Xbox Series X, Series S 1TB expansion SSD costs $220, preorders live

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

What you need to know

  • Microsoft's Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S leverage custom NVMe SSD storage, with 1TB SSD and 512GB capacities, respectively.
  • Microsoft and Seagate have also detailed a 1TB Xbox Storage Expansion Card, mimicking each console's internal storage performance.
  • The Xbox Storage Expansion Card is now up for preorder, priced at $220 at Microsoft. (opens in new tab)

Microsoft recently opened preorders for Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S, its next-generation console duo headed to market on November 10. The devices represent a sizeable leap in graphical prowess, coupled with the latest in AMD CPU and GPU technologies, and system-wide refinements to improve speed. That also includes an ultra-fast solid-state drive (SSD) storage solution, which Microsoft leverages to cut load times, and eliminate a bottleneck of the prior generation.

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S feature custom NVMe SSDs, with a direct line to the CPU via PCIe 4.0. The implementation is costly, but results in 2.4 GB/s raw speeds (or 4.8 GB/s compressed), translating to up to 40 times increases over the Xbox One's sluggish spinning platters. Microsoft subsidizes the cost to hit each console's $499 and $299 retail price, but it leaves official SSD expansions rather pricey.

The Xbox Series X packs a 1TB SSD, while the Xbox Series S comes in at just 512GB. With modern blockbusters regularly surpassing 100GB each, the out-of-box storage could prove restrictive. Microsoft's solution is the Xbox Storage Expansion Card, a proprietary 1TB NVMe drive matching the console's internals, manufactured in collaboration with Seagate.

Xbox Series X Storage Expansion

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

Much of this Seagate-branded cartridge has remained a mystery, with Microsoft and Seagate yet to talk pricing and availability. The card has now surfaced at Best Buy and Microsoft with a $220 RRP, backing the leak from earlier this month. Expect the card to hit more retailers over the days ahead.

I previously predicted the premium price back in April 2020, primarily down to the notoriously costly nature of NVMe PCIe 4.0 technology. The card purposely mimics the internal Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S SSD, used as a part of Microsoft's "Xbox Velocity Architecture" inside each console. While likely to deter some, it's the reality of bleeding-edge hardware.

As a proprietary solution, this card is mandatory to play Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S games beyond the internal storage. However, Microsoft will support USB 3.2 drives, previously compatible with Xbox One consoles, when playing Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox titles backward compatibility. Xbox Series "Optimized" titles may also be stored on these slower drives, although only if transferred to the NVMe SSD when played.

It remains to be seen how game installations will fare on Xbox Series X and Series S. Microsoft has suggested Xbox Series S titles should occupy around 30% less space than those on Xbox Series X, due to reduced texture resolutions, in line with the switch from 4K to 1440p. But the consoles come with higher ambitions than previous-generation counterparts, which could see their footprint continue to grow.

Xbox Series X/S


Matt Brown

Matt Brown was formerly a Windows Central's Senior 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.

  • That's expensive. Ok for now but I hope they decrease the prices in line with other 3rd party PCIe 4 drives for PC. I'm not expecting the same exact decrease but still if 3rd party become 40% cheaper after a year. I expect MS to decrease at least 20% for their propriety format.
  • My issue here is not even the price.... What am I suppose to do with a tiny 1tb cartridge? For an entire Gen? If the current Gen is any clue I'll need at least 3 times that... It's not like game sizes gonna drop this Gen or did I miss something?
  • No they will only get bigger with 4k textures. imagine needing 3 of those. lets hope the pricing drops after a year or so.
  • Velocity Architecture will make sure u get alot of use with the one built in already. I wouldn't worry for now.
  • You can archive games to a usb hard disk, and only keep the games you are currently playing on SSD. Game sizes could also be smaller thanks to texture compression/decompression hardware onboard and AI upscaling could see texture file sizes get REALLY small.
  • OK then that works for me... So you don't technically need any extention if it's just for local storage.... It'd be dumb to not take advantage of the internal drive speed compared to any HDD and most current large capacity Ssd...
    I wish I could even store on my NAS that'd be perfect
  • Worst of all its Seagate.
  • I don't think it's that expensive for the tech.
  • Actually its very expensive. You can get a much faster 1TB NVMe for the same price. Samsung just released one that has read speeds at 7000MB/s for the same price as this. You can get a 1TB Sabrent TLC with 5000 MB/s for $199. Sony is already winning here in terms of cost savings. Add to that the drive you buy tor the Xbox can only be used in the Xbox. Any drive you buy for the PS5 can be moved to a PC as extra storage if you decide to buy a larger one at a later date.
  • Sadly not in the UK, if this works out at £200 here, the only likely approved offering for the PS5 (the new Samsung Gen4 NVME) comes in at a massive £330, which doesn't make that £200 price seem that bad.
  • That's a little much, they couldn't have kept the price to $199 at least?
  • And ordered. Grand total for system and expansion card for me is $758.12.
  • For the time being, I'll just stick with my 5 terabyte hard drive and just move games around as needed. Games I stopped playing because of long load times that I'll be installing on the series X:
    Metro Exodus
    GTA v
    Quantum break
    Battlefield 5
  • That is a good list and maybe a good subject for a short article and or survey. I was just wondering if there are games that are too painful to play now due to long load times that should be revisited on the Series X/S.
  • Backward compatible games can play off the USB storage.
    Only the new Series X/S specific games need to be running on the internal/add-on SSD.
  • Yes but to reap the benefits of faster load times, they have to be installed on the Xbox Series SSD
  • Microsoft and Seagate are ripping people of with these prices, these drives don't even hit the limit of PCIe 3.0, for comparison the Samsung 980 Pro 1tb that almost hits the limit of PCIe 4.0 costs 229$! It's stupid how in a couple of months will be cheaper to get SSDs for the PS5 compared to the Series S and X
  • It's has to be PCIE4. The entire system is built on PCIE4. It doesn't just relate to the SSD. The price is dead inline with the PCIE4 1TB SSD of the same specs.
  • It is technically a PCIe 4.0 SSD, but it doesn't take nowhere near the advantage that PCIe 4.0 offers, it doesn't even take full advantage of PCIe 3.0.
  • Oh my days. The exact equivelant PCIE4 SSD on PC is $219. That's the closest match. You are ware the situation on PS5 is exactly the same. In actual fact it will be pricier. And costs will come down slower. As there isn't any on the market now that could even be used for the PS5.
  • You can't look at just PCIe 4.0, you have to look at the speed that is what's important, PCIe 4.0 just allows for higher speeds but if you don't use it then it's irrelevant The limits of PCIe 3.0 is 3.5gbps
    The limits of PCIe 4.0 is 7.0gbps
    The PS5 SSD is 5.5gbps
    The XSX/S SSD is 2.4gbps The XSX/S is equivalent to a slow SSD by today's Standards that nowhere it comes close to even saturate PCIe 3.0. The fact that in a few months there will be cheaper SSDs for the PS5 compared to XSX/S is ridiculous.
  • No its not. Much faster PCIe 4.0 drives can be purchased for less. Plus you arent stuck using it in just the console if you decide to get a larger one later. Microsoft just brought back the Sony Memory card for the PS2 lol.
  • Exactly inline with PC SSD PCIE4 prices. Really good that they haven't hiked the price up being proprietary. Should come down in cost hopefully as the PC SSD costs drop.
  • They have hiked the price by 100$, 3gbps SSDs cost ~120$ and the XSX is 2.4gbps
  • That's not how tech works. The bandwidth is something to be considered there are IOPS benefit which you would understand if you have even little knowledge about how storage works. Random read/write is what makes drives faster and responsive not theoretical sequential speeds. Loading of textures directly from any PCIe 3 drive won't work as they are still very slow in IOPS(input output operations per second). The price is for the tech. On the other hand I do agree that after a year when PCIe 4 standard drives will be cheaper prices for propriety ones like Xbox expansion cards won't drop at the same rate.
  • And where are you getting information that this has great IOPS? Expensive drives with great IOPS performance also have fast sequential speeds. This SSD from Seagate is PCIe 4.0 but has only 2x lanes giving it no extra benefit over regular PCIe 3.0 with 4x lanes
  • PCIE4 has double the lanes of the Entire system over PCIE3. 64 lanes total for PCIE4. The very fsct you think you can just stick a PCIE3 in and everything will work the same as the internal SSD is beyond laughable. The Series X/S consoles SSD and PS5 for that matter don't just load to RAM. They also are used as extended ram. Direct access to CPU and GPU. This is why MS chose to Control the external SSD. And why Sony will only allow certified SSDs to work with PS5. Here's a tip. Not a single SSD on the market will work with PS5 currently. The First one that may be possible is releasing this month for $230. This article might also help. You understand that IOPS differ for SSDs as well. Every part of the SSD in the new consoles has to match. Not just one part.
  • PCIe 4.0 as double the bandwidth using the same number of lanes but the number of lanes available for the SSD expansion are cut in half so the interface is no better than PCIe 3.0 4x MS went with a slow SSD for today's Standards and are charging for it like it's a top of the line SSD, that probably only uses 4 channels (I tried to find information in the Hotchips presentation but there was none, but the size of the expansion points to it only having 4 channels) meaning that the IOPS aren't going to be anywhere close to amazing The SSDs have nothing special in them apart from the PS5 one having 6 levels of priority, what's special is the hardware inside the consoles that uses the SSD, every special thing you say about them as nothing to do with the SSD itself.
  • I am hoping third party products will come along that use the port. Perhaps with pcie3 and lower prices. I'll be sticking with an external drive for now. Would love to see a 2 and 4 tb model of this too. For that matter it would be great to have a 2tb series x. I would pay the extra 200 for it
  • a storage expansion costing as much as half as the whole system...
  • Actually it almost cost the price of a series s 😂. But hey, it was either this or an asking price of $700 up front for the x, that no one would have purchased. I think that it would have been a great idea to add an SSD as part of the all access plan
  • If they made an option with 2tb wouldn't go above 600$, a faster 3gbps SSD costs 120$ at Amazon and Console manufacturers get the nand modules MUCH cheaper.
  • Are you talking about an external drive?
  • I'm talking about a potential Xbox Series X 2tb edition for 600$. Internal 1tb 3gbps SSDs cost ~120$ and consoles get the nand flash modules mutch cheaper
  • As others have said. It's not just about the read and write speeds. The I/O side of the SSD also has to be the same. As the SSDs are accessible during gameplay as extended RAM.
  • I'll wait until the price goes down to something more reasonable. Delete and Install...rinse and repeat with each new game.
  • Just get sata based external SSD which are way cheaper than this. 1 TB costs less than 100 bucks. Store on those transfer speeds will be much faster than using traditional hard drives.