Xbox Series X And Xbox Series S Storage Explained – GameSpot

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are both capable of loading game worlds almost instantly, delivering seamless gameplay that won’t leave you waiting for minutes on a loading screen as an area is generated. That advantage compared to Xbox One is largely because of the new Xbox storage device, which is a custom NVMe SSD rather than the hard drives used previously. It’s one of the biggest game-changers going into the next generation, and if you’re wondering how it all works, we’ll break it down for you.

How does Xbox storage work on the new systems?

Regardless of whether you get the Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S, your console comes with a custom Non-Volatile Memory Host Express solid-state drive: NVMe SSD for short. It’s small, loads incredibly quickly (as we found in our Xbox Series X hands-on), and because it’s an SDD rather than a hard drive, there aren’t moving parts. It also helps to facilitate the system’s impressive Quick Resume feature.

Games install to this drive much like they do on current-generation consoles, and because even the fastest disc drives aren’t up to the challenge, you must fully install games onto the drives to play them on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. For the X model, you get 1TB of internal storage, while the S has 512GB.

But the storage you start with isn’t necessarily all you have to use. Both consoles feature an expansion slot. Starting with a proprietary 1TB expansion card from Seagate, Microsoft is offering players the chance to upgrade their storage space. All you have to do is plug it into the back of your system to add on another 1TB of space, and it supports both Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. New sizes and manufacturers could come in the future, and the first card costs $220.

Do Xbox Series X and S support external hard drives?

Xbox One S with external hard drive attached
Xbox One S with external hard drive attached

Both consoles do support hard drives for some content, provided they use USB 3.1, and you can actually plug your current compatible drive into the new console and instantly begin playing any games you had installed. The drive can store and play any Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox game that supports backward compatibility, and it can also store your Xbox Series X and S games. It’s a cheaper alternative to the new proprietary cards.

However, hard drives aren’t fast enough to actually run the Xbox Series X and S games, so you will need to migrate them to your internal storage or the official expansion card before they can be played. If you have the expansion card installed, Xbox Series X/S games on the card can be played without needing to move them to the system’s internal storage. The expansion card is designed to run these games with no performance differences compared to the internal drive.

Why is the expansion card so expensive?

No Caption Provided

Yes, this is a bit of a hard pill to swallow. The expansion card costs nearly as much as the Xbox Series S.

While you’d have to ask Microsoft or Seagate for an exact breakdown of the costs, NVMe SSD technology is still fairly new and allows for much better performance compared to older flash and hard drive technology. There aren’t any other options on the market for an external expansion card for Xbox Series X and S yet, and that could cause prices to fall a bit. However, current drives for PC that are in the same general performance range, or even slightly worse, are not much cheaper.

You will likely find similar issues with pricing on the PS5, as well, as it’s making use of very similar technology as Xbox. In that case, the PS5’s internal storage is 825GB, meaning it’s actually less than the current PS4 Pro and a little less than Xbox Series X. Game file sizes are getting larger, especially as they add post-launch content, and with some of a console’s storage space allocated for system-level files, you will have even less space to work with.

You need a javascript enabled browser to watch videos.

Want us to remember this setting for all your devices?

Sign up or Sign in now!

Please use a html5 video capable browser to watch videos.

This video has an invalid file format.

Sorry, but you can’t access this content!

Please enter your date of birth to view this video

January
February
March
April
May
June
July
August
September
October
November
December1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30
31Year
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
1990
1989
1988
1987
1986
1985
1984
1983
1982
1981
1980
1979
1978
1977
1976
1975
1974
1973
1972
1971
1970
1969
1968
1967
1966
1965
1964
1963
1962
1961
1960
1959
1958
1957
1956
1955
1954
1953
1952
1951
1950
1949
1948
1947
1946
1945
1944
1943
1942
1941
1940
1939
1938
1937
1936
1935
1934
1933
1932
1931
1930
1929
1928
1927
1926
1925
1924
1923
1922
1921
1920
1919
1918
1917
1916
1915
1914
1913
1912
1911
1910
1909
1908
1907
1906
1905
1904
1903
1902
1901
1900

By clicking ‘enter’, you agree to GameSpot’s

Terms of Use and
Privacy Policy

Now Playing: Xbox Series X Load Time Comparison (RDR2, Control, FFXV)