Following the announcement of the pricing for the Storage Expansion Drive, we’ve been doing some experiments.
We published an article yesterday about the new Storage Expansion Cards for the new Xbox Series S|X consoles. It was our opinion you didn’t need them, but we’ve come up with some facts to back up this claim.
We’ve been running some tests to see how long it takes to move files between storage on the Xbox One X, so we can get an idea of what to expect on the next-gen consoles.
Traditional hard drives often have a write speed (how fast a drive can write data to the disk) that is around half that of their read speed (how fast data can be retrieved from the disk). This creates a bottleneck when moving data between HDDs, with the transfer speeds limited by the slowest link in the chain, usually the write speed.
The SSD on the new consoles has a much higher write speed (far in excess of most HDDs read speed), so the transfer times will, in theory, at least, be significantly faster. Depending on the speed of your drive and allowing for some discrepancy between results, transferring from USB 3.1 HDDs to the Series S|X SSD should optimistically only take half the time, and possibly less than that.
These times are an average of five consecutive runs, transferring games of varying sizes. There was quite a lot of fluctuation in time, with 10 Gb taking roughly between 2 and 3 minutes to move from our Seagate 3.5″ 5200 RPM external drive to the internal drive on the Xbox One X.
Data transferred / Time taken
- 2 Gb = 00m32s
- 10 Gb = 02m22s
- 20 Gb = 04m46s
- 30 Gb = 06m56s
- 40 Gb = 09m40s
- 50 Gb = 12m15s
- 100 Gb = 23m17s
To transfer 500 Gb to the Series S could take around 2 hours, and around 4 hours to fill the Series X’s 1 Tb of storage. If we allow for the SSD, this figure could end up being half of this if the Velocity Architecture and SSD work as expected. This sounds a lot, but realistically, you aren’t going to be copying an entire library of games every time you play.
Moving even the biggest of games (100 Gb+) should only take about 20 minutes as a worst-case scenario, and we could even see a sub-10 minute transfer. Average sized games could take just 5 to 10 minutes.
Moving games back, however, will still be limited by the lower write speed of the USB drive, so I’d recommend just copying them to the Series S|X SSD, leaving them on the USB HDD too. Then, you can just delete them from the SSD when you are done and save a bunch of time.
Overall, this is great news for anyone concerned about the cost of the dedicated expansion drives and the somewhat limited storage on the Series S, especially as it as digital-only console. With the Series S expected to use around 30% less storage per game than Series X, moving games between external and internal storage is not going to be an issue for most people.
So, if you were worried that the Storage Expansion Drive was going to be an expensive and essential purchase (nearly doubling the cost of a Series S), rest assured that a regular USB 3.1 HDD will do just fine.