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Xbox Series X + S : External Storage Explained

16th October 2020
Have you been wondering how storage will work on the next-gen Xbox Series X and S consoles? It's easy to get lost in the tech jargon, and unless you're a PC gamer, some of the options you may have come across will be pretty new to you! Don't worry- you're not the only one, and we're here to delve into the options available (so you don't have to!).  Over the last 20 years, we've seen huge changes when it comes to console storage- from memory cards to external hard drives. As games develop, so does their size, which is why it's important to make sure you have all the storage space you need to really enjoy the latest games.

Microsoft revealed back in March that the Xbox Series X would have 1TB internal SSD, while the Xbox Series S is equipped with a 512 GB NVMe SSD. Note that we're talking SSD (Solid State Drive) not HDD (Hard Drive Disk), a much more modern, durable and quicker storage solution. While this may sound enough for you, The Xbox Series X is reported to have 802GB of actual usable storage (meaning 198GB is reserved for system files and the Xbox operating system). Putting into perspective that multiple games cross the 100+GB file size, we definitely think extra storage will be needed for some! Not only will you be able to store your games on an external drive, but you can also load up games straight from one too.

Will External Hard Drives Work With the Xbox Series X / S?

As you may have noticed, super-fast storage doesn't come cheap. If you're new to the world of expandability (which we're sure PC gamers out there will already know) storage expansion is definitely something worth spending your money on. The benefits definitely ensure you get your monies worth, and future you will be thankful that you bit the bullet!

As mentioned previously, SSD is the way to go when it comes to external storage. Gone are the days of the HDD taking the lead with its spinning disk, the SSD is the latest (and really, the only) solution worth considering. While somewhat cheaper, an external hard drive will only really benefit those looking to play older Xbox One games (8th gen), not those released for the Series X and S (9th gen). You will be able to store Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games on an external HD, plus games that are optimised for the new Xbox Velocity Architecture, but you will have to transfer them over to the consoles internal SSD (or an SSD) to play them. By choosing an SSD, you will be able to load up your games from an external source- with a HD, it will be painfully slow and not an enjoyable experience.

Will External SSDs Work With the Xbox Series X / S?

For external storage on your new Xbox console, we absolutely recommend an external SSD. What's not to love about extra storage and being able to load up games quickly too? There is a catch however- any old SSD won't do. To ensure full connectivity and communication with the Series X and S, the only solution at the moment is the Microsoft 1TB Storage Expansion Card, designed by Seagate. 3rd Party SSDs will not communicate with the Series X and S, and they don't hold the same technology.

How Can I Store Extra Games When My Xbox Series X / S Storage Is Full?

The Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S exactly matches the performance of the Xbox's internal SSD, meaning it's the perfect solution for storing and loading up games. Making use of the Xbox Velocity Architecture, the SSD can deliver much quicker loading times than games installed on a hard drive and is designed to match the performance of the internal SSD which delivers 2.4 GB/s of raw I/O throughput. Although it may look like an old Xbox 360 memory card, console storage has certainly come a long, long way! Available in a 1TB capacity, the custom PCIe Gen4x2 NVMe storage solution simply works by being plugged into the dedicated, proprietary port located next to the rear HDMI port, and seamlessly integrating with your Xbox.

Promising virtually no lag in power or speed, users can not only store games but they can also load them from the SSD also, making it a great plug-and-play solution so your games can be carried with you! This is great for those gaming sessions at friend's houses as you can simply plug your card into a guest console and sign in to your Xbox Live account to get playing. For those looking for backwards compatibility, the expansion card also supports storage (and play) for all your classics too.

Will I Benefit From an External SSD Storage Solution?

So, should you bite the bullet? Well, unless you want to continue frequently deleting and reinstalling games as and when you need, an external storage solution may just be the thing for you. While the RRP of £219 may seem pricey, it's important to note that storage really doesn't come cheap, especially when it comes to SSD and the latest technology on the market. At the moment, the drive will only be available in 1TB (1,000GB), but who knows what the future may bring? In a recent Major Nelson podcast, Jason Ronald (Xbox) seemed to hint at a few more options, saying "But what was really important for us is that we had a simple, easy-to-use option available day one. You can expect to see more options moving forward". Unfortunately, we can't see into the future, but for now, we definitely think that the 1TB Seagate Storage Expansion Card will provide us with plenty of extra space to store our games.

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