Test of the WD_Black C50 card for Xbox Series: the cheaper TB

We tested Western Digital’s WD_Black C50, a storage expansion card for Xbox Series X and Series S. Here are our results.

The choices made by Sony and Microsoft on this generation of consoles are very interesting. Differences, there are many, but one of them is particularly striking: the choice of additional storage. PS5 like Xbox Series X (and now Series S) come with 1 TB of theoretical internal storage (less counting the weight of the OS), but the extension is done differently.

On the Sony side, we rely on a standard: it is possible to easily change the NVMe SSD to the M.2 format of the PS5. Microsoft, on the other hand, has not considered such a possibility and relies on memory expansion cards, like in the old days the memory cards of a few MB on the first PlayStations. It’s easier to use, it allows you to enjoy it on several consoles simultaneously, but it’s particularly expensive knowing that Seagate was almost alone on the market. Fortunately, Western Digital comes to give a boost to the sector.

We had the opportunity to test the WD_Black C50, a new expansion card for Xbox marketed by Western Digital in two versions: 512 GB for 105 euros or 1 TB for 165 euros. For comparison, that of Seagate was launched at 250 euros and is currently at 220 euros. A 1 TB M.2 SSD compatible with PS5 costs around a hundred euros and the competition is driving prices down.

Technical characteristics of the WD_Black C50

  • Capacity: 1 TB or 512 GB
  • Connector: Proprietary (Xbox Expansion Slot)
  • Dimensions: 55.6 x 31.6 x 7.7mm
  • Weight: 25g
  • Operating Temperature: -5°C to 55°C
  • Compatibility: Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S

This test was performed with a WD_Black C50 expansion card given to us by Western Digital.

A practical design above all

With its very industrial grooves and its typography that can be associated with that of the US army in certain films, the C50 card from WD_Black seems at first glance less refined than the Seagate, but more able to take a beating. And for good reason since it is designed to be transported. Proof of this is its small loop allowing it to be slipped into a key ring, for example, so that you always have it at hand.

The idea is not necessarily brilliant, however. This hole is on the side of the card, and not the cap (logical, it is better to lose the latter than our data), which therefore obliges us to leave our keys hanging behind the console when using it. It’s not the most practical, but with a small carabiner or a dedicated chain, you can do something with it.

The NAND chip is well protected behind this proprietary aluminum format which can also act as a radiator to dissipate the heat emitted by the SSD itself. This format is also not symmetrical, which prevents it from being used in both directions, but it blocks directly when you try to insert it in the wrong direction and is inserted without the slightest resistance in the opposite case. . It is therefore impossible to make three tries, as with a USB-A cable.

Once plugged behind your console, into the port marked ” Storage Expansion », the card protrudes quite distinctly (a little more than 2 cm). It’s quite unattractive if the back of your console is visible, but it has the advantage of making the card easy to remove after use.

Simple to use

Just like the Seagate card, the use of this expansion card is childish. Just plug it in for it to be recognized by your Xbox. The latter will then ask you if you want to use your card for one console or several.

A notification tells you when new storage is available. You will then realize that the available space is slightly less than promised: 919.9 GB to be exact. It’s strictly identical to the Seagate card, so presumably it’s a fixed system space imposed by the Xbox file system.

From the Xbox menu, a few clicks are all it takes to move or copy a game from the console’s SSD to the expansion card or vice-versa.

Note that during our many manipulations, we did not encounter any bugs, unlike our test of the Seagate card.

Performance: good transfer speeds

In terms of performance, the WD_Black C50 remains on the same order of magnitude as its competitor, and that’s excellent. Move A Plague Tale: Requiem along with all of its data (53.6 GB) from my Xbox Series X to the memory card took 1 minute and 23 seconds. For It Takes Two (44.9 GB), just under a minute and 10 seconds. Here, the transfer speed is stable: 6 Gbit/s.

Note that when you move a game from the console, it frees the executable-related data, but creates a copy of the save game. You will therefore find the latter on both your console and your memory card.

When transferring a game, it also comes with all of its DLCs installed. No unpleasant surprises at this level.

Variable speeds

In the case of a copy and not a move, the transfer speed may vary slightly, without this changing the order of magnitude at all. With speed hovering between 5.5 and 5.9 Gbps, I clocked 2-3 seconds longer for both Asobo’s title and Hazelight’s masterpiece.

Moreover, in the opposite direction (from the WD_Black C50 to the Xbox), the transfer speed remained constant, but slower: only 4 Gbit/s. Logically, we therefore obtain loading times that are approximately 33% longer. To take our two examples above, A Plague Tale took 1 minute and 58 seconds that way andIt Takes Two1 minute and 42 seconds.

Overall, this remains very good results that prove that Microsoft’s choice is not bad. Copying games to an external SSD takes longer, and it’s not possible to launch games directly like this.

Here, games stored on the WD_Black C50 can be used as if they were installed on the Xbox SSD. All functions are compatible, including the Quick Resume. Load times when launching a game can be slightly longer (the story takes a few seconds), but it’s still acceptable.

Price and availability of the WD_Black C50 card

For the moment, the WD_Black C50 expansion card is only available on the Western Digital site. It costs 104.99 euros for 512 GB of storage or 164.99 euros for 1 TB.

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