But are they fast enough for you?
Microsoft sells us the solid-state drive, a key part of the Xbox Series X. It's all about speed. A super-fast SSD unlocks the ability to start games incredibly quickly and navigate them without annoying loading screens.
There's another benefit to the SSD that won't necessarily be part of the marketing chips. We learned last week that Xbox Series X's exclusive expandable storage will be on the expensive side, coming in at $220 for a 1TB SSD card. An alternative to paying through the nose for a second SSD is to use a USB hard drive. 3.1 to store your games. However, a hard drive cannot run next-gen games; it can only run backward compatible games. Instead, users will have to store games they don't play on the HDD and then transfer them to the SSD when they want to play them.
This morning, a blitz of Xbox Series X previews unfolded as many tech-focused outlets gained access to prototype units. Most of the coverage focused on how the console runs backward compatible titles. However, there have been some revelations about other aspects of Xbox Series X.
One comes from GamesBeat's Jeff Grubb who tested how long it takes to transfer files between different drives. In the video embedded above, Grubb moves Assassin's Creed Origins (which is a 49GB file) around its storage locations in different configurations. Here's what the tests found.
Moving Origins from an external SSD to an internal SSD only took 2 minutes and 18 seconds. The reverse, going from internal SSD to external SSD, took 4 minutes and 33 seconds. Probably the most important, the transfer from an external hard drive to an internal SSD took 7 minutes and 46 seconds. Finally, switching from the internal SSD to the external HDD took 10 minutes and 36 seconds.
This third result is the one most people will want to keep in mind. It's the one that dictates whether they can live with swap facilities back and forth or whether they'd rather buy the official external SSD. About 8 minutes to get the game to where it needs to go to be played. Assuming next-gen installs are much larger – let's just call it a 100GB file for convenience – it will take around 16 minutes to transfer a game.
It's not immediate enough to stick with Microsoft's vision that everyone jumps into every game without waiting. But, with a little planning and a bit of patience, it could be immediate enough to justify a $220 saving.