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Can I use external hard drives instead of console hard drive?

Hi guys,

I am a PC Gamer at heart but now that I have a new entertainment system at home, I find it more convenient to buy a console (more for my girlfriend and watching movies).

I'm seeing all these deals for the XBOX 360 with 4 GB hard drive or the PS3 with a fairly small hard drive and I would much prefer buying my own 250 GB hard drive than to pay for the price of the consoles hard drive (which are way too expensive).

My question is...can I buy, say, they XBOX360 4GB Model and add an external hard drive to install games, etc...or am I stuck with only 4 GB of storage for all entertainment on the XBOX? Same question goes for the PS3.

Thanks, I'm fairly new to console hardware.
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  1. Best answer
    Not a problem.

    For the Xbox just make sure the USB drive is formatted as FAT32 and you're away. Be aware though that FAT32 is an old file system technology and is limited to individual file sizes of 2GB (technically it's 4GB and many sites state this, but I have NEVER been able to create or copy a file to FAT32 drives larger than 2GB).

    The same applies to the PS3, HOWEVER...

    The PS3 has been designed to allow user-upgradable hard drives. There's nothing special about them, simply 5400RPM 2.5" laptop drives. So you can get yourself a dead cheap PS3 Slim, spend £45 on a 500GB Western Digital Scorpio Blue (for example) and swap them out.

    I don't know if there's any firmware limit in the PS3, but friends of mine are running 320GB and 500GB drives in their PS3s.
  2. The Xbox 360 is limited to 16GB and it only recognizes Flash Drives.

    I have a 320GB external hooked up to my PS3 that allows me to play movies, music, etc. but I am not sure if I can save on it.

    For media purposes you would be better off with a PS3 as it allows for much more space and a non proprietary hard drive. The Xbox 360 hard drive is insanely expensive for what you are getting and it does not support much in the way of external storage.
  3. ^

    Not strictly true - 16GB per USB slot (so you could run 32GB if need be) and hard drives can be used, it's just Microsoft recommends Flash drives as they're faster.


    I'd agree that the PS3 is best in this scenario - bigger hard drive, better expandability options, native 1080p output, excellent DVD upscaling (once you've configured it) and built-in Blu-Ray.

    Plus you can stream media in from a media server elsewhere on your network - Xbox can too, but I find the PS3's just a bit slicker at connecting up having run both side-by-side.
  4. Now, I appreciate your input on both system (but from my own research, it seems like PS3 would be more suitable for my entertainment system. Quite frankly, love the fact that it's got BR, and like I said, I'm a PC gamer so online shooters I'll play on the PC but PS3 has great exclusive titles like Little Big Planet that my girlfriend or guests would love (more so than Halo).

    Though I have a few more questions:

    Are PS3 drives using FAT32 as well (hence the 2.0 file limit)?

    Also, does PS3 support surround sound 7.1?
  5. PS3 is the way to go (and LBP is awesome, just get 4 controllers lol)

    Yes, PS3 is limited to FAT32 as well

    As far as I'm aware you can send 7.1 over HDMI on the PS3, but I think optical out is limited to 5.1 in general.
  6. Thanks for all the info and the brief response.
  7. Best answer selected by Alex The PC Gamer.
  8. Much obliged, HTH
  9. This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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