Skip to main content

Windows Central readers prefer Xbox Series X | S over PS5 when it comes to storage expansion

Seagate Expansion Card
Seagate Expansion Card (Image credit: Windows Central)

Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S have a dramatically different method for storage expansion compared to Sony's PlayStation 5. To expand the storage on an Xbox Series X or S, you need to purchase an expensive SSD. It's simple but pricey. In contrast, you can purchase more affordable drives for the PS5, but they aren't guaranteed to work and are much harder to install than the Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card. These differing methods have caused a heated debate among gamers.

Our editor Richard Devine shared his thoughts claiming Microsoft made the right move when it comes to storage. Over the weekend, we ran a poll to get your thoughts on the storage wars.

Of those that voted, just under 60% of people prefer Microsoft's solution for the Xbox Series X and S. Almost 22% said that both storage options have their own benefits. Only 12.15% of voters prefer the storage solution of the PlayStation 5. Around 6.5% of our readers said that both options are bad.

Reader ladydias says that Sony deserves any confusion with its consoles:

Sony is asking regular people to open up their console, figure out the right storage (since they couldn't be bothered to provide a specific list of card names) and talking about heat sinks like most people even understand what that is. They deserve every bit of the customer support nightmare that is about to ensue.

A comment from system22 discusses the value of how simple Microsoft's solution is:

Series x hands down. It's so simple it takes like literally 3 seconds. And you can have multiple cards and they are hot swappable. The performance is indistinguishable from the internal drive. Ppl say the cost is expensive, but those ppl obviously haven't purchased 1tb nvme drives. At the card's now usual going rate of $188, they are priced competitively imo. I feel like ms got way more right than Sony this gen so far.

On the other side of the argument, Goncalo Duarte 1 says:

The PS5 solution is obviously better, there's already SSDs that even come with a heatsink that are cheaper then the expansion pack for the Xbox Series, despite being 3x faster and way more versatile.

It seems like the debate will continue, though our readers certainly lean one way. We'll keep the poll open for a while to see if it trends a different way throughout the week.

As a quick note, you can actually use a normal USB storage device to expand the storage of the Xbox Series X and S. These types of drives are limited. They can be used to play backward-compatible games and Xbox One games that have not been upgraded, but to play Xbox Series X and S games and upgraded Xbox One games, you have to use the Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card. We break this down fully in our guide on how to expand Xbox Series X & Series S storage with an external drive.

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

20 Comments
  • This poll should have hapened when ps5 storage was out of beta testing
  • Even when it is out of beta testing, will Sony actually guarantee performance and not have a big disclaimer about not being responsible?
  • Even if they don't, it's the better system. A thriving marketplace, even without guarantees, is vastly preferable to an artificial monopoly. It's only a matter of time until some SSD manufacturer starts advertising and guaranteeing PS5 compatiblility. The same can't be said of Xbox's solution because it's a proprietary standard that has to be licensed. I may prefer Xbox over Playstation, but even I recognize that Sony did this better. These poll results are just fanboy confirmation bias.
  • Well, obviously proprietary is worse for the consumer for options and pricing. However, let's take our tech nerd hats off for a second here. For the average normal gamer, which is the better choice? For us it is super simple, almost laughable in difficulty really, to install the drive. Do you think the average person will even use this slot? Will they even know this is an option? I seriously think that the answer to that is very little, and I also think that there will not be branded SSDs (or even unbranded ones) near the consoles where that person has even a chance to learn that expansion is an option. I think MS might have the perfect option with a card that has branding and can be placed near the units. The average person will then clearly see that this works for their console and specifically what it does. For overall customers this is the best option. Of course people like us would rather be able to open it up and still 16TB in if we wish to.
  • Why wouldn't there be branded SSDs in the PS5 section? And if there is (most likely) then there is no issue as it's no different from the expansion pack.
  • If there are branded ones, then yes I would agree. It really isn't plug and play, but at the same time it is branded so little Johnny's mom knows what to buy. However I seriously doubt that will be the path that happens.
  • Why? What would that change? The process of swapping PS5 storage or adding to it will still be just as mind-numbingly stupid as it is right now.
  • Who says it won't? It's not WC's fault that Sony didn't have their **** together for launch day. The biggest knock against the Microsoft option is price and choice but that's likely to change soon to, but at least Microsoft made sure that there was at least one option at launch.
  • The series x storage solution is a luxury. If you want fast storage at a decent price buy a sata ssd 2tb or so for under 200 dollars. Slap it in a enclosure and swap out those games when you need too. It'll take minutes to move game on and off your internal. There's no real reason to be out here hoarding over 800 gb of games on you internal anyway. Folks are not switching between 6 to 7 games. It's 3 at most for most folks.
  • I guess I'm not folks, I have almost 400 games installed on my Xbox One X between the internal and external drive. I don't play them all regularly obviously, but I have all of the games that I have not played yet or am currently playing installed and still have almost a terabyte of free space. I probably play 10 to 15 different games during any given week.
  • Good to see the article show diverse opinions. Of course I'm not saying this because they used my comment hehehe
  • The PS5 has a faster SSD but it's not really all that much faster - you're not seeing any serious advantages because when it comes to loading, reading, writing times, you get diminishing returns when you get as fast as the SS/SX and the PS5 storage devices are. Microsoft benefits from having a dramatically-better install option for the expansion AND there's going to be more options in the future, not just Seagate. The universal standard of the drive speed also allows all games stored on it to perform exactly how they're supposed to perform. You will have issues of performance in some cases with the PS5 route because there will be drives that are accepted that will have variance in real-world performance. Oh, get the wrong one and you just blew $200 on a 1TB expansion - hope you can return it for free... Objectively, the Xbox expansion, albeit more limiting, is much better. Don't forget that both systems offer expansion storage via external HDDs. You can play Xbox One games and 360 games on an external drive just not SX-native games (because the performance requires a fast SSD to drive the game properly). PS5 is much more confusing and is opening up the opportunity for people to damage their console. Can I do it? Absolutely, I have built about 7 custom PCs over the last 14 years so this is not a difficult process for someone like me. However, I prefer plug & play over the open, slot, close process of the PS5. I can't believe Sony actually went that route. It's totally wrong for the market they serve.
  • With this being a Microsoft-oriented site, all things being equal, you'd expect the Microsoft option to come out on top. There will always be fanbois who will just mindlessly support their side regardless but there are others who, when both options have their pros and cons, will tend to prioritise the pros of their side's solution and the cons of the other side without even realising their bias. It would be interesting to see the results of similar polls on Sony-oriented sites and also sites that are non-partisan.
  • One thing that really bugs me in this debate is seeing comments along the lines of "option A is obviously better than option B for reason X". You can tell that people making such definitive statements haven't really bothered to try to consider the issue from every angle. Both options have their pros and cons and there's a valid case to be made for both. Many espousing the Sony option seem to completely ignore that the vast majority of console owners have little to no experience opening and modifying such devices and that is a big black mark against the Sony option. Even if it's not difficult, many parents aren't going to want to be doing it and certainly won't want their kids doing it. The biggest issue I see, though, is that many who are very vocal one way or the other are ignoring that the state of play for both options may well change in the future. The biggest knock against the Microsoft option is price and choice and the biggest knock against Sony is complexity and lack of clarity. There's every reason to believe that things will change in both camps in the future.
  • When you put in the expansion card does it actually expand the current storage into a unified larger drive or does it look like a separate volume that you have to transfer things back and forth?
  • Microsoft's option: Super simple and fast. Plug and play in seconds
    Sony's option: Way more variety, but added complexity. A minute or 2 for the seasoned tech enthusiast. who knows how long for the parent with zero tech experience that is helping out their kid. Let's be real about this. I work in IT. I know it's not hard at all to add an NVME drive to a device, but there are people out there that are terrified to even try. Even worse, there are people out there that will screw up the process somehow. Sony should have just placed the NVME access plate on one of the sides of the system instead of having the user pop the bottom plate off to install the unit. Wonder how many people and retail shops will add a "PS5 storage expansion installation" service? Wonder who would charge the most for it?
  • This! So much this! It's easy if you already have the knowledge or are interested in learning new tech but it's completely foreign for the average person.
  • i'm sure sony gives instructions and then covers mistakes with warranty
  • Remember people, the console market is the same customer base that tanked an entire generation of Nintendo console because they thought it was just an accessory for the Wii. The vast majority of console owners (and especially console buyers, like grandma) are not tech savvy at all. Other people have said it better than me but it needs reiterating. Don't leave any opportunity for the average Joe to screw things up, because he will, a lot.
  • I'm a WC reader and no, I definitely do not prefer a proprietary format over a open solution. Digital Foundry tested a NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSD which is already faster and cheaper than Xbox Series expansion card and even the internal PS5 SSD, and it worked just fine. And come on, the procedure is very easy even for the average user, just remove a faceplate, the bay lid screw, the spacer and install the unit, simple as that. There are plenty of guides on YouTube if you are unsure. And if you aren't able to do something as simple as unscrewing a screw, God help you. Commodity is always welcome, but it comes with a steep price sometimes. I know this is a Windows/Xbox-centric site, and I actually prefer exclusives to PlayStation and Switch ones, but let's be honest, Microsoft decision to use a proprietary card was terrible.