by Adam Armstrong

Seagate SSD For Xbox Review

One of the main drawbacks to the current generation of console gaming is that fact that the games are so large, capacity-wise, that they can easily fill up the consoles’ internal drives. Some games are as large as 120GB, and with all the add-ons and downloadable content (DLC) can push most games past the standard sizes. Gamers have the choice of buying consoles with larger internal drives but there is still a relatively small limit. Seagate has offered a solution with its Game Drive for Xbox with up to 4TB of additional space. Taking this to the next logical step, Seagate is now selling an SSD version of the its Drive which will lead to faster load times, transfer of data, and overall better performance one expects with SSDs.

The Seagate SSD for Xbox comes in 512GB of capacity, which would double the storage capacity an Xbox One with a 500GB internal hard drive. Being an SSD, users can expect faster initial load times (from disk, downloads will depend on local internet speeds). What may be more beneficial to gamer enthusiasts, is that they will see faster level loads. This benefit will compound itself if the gamer plays multiple levels in one sitting or they chose an especially difficult game (the Dark Souls series) or turn the difficulty up high, which results in multiple character deaths and respawns.

The capacity is limited versus say the Seagate Game Drive, which can go as high as 4TB. However gamers can use the SSD for Xbox for games that they are currently playing or are more likely to play frequently. Once there interests shifts to a new game or set of games they can transfer the games back to the internal hard drive or other media and load their current favorites onto the SSD for the speed boosts. The drive holds roughly 15 games and also acts as an easy way to transfer games to say a friends console for a gaming get together.

The Seagate SSD for Xbox comes with a 1-year warranty and has a MSRP of $199.99.

Seagate SSD For Xbox specifications:

  • Capacity: 512GB
  • Interface: USB 3.0
  • Performance: up to 440MB/s
  • Length: 113.5mm
  • Width: 76mm
  • Depth: 9.6mm
  • Warranty: 1-year

Design and build

Several consoles and accessories are sold with certain designs and skins. Noting that design is important to the customer base, Seagate has designed the drive with a sleek black, brushed aluminum on both ends with an Xbox green stripe around the edges.

The top of the device has both Xbox and Seagate branding as well as an LED light indicating use. The USB connection in on the side near the Xbox branding.

Usability

As with the previous game drive Seagate made for Xbox, the drive comes formatted out of the box and simply needs to be plugged in and it is ready to go. The drive is bus powered so there is no need to run a second cord for power. If the drive is reformatted for some reason, it only takes a moment to format it for the Xbox. Plug the drive in and users will be prompted to format the drive. Or they can manually format the drive at any time through the settings option on their Xbox consoles.

Performance

For performance we ran IOMeter on our HP Z640 workstation. We compared the new SSD to the two HDD models for Xbox from Seagate. All IOMeter figures are represented as binary figures for MB/s speeds.

On our 2MB sequential benchmark, the SSD hit speeds of 377.72MB/s write and 411.55MB/s read. Not quite hitting the claimed upper numbers of 440MB/s. Comparing this to the HDD versions, the 2TB hit 140.07MB/s write and 140.18MB/s read and the 4TB hit 132.5MB/s write and 132.15MB/s read.

Drive Type Write Read
Seagate SSD for Xbox 377.72MB/s 411.55MB/s
Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 2TB 140.07MB/s 140.18MB/s
Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 4TB 132.5MB/s 132.15MB/s

With 2MB random the SSD hit 377.96MB/s write and 385.42MB/s read. In contrast the 2TB HDD hit 81.91MB/s write and 81.16MB/s read and the 4TB hit 72.76MB/s write and 29.35MB/s read.

Drive Type Write Read
Seagate SSD for Xbox 377.96MB/s 385.42MB/s
Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 2TB 81.91MB/s 81.16MB/s
Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 4TB 72.76MB/s 29.35MB/s

Switching over to random 4k transfers, the SSD gave us scores of 9,786 IOPS write and 5,375 IOPS read. With the HDDs, the 2TB had 4k scores of 225 IOPS write and 98.35 IOPS read and the 4TB had 1,398 IOPS write and 95.68 IOPS read.

Drive Type Write Read
Seagate SSD for Xbox 9,786 IOPS 5,375 IOPS
Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 2TB 225 IOPS 98.35 IOPS
Seagate Game Drive for Xbox 4TB 1,398 IOPS 95.68 IOPS

IOMeter is a good indication of how the drives perform. The reader can look at the numbers and see that the SSD is obviously the superior performer. But IOMeter isn’t much fun (aside from our lab manager, who takes fun in such things). What people really want to know is how much faster will their load times be? In order to test this we took four games (FIFA 17, Forza Horizon 3, Mafia III, and Gears Of War 4) and loaded them onto different drive types and recorded the amount of time it took to load what game where.

While we collected quite a bit of data over a couple of weeks, we will just look at some of the highlights. Of the four games we tested, FIFA 17 saw the least amount of impact from switching to an SSD. The drive saw 6 minutes shaved off of its initial load time from disk but there was only a 3 second difference from internal HDD or the Seagate Game Drive versus the SSD. Forza gave us levels loads almost twice as fast as the internal HDD. Mafia III saw 40% faster level loads with the SSD versus the internal and Gears of War 4 saw 7 minutes shaved off of the initial load time and a 20% reduction in level loads with the SSD versus the internal HDD. Faster load times quickly add up, whether you are the type of gamer that wants to play through as fast as possible, or you like tackling the most difficult games. If you go through several levels or respawns in one sitting, the faster load times quickly add up, shaving minutes per hour off of the time one would normally have to wait. It should also be noted that, though FIFA 17 saw the least amount of increase in performance, it was still an increase in performance, as all games showed a positive result of using the SSD over the hard drive options.

Conclusion

The Seagate SSD for Xbox provides gamers with an additional 512GB of capacity for storing their games. With the standard size of games this translates to roughly 15 games. The SSD not only provides more space for games, it also gives gamers a bump in performance for initial load times (from disks) and speedier level loads. Users can make a selection of games portable, for taking to a friend’s house, or on a trip as some hotels and airbnbs offer Xbox accessibility. The design fits right in with both the black and white versions of Xbox One as well as the Xbox 360.

Looking at performance, we used IOMeter to look at the differences between the SSD and the two HDD versions Seagate released earlier. In all three tests the SSD easily blew the other drives out of the water with speeds as high as 377.96MB/s write and 411.55MB/s read and random 4k performance of 9,786 IOPS write and 5,375 IOPS read. The HDDs don’t even come close on any of the tests.

We also did some real-world time trials testing initial load and level load using four popular games: FIFA 17, Forza Horizon 3, Mafia III, and Gears of War 4. While FIFA 17 showed only a small difference between the drives, the other games saw load times as high as 40% faster with the SSD over the internal hard drive. Obviously there are several factors that make up load time and will vary from game to game. And while one game didn’t seem much of a difference, overall it, as well as the other three games, all showed faster load times with the SSD.

Pros

  • Faster in-game level loads
  • Faster initial game load times
  • Added capacity for roughly 15 more games

Cons

  • Limited to 512GB

The Bottom Line

The Seagate SSD for Xbox is ideal for the advanced gamer that needs more capacity and best load times currently available.

Seagate SSD for Xbox product page

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