For many gamers, including myself, the warning that no one wants to see on their Xbox Series X is the dreaded “Low storage” notification. Thanks to the extensive library of games offered by Xbox Game Pass and the ever-increasing size of modern titles, the storage capacity of our beloved consoles often falls short. It was high time for a storage upgrade, and I was fortunate enough to get my hands on the 1TB WD_Black C50 Expansion Card, a recent addition to the world of Xbox Series X storage solutions. In this review, we’ll dive into the installation process, performance, and why expanding your Xbox’s storage might be a necessity.
The Storage Dilemma
In recent months, I found myself in a dilemma that many Xbox Series X users can relate to. My console’s internal hard drive was filling up rapidly due to the plethora of games available on Xbox Game Pass. Just the other day, I attempted to install a new Xbox game and was faced with a challenging decision: which games should I uninstall to make room for the new one? The need for expanded storage was apparent, and the WD_Black C50 Expansion Card seemed like the solution I was searching for.
The Installation Process: A Breeze
Upgrading your Xbox Series X’s storage with an expansion card is remarkably simple. Once you have the expansion card in hand, which, as of now, offers two compatible options, all you need to do is slide it into the designated slot on the rear of your Xbox Series X (or Xbox Series S) console. The slot is conveniently labeled “storage expansion,” ensuring you can’t go wrong.
Upon turning on my Xbox with the C50 Expansion Card snugly inserted, I half-expected to encounter an on-screen installation process or some waiting time while the card was formatted. However, to my pleasant surprise, there was no such delay. My Xbox booted up as usual, and I was thrilled to see that my available storage had instantly expanded by a significant 920GB, giving me a total capacity of more than 1.8TB.
Comparing this process to adding an SSD to a PS5 highlights the simplicity of the Xbox Series X expansion. When upgrading your PS5’s SSD, you must first ensure that you acquire an SSD that meets Sony’s specifications, which not all SSDs do. Moreover, the installation process is considerably more involved, often requiring the use of a screwdriver.
While it’s not fair to deem the PS5 SSD upgrade process difficult, the Xbox expansion card’s plug-and-play simplicity certainly gives Xbox an advantage in this regard.
Putting the C50 to the Test
The true test of any storage expansion lies in its ability to keep pace with the console’s native hard drive. Although Western Digital hasn’t disclosed the precise read and write speeds of the C50, my hands-on testing suggests that it largely meets the high standard set by the Xbox’s internal SSD.
After the effortless installation process, I wasted no time in assessing the C50’s performance. I loaded a variety of Xbox Series X and Xbox One/Xbox 360 games running through backward compatibility to gauge any impact on loading times. Additionally, I moved each game from the console’s internal hard drive to the C50 and back to measure transfer speeds.
For reference, my results are summarized in the table below. Loading times were measured by timing how long it took for a game to transition from the home screen to the first instance of gameplay.
|Internal SSD (seconds)
|WD_Black C50 (seconds)
|Halo: The Master Chief Collection
|Red Dead Redemption 2
Overall, the results are rather impressive. While the C50 was marginally slower to load some games, the differences were well within an acceptable range. Therefore, if you’re concerned that expanding your Xbox Series X storage might result in slower load times, you can put those fears to rest. The WD_Black C50 holds its own and ensures a smooth gaming experience.
Why an Xbox Expansion Card is Essential
The list of must-play Xbox Series X games continues to grow, with titles like Starfield and Forza Motorsport on the horizon. The problem? The standard 800GB of usable storage on the Xbox Series X falls short of accommodating even a modest selection of these games. The situation is even more challenging for Xbox Series S users, who are limited to just 512GB of storage.
Adding to the challenge is the fact that game file sizes seem to be steadily increasing each year. Popular exclusives like Forza Horizon 5 and Halo: The Master Chief Collection demand more than 100GB each, with the upcoming Starfield likely to follow suit.
If you’re the kind of gamer who enjoys switching between multiple titles or exploring various multiplayer games, you’ll quickly discover the limitations of the Xbox Series X’s native hard drive. Unless you’re content with frequently shuffling your game library and deleting/reinstalling games as needed, an Xbox expansion card becomes an almost essential purchase.
However, this is where the PS5 holds an advantage. On the Xbox, you’re limited to two proprietary cards (from Western Digital or Seagate). In contrast, the PS5 offers a wide range of third-party options due to increased competition in the market.
Speaking of price, Xbox expansion cards tend to be relatively higher. During sales, 1TB PS5 SSDs have been spotted as low as $59, while the most affordable 1TB WD_Black C50 Expansion Card I’ve found was $139. Even the 512GB model, currently on sale for $79 on Amazon, remains pricier than many PS5 SSDs with double the capacity.
Despite the price differential, if you’re a dedicated Xbox gamer seeking a simple and efficient storage expansion solution, the WD_Black C50 Expansion Card comes highly recommended. It’s a breeze to install and significantly boosts your available storage without noticeable drops in performance. If you’re seeking savings, consider keeping an eye out for potential discounts during Black Friday sales.
Expanding your Xbox Series X’s storage capacity is no longer just an option; for many, it’s a necessity. With the growing library of Xbox Series X games and the increasing file sizes of new releases, having ample storage is crucial to an uninterrupted gaming experience. The WD_Black C50 Expansion Card, with its straightforward installation and impressive performance, provides a viable solution to your storage needs. So, whether you’re an avid gamer or simply looking to ensure you never have to choose between your favorite titles again, the WD_Black C50 Expansion Card is a worthwhile investment in enhancing your Xbox gaming experience.