The best Black Friday deals on Xbox expansion cards and SSDs

I have a lot of games installed on my Xbox Series X… and I mean a lot; last I checked, I had 128 games downloaded and ready to play, most stemming from my expansive backlog. Storage is a constant concern for me, understandably. I’ve made a point of finding the best ways to expand my Xbox’s drives so I never have to worry about downloading the next game I want to play — because it’ll already be there. This Black Friday, I figured it’s time to share the love with all the very best Xbox storage deals I can find on expansion cards, SSDs, hard drives, and beyond.

Black Friday 2023: Best Xbox Series X|S expansion card deals

Black Friday 2023: Best Xbox external SSD deals

Black Friday 2023: Best Xbox external hard drive deals

More great Black Friday deals

Black Friday 2023: Choosing the best Xbox storage upgrade for you

WD_BLACK and Seagate make the two Xbox Series X|S expansion cards… Which will be best for you this holiday season? (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

When it comes to choosing the best storage upgrade for your Xbox, things can get a little complicated. After all, there are different kinds of storage that serve different purposes — How can you know which is the very best for you? There are expansion cards, external SSDs, HDDs… Fortunately, I’m here to break it all down for you. Here’s how you can go about choosing the best Xbox storage upgrade for you during Black Friday 2023.

Let’s start with Xbox Series X|S expansion cards. As the name suggests, these are storage upgrades specific to Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S current-gen consoles. If you’re still rocking an Xbox One, keep scrolling — these don’t apply to you. Xbox Series X|S consoles feature an incredibly fast internal SSD that enables many of their current-gen features, like ultra-quick loading times, improved game performance, and even Xbox-specific features like Quick Resume (which lets you pick up right where you left off in all your most recent Xbox games).

These expansion cards are functionally identical to the internal SSD storage of Xbox Series X|S consoles — that means the same performance and feature set. That means you can install Xbox Series X|S Optimized games (titles designed with these current-gen consoles in mind) on your expansion card and play those games exactly as you would from your Xbox’s internal SSD. That’s great, and they’re dead simple to install; all you have to do is plug your new expansion card into the Xbox Expansion Slot on the back of your Xbox Series X|S.

Xbox Series X|S expansion cards are fast, compact, and incredibly convenient. They’re also portable, so you can take all your favorite Xbox games to a friend’s house via your expansion card and keep all your save data. Their only major con is that they are expensive versus regular NVMe SSDs, in no small part because there are only two companies making them: Seagate and Western Digital. That’s why Black Friday deals are a great time to pick one of these cards up, because they’re bound to be discounted.

The Samsung T9 sits at the pinnacle of USB storage, so it may be a little overkill for your needs. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

The next kind of Xbox storage are USB drives. These plug into your console’s USB ports, and are divided into two categories: SSD (solid-state drive) and HDD (hard-disk drive). Let me preface by stating that both kinds will be slower than the Xbox Series X|S expansion cards. Your console’s USB ports simply aren’t fast enough, so no USB storage will be able to play Xbox Series X|S Optimized games. That doesn’t mean these drives are useless, though — far from it.

USB drives are still great for playing all backward compatible Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games. They’re also great for using any Xbox apps. Finally, USB drives can be used to store Xbox Series X|S games, even if they can’t play them, letting you save money on storage versus splurging on an expansion card.

So, which kind of USB drive should you choose? Well, external USB SSDs are typically faster and far more reliable than HDDs, but they’re also more expensive. On Xbox Series X|S, a good external SSD can actually load and play backward compatible games at basically the same speeds as the internal SSD or expansion cards — on Xbox One consoles, you may actually see games load and play faster than on their internal hard drives. This makes an external SSD a great option for anyone with the budget.

That just leaves hard drives, which are basically only good nowadays for one thing: cheap mass storage. Hard drives are slower and a little less reliable than SSDs, so they’re not the best for actually playing your Xbox games. If you need a ridiculous amount of storage to simply download all of your Xbox games, though, there’s no cheaper way to obtain it. Hard drives are still far cheaper on average than a comparable SSD, even after SSDs have fallen significantly in price over the years.

For many people, the WD_BLACK C50 is going to be the best all-around choice right now. (Image credit: Windows Central | Zachary Boddy)

Let’s summarize:

  • Xbox expansion cards are strictly for Xbox Series X|S, for storing and playing Xbox Series X|S Optimized games with the best performance and features, and are the most expensive
  • External USB SSDs are great for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One consoles for playing all backward compatible Xbox games, using apps, and storing Xbox Series X|S Optimized games, and are reasonable in price
  • External USB HDDs are great for mass storage needs, offering a ton of space for storing all your Xbox games or using apps, and are the most affordable by far

That should be everything you need to know to take full advantage of all the wonderful Black Friday deals on Xbox storage upgrades! Bookmark this page and keep checking back, because I’ll be regularly updating it with new deals.

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