Western Digital: 1TB Blue SSD review


The SSD used in this review was provided free of charge by Western Digital for this review.


There's been a debate for a while as to whether solid state drives, more commonly known as SSDs, are worth picking up if you're a gamer looking to decrease load times and increase storage capacity.

I decided to test these questions out with my Gears of War 4 Xbox One S and a drive supplied by Western Digital.


Holding the hanger for stores in one hand, move down from it and you'll find a piece of tape. This can be scratched off carefully with a fingernail.

From there, flick the top of the box open where you just removed the tape, pulling the holder containing the hard drive out with a thumb hooked underneath it.

Take the plastic wrapped hard drive out of the holder, revealing the warranty/instruction booklet in print underneath.

Finding the piece of tape on the hard drive's bag, grip it and pull it away and the bag should open, allowing access to the SSD within.

Installing the hard drive

For this test I used a USB hard drive caddy. Though this possibly does somewhat limit the read write speeds, I'd say it's probably no different to using a large memory stick or pen drive in terms of the basic functionality.

For my particular caddy, I took the hard drive with the pins on one end facing down, inserting it into the caddy. This was, I'm pleased to say, a smooth process achievable without sight or any sighted assistance.

Connecting The Unit To the Xbox One S

Connecting is as simple as plugging the USB socket into the port on your Xbox One and waiting for a dialogue to come up. This dialogue asks you whether you want to use it for media or for games and apps. In this case, we want to use it for games and apps.

Important Note

Once formatted, the drive can't currently be reformatted to work for Music and media. Once it's in Games and Apps mode, as it were, that change can't be easily reversed without some rather dubious looking tools on PC and it's unclear how well they work.

Connecting Info, Continued

You are then prompted, if you choose to format this device at least, to give the drive a name (mine was called External which I then changed), then you have to choose whether you want new items to install to this location. I opted to use the current location (i.e. the internal storage) as my default option.

Then click format storage device and leave the console to work its magic. Once it's done you should be notified, but if not and it seems like it's not worked correctly, removing and reconnecting the drive in my case made it show up.

Transfering Files To The Drive

Copying files is as simple as going into storage, clicking the internal drive, then selecting transfer.

When that screen loads, select the items you want, move back to the top and down below the select all checkbox and you'll see the options to copy or move items.

Copy moves the items to your storage device whilst keeping a duplicate on the console, where as moving them doesn't leave a second version on the console.

Unfortunately I couldn't see a transfer rate, but it didnt take as long as I'd expected for Gears of War 4, a remarkably large game, to begin copying and get to around 15%, roughly a minute or so. This is great compared to the traditionally slower mechanical drives that probably would've taken twice the time. However, without transfer rates being readable by Narrator as they are during online downloads on Xbox One, I can't be certain on the numbers.

The small files that make up most of Killer Instinct's content were only just announced as copying, when they were almost immediately replaced by the message that they were ready to start, or with no message at all as the next one scrolled in.

The base game of Killer instinct itself took approximately 10 minutes to copy 90% of its data and Destiny 2, a 35 GB game according to the information present in the transfer setup, took 9 minutes to copy over to the external drive from the internal storage.

The point is, it's quick and definitely up to the task of copying files. Now let's see if it runs games quicker than the mechanical stock drive.

Running games from the drive

Given that the console knows what games you have installed before and what ones you have ready to install, it also knows where to find the information for said game. If it's on a hard drive, it doesn'st seem to matter.

Running Destiny 2 from the drive, after removing the original from the console's internal unit, felt no different from running from the internal hard drive, save for a few load times that seemed a little quicker.

Marvel VS Capcom Infinite, with load times that are frustrating to endure even in offline matches, seemed to also improve, though not by as much as an SSD on PC hardware might.

Finally, Killer Instinct, a game that doesn't have too bad a load time for matches, did see similar short improvements.

However, the fact that this hardware isn't matching the speeds of a 16 GB PC with a GTX1015, even with a mechanical drive, hasn't escaped me. For those gamers unable to afford such a rig, however, an SSD will do two things. They will increase your storage capacity and allow you to carry your games whereever you go, as well as providing slightly faster load times as a third useful bnus.

Again, I'd like to thank the company for sending me the unit used in this review.