper than most competitors, yet also one of the fastest portable HDDs we’ve tested. Our PC benchmarks place its sequential read/write speeds over a USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type A connection at 151.5MB/sec and 158.9MB/sec. When it comes to loading saved games on the Xbox One, it’s a second or two faster than the Seagate Expansion Portable and only just behind the Seagate Firecuda HDD in most of our test titles. It’s a great drive for hosting your Games Pass favourites if you don’t want to splash a lot of cash. You can also get 2TB and 4TB versions.

Key specs – Type: Portable HDD; Connectivity: USB 3.2 Gen 1; Spindle speed: 5,400rpm; Size: 111 x 89 x 13.5-19.5mm

2. Seagate Expansion Portable: Best value HDD for Xbox One

Price when reviewed: From £51 | Check price at Amazon

It isn’t the fastest drive and far from the most stylish, but the Expansion Portable gives plenty of room for your games library or Games Pass downloads along with very respectable speeds. The 2TB version reaches read speeds of 131MB/sec and similar write speeds, both in excess of the 120MB/sec quoted. True, it’s a chunky little slab of plastic, but it’s more robust than many budget drives and very quiet. The £70 2TB version is the one to go for if you’re short on cash, while the 4TB version can often be found at bargain basement prices. Either way, it’s a steal.

Key specs – Type: Portable HDD; Connectivity: USB 3.2; Spindle speed: 5,400rpm; Size: 116 x 80 x 13-21mm

3. Seagate FireCuda Gaming Hard Drive: Best high-performance hard drive for Xbox One

Price when reviewed: From £74 | Check price at Amazon

The FireCuda Gaming Hard Drive is one of the fastest portable HDDs we’ve seen. In PC benchmarks, it’s a little slower than the Toshiba Canvio Flex for sequential read/write speeds, maxing out at 142MB/sec and 140MB/sec respectively. However, its random read/write speeds are slightly faster, and in games it often pulls ahead – just by a couple of seconds when loading saved games in Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order or Red Dead Redemption 2, but by nearly seven seconds in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla. We also like the fact that it runs quietly, plus the glowing bar that flashes when there’s activity on the front edge of the drive. You can buy it in some Xbox or Halo-themed versions, but the plain version looks great – and there are other versions available featuring Marvel and Star Wars heroes. It’s available on Amazon as either 2TB or 4TB.

Key specs – Type: Portable HDD; Connectivity: USB 3.2; Spindle speed: 5,400rpm; Size: 119 x 80 x 14-20mm

4. WD_Black P10: Best console gaming drive for Xbox One

Price when reviewed: From £85 | Check price at Amazon

Western Digital’s Black line of HDDs has always had a good reputation with PC gamers, and the P10 series brings the same rugged build quality and performance to console gamers. These Xbox-specific versions have the same cool, industrial design as the standard P10 versions, but in unusual capacities, with 1TB, 3TB and 5TB versions all available. There’s even a whopping 12TB desktop version with a faster 7,200rpm hard drive. The 2TB, 4TB and 5TB versions are available on Amazon.

With the basic versions, performance is on a par with WD’s excellent MyPassport Ultra drives, with sequential read/write speeds of 133MB/sec and 129MB/sec – not bad given that the P10s aren’t significantly more expensive. Cheaper and faster drives are available, but this is our pick of the console-focused bunch.

Key specs – Type: Portable HDD; Connectivity: USB 3; Spindle speed: 5,400RPM; Size: 118 x 88 x 21mm

5. Seagate Game Drive Hub: Best high-capacity hard drive for Xbox One

Price when reviewed: £215 | Check price at Amazon

Do you have a truly massive games collection? Are you an Xbox Games Pass subscriber intent on downloading every title? Then you’re going to need to push beyond the usual 4TB and go for a desktop drive. Seagate’s Game Drive Hub isn’t your cheapest option but we’d say the extra is worth it. Not only do you get a humungous 8TB of space – enough for around 200 Xbox One games – but two front-facing USB 3.0 ports, softening the blow of losing one of your console’s ports to host the drive.

It’s also a speedy number; with sequential transfer speeds of over 200MB/sec, it’s actually a little faster than your Xbox One’s internal drive. Add in a black and white casing designed to match your Xbox One, and it’s a great drive for the most hardcore of hardcore gamers – even if you need to find another power outlet for the drive’s AC adapter.

Key specs – Type: Desktop HDD; Connectivity: USB 3; Spindle speed: 7,200RPM; Size: 118 x 198 x 41mm

6. Crucial X8 1TB Portable SSD: Best SSD for Xbox One

Price when reviewed: From £116 | Check price at Amazon

The Crucial X8 is a common recommendation for both PC and console use, simply because it’s both very cheap and a seriously speedy SSD. The limitations of the Xbox One’s USB 3.0 interface means you can’t actually make the most of the X8’s up to 1050MB/sec read and write speeds, but who cares when you can chop 30 to 40 seconds off the time it takes to load a saved game in Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla or Red Dead Redemption 2. It doesn’t make so much difference when it comes to simply loading games, but the high transfer speeds make this a good bet if you’re thinking of upgrading to an Xbox Series console, where you can run your old last-gen games from the external drive. It’s a well-built drive with a tough anodized aluminium casing, and it even comes with both a USB Type-C cable and Type-A adapter bundled in. You don’t need to spend more on an Xbox SSD – and, at this price, there’s no compelling reason to pay less.

Key specs – Type: Portable SSD; Connectivity: USB 3.2; Spindle speed: N/A; Size: 115 x 53 x 12mm


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