Gamers — no matter whether they play on PC or consoles — want the best performance. One issue that plagues both experiences are loading times. Have you ever wished for Gears of War 4 or Destiny 2 to open faster? While the easiest solution to fix this is to purchase a solid state drive, they are rather expensive. Even if you were to invest in one, on Xbox One you can’t just open the enclosure and replace it without voiding your console’s warranty. There are other factors to consider as well like damaging the internal components during the process.
What’s the solution then? The solution is to use the Xbox One’s support for external hard drives. However, instead of buying a traditional hard drive, you can choose to get an external solid state drive. Unlike mechanical drives, solid state drives have no moving parts. They’re completely silent, much more durable, don’t build up heat, and of course consume far less power.
Many companies offer these devices but they come with less storage when compared to the price of a mechanical hard drive. Today, we’ll be taking a look at the ADATA SD700 External Solid State Drive and how it handles games and applications on Xbox One. Are the improvements worth it? Just how fast is it for gamers? Let’s find out.
The ADATA SD700 is currently priced at $170 for the 512 GB model on Amazon. The design is very compact and rather stylish. The edges are a neon green rubber which protects the black enclosure from drops. While it’s unlikely you’ll subject the device to multiple drops and other abuse, it’s still reassuring to know it’s rugged.
According to its makers, ADATA SD700 is one of the first dust and water proof external drives with 3D NAND Flash. It combines an array of innovative features and technologies which give it 440 MB/s read and write speeds. The Xbox One supports USB 3.0 and this drive is fully compatible. A regular hard drive can only do around 100 MB/s. This means that games load much faster. Not only that, if you choose to save your applications on the drive, they’ll also launch quickly.
The ADATA SD700 uses new 3D NAND, or stacked TLC Flash. The technology offers higher density, increased reliability, and better power efficiency compared to previous 2D NAND drives. At just 75 grams, the drive is incredibly light. Let’s say you want to take a few games over to your friend’s house. You can just save them on the drive and slip it into your pocket. You won’t believe just how portable it is.
Now comes the important part. Just how much faster is the ADATA SD700? We tested it out with an original Xbox One and on average games loaded in half the time. Destiny 2 launched in 15 seconds compared to 32 seconds using the console’s internal hard drive. Not only that, but in-game menus — like trying out new shaders — loaded in a few seconds. Star Wars Battlefront II loaded in 20 seconds when compared to 34 seconds with the Xbox One alone. Even applications opened in 2 seconds compared to the 5 seconds it takes using the internal hard drive. While many gamers might not consider this a massive change, you definitely notice it even without a timer. It’s just that much faster.
Overall, it’s up to you if you consider the speed improvements worth spending $170 or more depending on your model. We believe that the decrease in loading times is that significant. You can also opt to purchase one with less capacity if you only use it to store games you’re currently playing. For example, we installed Destiny 2, The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, Outcast: Second Contact, and Star Wars Battlefront II on it initially. Those are the games we’re playing and want them to load faster. Other titles are on the internal hard drive. It’s up to you to decide how to want to use it. However, if you wanted to know if the speed improvements are that noticeable, the answer is that they definitely are. It’s a shame it’s just so expensive.