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MyDigitalSSD's 512GB: your Xbox One, but faster

Adding an external SSD can dramatically improve your game load and save times. Seagate's Game Drive for Xbox SSD is a 512GB external drive that fits just that bill, and in my tests the $210 accessory loaded games and game saved around 20 percent faster than the Xbox One's internal hard disk drive. That's a significant bump especially for games that load large cut scenes frequently.

The one complaint about the Seagate drive was the price. Not only is it priced higher than a 4TB hard disk drive (admittedly, a slow option), but it's expensive for a comparable SSD drive. Enter the MyDigitalSSD 512GB, which costs only $130 and claims similar performance for your Xbox.

Is the MyDigitalSSD any good, though? Here are my results!

SSD versus HDD

Solid-state Drives (SSD) are commonly found in higher-end PCs and laptops. With no moving parts compared to traditional hard disk drives (HDDs) and much faster read and write times an SSD makes all the difference in performance. You could have the fastest processor on the market, but it won't matter if you are running an HDD instead of an SSD.

So teeny and light you'd think it was hollow

External drives that are SSD also tend to have fewer problems since they are not mechanical. You bang a mechanical HDD the wrong way, and you could have just ruined the drive. SSDs, on the other hand, are more resilient.

Per teardown site iFixIt, the Xbox One S features a Seagate Spinpoint 2 TB 5400 RPM with 32 MB Cache SATA III 6.0 Gb/s hard drive. They speculate, however, that the One S may only be operating at SATA II speeds of the original Xbox One.

While affordable, that is far from the fastest mass storage device on the market.

MyDigitalSSD – Cheaper and smaller?

The MyDigitalSSD comes in numerous storage sizes including 64, 128, 256, and 512GB options. Just as importantly, it supports USB Attached SCSI (UASP), which is critical for the Xbox One and external drives to reach their peak speed potential.

Supporting OTG (On The Go) and mSATA USB 3.0, the external MyDigitalSSD looks to be a solid performer. Coming in at $130 (versus the $210 from Seagate) it is also significantly cheaper.

While it lacks the official Xbox branding and has a more plastic feel to it the MyDigitalSSD is substantially smaller (half the size) than Seagate's offering too. That's important as you can easily slip this into your front pocket to take your game's to a friend's house.

MyDigitalSSD

MyDigitalSSD (left) is dwarfed by Seagate's (right) more expensive SSD option

The build quality is okay. It's textured plastic with faux metal on the edges. It's also ridiculously light at just 1.15 ounces (33g) — a third of the Seagate SSD's 3.5 ounces (100grams). It practically feels hollow.

The only downside to the MyDigitalSSD is the cable, which is 1/3 the length of Seagate's. That's not normally a big deal, but it's such a short wire that the drive will likely dangle off the back of the Xbox One as opposed to being able to lay flat. This problem can, of course, be solved by grabbing a longer Micro USB 3.0 (a 3-foot cable is just $5.49 on Amazon (opens in new tab)).

Performance – It holds its own

No amount of money savings will matter if the drive does not perform. Not all SSDs are the same, so variation and even lower speeds due to cheaper components is not ruled out.

Let's see how MyDigitalSSD compared to the Xbox One's internal HDD and the Seagate SSD:

Game Initial Load (in seconds)

GameHDDSeagateMyDigital% Change
Gears of War 40:57s0:52s0:48s8% faster
Dead Rising 40:32s0:26s0:25s4% faster

Note that percent difference applies between the two SSD drives.

The MyDigital performed well with 16% to 22% faster load times than the internal HDD of the Xbox One. It even was slightly faster against the Seagate SSD.

To get some finer detail, I also decided to toss in some level loading on DOOM, which has a substantial loading time for the new Arcade feature. The first test was how long it took for DOOM to load until I could hit the A button, while the second test was for an Arcade level load.

DOOM

TestHDDSeagateMyDigital% Change
Game Load0:54s0:45s0:43s4% faster
Level Load0:50s0:39s0:38s2.5% faster

Note that percent difference applies between the two SSD drives.

Again, the MyDigitalSSD delivers 20 percent faster game loading of DOOM and 24 percent loading of an Arcade level compared to the internal HDD of the Xbox One S.

At this point, I stopped testing as the results were becoming quite evident. In all cases, the MyDigitalSSD performed as well, if not slightly better, than the more expensive Seagate Xbox SSD.

Granted, in all cases, we are talking about five seconds or less difference with some cases being dead even between the two SSDs. In fact, most discrepancies here could easily be written off as being within the margin of error.

Bottom Line

Unless you are fixated on the Xbox logo (and likely expensive licensing Seagate had to pay for the privilege of using) or the nicer build quality, there is no reason to buy it over the MyDigitalSSD which is $80 cheaper. That's a 38 percent markup on a drive that has the same or slightly worse performance.

MyDigitalSSD

The included USB cable is a bit short

The only downside I have seen with the MyDigitalSSD is the stubby Micro USB cable, but for less than $6 that is also very solvable.

See at Amazon (opens in new tab)

Considering that MyDigitalSSD 512GB is cheaper, smaller, and lighter than Seagate's with the same level of performance, it is the better buy in this scenario.

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

19 Comments
  • I guess on the Seagate you're also paying the Seagate brand. I personally rather stick to Western Digital. But I'm also not in the group that thinks it's worth to buy an SSD to attach to the Xbox to load a game 9-11 seconds faster. If I'm going to play a game it means I have time to do it. I don't need to rush anything. And those 9-11 seconds don't justify paying so much for so little storage. For the foreseeable future, an HDD will be always my choice for this sort of things (well, even on computers. I have an SDD to load up Windows and a couple of programs but everything else is on HDDs).
  • Agreed. I'd love to swap out the internal drive for an SSD since that should make for a nice upgrade but saving a few second of loading, isn't worth the extra cost for an external SSD over a regular disk drive.
  • Don't external HDDs typically need a power source, as well? This particular device seems to eliminate that bother, so it may not be entirely about speed for potential buyers.
  • Not always. The WD My Passport series works without needing external power.
  • Nope, my external WD 1TB is powered from the Xbox itself
  • Same as my 4TB that I got for a $120
  • That depends on the drive you get. There are several that are USB-powered, like WD's Passport line.
  • Thing is, if I'm getting a SSD, neither the Seagate brand nor the Western Digital one holds weight with me. Both specialized, for tears, in HDDs. No one goes to either company for a SSD in the PC market now, they go to Samsung (or, in some cases, SanDisk or Kingston or another company).
  • In case you don't know, Western Digital now owns SanDisk ;)
  • Perhaps for "high performance" SSDs e.g. 960 Pro line. We're talking generic, regular speed SSDs since the Xbox One thru USB A can only handle so much.
  • oops
  • Actually, that is only really true in the gaming/performance market. Quite a few 'normal' people source SSDs from other vendors, and the likes of Dell, HP, and other builders often build using WD (ie Sandisk), Seagate (ie LSI who was/is prominent in the server SSD market), and Kingston.
  • Toshiba too are now common as well. Dell is using them these days.
  • I swore I'd never buy another Western Digital drive. I've had three of them die within the warranty period. That's three Western Digital drives that I've had fail out of a total of three drives that I've had fail. No thanks - I'll go with just about anything over WD.
  • so... curious about 2 things.
    1) When the XB1 came out, this site (and many others) toyed with replacing the internal HDD with a SSD and determined that it was not worth doing. Is the string of external SSDs all the sudden being recommended just because the price of SSDs has dropped so much in the last few years? Or is it because you are actually seeing more benefit... and if so, what changed that now gives SSDs some performance boost compared to launch?
    2) How on earth does this only give a 5-20% boost to load times? Replacing my HDD with SSD on my PC lowered OS load times from 1.2 minutes down to 5-10 seconds, and long game load times from 30-40 sec down to 1-2 sec. What is so different between an x86 console vs an x86 PC that the PC gets such ridiculous load time improvements and the console only shaves off a few sec? I mean, the CPU/GPU can't really be that much of a bottle neck between the SSD and the RAM can it? Or do disk drives not have DMA support on consoles?
  • "Is the string of external SSDs all the sudden being recommended just because the price of SSDs has dropped so much in the last few years? Or is it because you are actually seeing more benefit.."
    TBH, it just started because of Seagate having the first (to my knowledge) to have a "branded" Xbox SSD. I reviewed it just for that reason (and it's just coming out now). However, in comments, someone recommended this one as a cheaper alternative. I was going to do a DIY version, but at $130 I don't even think DIY is much cheaper. So I bought this one that day and figured I'd take a look - maybe it performed worse, or had other issues? Turns out it's just fine. But yeah, price coming down is also a big part. Regarding Q2, no idea. My guess is the way the HDD operates on the Xbox One it has less bottlenecking than on a PC. I have a Core i7 MSI gaming laptop with GTX 1060 and hybrid drive. Loading games on the HDD is painful to bear witness. To be fair, almost every game I have tested loads in 60 seconds or less on the HDD for Xbox One. Adding an SSD trims that down. While "only" 20% is not much, it does make a difference. When doing Gears my game always loads faster than my friends in Horde mode. It's hilarious to watch as I'm always loaded in the lobby/board level first. It also helps with cutscenes and game saves, which after 10-20 in a game session makes a difference imo.
  • Eh, my main concern is storage space, not speed.
  • The biggest comparison for loading time I'd like to see is loading gta online. For sure the longest load time and would love to see how this stacks up. A 7 second difference won't sell me on changing, but a min or two shaved off the gta load time might. :) Any chance you could test this game?
  • Hi this is Matt from MyDigitalSSD.  I would like to add some info xbox one customers have informed us that none of the above is main reason why this product is so amazing the reason many ppl swear by this SSD is that in game menues and changes are nearly instantly done giving you a huge leg up on the competition.   MyDigitalSSD