Ever since the hardware specs of the Xbox One X were revealed I’ve been wondering why they went with an HDD over an SSD storage, after all they were marketing this console as the most powerful ever created: shouldn’t it also be the fastest?
First, for those who don’t really know the difference:
|HDD (Hard Disk Drive)||SSD (Solid State Drive)|
|Has Moving parts||Has no moving parts (less chance of something breaking)|
|Needs to speed up -> slower boot-up speed||Faster boot-time|
|Slower at loading files||Faster loading of files|
|Bigger size (dimensions)||Smaller size (compact)|
|Consumes more power (+ generates a bit more heat)||Consumes less power|
|Cheaper price per Gigabyte||More expensive|
As you can see, about the only place where the SSD loses out is in the price. So did Microsoft choose the HDD just to keep the asking price of the console below $500? Or was there just not that much added benefit in using an SSD?
It seems the latter may have played a bigger role than you’d think as many people have been testing with external SSD’s and found that the increase in speed that games are loaded is minimal. The result seems to vary a lot based on which game is being tested:
Quoting the video’s maker: The conclusion, is that the XBOX ONE X internal drive is just about as fast as a USB 3.0 SSD (Samsung T1 512gb) used in test) and is significantly faster than the older XBOX ONE S internal drive.
Another video seems to show the same kind of results:
Uploader’s feedback: The Tomb Raider was indeed slower on the internal drive, where GTA V excels on the internal drive, as does the Witcher III, with AC Origins being marginable.
On Reddit, one user seems to have gone as far as opening up the Xbox One X and replacing the internal HDD by an internal SSD: (source)
First of all, I’ve also done this on my OG XB1 and the X1X is so much easier to take apart!
It seems that Microsoft has managed to get the most out of the HDD used in their Console, or perhaps the console is simply limited on other fronts, like the CPU. Or it could be that the console versions of these games have just not been optimised for SSD use. (maybe most games just take more time actually processing what’s being loaded rather than loading the actual assets)
It would be interesting to see what the loading speed would be like if the Xbox One family of consoles had been developed with SSD storage in mind, but I guess we’ll have to wait for the next generation of consoles instead.