Seagate Game Drive for Xbox SSD review: Is premium speed worth a premium price?

Windows Central Recommended Award

Seagate and Microsoft have worked together extensively building Xbox-branded storage drives for the console. You can use any USB-based storage device with Xbox One, but the Seagate drives often come with designs that more closely match the console, complete with Xbox branding and often some additional perks.

The new Seagate Game Drive solid-state drives (SSDs) closely match the design conventions of the Xbox One X and tout speed as a signature selling point. Xbox One X games are crammed with 4K assets, with games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Gears of War 4 pushing 100GB installation sizes.

The SSD comes in 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB flavors, and includes three months of Xbox Game Pass to sweeten the deal. However, they start at a beefy $140, running all the way up to $600 for the 2TB model, which is more expensive than the console.

So just how speedy is it? And does it shave enough time off those load speeds to be worth the price tag? Let's take a look.

Seagate Game Drive for Xbox SSD design and setup

Seagate SSD

Seagate SSD (Image credit: Seagate Game Drive SSD)

Like any standard USB storage device, set up on Xbox One is quick and easy. Once you plug it in, you're pretty much ready to go. You can assign the drive to be your default storage solution via the Xbox One settings, after which it will begin receiving game data from future installations.

Design-wise, as external storage devices go, the Seagate Game Drive for Xbox is rather nice looking. It sports a layered matte black finish matching standard Xbox One X consoles, complete with an Xbox logo with a mirror sheen. It's a nice touch, but I'm not sure how many people really consider the way an external storage device looks before they buy one.

The SSD also has some nice weight to it, which helps it sit still in your setup against the pull of the cable. It's also completely silent. As an SSD, it has no internal moving parts. If you keep your Xbox in your bedroom as I do, you'll no doubt have noticed a hard disk drive (HDD) clicking away as it downloads game updates overnight. No such problem here. It does have a soft white light that indicates when it's reading though, so you'll have some indication of when not to unplug it.

The Seagate Game Drive for Xbox SSD is sleek and small, with 94 cm by 79 cm by 9 cm dimensions. It's barely thicker than a cell phone, and it doesn't require any external power, unlike some of the larger standard HDDs out there. It's convenient and portable, but how fast is it?

Speed boost

When I initially set out to test this SSD, I wasn't particularly certain it would yield such significant gains to be worth the price point, but I was pleasantly surprised. Across some of the larger open-world titles out there with large amounts of assets, the benefits to load times were substantial. The Seagate SSD has a listed performance of up to 540MB/s, which is a substantial increase over the company's own external HDDs as you might expect, which get around 150MB/s.

I ran each test three times and averaged them out to give me the below results compared to the Xbox One X's internal HDD storage. The tests involved booting up the game from the dashboard and loading into the game world as fast as possible. The Xbox One X has a faster HDD than that of the Xbox One S and the 2013 Xbox One, so expect even bigger performance gains against those models.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
GameXbox One XSeagate SSD
Assassin's Creed Odyssey2 minutes 32.5 seconds1 minute 37.25 seconds
Nier: Automata1 minute 37.46 seconds1 minute 7.75 seconds
Shadow of the Tomb Raider2 minutes 6.55 seconds1 minute 1.32 seconds
State of Decay 23 minutes 22.79 seconds1 minute 43.15 seconds

As you can see, the performance gains here are significant, particularly in the case of some less-optimized games like State of Decay 2. Over weeks or months, that could add up to a fairly large amount of time saving. It has other benefits like letting you get into an Overwatch or Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 game before others, allowing you to select a preferred class before other players in your squad have even loaded into the lobby.

Should you buy the Seagate Game Drive for Xbox SSD?

The 2TB model is $600, making it more expensive than the Xbox One X itself. However, the $135 500GB model is far more reasonable, and perhaps ideal for specific games that you're planning to play a lot of over the coming months. If you have a go-to multiplayer game, like me, having those sit on your SSD while keeping other games with faster load times on your internal HDD might be the best option.

This is a great drive, but it is a premium piece of kit. If you have the cash, you won't be disappointed with the speed, nor the way it complements your overall setup. The main issue is, really, that Seagate sells a significantly cheaper version of the same SSD, albeit without the Xbox branding and bundled Xbox One Game Pass. You'll have to ask yourself if that Xbox branding is worth the extra dough. If not, buy the cheaper version.

Jez Corden
Co-Managing Editor

Jez Corden is 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 tea. Follow on Twitter @JezCorden and listen to his XB2 Podcast, all about, you guessed it, Xbox!