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Xbox One External HDD Support: Can games load any faster?

When Microsoft announced that they were finally adding the promised external hard drive support for the Xbox One in the June Update, I was really excited about this feature!

For a start, with the number of games requiring large amounts of space (Ryse for example is now 76GB+ with all the updates) my 500GB internal hard drive is already filling up fast! So the ability to use an external drive is a huge bonus (according to Microsoft’s Major Nelson 4TB drives are supported, as he uses one himself!).

Secondly a neat feature of the external hard drive support is that you can move your existing games, from the internal drive to the external drive, and then take the latter with you to a mate’s house to continue playing (note you will need the disc for physical medium and login with your Xbox Live details for this to work).

However while the above is great I was also wondering if adding an external hard drive to the console could actually speed up the loading times of the games?

The latter is an area that I think the Xbox One struggles with, more so with select titles. For example when I was originally testing Ryse back in March it was taking 1 min 30 seconds to load particular level, which I felt - in this modern era - was a little on the slow side!

So with this in mind I approached the tech guys at Box.co.uk and asked if I could borrow an external USB 3.0 hard drive chassis (which allows me to add my own hard drives) and 3 separate 2.5” hard drives - ranging from a standard 7200rpm drives, to SSD.

Additionally, I was sent a Seagate hybrid drive which has the capacity of a standard hard drive with the speed of an SSD; without the price tag to match!

Note: I opted for 2.5” drives because of the SSD, plus the latter drives are smaller and more portable. Also Microsoft states that you need a USB 3.0 drive with a capacity of 256GB in order for external hard drives to work with the console.

Here is a list of the drives/spec that I got hold of for testing.

External Hard drive chassis: Thermaltake Silver River 5G Enclosure (comes with two USB cables, 1 x DC-In and 1 x USB 3.0 so you can power the drive off the Xbox One USB ports) £26.99

http://www.box.co.uk/Thermaltake_Silver_River_5G_Enclosure_1586265.html

Specification:

  • Supports USB 3.0 SuperSpeed - Maximum Transfer Rate up to 5.0 Gbps.
  • Supports - 2.5” SATA I/II/III Technology Hard Drives or SSD’s

Hard Drives

HGST 1TB 1 TB Travelstar 2.5" Laptop 7200 RPM  - £59.99

http://www.box.co.uk/HGST_1TB_1_TB_Travelstar_2.5_Laptop_720_1357090.html

Specification:

  • Drive Interface  SATA
  • Drive Width: 2.5"
  • Drive Interface Standard: SATA/600 (SATA III)
  • Storage Capacity: 1 TB
  • Rotational Speed: 7200 rpm
  • Drive Performance:  Average Latency 4.20 ms; Average Seek Time 12 ms
  • Buffer: 32 MB
  • Maximum External Data Transfer Rate:  768 MBps (6 Gbps)
  • Maximum Internal Data Transfer Rate: 1284 MBps (10 Gbps)
  • Maximum Seek Time: 20 ms

Seagate 1TB - High Capacity – Hybrid Drive £69.99 

http://www.box.co.uk/Seagate_1_TB_2.5_Internal_SSHD_-_SSD_Sp_1353893.html

Specification:

    • Product Type: Hybrid Hard Drive
    • Drive Width: 2.5"
    • Drive Interface Standard: SATA/600 (SATA III)
    • Storage Capacity: 1 TB
    • Flash Memory Capacity 8 GB
    • Rotational Speed: 5400 rpm
    • Drive Performance: Average Latency 5.60 ms
    • Buffer: 64 MB
    • Maximum External Data Transfer Rate: 768 MBps (6 Gbps)

Kingston SSDNow V300 480 GB Solid State Hard Drive- £226.80

http://www.box.co.uk/Kingston_SSDNow_V300_480_GB_Solid_State__1497850.html

Specification:

  • Form factor: 2.5"
  • Interface: SATA Rev. 3.0 (6Gb/s)
  • Capacity: 480GB
  • Total Bytes Written (TBW): 480GB: 256TB
  • All capacities: 450MB/s Read and 450MB/s Write
  • AS-SSD and CrystalDiskMark: 450MB/s Read and 208MB/s Write
  • IOMETER Maximum Random 4k Read/Write:  Up to 73,000/ up to 28,000 IOPS
  • PCMARK Vantage HDD Suite Score: 57,000

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