Seagate Game Drive for Xbox SSD (2021) review: A stylish and speedy storage solution

It's an SSD!

Seagate Game Drive Xbox Ssd 2021
(Image: © Windows Central)

Storage is becoming an increasing issue for gaming across the board, as games pick up increasingly large file sizes. Forza Horizon 5 for example is almost 100GB on Xbox, with other titles like Call of Duty looking to texture streaming to decrease the amount of storage taken up on our shrinking drives.

In the case of Xbox, Microsoft and Seagate are selling Xbox Series X|S expansion cards that boost the size of the console's internal storage, starting at a pretty eye-watering $150 for just 500GB of storage, $210 for 1TB. While it probably is the best Xbox storage device right now, you can save a fair bit by using an external USB-based storage solution, and simply transferring the games across to the internal drive when you feel like playing.

Doing so from a slow HDD can take a fairly long chunk of time, regardless, but this USB 3.2 SSD might be the next best thing.

Seagate Game Drive: Price and availability

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The Seagate Game Drive Xbox SSD (2021) is available at most hardware stores, just make sure you're buying the SSD and not the HDD since the packaging and design look pretty similar (or use our link above). The Seagate Game Drive SSD (2021) is available from practically any major retailer and enjoys good stock supplies. It retails at $169.99 generally, although you may be able to grab a sale on it during events like Amazon Prime Day and Black Friday.

Seagate Game Drive: What's good

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The Seagate Game Drive SSD is a surprisingly small boy at approximately 2 x 4 x 0.5 inches. If it was a bit thinner, you could almost fit it into a credit card slot in your wallet.

Essentially this is an M.2 drive hidden inside an Xbox-branded housing, complete with a green LED around the bottom edge. The light accent is a nice touch, although it doesn't exactly add anything to the functionality. In this bundle also comes an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate trial code for one month, alongside a beefy warranty of over a year.

When it comes to Xbox storage devices, things have gotten a little complicated this gen. The official Seagate Xbox expansion card extends the console's internal storage seamlessly, but those cards are bloody expensive. By comparison, this 1TB option will save you $50 for the same amount of space, and also comes with USB versatility too, allowing to use it on practically any USB-based device.

The downside, of course, is that you cannot run new-gen Xbox Series X|S games directly from this USB SSD, the transfer speeds aren't fast enough. You can run past-gen games from it, though, and it will provide faster loading than the mechanical HDD inside a standard Xbox One console. If you use this with an Xbox Series X|S, you will be using it to store games and then transfer them into your main storage solution, and for that, it's pretty speedy.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
GameSeagate Game Drive (USB 3.2)
SSD to internal
Seagate Xbox Card (CFExpress)
to internal
Seagate HDD (USB 3.0)
to internal
Forza Horizon 5
(101.6 GB)
6 minutes, 9 seconds2 minutes, 25.5 seconds20 minutes, 45 seconds
Diablo II Resurrected
(27.08 GB)
1 minute, 33 seconds37 seconds4 minutes, 3 seconds

Moving a game from the SSD back to the internal device caps out at around 2.4Gbps, moving 100GB of data in around six minutes on average. This is far slower than the transfer speeds offered by the official Seagate Xbox storage expansion card, which caps out at around 6.3Gbps.

I managed to move Forza Horizon 5 from this SSD to the Xbox Series X's internal storage drive in just over six minutes. An older USB 3.0 mechanical HDD I had lying around managed the same in almost 21 minutes. It would have been faster for me to simply download the game again, rather than wait for that. USB 3.2 Gen 1 has far faster transfer rates than older standards, but it's still somewhat annoying the Xbox Series X|S doesn't sport options for faster USB ports. Alas, Seagate can't exactly be blamed for that.

Thanks to USB 3.2 Gen 1, this device proves itself to be a speedy and portable storage option for moving games out of the internal storage, which should prove itself faster than the average download speed most people will get out of their ISP.

Seagate Game Drive: What's not good

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You can get far cheaper USB 1TB drives, but they'll often miss out on the USB 3.2 Gen 1 transfer speed, which is ultimately what you want in a deep storage solution. Part of me just wonders if isn't worth forking out the extra bit of cash for the regular Seagate Xbox expansion card, though, given that some of the "extras" you get with this aren't exactly stellar.

While the design is nice, Seagate, like many companies out there, paid no attention to the weight on this thing. It's light as a feather, which is nice for carrying it around if you so fancy but combined with the taut cable, you won't be able to position this thing at all on your desk or play space. Instead, it'll dangle around in the air like a vestigial tentacle wherever the cable decides to lie. Seagate could've rectified this with a more flexible cable, but alas, profit margins say no.

Finally, the included Xbox Game Pass Ultimate code is useless for current subscribers, since it functions as a trial for new users only. Bummer.

Seagate Game Drive: Competition

The Seagate Game Drive ultimately competes against some cheaper non-branded solutions out there. The Xbox branding makes this SSD cost anywhere up to an extra $60 over a comparable non-branded SSD USB 3.2 drive, which ultimately begs the question: Do you need the Xbox stylings or not? The included Xbox Game Pass Ultimate one-month trial does little to sweeten the deal in my view considering existing users can't take advantage of the code. However, if you're buying this as a gift for the Xbox fan in your life, they might appreciate the cool color schemes and embossed logo.

Seagate Game Drive: Should you buy it?

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The Seagate Game Drive SSD for Xbox is the first branded option from the company that offers USB 3.2 Gen 1 for boosted transfer speeds, and the difference between 3.2 and 3.0 is very obvious and apparent when compared side by side. If you're someone with slow to average internet speeds, grabbing this drive may save you both time and data allowance budget for deep storing some of those larger games, as our storage devices get fuller and fuller.

Seagate made this device sleek and stylish, with a nifty green light which gives it a nice "Xboxxy" touch. The downside is the cable and weight, which prevents it from resting tidy in your setup. If you don't mind having a dangling string hanging out of your Xbox and want some boosted speed on your deep storage solution, you should definitely check this one out.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden a Managing Editor at Windows Central, focusing primarily on all things Xbox and gaming. Jez is known for breaking exclusive news and analysis as relates to the Microsoft ecosystem while being powered by caffeine. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his Xbox Two podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!

  • Does this work on the Xbox One (non-series X)?
  • Yes, the processor then bottle necks the load times. The USB will be faster than the internal bus though. This is why XB1 the load times were slightly faster even with a standard external, but remained the relatively the same with a SSD external.
  • I'm pretty sure USB 3.2 Gen 1 and USB 3.0 are the same thing. Both mean 5Gbps.
  • This is all weird. USB 3.2 isn't supposed to support USB-A (search USB in Wikipedia). USB 3.1 has a theoretical max of 10 Gbps. So, why are we excited about a 3.2 USB-A drive that transfers at 2.4 Gbps?
  • Because people don't understand that you can take any external drive or SSD and stick it on the Xbox. They need an Xbox branded item to tell them it works. Besides, it lights up. 😉 They also don't realize that an external SSD gives about the same load times for a Backwards Compatible game. Also, I'm not sure about that speed. USB standards are very weird. There are at least 2 generations of 3.2. I think the 2nd gen is USB C only.
  • there's some bottle necking cus it's not the same as dragging and dropping a file in explorer, i think, there has to be some installation going on there too? but honestly, its way outta my range of knowledge. ill try and find out more on exactly what's going on here. i think this is basically an m2 drive in a housing though, possibly. i don't wanna break it to find out though lol.
  • Good advice for those wall mounting their consoles, use some industrial strength Velcro and stick it to the side of the console. This solves a short cable and light drive problem as well.
  • Could probably find a more flexible cable on Amazon for dirt cheap, problem solved. Should a better cable have been included? Natch. If you don't need the extra storage right now, wait for the 2TB internal card; no cable req'd, and can play titles directly from it which limits the need for copying *anything*, problem solved. 👍
  • I mean it's most of the way to the 1 TB expansion card. Why not just get the expansion card, and not have to deal with the transfer issue on Series consoles? The 1 TB expansion card has gone down to $187 on sale at Newegg, and there's a good chance it'll go on sale again during the holidays.
  • but dude it has a green light! no but seriously, you're right!
  • How bought just getting an 2.5 external 3.2 usb c enclosure and using a usb c to a cable. This way you can expand the storage with QLC ssds easily and not to mention 1TB options are pretty cheap too. There's really no point for forking out for nvme if you can't run current gen games from the external drive. QLC ssds have plenty of enough read speeds for backwards compatible games.