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Xbox 360 120GB Hard Drive - Worth The Upgrade?

The Xbox 360 is arguably the best gaming console currently available on the market. In many peoples opinions, the console has the best library of games, both visually stunning and friendly for all the family, along with over 300 games now available to the public. Unfortunately all these games take up a large amount of storage space, and up until recent times, us 360 owners have struggled with only a 20GB hard drive being available. Microsoft now offers us a 120GB hard drive to attach to our Xbox 360 consoles, so is it worth upgrading for the extra space?

The 120GB hard drive comes with what is known as the Xbox 360 Elite console. The Elite console is basically an Xbox 360 coloured black and with a bigger hard drive, and this usually retails at around £220. The other alternative to acquiring the 120GB hard drive is to purchase one at a shop or on the internet; but unfortunately for a hefty price tag. The best price I could find on the internet is £65 from with its rival offering the device for £73.99. Most local shops sell the hard drive for approximately £80. If you consider the fact that you can buy a 500GB hard drive for your PC for easily under £100, a £65 price tag for only 120GB of storage space seems a bit harsh.

Do I actually need 120GB of storage space I hear you think? Well, you actually only get approximately 113GB of space seeing the Xbox 360’s operating system cheekily takes up 7GB of storage; a misleading title seeing you don’t actually receive 120GB of space. So what will take up all this space? You’ve got your basic saved game files which allow you to return to a certain point in a game and save data, but these are usually very small amounts and won’t cut in to your space at all. I used to own the standard 20GB Xbox 360 hard drive and still had 11GB of space left out of 13GB which just saved files; and that’s with a lot of played games…

Saved games won’t be a concern of yours and therefore you only need to consider the 120GB hard drive if you participate in either of the following procedures. Firstly, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 console allows you to store your music on the hard drive and play the music from the Xbox 360. This can be useful if your TV has a superior sound system to your PC, or if you wish to listen to your favourite tunes whilst playing a game at the same time. The majority of people have a pretty big music collection these days and therefore need a large amount of storage space, and this is where the 120GB hard drive could come in useful.

After a recent update from Microsoft, you can now install your games to the consoles hard drive. Running games from the hard drive takes pressure off the consoles disk drive due to the disc not spinning and also makes loading times during games significantly faster. Unfortunately installing games takes up on average 6GB of storage space per game. If you own the standard 20GB hard drive supplied with normal 360 consoles, you actually only receive 13GB of space due to the operating system’s 7GB usage and therefore you could only install a maximum of 2 games on the hard drive. Installing games is highly recommended due to making the system run more efficiently, and as a result, a larger hard drive is a must.

The 120GB version of the hard drive is currently only available in the colour black. This matches the Xbox 360 Elite console perfectly whilst also looking fine when attached to the normal white console. Fortunately the strong black colour does not look out of place due to the original hard drive already being grey.

The only negative point I can say about the 120GB hard drive is the annoying amount of difficulty it takes to transfer your gaming profile, music and saved game files over from your original hard drive over to your new 120GB hard drive. To complete this process, you need either a “transfer cable” which you can acquire from Microsoft, a memory card which you can purchase in shops or recovering your profile whilst logged in to Xbox Live. You have to phone up or write to Microsoft and ask them to send you a transfer cable, which although is free, can take a very long time; some people have reported it took their transfer cable over a month to arrive from Microsoft.

The largest memory card available for the Xbox 360 is 256MB of storage and therefore not very much at all. If you have many files to transfer over, you can imagine this taking an extremely long time to complete and the experience being a very tedious one. The other alternative to retrieve your profile is to “recover” it from Xbox Live. This is where you simply type in your details on the Xbox whilst connected to the internet and your profile will transfer back to your console and on to your new hard drive. However, if you have had your profile for more than a couple of months and have a lot of detail on there and gained a lot of achievements, this process can take hours to complete; and therefore is not ideal.

If you want to install games or store music on your Xbox 360, the 120GB hard drive is a must own. The £65 price tag might seem a bit steep in comparison to other hard drives on the market, but unfortunately this is the only hard drive compatible with the Xbox 360. If you can borrow a friends transfer cable or receive one in good time from Microsoft, the 120GB hard drive is highly recommended and a must for dedicated gamers.

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