The Xbox Series X introduces significant gains in storage, adopting a custom NVMe solid-state drive, poised to cut back loading screens to a minimum. Microsoft positions that high-speed architecture fundamental to its next-generation vision, also introducing changes to the handling of game installations and data. With that comes the arrival of a proprietary memory card-style SSD solution, while USB external hard drives take a backseat for backward compatibility.
Products used in this guide
What is the Xbox Series X Storage Expansion Card?
When your Xbox Series X library eventually fills the internal drive, Microsoft will provide several routes to increase your available storage. However, given the console’s spotlight focused on processing capabilities and speed, it couples performance advancements with a custom, high-speed NVMe solid-state setup. It enlists aid from Seagate for custom SSD cards, providing a storage expansion that meets demands.
The Seagate Storage Expansion Card is a proprietary solution akin to memory cards of past, ensuring speeds that deliver high performance. It ties into Microsoft’s architecture designed to improve asset streaming, where storage and RAM work together, supporting the scope of Xbox Series X optimized games. In short, it’s a fast memory card to expand your storage, guaranteed to meet the standards for Xbox Series X.
The cards come in only a little larger than your average USB thumb drive, with a sliding cover for safekeeping. They connect via a dedicated rear port, which hooks up directly to the processor over the PCIe 4.0 interface. Microsoft has also only discussed 1TB cards, and it remains unclear whether other sizes will be available.
Where to buy Xbox Series X Storage Expansion Card
While the Xbox Seagate Storage Expansion Card saw an unveiling alongside Xbox Series X specifications, we’re yet to receive details on pricing, availability, and preorders — as with the console itself. However, the technology doesn’t come cheap, and like past Xbox-branded Seagate storage, expect a small premium over off-the-shelf PC alternatives. Given current Seagate SSD pricing, expect expansion cards to start from at least $200.
Do USB external hard drives work with Xbox Series X?
Microsoft pledges support for all Xbox One accessories with Xbox Series X, extending to the existing storage ecosystem. That guarantees partial compatibility for external hard drives from the Xbox One era via USB 3.1 and USB 3.2 connectivity. However, your spinning hunks of metal don’t provide the speed of Microsoft’s custom SSD solution, imposing significant limitations.
Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox titles can all run on an external hard drive with Xbox Series X. However, Xbox Series X enhanced games can’t run on external USB hard drives, due to slow transfer speeds, failing to meet next-generation demands. For upcoming Xbox Series X releases, or older games updated to take advantage of Xbox Series X, the internal SSD or expansion cards are required.
Best external hard drives for Xbox Series X
Our favorite entry-level Xbox One hard drive starts as affordable as a video game, with Western Digital offering a range of reliable storage within performance demands. That 1TB expansion can triple your room across some consoles, with backward compatibility guaranteed for the next generation.