Best Buy reveals what it'll cost to expand your Xbox Series S | X storage

Humza

Posts: 741   +161
Staff member
Why it matters: While Sony and Microsoft are poised to offer next-gen gaming experiences with their respective consoles, both companies' superfast custom SSDs - 825GB for the PS5, 1TB for the Series X, and a paltry 512GB for the Series S - won't stand a chance against the install sizes of modern and upcoming AAA titles, as well as massive game libraries of today's console players. Both Sony and Microsoft know this, which is why they've included an additional NVMe slot and multiple USB ports for storage expansion on their consoles. While Sony's certified third-party drives for the PS5 are yet to appear, we now know what Seagate's 1TB expansion card, which it revealed earlier this year, will cost buyers of the Xbox Series S | X.

Microsoft's Velocity Architecture on the Xbox Series S | X will load and switch games in a matter of seconds, thanks in part to its custom NVMe SSD capable of up to 2.4GB/s of raw throughput. In terms of storage, however, players with huge game libraries might want to get Seagate's Storage Expansion Card, especially if they desire the same performance as their console's internal drive and don't want to get bogged down by conventional SATA-based external HDDs.

Unlike Sony, which will certify off-the-shelf NVMe drives for its PS5, Microsoft will offer proprietary storage cards for expansion, with Seagate being one of the first partners for the Xbox Series S | X. As expected, this storage add-on won't come cheap - something confirmed by Best Buy, which is now taking pre-orders.

At $219.99, Seagate's 1TB expansion card will cost more than half the price of the $299 Series S, whose 512GB of in-built storage will likely need it sooner than the $499 1TB Series X. The listing also reveals the release date for the card that coincides with the Xbox Series S | X launch date of November 10, 2020. Microsoft also tells The Verge that it'll have more card manufacturers and storage capacities in the future, but for now, early adopters will just have to get this expensive 1TB option.

With developers taking advantage of the Xbox/PS5 architecture and SSDs for reducing their game sizes, such as not having duplicate files/assets, gamers should still see sizable installs for some time until highly optimized titles arrive later in the consoles' lifecycle. Expect storage add-ons to be just as, if not more, popular than a secondary controller for next-gen consoles.

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Vulcanproject

Posts: 1,247   +2,071
I fully expect someone to reverse engineer the adapter (*cough* China) and start making a knockoff adapter that can be connected to any SSD.
I see the eventuality too, but that port will surely have some heavy duty encryption on it, or a crazy file system. Multiple layers of security both hardware and software. I can't see how it wouldn't.

'Security' aka protecting their nice tidy profitable peripheral licensing scheme.

When you realise that Sabrent recently released a 1TB PCIe 4.0 drive with quad level cell that's much cheaper and still faster. Heck the even faster TLC drives can be had for less than $200.
 
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CBTex

Posts: 92   +149
That's really not that bad for a 1 TB Gen 4 NVME drive with a proprietary enclosure. And they will only get cheaper with sales and more manufacturers. I think external storage is probably a better option than the average person cracking open their console to add an M.2 drive. Anyone seen pictures of the PS5's expansion access. Hopefully it's easy to access.
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 237   +228
I see the eventuality too, but that port will surely have some heavy duty encryption on it, or a crazy file system. Multiple layers of security both hardware and software. I can't see how it wouldn't.

'Security' aka protecting their nice tidy profitable peripheral licensing scheme.

When you realise that Sabrent recently released a 1TB PCIe 4.0 drive with quad level cell that's much cheaper and still faster. Heck the even faster TLC drives can be had for less than $200.
It will be like the Red Camera cards, they are usually off the shelf parts, it's probably a firecuda m.2 1 tb
 

Burty117

Posts: 3,875   +1,764
What terrible pricing, I can't find a PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD that runs slower than 4.4GB/s and for a 1TB they seem to be around the £160-£180, £299 mark gets you 2TB.

I get its proprietary but how much did it really cost to re-package an SSD?
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,545   +3,371
I absolutely hate the way they are doing this. So by forcing us into a proprietary storage slot and storage card factor, what happens when someone buys a 1TB card and then later on buys a 2TB or 4TB card when costs decline? It means you end up with old junk that is vastly depreciated in price. Ridiculous.

Microsoft has lost my Xbox patronage this generation.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,641   +929
Microsoft has lost my Xbox patronage this generation.
Looking at other 1TB NVMe gen4 SSDs, they already run around $200, so the markup is small to get a device that you know will work to Microsoft's minimum requirements. But given that it is you we're talking about, and a Microsoft product with an AMD GPU, I doubt they ever had your consideration to begin with.
 
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Burty117

Posts: 3,875   +1,764
Looking at other 1TB NVMe gen4 SSDs, they already run around $200, so the markup is small.
Except these things are running at 2.4GB/s which is slower than the majority of gen3 SSD's and about half the speed of the cheapest gen4 SSD?
 

dnous

Posts: 15   +10
The whole design philosophy for the XSX seems to be predicable performance. CPU has fixed clocks, same for the GPU so it would only make sense for MS to want the same for the SSD. It even seems to be a DRAM less SSD, so that would explain the speed raw speed difference between the PS5 SSD and the XSX one. However it also means that the SSD speed it guaranteed and no performance drops that we see DRAM cache SSDs when the cache is full.

It's a really interesting approach, and seems to be the exact opposite of the PS5. And makes me only more curious about its hardware.

And yeah, the expansion SSD being expensive was expected. It's based on CFExpress and those aren't known for being cheap.
 
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kiwigraeme

Posts: 132   +92
I absolutely hate the way they are doing this. So by forcing us into a proprietary storage slot and storage card factor, what happens when someone buys a 1TB card and then later on buys a 2TB or 4TB card when costs decline? It means you end up with old junk that is vastly depreciated in price. Ridiculous.

Microsoft has lost my Xbox patronage this generation.
Haven't you already stated you wouldn't buy an Xbox anyway.

If you do buy a 2tb or 4tb - sell the 1tb or store less played games on it. This is hardly a super expensive Nintendo/Sony (of yesteryear ) memory card - pick your fights wisely - the price is fine and is probably a 2 year deal or less for seagate.

1Tb +1Tb + super fast connection is heaps for most - $700 +extra controller ( good for PC ) is way cheaper than the $1500 graphics card - Plus you can run the older games of standard drive - so not the horror you make out
 

enemys

Posts: 224   +236
TechSpot Elite
Looking at other 1TB NVMe gen4 SSDs, they already run around $200, so the markup is small to get a device that you know will work to Microsoft's minimum requirements. But given that it is you we're talking about, and a Microsoft product with an AMD GPU, I doubt they ever had your consideration to begin with.
Those other drivers are PCIE4 x4, while Xbox uses PCIE4 X2, and not even to full extent. You can hit over 3GB/s with this bandwidth, not just 2.4.
 

enemys

Posts: 224   +236
TechSpot Elite
The whole design philosophy for the XSX seems to be predicable performance. CPU has fixed clocks, same for the GPU so it would only make sense for MS to want the same for the SSD. It even seems to be a DRAM less SSD, so that would explain the speed raw speed difference between the PS5 SSD and the XSX one. However it also means that the SSD speed it guaranteed and no performance drops that we see DRAM cache SSDs when the cache is full.

It's a really interesting approach, and seems to be the exact opposite of the PS5. And makes me only more curious about its hardware.

And yeah, the expansion SSD being expensive was expected. It's based on CFExpress and those aren't known for being cheap.
Except DRAMless SSDs have less predictable performance than those with DRAM - they are more prone to dramatic performance falls. And there is nothing like "performance drops that we see DRAM cache SSDs when the cache is full" - DRAM is not used for cache, but for translation layer map. The cache you are talking about might be pseudo-SLC caching, but that is only useful for writes, while consoles workloads are almost exclusively reads, except for installing and updating games.

While it's true that DRAMless SSDs still have good sequential read speeds, and that's what matters the most for games (and DRAMless SSDs are still fast enough to handle remaining random accesses), so omitting DRAM can be a relatively harmless cost saver, your post still makes little sense.
 
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