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Xbox Series X, Xbox Series S 1TB expansion card to cost $220, suggests leak

Xbox Series X Seagate Expandable Card
Xbox Series X Seagate Expandable Card (Image credit: Microsoft)

Xbox Series X Storage Expansion

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Microsoft has finally shown its hand for the next console generation, unveiling a secondary Xbox Series S console, accompanying the Xbox Series X with its November 10 launch. The two-pronged approach has seen the platform holder cater to all crowds, split between its bleeding-edge $499 flagship and its more affordable, all-digital $299 counterpart. The aggressive retail price leaves Microsoft well-positioned against market rival, Sony, also set to launch its PlayStation 5 console later this year.

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S pack a variety of latest generation hardware, including an upgrade to solid-state drive (SSD) storage. The console maker has devised a custom, in-house NVMe solution, promising up to 2.4 GB/s raw speeds (or 4.8 GB/s compressed), delivering up to 40 times increases over the Xbox One family. The SSD plays a crucial role in what the console maker calls "Xbox Velocity Architecture," with a direct line to the CPU via PCIe 4.0.

Microsoft packs the same storage into both next-generation Xbox consoles, the only noteworthy difference being 1TB on Xbox Series X, cut to 512GB on Xbox Series S. That leaves the high-performance SSD fundamental to performance, eliminating USB hard drives for expansion like Xbox One in the process. Microsoft's solution is the Xbox Storage Expansion Card, a proprietary 1TB NVMe drive, exactly matching the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S internal storage.

Related: Xbox proprietary expansion cards — the way forward or future curse?

The move means next-generation storage can't be expanded through traditional SSDs, requiring this Seagate-branded cartridge to add to your onboard storage, instead. However, NVMe PCIe 4.0 technology doesn't come cheap, with an alleged GameStop leak (via Reddit) now suggests a $219.99 RRP on the 1TB Xbox Storage Expansion Card.

The premium price tag wouldn't be a huge surprise — we previously predicted around $200 back in April 2020. The high cost comes with the demanded performance, and as a proprietary solution, Microsoft and Seagate are free to charge as desired for that opportunity. But it's a word of warning, especially for Xbox Series S and its 512GB storage, likely to cost near to a secondary console to upgrade the out-of-box capacity.

While the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S demand Microsoft's SSD storage to playing games, it's worth noting that USB 3.0 drives will function for backward compatibility, including Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox titles. Xbox Series X and S titles can also offload to these slower drives for safekeeping, but you'll need to transfer your installations to the official SSD manually before playing.

The RRP highlights the main downside of proprietary, high-performance expansions demanded by Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. But it's part of the next-generation secret sauce, and a price you'll need to pay to experience the best moving forward.

Xbox Series X/S

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Matt Brown
Matt Brown

Matt Brown is Windows Central's Senior Games Editor, Xbox & PC, at Future. Following over seven years of professional consumer technology and gaming coverage, he’s focused on the world of Microsoft's gaming efforts. You can follow him on Twitter @mattjbrown.

47 Comments
  • We all figured it wouldnt be inexpensive.
  • Yowza that's steep. I can sort of understand where it comes from but dang. Idk maybe I was just being silly expecting (or hoping in vain) it to be like $150 or so.
  • Yeah, it would make expansions a lot more accessible, but sadly the technology will prevent it. NVMe PCIe 4.0 SSDs are already expensive, and a proprietary solution wasn't going to change that. If this price is incorrect, it's still the expected ballpark. If anything, shows how great the Xbox Series S price is to start.
  • I'm really going to settle for a USB3 external, and swap games into the internal storage as needed. I have no need to hold all games at once in the internal storage. Just get a 12TB HDD external and dump all the games there. When it's time to play, move/copy it to the internal drive. That's the only feasible way to go imho.
  • Yeap this... Not that I don't to pay the storage... But I already have close to 5tb of games on the Xbox one x today... So unless they offer a 10tb solution at launch I won't have any other option...
  • Unless it's DRM protected, I'm sure 3rd parties will make a comparable version at lower price.
  • This, and I'll wait for that. 1TB will hold me over for a while.
  • It is proprietary and was developed with Seagate. From what I remember there is supposedly a possibility that after X amount of time (probably counted in years) Microsoft will have the ability to share that proprietary tech with other SSD manufacturers to allow for other options. Until then Seagate will be the only manufacturer.
  • Guess I know what accessory I'll be buying with the pre-order...sheesh...
  • I'll definitely pass. PCIe 4 SSDs aren't that expensive. They seem to sit between $160-190 right now. $220 is higher than basically anything on the market. Seagate's launched at $250 last year, and could justifiably be lower. My issue is that Microsoft tends to not lower accessory costs as the generation moves on. $60 controllers are still $60 years later. PC SSDs will drop over time, but these likely won't. If we're 3 years into the generation and better PC drives have launched at $120-150, then seeing these still sit at $220 (with older drive tech) will be pretty lame.
  • The cheapest on Amazon that's PCIE4 in my country is £170 for 1TB. That's the same price MS are charging.
  • But those PCIe 4.0 SSDs run at 5gbps, this one doesn't even saturate PCIe 3.0
  • It's not just about the SSD. The whole motherboard of the Series X is PCIE 4. 3rd Gen Ryzen CPUs released with PCIE4. You get a total bandwidth of 64GBPS. GPU, Storage, USB ports, I/O controllers etc. By doing this the SSD needs to be PCIE4. 4 over 3 allows double the entire systems bandwidth from 32 max to 64. For example on PCIE 4 it can achieve the same bandwidth in 8 lanes as it can in 16 lanes on PCIE 3. Meaning you have more free lanes to use in any area you wish on the system setup on PCIE 4. When looking only at the SSD you might not understand why they went with 4 instead of 3. But the SSD is not what PCIE 4 exists.
  • No thanks. I only need maybe 3 big games on my drive and then a litter of smaller ones. And anything that doesn't get played after awhile, or I beat, gets deleted. I'm more than happy save $220 by redownloading some titles. It's already what I do now. Hasn't affected me in the least.
  • I would assume that XCloud will also be playable through these new consoles... Isn't it feasible to play a game though Xcloud while you're waiting for the game to download or transfer... That would be cool.
  • Would be great if that happens I've always wondered if it was possible to make a app for the 360 so you could xcloud on them as I have a few dotted around the house and would be nice to play uptodate games without moving my console around if needed too
  • That's steeeeeep, for the same price you will be able to get a SSD compatible with the PS5. I looked at Amazon and found a Sabrent 3gb/s SSD for 120$, Microsoft is making a 100$ premium on this. I hope that this doesn't end up being the final price.
  • As I understand it, it's not quite a fair comparison, as benchmarks show most consumer-level SSDs cannot sustain the rated speeds for more than a minute or two. This is fine for PC games of today since they mostly load all the assets upfront, with maybe some swapping in and out here and there in open world games. Microsoft has said the Xbox Series SSDs are designed for sustained speeds. This is a must for game developers to be able to constantly stream assets in and out of RAM, even between frames.
  • PS5 SSDs are not the same as Xbox SSDs. Not saying that justified the price Microsoft is possibly setting, but it's definitely not the same.
  • The PS5 one is far more expensive and faster
  • Any bench-marking to prove that claim being faster? I'm not talking specs either.
  • He's right the PS5 one is much more expensive and has a raw speed double. It's initial load times will be roughly 2 seconds faster than Series X. But Velocity Architecture gives Series X a 2.5x increase in asset streaming during gameplay. Roughly 12GB/s. Beating even the decompressed speed of the PS5 SSD by 3GB/s.
  • Another reason why I don't like propietary tech
  • I'm not sure SSDs compatible with the PS5 will be any cheaper. They need to match or be faster than the one inside.
  • But that's because the SSDs required are almost 3x faster than these, so it makes sense why they should be more expensive, but instead they cost the same.
  • Gentlemen, gaming is an expensive hobby.
  • Amen. I mean, I spent $2500+ on my 2012 PC and have continued upgrading over the years. I priced a new one a few weeks ago at $2300, but will wait for next gen to either cheapen current stuff or just go newer for more... If you think that's expensive, don't even get me started on auto racing haha
  • Somebody in the comments suggests this is CAD pricing. Making it 170 USD?
  • $220 for a 1TB expansion card for a $299/$499 console?
    Microsoft is not THAT stupid (are they?)
    I have heard it will go for no more than $180.00 (even that is outrageous) and there may be a 512GB version marketed at the XBSS for around $100.00.
    Being that the volume will be low (compared to mass-market NVMe SSDs) and it's a proprietary design, that makes it much more expensive, but $220 will price it out of reach for most consumers and will be an absolute GIFT to Sony's PS5 by comparison which, while it requires very expensive SSDs (NVMe x4 v4 or better) at least it will be market prices.
    Historically, MS has always had ridiculously expensive storage expansions (xb360 HDs anyone?) but I fervently HOPE they don't price themselves out of the market with this.
  • This got to be fake. $220 is just crazy.
  • Cheapest PC SSD PCIE4 1TB is £169.99. So actually it's dead on the cheapest PC Gen 4 SSD. But that's for a pretty untrusted storage company. $219.99/£169.99 is exactly spot on for a Gen 4 SSD. I'm interested to see the PS5 options. The cheapest PC counterpart for 1TB for a PS5 SSD is currently $449/£399. So you may have a small heartattack when you see Sonys list of certified PS5 expansion SSD's. This is why many say PS5 manufacturing costs are sky high.
  • You do know that their digital-only console has only 500Gb, right? That was considered low last generation, do you think it will be fine this generation with games getting bigger and how this is digital-only??
    They artificially decreased the price but ultimately it'll be a lot more expensive with it being digital-only (you lose all the many advantages of physical options) and you have ridiculous size hard disk space so probably need to upgrade even more. Nice hidden costs to trick casuals or parents who don't usually look things up... Also let's not forget what they did with Scorpio and the "Beyond generation" messaging...
  • It's only 300gb smaller than the top PS5 model. You can however store ganes on your USB 3.2 HDD and transfer them over to SSD when you want to play that game. Transferring the data will be far quicker than downloading the game. You will run into this problem on any of the next Gen systems within the first year. So until anyone gets an external storage for any of the models, you'll be transferring the games your playing at the time to internal SSD from your USB 3.2 HDD. Series X is the only 1tb console at launch. And even that you'll run out of space within the year. This problem will be there for all next Gen Xbox and all next Gen PS5. I'll be waiting for the 2tb card. I'm getting a Series X. But I'll be downloading games to the USB 3.2 HDD and just transferring a few games I currently decided to playthrough. And switch them out when I finished them and move to the next game. And all Xbox One titles will run off the USB 3.2 HDD if you wish. It's only Series X titles that require the SSD to run.
  • Shame MS are not offering a 2TB model of the hardware. They need it. I hate how MS does this. They initially only offer a small configuration, then later on do the larger storage sized consoles. I heard Sony were selling a 2TB SKU of the PS 5.
  • No. The top model is 825gb on PS5. All games require you to install the games to SSD. So it doesn't matter if you buy digital or not.
  • 1 TB NVMe PCIe Gen4 drives currently cost about $200 dollars, so this is not a very large markup.
  • This would be a great price for a 2TB expansion card.
  • Make them available with the All Access plan and we'd have a great deal!
  • Ouch ouch ouch
  • $220.00? Good Lord!!!! For $80.00 more, I can get a Series S. I thought that it was going to be around $100.00-$150.00. For it to be that expensive and made by Seagate, that's a hard pass for me. I'll just shuttle games back and forth between the internal and my current 5 TB external that I paid $90.00 for when I want to play them.
  • Yes, expensive, but the price will be about half that in another year and will still be a lot faster.
  • Relative to the cost of an external NVME 1TB SSD this isn't expensive at all, relative to the consoles themselves however, that is a huge chunk of cash. But I think that is more representative of the value of the console rather than the expense of the external drive.
  • Considering the price of a 1TB NVMe SSD for a PC, this isn't a bad price
  • So it's actually dead on the exact price of SSD pcie 4. That's really good that even though proprietary the price is the same. The cheapest Pcie Gen 4 SSD that's 1TB is £170 on Amazon. The leaked price of the Series X SSD is £169.99. This is great news. Even if pcie 4 is still a bit expensive at the moment. Price you pay for latest technology. Good to know we aren't being shafted compared to PC SSD Gen 4 prices. Well done MS.
  • Obviously.. It needs to translate to VA. Series S|X is capable of skipping to read the first 8 gigs of data. So yeah it can be more expensive if it needs to be imo.
  • If Xbox One, 360, and original Xbox games really need to be on an SSD to play, that should be handled in the background by Xbox. Writing a few gig to an SSD should not take long and the game would likely still start up faster overall as it would load from SSD after the copy. Then just save any games saves back to the hard drive and delete the copy of the game from the SSD when you are down playing it.
  • From what I read it's only Series X games that need to be on this proprietary SSD, earlier games will run from any external drive.