The Xbox Series X Practically Requires Proprietary Cards for Storage Expansion

That old external HDD won’t exactly work the way it does on the Xbox One

The Xbox Series X will feature a 1TB internal SSD that is blazing fast and allows for impressively fast game loading. But, there’s a problem. With new games approaching the 150- and 200GB mark in terms of storage requirements even a 1TB Xbox Series X will be full after you install 5 or maybe 6 games. The solution is the new external SSD memory card that’s being built in collaboration with Seagate. So far, we only know that there will be a 1TB version of this, but they could get larger in the future.

Why Does The Xbox Series X Require A Proprietary Memory Expansion?

The Xbox Series X will rely on something called “Velocity Architecture,” which is basically a way of using SSD memory as random access memory (RAM) – the same thing that allows your computer to lots of multitasking very quickly. This is the secret behind super-fast loading times on next-gen consoles. However, that’s where the problem also lies, as these special SSDs will be required for games to be playable on the Xbox Series X Console.  The problem with regular SSDs is that once they get hot, performance drops. So. Microsoft created a special internal SSD for the Series X.

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And, that’s also where the problem lies with external storage. Since your standard external drive, be it an SSD or old-school HDD, won’t meet the speed demands of the Xbox Series X, Microsoft partnered with Seagate to build a special, mini SSD that will disperse heat properly and still deliver 2.4 GB/s throughput. These little SSDs that, quite honestly, look like overgrown USB drives, will work in conjunction with XBOX hardware much like the internal SSD does.

Can You Use a Standard External SSD for the Xbox Series X?

Front right view of the Seagate Game Drive for Xbox SSD attached to the Xbox One X

Yes, you can use a regular external SSD for the Xbox Series X, but not in the same way that you use it for the Xbox One. You’ll be able to store Xbox Series X games on it (as well as older Xbox One and 360 games,) but if you want to play those Series X games, they’ll have to be transferred over to either the internal SSD or the proprietary expansion SSD. And, sadly, there’s no work around to this. As for how long it will take to move a stored game from a regular SSD to one of Microsoft’s proprietary drives so that it’s playable, well, that is a mystery, but with 2.4GB/s throughput, it should only take a few minutes. Well, in theory, anyway.  

If the transfer rate really is quick, it might not be that big of a deal to store games you’ve beat or play infrequently on a standard external SSD. In fact, this might be a viable solution if 1TB is the max size of those proprietary expansions. There’s no word on how much the will cost, but we’re guessing they won’t come cheap and they’ll fall victim to the same problem as the Series X internal drive – they might hold 5 or 6 games at most. With all this out of the way, you should probably go check out the full specification list for the Xbox Series X!

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Robert Moore
Robert is an automotive expert and gaming fanatic that somehow manages to split his time between doing both and blending in some family time as well. His gaming history goes all the way back to Atari, the Commodore 64, and the original Nintendo, and he can proudly say that he’s owned every single mainstream console since, including duds like the Sega Dreamcast and Nintendo Wii. He currently owns a Nintendo Switch, Xbox One X, PlayStation 4 Pro, and a custom-built gaming PC. His all-time favorite games include Assassin’s Creed, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 (zombies, specifically), League of Legends, Diablo 3, and even a little World of Warcraft. Robert has been working as a journalist for nearly 15 years, primarily in the automotive segment and now in the gaming segment.

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