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

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Too many games, too little storage? A USB 3 hard drive can give you all the space you need

Nowadays, an external hard drive for your Xbox One is at best an absolute necessity. Modern games require a crazy amount of storage space – top sellers like Red Dead Redemption 2 or Call of Duty: Modern Warfare will exceed the 100GB mark. Given that most of us chose to save some cash and nab the Xbox One or One S with 500GB of internal storage, it's no wonder that a good external hard drive is essential; after all, who in their right mind could stand to only have a small fraction of their game library installed at any one time?

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.

Looking for next-gen storage? Try our roundup of the best external drives for Xbox Series X

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 sizes are getting bigger all the time. Here's a list of some of Amazon's best-selling Xbox One games, and roughly how much space they will take up on your Xbox One (we've included low-storage titles like Fortnite for reference):

Game storage requirements - Xbox One S/Xbox One X
Fortnite20GB/40GB
Apex Legends30GB
FIFA 2040GB
Doom Eternal40GB
Borderlands 340GB
Gears 558GB/64GB
Forza Horizon 463GB
Grand Theft Auto V73GB
Halo: The Master Chief Collection73GB
Red Dead Redemption II107GB
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2020)185GB

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.

READ NEXT: Best external hard drives for PC

The best external hard drives for Xbox One

1. Western Digital MyPassport: Best external hard drive for Xbox One

Price when reviewed: 2TB, £74; 4TB, £98 | Buy now from Amazon

Western Digital’s MyPassport portable drive has everything going for it as an Xbox One add-on. You can buy it in White or Black to match your Xbox, and it even comes in a part smooth gloss, part textured finish that echoes the styling of the Xbox One S.

Performance isn’t astounding, with sequential transfer speeds of 115MB/sec read and 113MB/sec write, plus random read/write speeds of 0.6MB/sec and 1.55MB/sec, but load times are perfectly acceptable even with the greater demands of the Xbox One X. It’s a tough little unit, unobtrusive and quiet, and the 4TB version is excellent value at just under £100. Buy it and you’ll have a whole lot of space for your growing games collection.

Key specs – Type: Portable HDD; Connectivity: USB 3; Spindle speed: 5,400rpm; Size: 110 x 82 x 22mm

2. Seagate Expansion Portable: The best value HDD for Xbox One

Price: £44 (1TB), £57 (2TB), £92 (4TB), £97 (5TB) | Buy now from Amazon

It’s not 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 132MB/sec and write speeds of 129MB/sec, 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 2TB version is the one to go for if you’re short on cash, but if you want the most gigabytes for your buck, the 5TB version is an absolute steal.

Key specs – Type: Portable HDD; Connectivity: USB 3; Spindle speed: 5,400RPM; Size: 117 x 80 x 15mm

3. Seagate Xbox One Game Drive: Best official hard drive for Xbox One

Price: £68 (2TB), £99 (4TB) | Buy now from Amazon

Seagate’s Xbox One Game Drive should be the obvious choice for storage upgraders. It comes in Xbox green, white or a special edition Sea of Thieves design, and bears the Xbox logo. It’s slim, quiet and as easy as any other drive to get working and the pricing is competitive.

The only thing that counts against it is that most models use the same hard drives as the slightly cheaper Seagate Expansion, with near-identical performance. You’re effectively paying between £2 to £40 more for the casing (and a one-month Xbox Games Pass and an exclusive Sea of Thieves weapon in the Sea of Thieves edition). Unsurprisingly, there’s more of a price premium on the 4TB models, although we feel it's arguably still worth the little extra.

Key specs – Type: Portable HDD; Connectivity: USB 3; Spindle speed: 5,400rpm; Size: 117 x 80 x 21mm

4. WD_Black P10: The best console gaming drive for Xbox One

Price: £70 (1TB), £94 (3TB), £115 (5TB) | Buy now from 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.

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: 8TB, £152 | Buy now from Argos

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. SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD: The best value SSD for Xbox One

Price: 500GB, £90; 1TB, £160; 2TB, £338 | Buy now from Amazon

The SanDisk Extreme makes a great Xbox SDD; it’s relatively cheap by SSD standards, but also fast, rugged and reliable. With maximum read/write speeds of 442MB/sec and 497MB/sec over USB3, it’s going to cut down your loading times on even the biggest games. We saw waiting times for a Red Dead Redemption 2 save game drop by over a minute, and on games where there are frequent reloads (hello Dark Souls III, Doom Eternal and Sekiro) you could find yourself spending a lot more time playing, and a lot less time staring at a loading screen.

True, there are faster 1050MB/sec and 2000MB/sec SSDs available – including SanDisk’s Extreme Pro models – but they’re a lot more expensive and you’ll only shave a second off here and there. We still think an HDD is the way to go in terms of getting some much-needed capacity, but if you’ve got the desire and the money to go down the SSD route, this is a great drive to do it with.

Key specs – Type: Portable SSD; Connectivity: USB 3; Spindle speed: N/A; Size: 96 x 49.5 x 89mm

7. Samsung T5: The best high-performance SSD for Xbox One

Price: £88 (500GB), £140 (1TB), £275 (2TB) | Buy now from Amazon

While there are faster SSDs available, the Samsung T5 is about as fast as we’d recommend for the Xbox One. It can reach read/write speeds of up to 554MB/sec and 519MB/sec, so you can expect shorter loads and reloads than an HDD, and it’ll still perform well in an Xbox Series S or Series X if you upgrade later. While it’s primarily a USB-C drive, a USB-A cable is provided and it’ll work just like any other drive with an Xbox console.

Its other strengths are that it’s a very robust drive, thanks to its sleek powder-coated aluminium shell, and absolutely tiny, measuring just 74 x 57mm, and only 11mm thick. The SanDisk Extreme Portable is slightly better value, but if every second counts while you wait for a saved game to load, buying this SSD will save you one or two, time after time.

Key specs – Type: Portable SSD; Connectivity: USB 3.2 Gen2; Spindle speed: N/A; Size: 74 x 57 x 11mm

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