When I purchased the Xbox One on launch day in 2013 I knew that I was going to make the jump to all-digital gaming. This meant that I would no longer purchase physical games, but rather buy all of my games digitally to be played off of a hard drive attached to the Xbox One.
Going all digital comes with a couple limitations. Since Microsoft introduced a blu-ray drive into the Xbox One, this means that single disc games can be upwards of 50gb (or more depending on launch day downloads). So this means that if you have a bandwidth cap on your internet connection, you might want to be careful. In my area Comcast didn’t have a bandwidth transfer cap until a few weeks ago, the caps is now 1TB of transfer per month and if you exceed that you need to pay extra. But this shouldn’t be a big deal because I average around 500GB a month with everything I do online. Plus, you would have to download 20 Xbox One games that were all 50GB in order to hit that cap. I don’t think anyone is doing that…
The second limitation, which is the most common one people run into when going all-digital, is that the initial hard drive that came with the Xbox One is only 500 GB. There are now other bundles out there that will give you up to 1TB of storage space for a pretty good price. And there’s also the Xbox One S that is coming out in August that will give you 2TB of storage space.
But what if you already have an Xbox One and have no desire to upgrade to the Xbox One S at the moment? Well, you’re in luck because Microsoft has made the Xbox One compatible with external hard drives that can boost your storage space to whatever you want. And most of the time these external hard drives won’t cost you too much either, especially if you find them on sale.
Keep scrolling for our impressions of each individual hard drive.
Xbox One External Hard Drive Requirements / Recommendations
The Xbox One itself does have one requirement in which external hard drives will work with the console, it must be a USB 3.0 external hard drive. And while it’s not a requirement, we highly recommend that you pick up a portable hard drive instead of a drive that requires it’s own separate power supply. I have my Xbox One in a media closet where space and outlets are at a premium, so if I can avoid having to plug in an external power supply for a hard drive, I’m going to do so.
In terms of the speed of the hard drive, 7200 or 5400 RPMs, I honestly don’t think it matters all that much. The games are going to load faster off of the USB 3.0 hard drive than they will off of the internal SATA II hard drive anyways, so the speed of the drive isn’t really going to matter that much. In my case I just went for the best bang for the buck and it’s been working out just fine for me.
Best Xbox One External Hard Drives
So with all that being said, lets jump in and look at a few of the best options for an external hard drive for the Xbox One.
Western Digital My Passport Ultra Portable Hard Drive
This is the one I have and I love it. It’s super small and compact and can be easily hidden away behind the Xbox. This one seems to go on sale a good amount, but even at it’s normal price tag it’s a solid deal. The My Passport Hard Drive comes in a variety of sizes so you can be sure to get the storage space you’re looking for. And if you’re looking to make that jump to 4TB, this one comes it slightly cheaper than the Seagate Game Drive.Buy on Amazon
Seagate Game Drive Xbox One
This hard drive is made specifically for the Xbox One, not that it really matters since any USB 3.0 external drive will work properly with the Xbox One, but it’s got a cool green color to it and for the 2TB version you’ll usually spend less than $100. It also comes in a 4TB version if you’re willing to shell out the extra money.Buy on Amazon
Toshiba Canvio Basics Portable Hard Drive
The Toshiba Canvio offers a 1TB model if you’re just looking for a slight jump and don’t want to spend the extra money. Usually ranging between $50 and $60, the Toshiba will expand your hard drive space to a comfortable level, giving you that extra 1TB of space you need. If you want to make the jump to 2TB, this one comes in slightly cheaper than the Seagate Game Drive.Buy on Amazon
So those are my top three choices for hard drives for the Xbox One. Obviously I only have personal experience with the Western Digital My Passport, but based on reviews and friends’ opinions of drives, the other two drives on this list should perform just as well. And if you happen to have an extra USB 3.0 hard drive laying around, you can always repurpose that drive for the Xbox One instead of purchasing a new one. I only bought a new drive because all of my other drives require a power supply and I didn’t want to deal with that with the Xbox. In fact, after I bought the drive for the console, I bought another WD My Passport when it went on sale so I had a portable external drive for when I travel. They are always nice to have.
If you use another external hard drive and love it, feel free to recommend it in the comments below.