Video games keep growing in size, leaving less and less room on your gaming machine’s storage. To use a recent example, the Bethesda-developed sci-fi epic Starfield takes up over 100GB by itself. Although there are plenty of storage upgrade solutions, Xbox players have had comparatively fewer options to choose from, with big prices to match. Fortunately, change appears to be on the horizon with the recent launch of the WD Black C50 Expansion Card.
With the Xbox Series X and S consoles, you can use an external hard drive to back up games and free space up on the internal drive. These tend to be reasonably cost-effective, as it doesn’t require a proprietary storage drive to work. However, you can’t play games on an external drive due to not matching the Xbox’s internal NVME SSD speeds. So, you can transfer games between internal and external storage as needed, but in order to play a game, it needs to be on the internal drive.
For Xbox owners, the only solution to expand playable storage is via an official expansion card that plugs into a Series X or S console’s storage expansion slot. Until recently, Seagate has been the only manufacturer making Xbox expansion cards, equating to less competition on price. With the WD Black C50, there are already promising signs of cheaper storage for consumers. With the larger capacity 1TB Xbox Series S nearly here, there are multiple methods of fitting more games onto your machine, although expanding your hardware’s existing storage is definitely cheaper than buying a brand-new console.
WD Black C50 brings more affordable Xbox storage
At a retail price of $289 for the 1TB WD Black C50 expansion card, it’s now slightly cheaper to boost your Xbox’s playable storage. Compare this to the recommended retail price of $349 for the Seagate equivalent – and $699(!) for 2TB – it’s already forced a market shift. At retailers like JB Hi-Fi, the Seagate can be found for the same $289 price tag as its Western Digital competitor. From all reports, the Seagate expansion card performs well, but the price has previously been a steep hill to climb. Mind you, $289 for 1TB isn’t cheap either.
This is especially compared to the PlayStation 5 solution that lets you pop the case open and install an M.2 NVME SSD for more storage. At retail, storage drives like the WD Black SN850 and PNY SSDs don’t cost that much less than an Xbox expansion card. However, you can often grab them for much cheaper from Amazon and other online stores. We’re talking significantly lower than $200 levels of cheaper. Because more companies make M.2 drives, there’s greater competition. Ultimately, it comes down to Microsoft’s decision to use the comparatively locked ecosystem of its expansion card technology that’s resulted in high prices.
Now, with both Western Digital and Seagate duking it out to offer genuine competition for Xbox players, expect to see better prices on expansion cards and more frequent discounts. The WD Black C50 is out now for $289 from tech retailers including Amazon, JB Hi-Fi, and more. At the time of writing, you can even get a C50 for less than $250. While that’s still a fair chunk of change more than what you can upgrade your PS5 with using an M.2 drive, it’s much better than the $300-plus it used to be.