Storage space inside our consoles is at an absolute premium these days. Even though the Xbox Series X ships with 1 TB of built-in storage (the Series S has just 512 GB, unless you buy the 1 TB carbon black version of the Series S), you may be amazed — no, terrified — by how quickly that space can get gobbled up by games, updates, apps, and saves. Game Pass members in particular should be warned that going on a downloading spree will likely end in sadness — that is, until you upgrade your storage.
If you’re constantly shuffling around game installations and wondering where you’re going to find space for that next 50 GB update, or that next 148 GB game, you should purchase some extra storage for your console. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best supplementary storage options for your Xbox. But first, here’s our methodology for selecting the SSDs you’ll find in this list.
What we're looking for
At least 1 TB of storage
It’s not uncommon to see new Xbox games and their updates with huge install sizes (some nearing 100 GB each). To prevent running out of space, it’s important to buy at least a 1 TB SSD that can ideally fit many games, depending on their size. If you have a flexible budget, and an itchy trigger finger for trying new Game Pass games, we recommend buying an even bigger 2 TB SSD.
Xbox Series X games have a need for speed. By that, I mean they need fast storage to run at all. If you’re running out of internal solid-state storage on your console, you need one of a small selection of SSDs made for its rear expansion card slot. Only these can provide speeds that match the performance of the console’s internal SSD. That’s not to say bigger, slower drives are needless purchases. In fact, these can stream Xbox One and Xbox 360 (but not Xbox Series X) games over USB without having to copy them to your Xbox’s internal storage.
Best bang for your buck
Getting the most for your money is always our north star in recommending Xbox SSDs, though compared to the PS5 — which supports off-the-shelf M.2 SSDs — prices are significantly higher for Microsoft’s proprietary storage setup. Until more manufacturers develop expansion cards, prices will likely remain much higher than we prefer.
The best Xbox Series X SSD
Seagate Storage Expansion Card
One could say that Microsoft is taking an old-school approach with its officially licensed Seagate Storage Expansion Cards. They look like memory cards, and you stick one in the back of the console. It’s even simpler than opening up a PS5 to install an M.2 SSD.
Currently, this is the only SSD add-on for Series X that you can load the latest games from, as it matches the speed of the console’s built-in SSD. While having just one option makes it very easy to shop for a storage-boosting gadget for your Xbox, the lack of competition here means that you’re going to pay significantly more money per gigabyte than PS5 owners do for their PS5 SSD upgrades (the 1 TB add-on for Xbox nets you about 5 GB per dollar spent versus 10 GB or more per dollar for PS5-ready SSDs). We wish we could suggest that you swap your Xbox’s internal SSD, but the crummy facts are that doing so is both a difficult and warranty-voiding venture.
The Seagate expansion cards for Xbox are available in 1 TB and 2 TB configurations. Prices start at $149.99 for the 1 TB model and they go up to around $280 for the top-end model. Both configurations are available at Amazon, Best Buy, Target, or GameStop.
WD Black C50 Expansion Card
Western Digital has launched its own alternative to the Seagate storage expansion card. The WD Black C50 Expansion Card is available in either 512 GB or 1 TB formats at GameStop or Best Buy, which cost $89.99 and $149.99, respectively. The C50 Expansion Card is virtually identical to the version made by Seagate (save for the lanyard hole), offering a competitive price without compromising performance. However, unlike the Seagate expansion card, the C50 isn’t currently available in a 2 TB format. Now, let’s see if the prices on these begin to fall.
External Xbox hard drives
There are bigger external hard drives that are significantly less expensive than the official expansion cards. We’ve listed three below, but be warned: these can only be used to store a Series X game’s installation files. If you want to play a game that’s on the external hard drive, you will have to transfer the files to the console’s internal SSD (Xbox One-era games can be both stored and played via the external drive).
Having some bulk storage set aside isn’t quite as helpful as expanding the console’s SSD storage, but transferring a game’s files is still faster than having to re-download them every time you want to boot up a particular title.
WD Black D30
The WD Black D30 Game Drive is a stocky, external SSD available in 500 GB, 1 TB, or 2 TB configurations. The Game Drive connects with its USB-C-to-A cable that offers transfer speeds of up to 900 MB/s. The 1 TB D30 and 2 TB configurations are available for $109.99 (normally $149.99) and $149.99 (normally $239.99), respectively.
WD Black P40
The WD Black P40 Game Drive offers a slimmer storage solution that’s a little more expensive, but takes up less space and is capable of reaching transfer speeds of up to 2,000 MB/s. Best Buy currently has the 1 TB WD_Black P40 model available for $119.99.
Crucial X8 SSD
While it isn’t quite as fast as the P40 above, the Crucial X8 SSD is still a solid option for giving you more storage for your Xbox Series X without spending a ton. Plus, it’s a little thinner and more unassuming in its design than the gamer-focused P40. Currently, you can find the 1 TB Crucial X8 at Amazon for $59.99 (normally $119.99). A 2 TB model is also available for $99.99.
Update (Jan. 18): Checked all products for accurate pricing and availability. We’ve also added a section near the top that dives into our testing and selection methodology for this piece.