Internal vs External Console HD debate

Rockster

Regular
Interesting conversation with colleagues today discussing the merits of internal vs external hard drives in specifically a Xbox One v PS4 context. There were clear pros and cons for each, but the reason why opinions were so strong for either was somewhat lost on me. Be interested to understand the perception of those on this forum. Any specific common use cases that make the merits of one preferable to you. Or if there is disagreement about my groups findings for each...

Xbox One (external) - More choice since you're not limited to 9.5mm drives and can use any drive w/ a SATA->USB adapter, more capacity due to no drive limitations and ability to connect up to 3 simultaneously, more portable in the not have to take your whole console to bring games and saves sense, uglier in the if you don't have any where to hide it sense.

PS4 (internal) - "Cleaner" since everything in maintained inside the console and portable in the less things to take if you're transporting your console sense, there was some consensus that this configuration should be generally quieter, but wasteful in the stock hard drive investment has been removed sense.

No consensus on price or performance as evidence could be found proving advantage for either side. Weigh in.
 
No consensus on price or performance as evidence could be found proving advantage for either side. Weigh in.

Eh? You can get a 4-5 TB external drive for the price of a 2 TB internal notebook drive. ~100-150 USD. The majority of 5 TB external drives are cheaper than the majority of internal 2 TB internal notebook drives. I'd say that's a pretty large price advantage (USD per TB). Although at the 1 TB size, it's roughly the same as cheap external drives at that size use laptop notebook HDDs, so they aren't good value. Whether someone needs that much space is entirely up to how many games they buy digitally as well as personal preference.

But for the rest, it's really going to come down to personal preference. Internal will have a cleaner look as you stated while external has price and size advantages. You can use an SSD in both use cases, so speed is a wash. Although it's potentially possible that an external SSD over USB 3.0 might be faster than the speed limited internal USB interface. It'd be interesting if some site tested that. It seems backwards, but the PS4 seems slower than it should be with an SSD hooked up internally, even considering it's connected via USB (which typically affects write speed far more than read speed).

What would be great is if both consoles supported both methods of storage expansion (like a PC! ;) ). But unfortunately that isn't the case. And I could swear there was a thread talking about this that already existed.

TL: DR - there is never going to be a consensus. :)

Regards,
SB
 
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egoless

Regular
Although it's potentially possible that an external SSD over USB 3.0 might be faster than the speed limited internal USB interface.

Didn't some initial Xbox One test show content loading faster on external vs internal? Maybe this was on Eurogamer? Is this possibly due to the OS, with functions like the constant game recording, causing contention for internal HDD accesses. The external HDD alleviates that problem, thus the external HDD ends up being faster?
 

Rockster

Regular
Speed seemed largely a wash because the OS, title, and hard drive itself seemed to the determining factors, not the interface (ie. USB vs. SATA), which is the only difference when comparing. And while true that you can get cheaper larger drives, there could potentially be the added expense of an external enclosure or converter depending on personal preference, which is not required for internal connectivity.

I agree that choice is best and having both options would be ideal. There have been other threads in which this was discussed, but not dedicated to it. Sorry. My buddies were about to fight over this and was just curious to know if it's normal for people to feel that strongly one way or the other. Thanks!
 
And while true that you can get cheaper larger drives, there could potentially be the added expense of an external enclosure or converter depending on personal preference, which is not required for internal connectivity.

This is with enclosure included.

Cheapest new 2.5" internal 2TB HDD - 120 USD (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822178627)
Next cheapest new 2.5" internal 2TB HDD - 155 USD (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822178594)

Cheapest external 4TB HDD - 120 USD (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236807)
Cheapest external 5TB HDD - 140 USD (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1J21S68292)
Next cheapest external 5TB HDD - 150 USD (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822178501, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822152425, http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16822236808)

You can add a 4-5 TB external HDD in the same price range as a 2 TB internal 2.5" HDD.

As I mentioned the price only becomes comparable with 1 TB HDDs because the cheap external drives then use notebook HDDs instead of desktop HDDs which are significantly cheaper.

Regards,
SB
 

eastmen

Legend
Subscriber
Speed seemed largely a wash because the OS, title, and hard drive itself seemed to the determining factors, not the interface (ie. USB vs. SATA), which is the only difference when comparing. And while true that you can get cheaper larger drives, there could potentially be the added expense of an external enclosure or converter depending on personal preference, which is not required for internal connectivity.

I agree that choice is best and having both options would be ideal. There have been other threads in which this was discussed, but not dedicated to it. Sorry. My buddies were about to fight over this and was just curious to know if it's normal for people to feel that strongly one way or the other. Thanks!


Your limited to sata 2.0 which is 300MB/s with usb 3 your looking at 625MB/s. So content could load much faster on the external drive.

Of course you'd need to use ssd's to realize that speed
 

DrJay24

Veteran
41QtVcIzaYL.jpg


Problem solved!
 

Arwin

Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
Moderator
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Cleaner is a big advantage of you have a wife or kids or both. Also you have to start choosing where to save stuff etc, so it stays simpler. It seems that various aspects also negate a lot of the performance advantages.

But external is definitely cheaper.
 

DSoup

Series Soup
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Less clutter in the entertainment centre is definitely a priority. And yes, this is mostly about cleanliness and wanting to spend as little time moving things around to stop dust build up.

But there's zero reason external drives aren't a valid option for those who have more time to clean or don't care about cleanliness.
 
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orangpelupa

Elite Bug Hunter
Legend
external drive also can look clean.
i hid my External USB3 drive under tv cabinet. Its practically invisible and i can fit 4 or 5 more drives right there.

of course if the cabinet got destructed (rotten by weather, eaten by termite, etc) the hdd will be crushed...

on X1, i think theres additional side and back usb right? On PS4 theres only 2 front USB :(
so the cable cant be hidden.
 

Shifty Geezer

uber-Troll!
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Is this possibly due to the OS, with functions like the constant game recording, causing contention for internal HDD accesses. The external HDD alleviates that problem, thus the external HDD ends up being faster?
Whether this is the case or not, theoretically it's true if the controller is up to it. You could move all OS functions to the internal and run the game from the external, and gain the total BW of the two HDDs combined (principle of RAID's higher speeds). All machines should support both options, as everyone else says.
 

DSoup

Series Soup
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Subscriber
external drive also can look clean.
My cabinet already houses a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PS Vita in a Sony cradle, 2x DualShock 4 controllers on a Sony charging station, 2x DualShock 3 controllers in a Sony charging station, a MacMini and a LinkSys ethernet router plus all the cabling. It's already a dust magnet. While a tiny external 2.5" HDD wouldn't be a big deal, an external 3.5" drive and PSU is something else.

Having measured the space inside and the dimensions of the Xbox One, I think it's resigned to waiting for a smaller compact version or at least one with an internal PSU. I'll also not buy an Xbox One without at least an internal 1GB HDD but preferably a 2Gb HDD. I can wait, Microsoft :yes:
 

MrFox

Deludedly Fantastic
Legend
Deja vu... I feel like there's an imminent discussion about external power supplies, and AA batteries, and 11 xboxes that never RRODed. :runaway:

Obviously support for both internal/external would be best, this is one of my WTF moment of this generation. Personally I would have loved two internal slots but it would be too niche to justify the added BOM. While supporting int/ext storage is just software.

External HDD is best for expansion without the hassle of backup/restore to add more space, and lower cost if using a 3.5".

Internal is best for easy repair when the HDD eventually fails, to allows upgrades with faster OS and booting, and to keep everything in one small box with one power cord.
 

eastmen

Legend
Subscriber
My cabinet already houses a PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PS Vita in a Sony cradle, 2x DualShock 4 controllers on a Sony charging station, 2x DualShock 3 controllers in a Sony charging station, a MacMini and a LinkSys ethernet router plus all the cabling. It's already a dust magnet. While a tiny external 2.5" HDD wouldn't be a big deal, an external 3.5" drive and PSU is something else.

Having measured the space inside and the dimensions of the Xbox One, I think it's resigned to waiting for a smaller compact version or at least one with an internal PSU. I'll also not buy an Xbox One without at least an internal 1GB HDD but preferably a 2Gb HDD. I can wait, Microsoft :yes:

Its interesting to me that an external power brick and hardrive would be a problem yet you have to make room for multiple sony charging stations for your controllers.

Me , I have a 4TB usb 3 external drive that's nice and slim and the external power brick of the xbox one. I then have a basket of eneloops in a draw and the charger there also. Its all nice and hidden away. The great thing is between the eneloops and amazon basic batteries I take the charger out once every few months to charge them all up . Its a great experience and greatly reduces the wires while allowing me to have 4.5 TBs of storage and no need to ever connect a wire to my wireless controllers.

Really amazing technology that I wish sony would copy.
 

Cyan

orange
Legend
Cleaner is a big advantage of you have a wife or kids or both. Also you have to start choosing where to save stuff etc, so it stays simpler. It seems that various aspects also negate a lot of the performance advantages.

But external is definitely cheaper.
It depends on your lifestyle. I prefer external because lately I move my Xbox One around a lot, from my house to my girlfriend's house. Aside from that, if you ever need to use a HD for your PC and console at the same time, external is better. It's just more flexible.

For internal, a nice SSD sounds like the best option.
 

DSoup

Series Soup
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Subscriber
Its interesting to me that an external power brick and hardrive would be a problem yet you have to make room for multiple sony charging stations for your controllers.
Make room? I don't follow. On the top shelf are the PS4, controllers, charging stations and PS Vita in its cradle. Principally this works because everything (including the PS4) has a tiny footprint (width x depth).

On the bottom shelf is the PS3, MacMini and router along with a junction of ethernet cables. The Xbox One footprint is a tad larger than my original PS3 and that would fit but by the time you've added in the PSU and extra cable and space is now very tight.

Simples! :yes:
 

Cyan

orange
Legend
Its interesting to me that an external power brick and hardrive would be a problem yet you have to make room for multiple sony charging stations for your controllers.

Me , I have a 4TB usb 3 external drive that's nice and slim and the external power brick of the xbox one. I then have a basket of eneloops in a draw and the charger there also. Its all nice and hidden away. The great thing is between the eneloops and amazon basic batteries I take the charger out once every few months to charge them all up . Its a great experience and greatly reduces the wires while allowing me to have 4.5 TBs of storage and no need to ever connect a wire to my wireless controllers.

Really amazing technology that I wish sony would copy.
Nice setup... If your partner is finicky and prim and proper about having visible cables hanging around, a basket like that is just PERFECT.

The first time I brought the Xbox One to the room of my partner I had to hide the cables in a similar basket. It was fine because the basket was already there in place as a decoration, so nothing had to be changed around, but the power brick, charge & play cables and so on were there in that previously empty basket.
 

DSoup

Series Soup
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@DSoup put them under the cabinet? or your cabinet directly sit on the floor "flatly" without protruding "legs"?
There's an inch or so clearance underneath. The only thing that could go there is the router which has a very low profile but that means 'ethernet cable junction' would need to go underneath as well as that's a no no.

The reason we bought this particular cabinet was to accommodate everything inside the cabinet. It has an integrated AC power sockets and despite everything in it, the only cables coming out of the back are a single AC cable to the wall for power, an ethernet cable and the antenna to the aerial. We bought it thinking we were future proofing not expecting the Xbox One to be the size it was, nor coming with an external PSU. Our intention was always to mothball the PS3 and put an Xbox in its place.

My TV stand
Off The Wall 'Profile' TV Cabinet

productsd_11956_black.jpg
 
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