WD Black C50 expansion card review - a top storage contender for Xbox Series X

Storage supremacy

WD Black C50
(Image: © Future)

TechRadar Verdict

The WD Black C50 is a powerhouse storage expansion card for Xbox Series X|S. Boasting impressive transfer speeds and solid game boot times, you’ll find it to be similarly quick to the console’s internal storage. It’s only really let down by relatively smaller capacities when compared to its competition.


  • +

    Cheaper than Seagate’s card

  • +

    Compact, sturdy design

  • +

    Very fast transfer speeds


  • -

    No 2TB or above configuration

  • -

    Transfers to internal storage are slower

  • -

    Ever so slightly slower game boot times

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The WD Black C50 is a very welcome addition to the Xbox expansion card space. Previously dominated by Seagate, who used to be the only manufacturer in town when it came to Xbox Series X|S-ready SSDs, Western Digital’s bespoke solution for the Series consoles impresses in many ways.

The WD Black C50 combines affordability and reliability into one neat package. Expect blazing-fast transfer speeds for your money, with the card being particularly impressive when transferring files between the Xbox Series X’s or Xbox Series S’s internal storage and itself. If you need to move the best Xbox Series X games over to take over to a friend’s house, for example, the C50 excels here by transferring large files impressively quickly.

The biggest lamentation I have with the C50, though, is its relatively small capacity. There are only two configurations available, maxing out at just 1TB. While future revisions may explore higher capacities, what we have right now with the C50 is merely serviceable, at least in comparison to the Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card which offers a larger 2TB model.

WD Black C50 - price and availability

The WD Black C50’s two configurations are available right now with the 512GB unit coming in at an attractive $79.99 / £89.99. I’d recommend going for the 1TB model, however, which retails for $149.99 / £149.99, purchasable from Western Digital’s official website or online retailers including Amazon and Best Buy. 

WD Black C50 - design and features

WD Black C50

(Image credit: Future)

You’d be able to spot the WD Black C50 a mile off if you’re familiar with Western Digital’s all-black, industrial aesthetic. The card itself is impressively small – about the size of a Nintendo DS cartridge – and only as thick as a pack of gum. Build quality is reassuringly sturdy, too, featuring a rugged casing that should easily withstand years of wear and tear.

Much like Seagate’s option, the WD Black C50 slots neatly into your Xbox Series X|S console via the dedicated expansion card port. It’s a no-fuss setup, too; slot in the card for the first time to undergo a brief formatting phase, and from then onwards, the card’s good to go.

My only major gripe with the C50 is its capacity configurations. The two models listed above are, at present, the only ones available for purchase. There’s, unfortunately, no 2TB or above configuration available to buy, which is a shame given it’s arriving three years into the generation and new-gen libraries are bigger than ever.

WD Black C50 - performance

WD Black C50

(Image credit: Future)

The WD Black C50 has impressive transfer speeds when moving files over from the Xbox Series X’s internal storage to the expansion card. Fortnite (45GB) for example, transferred to the C50 in just 1 minute and 18 seconds. Meanwhile, larger titles like Wild Hearts (80GB) moved over in 2 minutes and 4 seconds.

Expect transfers from the card back to internal storage to take, on average, about a minute longer. In Fortnite’s case, the move back to internal storage took 2 minutes and 17 seconds, whereas Wild Hearts took exactly 3 minutes.

One thing to note is that in my testing, I found the C50 to have slightly slower boot times for games than ones installed on internal storage. Forza Horizon 5 went from boot-up to in-game in 59 seconds. The C50 managed the same in 1 minute and 9 seconds, so roughly ten seconds off the pace. It’s something you probably won’t notice unless you’re timing it yourself, but certainly worth noting if you’re planning to move your favorite games over to the card.

You’ll be dealing with a bit of a trade-off with the C50, then. While transfer speeds to the card are fantastic, the marginally slower boot times may become irksome if you regularly play larger games like Forza Horizon 5, Sea of Thieves, or Halo Infinite. Still, it’s not much of a dealbreaker, and the C50 also supports X|S enhanced titles as well as Xbox’s Quick Resume feature, meaning you won’t need to reboot your favorite titles much, at all, outside of scheduled updates. 

Should I buy the WD Black C50?

WD Black C50

(Image credit: Future)

Buy it if...

You want an official drive but are on a budget

The C50 is a cheaper storage solution than Seagate’s Xbox Expansion Card; ideal if you only need an extra terabyte for less. 

You need to transfer files fast

Expect to transfer even the largest Xbox Series X games in no more than a matter of minutes. 

Don't buy it if...

You prefer internal storage’s quicker boot times

The C50 performs slightly slower when booting up a game compared to your Xbox’s internal storage solution. 

You need lots of extra storage space

Maxing out at 1TB, the C50 is relatively small as far as storage capacity solutions go. If you need more, you’ll need to shop for more expensive options, at least for now. 

How we tested the WD Black C50

In testing the WD Black C50, we made sure to transfer games of various sizes to get a good feel of how long the process takes. We also compared boot times between it and the console’s internal storage to check for any differences in how long each takes to  load your favorite games. 

Overall, we found the card to be comparable in performance to the internal storage of the Xbox Series X|S consoles, with impressively quick transfer speeds when compared to competing models. 

Interested in other storage options for Xbox Series X|S? Have a look at our best Xbox Series X hard drive and SSDs guide to learn all about storage capacity upgrades for your console.

Rhys Wood
Hardware Editor

Rhys is TRG's Hardware Editor, and has been part of the TechRadar team for more than two years. Particularly passionate about high-quality third-party controllers and headsets, as well as the latest and greatest in fight sticks and VR, Rhys strives to provide easy-to-read, informative coverage on gaming hardware of all kinds. As for the games themselves, Rhys is especially keen on fighting and racing games, as well as soulslikes and RPGs.