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Best Xbox Series X external hard drive, SSD, and memory card solutions

Included in this guide:

best xbox series x external hard drives
(Image credit: Future)

Picking up an Xbox Series X external hard drive is one of the first items we'd recommend if you've recently bought one of the super-powerful next-gen gaming systems, especially if you have Xbox Game Pass too. There are plenty of other storage options to choose from too, like a faster (but more expensive) external SSD, or you can go for the ultimate deluxe experience with an Xbox Series X storage expansion card. We'll guide you through which one best suits your needs and we'll show you the cheapest prices for them too. There might be some even better prices soon in the Black Friday hard drive deals and Black Friday SSD deals.

The Xbox Series X doesn't come with much storage as the 1TB listed on the box actually translates into about 802GB of usual storage. As for the cheaper Series S console, the listed 512GB works out at a rather horrifying 364GB of usable space. So yes, let's get an upgrade so you can fit more than Call of Duty: Warzone and a few more of today's average-sized triple A games on your new machine.

Let's clear something up though. The bespoke internal NVMe SSDs inside the consoles are specially made and are capable of loading at incredible speeds and essentially help power Series X games. So if you have a game specifically made for the new console, or you have a last-gen game that's had a patch for a Series X version to take advantage of the new hardware (aka 'optimized for Series X/S'), you must run the game off the internal SSD, or the official Seagate Storage Expansion Card (more on the card later). Any of the other drives listed on this page, even external SSDs rather than HDDs, won't give you these next-gen graphical enhancements. 

Instead, we'd recommend using these other drives as storage for unused games to save you the hassle of re-downloading them all the time. So if you have Xbox Game Pass, you can have loads of games ready. If a game hasn't had a Series X patch, you can still play them directly from this drive, but some might benefit from faster load times if you move them onto your Series X or Series S.

Best Xbox Series X external hard drives and memory cards

best xbox series x external hard drives: seagate expansion card

Official Seagate Storage Expansion Card

Matches the excellent power inside the Series X

Specifications
Capacity: 1TB
Storage type: NVMe SSD memory card
Console compatibility: Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S
Plays Series X/Series S optimized titles : Yes
Reasons to buy
+Runs Series X games and enhancements+Incredibly fast+Reliable
Reasons to avoid
-Seriously expensive

Putting that $220/£220 pricetag for 1TB (920GB usable) aside for one moment, the official Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X is the best option for expanding your storage with no compromises on performance. 

We've extensively tested the load times of this card vs the internal storage of the console along with performance on games enhanced for Series X and it matches the internal NVMe SSD at every turn. 

But this early into the console's life, there's a strong case for you not really needing it yet. You can still fit a fair few games on the default storage and the other Xbox Series X external storage solutions on this page will give you even more GB for less money and we'd use them as a holding bay for your Series X games and to run most older Xbox One titles. We did cut Red Dead Redemption 2's loading times in half on this card compared to something like the WD Black P10 though. 

If you can afford it, this is certainly the card to go for but you're certainly paying through the nose for that early adapter hookup. We have seen this go for $15 less over Black Friday, but overall, it's going to be a while before the price drops. It's still unclear as to when other brands will produce cards of their own.

best xbox series x external hard drives: WD Black P10

WD Black P10 1-5TB Game Drive

A bit pricey, but reliable and built to last

Specifications
Capacity: 1-5TB
Storage type: : HDD
Console compatibility: Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One
USB type: 3.0
Plays Series X/Series S optimized titles : No
Reasons to buy
+Portable yet rugged design+Runs quiet and cool+3-year warranty
Reasons to avoid
-Standard HDD speeds

The WD Black P10 drives are a perfect companion for anyone rocking an Xbox Game Pass. We used a 5TB one a while back to download every single game available on the service for our Xbox One giving us a real home arcade experience with hundreds of games at our fingertips. We loved it so much, it ran away with our 'best gaming hard drive' prize at the GamesRadar Hardware Awards 2020.  

And when the Series X arrived, we simply plugged the P10 straight in and started playing our games again. Although we did shift some over to the Series X itself to take advantage of those increased loading speeds offered by the console's SSD. So yes, the speeds on the P10 are just the standard rates of an HDD of around 130Mbps, but given the large capacities you can get for a fraction of the cost of the official SSD expansion card mentioned above, we think this is the best external hard drive (HDD) for the Xbox Series X.

The drive's rugged design makes it a great match if you need to carry it around a lot too when you're taking your digital game collection to someone's else house for games night and the like. Look out for the Xbox branded version if you can as some come with a code for a few months of Game Pass access.

best xbox series x external hard drives: WD My Passport

WD My Passport 4TB

The best value Xbox Series external hard drive solution

Specifications
Capacity: 1-5TB
Storage type: HDD
Compatibility: Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One
USB type: 3.0
Plays Series X/Series S optimized titles : No
Reasons to buy
+Tried and tested for years+Regularly discounted
Reasons to avoid
-Average speeds

We've seen the outer casing change a few times in recent years, but Western Digital's My Passport series has been a great fit for expanding storage capacities of Xbox and PlayStation consoles for a few years now and this series is always on lists of recommended options from ourselves and plenty of other sites too.

Via the retailer links above you'll generally land on our favored 4TB model, but you might find smaller drives are enough for you depending on how many games you want immediate access to without having to redownload them all the time. 

WD My Passport has been released in a wide range of colors, so you will have more options to choose from and you should never pay the full MSRP for one of these as they're seemingly always on sale. If you just want plenty of space for the lowest cost without risking losing your data, the WD My Passport is the way to go today on Xbox Series X.

best xbox series x external hard drives: seagate game drive halo

Seagate Halo Game Drive for Xbox

A lovely design for Halo fans from a reliable brand

Specifications
Capacity: 2 or 5TB
Storage type: HDD
Compatibility: Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One
USB type: 3.0
Plays Series X/Series S optimized titles : No
Reasons to buy
+Stylish design for Halo fans+Compact size
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive per TB-Casing feels a bit flimsy

Seagate has been making great value portable hard drives for a while now and is one of the go-to brands on both Xbox and PlayStation in recent years. It also makes a few limited-edition branded models like the Last of Us Part 2 model as found on our best PS4 external hard drives guide, while over on Xbox there's a bright green version or there's this Halo Game Drive.

Truth be told, crack these drives open and you'll find the same, admittedly very good, portable hard drive Seagate sell in the more plain designs for less money. So yes, you're paying a bit of a premium for the branding, but if you really like the look of them and your home entertainment center is arranged as such as you'll be able to see the drive and admire it, then why not treat yourself? This Halo model comes with a design of Master Chief on the front and a UNSC logo on the back. Unlike the basic standard Seagate drives you get a more durable braided cable and it's a lovely shade of green too, which we really like (so tired of black cables).

The drive itself is super small at around 3.2x0.75x4.5-inches and generally quite sturdy around the sides and underneath, but the top cover feels much weaker, so just be aware if you're going to be on the move with this one a lot.

best xbox series x external hard drives: samsung t5

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung T5 SSD

A great external SSD option for Xbox Series X

Specifications
Capacity: 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, 2TB
Storage type: SSD
Compatibility: Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One
USB type: 3.1
Plays Series X/Series S optimized titles : No
Reasons to buy
+Affordable SSD storage for Xbox+Samsung is a top brand for storage+Super fast load times...
Reasons to avoid
-But still won't run Series X games

You don't have to fork out for the official Seagate memory card for the Xbox Series X to get improved load times on your Xbox One games, instead, you can opt for an external USB SSD, and Samsung makes some of the very best, with the T5 series offering the best gigabyte to cost ratio for our liking.

Important note: while this will dramatically improve loading times of Xbox One games (by nearly 75% in some cases), it still won't run Series X games, or Xbox One games optimized for Series X with all the enhanced graphics and so on, although you can store the games here no problem.

There's a newer Samsung T7 out now too, with loading speeds improved once again, but the increased cost (discounts notwithstanding) puts it fairly close to the Seagate expansion card but still without the ability to run Series X titles. Check out the latest prices over at Amazon US and Amazon UK to see if you can get lucky with a deal though as we have seen some 25% off prices lately.

All said and done though, if your main reason for increasing storage options on your Xbox Series X is to have somewhere to enjoy your Game Pass/Xbox One library, and you're happy to juggle the internal SSD space for just Series X games, then a Samsung T5 is a great option if you want to cut down on those load times. If you're not fussed about faster loading, then pick a regular external HDD from this page and save a lot of cash.

sandisk extreme pro portable ssd

(Image credit: SanDisk)

SanDisk Extreme Pro Portable SSD

The fastest external SSD we've tested on Series X

Specifications
Capacity: 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Storage type: SSD
Compatibility: Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One
USB type: USB 3.2/Type C
Plays Series X/Series S optimized titles : No
Reasons to buy
+Top performance of external SSDs+Rugged design+Water and dust resistant
Reasons to avoid
-Almost as expensive as the memory card....-...and slower

This Pro variant of the portable SSD is a great match for gaming on the Xbox Series X|S consoles. It's far from cheap, but the transfer speeds are the best we've seen on everything we've tested on the Series X with the exception of Seagate's bespoke memory card mentioned earlier. 

We clocked transfer speeds at twice as fast as the non-Pro version and it even managed to outpace the excellent Samsung T5 series and even the similarly-priced T7 upgrade. It's super durable too with a 2m drop-protection and IP55 water and dust resistance.

You really need to catch it at a good time with a discount as we regularly see it for a similar price to Seagate's card (which is faster and will run Series X titles directly). Time it right though and you can find this one going for as much as $70 less than the memory card, making it a super option for storing current-gen titles or playing last-gen games with super fast loading and transfer speeds.

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WD Black P50

(Image credit: WD)
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WD Black P50

(Image credit: WD)
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WD Black P50

(Image credit: WD)
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WD Black P50

(Image credit: WD)
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WD Black P50

(Image credit: WD)

WD_Black P50 Game Drive

A speedy, quality, and robust Sereis X external hard drive

Specifications
Capacity: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB, 4TB
Storage type: SSD
Compatibility: Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S, Xbox One
USB type: USB 3.2/Type C
Plays Series X/Series S optimized titles : No
Reasons to buy
+Excellent speeds+Great design+Robust build+Purpose-built for gaming
Reasons to avoid
-More expensive than most other XSX externals

The P50 is one of the best external drives for any device right now, let alone specific consoles or gaming platforms. This is mostly due to the fact that, at it's core, this is as close to having a PC NVMe SSD in a case, plugged into your external console ports. It genuinely offers speeds and performances that are usually only seen in those drives within the best gaming PCs and on best SSD for gaming lists. All encased within a unit that has a quality, cool design, and a robust build.

Speaking of that unit, on its outside the P50 is military metal-styled, rectangular in shape, and features slick molded metal in black along with the traditional WD_Black aesthetics and markings. There's a small but clear LED indicator on one of the short ends which is always a help, but one small downside is that it does get a little warm when in use so it'll pay to keep that in mind when positioning it.

When it comes to speeds, what you're told you're getting and what happens is pretty much bang on. Its incredible performance for an external SSD and the stated speeds of 'up to 2000MB/s' were on the money in our testing. Real-world performance-wise, the P50 gives you everything a high-quality external SSD should do: games were loaded incredibly quickly, files were retrieved in the snap of a finger, and the performance levels were incredibly consistent. It's a surefire SSD that will rapidly improve your gaming experience by far reducing the time looking at loading screens and increasing the time when you're actually playing. A true winner.


Buying tips for Xbox Series X external hard drives

If you're heading out to shop for your own Xbox Series X external hard drive or are considering seeing if an old drive you have at home might be usable instead, there are a few things to bear in mind.

It's worth double checking what USB type the drive has. For Xbox Series X you'll need one that has a USB 3.0 connection or higher. Legacy USB 2.0 and 2.1, often found on older drives, are a no go. The Series X console does not have a modern USB-C (sometimes listed as 'Type-C') port, so we'd avoid drives that only have USB-C connections as even USB-C to USB 3.0 adapters aren't guaranteed to make them work. Some drives like the Samsung T5 mentioned above have a USB Type C connection going into the drive itself and a USB 3.0 connection on the other end of the cable - this is fine. 

When you plug an external hard drive into your Xbox Series X, it will ask for permission to format it, this will delete everything else on the drive. So be sure to remove or backup anything on there you were thinking of using. Sadly, you can not use a single external hard drive to store both PlayStation and Xbox games, so you can't buy one massive drive to use if you enjoy both platforms.

Hang in there a little longer and you might find a better deal in the upcoming Cyber Monday hard drive deals or Cyber Monday SSD deals roundups.

Another excellent upgrade to your new console we'd recommend looking into is audio and the best options are covered in our best Xbox Series X headsets guide. Still on the hunt for the console itself? Then check out the latest options on where to buy Xbox Series X. We've got you covered if you'd like to see what the best TV for Xbox Series X is too.

If you're sticking with your older Xbox for a while, all of the storage options mentioned above (except for the Expansion Card) will work with it, but if you'd prefer to check out our dedicated guide, head on over to the best Xbox One external hard drives, and if you need something more generally for external use then check out our guide to the best external hard drive too.

Brendan Griffiths

Brendan is GamesRadar's Managing Editor of the Hardware & eCommerce team. Formerly the Deals Editor at our sister site, TechRadar, he's obsessed with finding the best tech, games, gadgets, and hardware at the lowest price. He spends way too much of his free time trying to decide what new things to watch on Netflix, then just rewatches It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia instead.