Seagate Game Drive for Xbox Halo: Master Chief Edition Review

November 27, 2020

One of the biggest features that has been marketed in the new generation of consoles is their lightning-quick internal SSD drives, featured in both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. While there are comparisons that can be made about which is faster, or which is utilised more efficiently, one thing is true for both consoles – with game sizes on AAA-games increasing every year, at some point you’re going to have to deal with space issues on your internal drive. That’s where expandable storage drives can come in, and while there are now options for more expensive internal SSD-solutions, there’s still a place for traditional spinning external HDDs, which offer much larger capacities at lower prices. That’s where Seagate’s Game Drive for Xbox comes in.

Retailing at AU $119 for 2TB, and AU $219 for 5TB, these external hard drives connect via USB 3.2 Gen 1, and can effectively double or quintuple your storage space for games. It’s compatible with both Xbox One and the Xbox Series X/S, and for the holiday season this year, a limited ‘Master Chief Edition’ has been released, sporting a pretty cool custom design that celebrates the Xbox’s most iconic Halo hero. It is a very shmick look, with even a silver inlaid Xbox logo just beneath the HDD activity light, and it all feels pretty premium, down to its braided (although very short) neon green USB cable, which should please the target audience of Xbox fans and collectors.

While the Game Drive is fast for an external USB 3.2 hard drive, it’s important to note that due to the nature of its technology, its read/write speeds are not close to as fast as the internal SSD in the Xbox Series systems, nor any internal SSD expansion cards you buy, which makes it unsuitable for any Xbox Series-optimised or exclusive games. Basically, if you try to launch an Xbox Series X/S game (as indicated by an icon on its thumbnail in your library) from the Game Drive, you’ll get an error telling you the game can only be played from the internal storage. Now, you can still keep your Xbox Series games backed up on the Game Drive, but to actually play them they’ll need to be moved back onto your internal drive once you’ve cleared up some space. If you want increased storage for your next-gen games to be launch-ready, all the time, you’ll need to look at something like Seagate’s internal SSD Expansion Card for Xbox Series X/S.

None of that affects the Game Drive’s usability with an Xbox One, of course, but if you have a brand new Xbox Series X/S, you may ask what use does the Game Drive have? The answer is pretty simple – it’s kind of the ultimate Game Pass machine. Since the drive can launch any game built for the Xbox One or before, combined with the great backwards compatibility on the new consoles, that means with 2TB or 5 TB, you can download and keep ready a massive library of classic Xbox titles from the last three generations, while keeping your internal drive free for the newest Series X/S exclusive stuff. You’ll have to keep the X/S-optimised Forza Horizon 4 on your internal drive, for instance, but Forza Motorsport 7 will work just as well as it always did from the Game Drive, and you may even see a few seconds-worthy improvements in load times compared to how they would boot on the old Xbox One.  Playing Xbox, 360 and Xbox One games all on the Game Drive is a solid experience, with no performance concessions from how they played back on the Xbox One.

Speeds, while not as fast as the internal drive for the Series X/S, are still generally faster than the hard drive on the Xbox One, delivering load times consistently a few seconds faster than the older console. Moving larger games to the drive is pretty quick as well, with something like Final Fantasy XV copying over at about 4.5 GB per minute, which is pretty reasonable over USB 3.2, and it can all happen in the background.

Setting up the Game Drive is simple and takes only a couple of minutes, although your Xbox does have to be turned on first to recognise the external hard drive (it won’t find it intially if it’s plugged in first), and Xbox’s set-up procedure does limit the way the drive is used by forcing you to choose whether you want to use it for game storage or media – it can’t vary between the two without re-formatting and losing all data.

Whether you need a Game Drive depends on what console you have and what you’re intending on playing. If you have a next-gen Xbox Series X/S and are planning on only playing X/S exclusive or optimised games, then the Game Drive is little more than a handsome backup solution so you don’t have to keep re-downloading games. However, if you have Game Pass or an extensive library of older Xbox titles, the Game Drive serves as a great little companion to keep all of them ready to play. And, if you’re looking for a gift for an Xbox mega-fan or collector, then the ‘Master Chief’ Limited Edition is an easy choice for the holiday season, and I have to admit it looks pretty cool nestled up against a new Xbox.

If you’d like to win a Seagate Game Drive for Xbox Halo: Master Chief Edition for yourself, check out our giveaway, running over this weekend!


-Though an external USB 3.2 drive, it performs faster than expected, making it a breeze to backup content
-The Halo finish is pretty cool
-On next-gen consoles, offers oodles of space for all your larger Xbox One, 360 and OG Xbox content, freeing up your internal SSD


-The way Xbox handles external drives still forces you to choose between storing games or media
-Unsuitable for Xbox Series X/S-exclusive games

Overall Score: