Xbox modder Brian Williams has installed two non-standard drives on an Xbox One, testing them to see whether they make for faster boot and game load times than the standard drive. The exercise demonstrates where the gaming industry is at in terms of drive configurations. The take-home point is that hybrid drives — a traditional hard disk paired with a flash memory or SSD (solid-state drive) — is a happy medium between speed and cost-effectiveness.
He booted the Xbox five times with each drive. The standard hard drive that comes with the Xbox — a Samsung 500GB HD — booted the system in 50.5 seconds. A Seagate 1TB SSHD hybrid drive booted the system in 48.0 seconds. The Samsung 500GB EVO SSD came out on top at 46.1 seconds, for almost a 5-second improvement over the OEM drive.
The modder points out that the Samsung SSD costs $330 USD, and that the Seagate hybrid drive is $120 USD. Those are pricey mods for a few seconds’ worth of boot time. Therefore more testing was required to find out whether such an investment would be worth making.
So he loaded the first level of Call of Duty: Ghosts using each of the three systems. On the standard drive, the level loaded in 33.5 seconds. The two third-party drives loaded the level in 27.0 seconds (Samsung SSD) and 27.7 seconds (Seagate hybrid).
Williams points out that modifying the Xbox One voids the system warranty. Would you consider modding your Xbox One for faster boot and load times? And would you like to see the gaming industry continue to move towards hybrid or even pure flash-based drives — even if it jacked up the prices of consoles?