External Hard Drive for the Xbox One – Is Now the Time to Upgrade?

On the announcement of the next generation consoles it wasn’t abundantly clear what 500gb meant owing to unknown game file sizes.

Nearly two years on, we have seen games like Battlefield 4, GTA V, Forza 5, and the Witcher 3 with game files of 40Gb plus meaning around 10 AAA title games is about as much as you could hold on your Xbox One without having to upgrade your memory. Games with Gold on Xbox Live, though usually much smaller sized games, have also contributed to maxing out your memory capacity so you may find you can get even less than 10 games. And then there’s your own media to consider that you may have on the console.

Some users will have reached their hardware maximum early on if they have been buying every Xbox One title. I, however, hit that wall over the weekend when, for the first time, I had to clear some space for the Witcher 3. And I suspect many are reaching that point too.

I have therefore set out how to upgrade your Xbox One and offered up some external hard drive options for the Xbox One.

How to Upgrade the Xbox One Storage Capacity

This is actually a very straight forward process. You need a USB external hard drive that:

1. uses USB 3.0

2. is at least 256gb

First thing to do is plug the USB into one of the 3 USB 3.0 slots around your console (there is 2 in the rear and one on the side).

Once you plug that in, Xbox One will prompt you with simple instructions to format the drive. Follow those instructions and walla! It should take no more than 5 seconds to complete and be ready to use.

If you don’t get prompted by Xbox One, go to Menu | Settings | SystemManage Storage | Select your storage device and press format for games & apps. If that doesn’t work, make sure you have a compatible external drive as per the above criteria.

What External Hard Drive should I get for Xbox One?

The criteria above should dictate which external storage for Xbox One to buy – always make sure its USB 3.0. You can click here to see a comprehensive list of compatible drives that you can buy that will all do the trick.

I personally opted for the WD passport Ultra which comes in 3 sizes, 500GB, 1Tb and 2TB and is small enough so that I can carry it in my pocket to take to my friends house, plug in to his console and play my games (note you would need to sign in to your account). It’s available in a few different colours (though black suits the Xbox One best) and it was a breeze to set up.

Another consideration you should take into account is the power source. Some external drives like the Seagate Expansion 2TB USB3.0 External Hard Drive come with a separate power source which is not ideal given the clutter of other cables you will already have around your Xbox One. This one can be bought in 500GB, 1Tb, 2TB, 3TB, 4TB and 5TB options but there ins’t any documented improvement in using a powered external drive as opposed to a non powered one.

I prefer smaller portable ones that do not rely on a power source and that will sit neatly on or beside your Xbox One such as the Samsung M3 Slimline (available up to 2Tb) or the Seagate Expansion 2.5″ Portable USB 3.0 (available up to 5Tb). You can get large capacity portable drives too so don’t think that you need a powered external hard drive if you are in the market for a larger capacity.

On the other hand, as it is all tucked away with the console, it may not make too much of a difference as to which way you go.

Is it Worth Waiting for the Next Iteration of Xbox One’s?

There are some special edition consoles already available such as Call of Duty Advance Warfare which feature 1TB hard drive instead of the standard 500Gb. It’s inevitable a newer version of the console will come at some point, as was the case with PS3’s and Xbox 360’s but nothing has been announced just yet. When they are released they are likely to have small incremental options such as a 1TB and 2TB to avoid becoming too expensive and so you may not get a huge capacity console in any case.

My view is that Microsoft will not want to annoy early adopters by releasing newer versions of the console to soon (we are nearly at the 2 year mark) and so it is very possible that it won’t be until at least another year until new iterations emerge.  If you are up to maximum capacity, I wouldn’t hold off shelling a few bucks to get some added capacity given the line up of games coming this fall.

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