Western Digital is getting into the Xbox market by putting out the WD_Black C50, which are two new official expansion cards for the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S systems. The two sizes of the new expansion cards are 512 GB and 1 TB. The style of these cards is based on the Xbox, and they look and feel like new WD_Black hardware. Western Digital’s Storage Expansion Card is a competitor to Seagate’s Storage Expansion Card. Its goal is to keep Xbox players happy and playing without having to run new games all the time. With so many new Xbox games coming out with bigger file sizes, you’ll eventually need a storage upgrade.
WD Black C50 Expansion Card: Description
Like Seagate’s cards, the C50 adds more storage to your Xbox with a solid-state drive that is as fast as the one that came with the system. This is needed to play Series X and S games. Even though Microsoft allows USB drives, they can only be used to back up games or play games that came out before the Xbox One. If you like to play a lot of new games, you’ll need a card like WD’s.
This is a proprietary expansion format, so you can’t just put the SSD in your computer or a competing system like the PlayStation 5. WD also doesn’t have a 2TB card like Seagate does, so if 1TB isn’t enough you’ll have to look at the competition. But at this price, WD’s option is a no-brainer if you don’t mind the extra space.
Price and Availability
There are two versions of the WD Black C50 available right now. The 512GB model costs an attractive $79.99/£89.99. I would, however, suggest getting the 1TB model, which costs $149.99/£149.99 and can be bought from Western Digital’s website or online stores like Amazon and Best Buy.
WD Black C50 Expansion Card Specifications Table
The write and read speeds are based on the Xbox Series X|S SSDs, which use a unique solution called Xbox Velocity Architecture. Western Digital doesn’t say how fast the C50 Expansion Card works, but it is thought to be the same as the Xbox’s built-in storage.
|Form Factor||Xbox Expansion Slot|
|Drive Type||SSD (proprietary)|
|Connector||Custom Xbox Series slot|
|Compatibility||Xbox Series X|S|
|Write speed||2,400 MB/s / 4,800 MB/s|
|Read speed||2,400 MB/s / 4,800 MB/s|
|Contents in the box||WD_BLACK C50 Expansion Card for Xbox, Protective Cover and Quick Install Guide|
|Warranty||5-Year Limited Warranty|
WD Black C50 Expansion Card: Design
If you know Western Digital’s all-black, industrial style, you’d be able to spot the WD Black C50 from a mile away. The card itself is very small, about the size of a Nintendo DS chip and as thick as a pack of gum. The build quality is also reassuringly strong, with a rugged case that should hold up well for years. The WD Black C50 fits nicely into your Xbox Series X|S console through the dedicated expansion card port, just like Seagate’s option.
It’s also easy to set up. When you put the card in for the first time, it goes through a short editing process, and then it’s ready to go. The C50’s capacity options are the only thing I really don’t like about it. At the moment, you can only buy the two types I’ve already mentioned. There are no configurations of 2TB or more that you can buy, which is a shame since it’s coming out three years into the generation and new-gen libraries are bigger than ever.
WD Black C50 Expansion Card: Setup
It took me longer to turn my Xbox Series X around without unplugging any cords than it did to put the card in the back slot. Once the extra storage is added, the system will know right away and you’re done. If you want to move games to the card, you have to press a few extra buttons to start the process. I think this could be made a bit easier. Games that are started from the card might take a little longer to load, but the difference isn’t very visible compared to the whole load time.
Most players don’t need to upgrade the storage on their Xbox Series console, but if you’re like me and like to have a bunch of games on hand without having to redownload them, you might want to look into Western Digital’s Black C50 Expansion Card.
WD Black C50 Expansion Card: Features
The main features of the WD_Black C50 are that it is legally licensed by Xbox, which guarantees that it is compatible, and that it can be set up with just a plug and play. I’ve put in a lot of SATA SSDs and NVMe SSDs in PCs, but nothing is as easy as putting in an Xbox Expansion Card. All I had to do was go behind the Xbox and plug it in. When I turned on the Series X, it showed that I had gained over 900GB of storage space.
The amazing Quick Resume feature still works with the Expansion Card, which is the other big feature. Quick Resume isn’t very useful for online games, but it’s a great way to get back into the action in games like Starfield, which is coming out soon. And it’s wild that it works with the WD_BLACK C50.
WD Black C50 Expansion Card: Performance
When moving files from the Xbox Series X’s internal storage to the expansion card, the WD Black C50 does it at a very fast rate. For example, the 45GB game Fortnite moved to the C50 in only 1 minute and 18 seconds. Bigger games like Wild Hearts (80GB) took 2 minutes and 4 seconds to move over. Transfers from the card back to the internal storage will take about a minute longer, on average. In Fortnite, it took 2 minutes and 17 seconds to move back to internal storage, but in Wild Hearts, it took exactly 3 minutes.
One thing to note is that when I tested the C50, I found that games installed on external storage started up a little bit slower than games put on internal storage. From starting up to playing Forza Horizon 5 took 59 seconds. The C50 did the same thing in 1 minute and 9 seconds, which is about ten seconds slower than the fastest time. It’s probably not something you’ll notice unless you’re timing it yourself, but if you want to move your favorite games to the card, it’s important to know.
With the C50, you’ll have to choose between two things. Transfer speeds to the card are great, but the slightly longer boot times may get annoying if you play big games like Forza Horizon 5, Sea of Thieves, or Halo Infinite often. Still, it’s not a huge deal-breaker, and the C50 also works with X|S improved games and Xbox’s Quick Resume feature, so you won’t have to reboot your favorite games very often, if at all, unless you’re waiting for updates.
WD Black C50 Expansion Card: Pros and Cons
The WD Black C50 has a lot to offer, but it also has some drawbacks.
- Compact, sturdy design
- Easy plug-and-play installation
- Works with Quick Resume
- Cheaper than Seagate’s card
- Comes with 1-month Xbox Game Pass code
- No 2TB or above configuration
The WD BLACK C50 Expansion Card is an easy-to-install drive that lets you play games that are saved on it. It can also use the proprietary storage slot. But if you want to store hundreds of games, you can find a much cheaper HDD or external SSD, or if you can get the Seagate Expansion Card for less money, you’ll get the same speed for less money.