No, I’m not talking about developer mode and a bunch of retro emulators, although that would be a great topic for another post. Maybe “I finally installed the other not-so-secret Xbox Series X weapon.” My title creativity is limitless.
You know, I used to quote the infamous late night infomercials about the cooking of the late Ron Ponpeil all the time, saying “Set it up and forget it!” To refer to the ease of just about any general task. Hilarious, I know, but the cheesy slogan is endlessly useful (and boring).
That being said, honestly, I can’t think of a better tagline for Seagate’s plug-and-play Xbox storage expansion card, which I finally got the chance to test out.
For those who have lived under a rock the size of an Xbox, Seagate’s exclusive NVMe memory card, which launched in late 2020 with directly compatible hardware from the X | S series, serves to expand internal storage mileage. of Microsoft’s two current generation consoles. . Note that I specifically used the word “internal”; the small card was designed to integrate directly into the Xbox Velocity architecture to provide all the performance benefits of internal SSD speed.
Basically, it’s quite different than plugging an external hard drive or even an SSD into your Xbox. USB 3.1 based storage is great for simply storing any Xbox software and is great for not having to re-download large game files. You can just keep those previously downloaded titles on an external drive until you want to. be ready to play them directly (in the case of Xbox One, Xbox 360, and Original Xbox games) or transfer X | S optimized titles to internal storage for compatible gaming.
The downside to external USB storage, even newer SSDs, is that you can’t use it to play enhanced X | S games. The USB connection just won’t cut it. X | S optimized titles are, at least for actual booting and playback, relegated to internal storage only. Or as luck would have it, Seagate’s handy storage expansion card, which according to the product box copy has “seamless integration with the Xbox Velocity architecture in Xbox Series X | S to achieve peak performance.” .
Speaking of the product box, once you open it there’s literally one thing inside: the almost ridiculously small storage card. If you haven’t seen one in person, let me tell you, it’s downright micro. Even tinier than an old PS1 memory card, a strange observation that struck me as surreal, given the vastly disparate storage capacities of each device.
Separated by decades of technological advancement, the PS1 card stored a paltry and quaint 128 kilobytes in the 90s and early 2000s, while Seagate’s current card holds 1 terabyte of data, which equates to 1,000. 000,000 kilobytes, at least according to a quick Google search. It’s maybe (about) half the physical size of Sony’s retro card. Wild, right?
Aside from the ridiculous comparisons between eras, once I plugged the storage expansion card into the back of my Xbox Series X, I don’t even think I got a notification that it was ready to go. to fall over. Or if I did, it happened so fast it must have happened as I looked away to take a delicious sip of Monster Energy. Within seconds, the small but powerful SSD expander was ready to go.
Initially, I decided to transfer a bunch of Xbox headlines from my internal drive, basically to see what kind of speed I was dealing with. This included games with large file sizes, like Mortal Kombat 11 and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla To Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and Riders. After preselecting a good pool of test sets, I had probably queued just over 600GB of data for the move and then hit start. To my amazement, the entire giant transfer was completed in less than twenty minutes, maybe just fifteen.
Beyond witnessing fast transfer speeds, I put the map to the test with general gameplay enhanced by X | S. All in all, it performed like a dream and was virtually indistinguishable from using the factory-built internal storage of the X-series. Plus, it freed up a lot of space on the aforementioned drive which is still a nice bonus, although I have a standard 8TB external USB hard drive for basic backup.
Yes, Seagate’s storage expansion card is pretty pricey ($ 220) for the somewhat meager amount of modern gaming space you actually get. I mean, 1TB of SSD storage, while incredibly fast and useful, only lasts that long on Xbox Series X or S, especially with a Game Pass Ultimate subscription.
As we all know, game files these days are downright gigantic and the Xbox library is practically begging for a larger capacity card. 2 TB? 4 TB, are you interested? Hell, I’d pay dearly for a beastly 8TB card if that meant I could keep virtually unlimited upgraded titles at my fingertips and move them between internal and external storage in a (relative) blink of an eye. Okay, maybe a dozen slower flashes, but you get my point.
On the notion of “high” pricing, I recently wrote about updating the PS5’s software to include installing M.2 SSDs for beta users. The initial batch of compatible SSDs, some of which also come from Seagate, come in at comparable or even better prices to the only Seagate exclusive Xbox option. Yes, it would be nice to have some competition in the Xbox space, and I’ve heard some rumors that other SSD manufacturers are considering launching into storage expansion cards, but we’ll see.
For now, that tiny memory card, especially compared to the PS5’s tedious SSD setup process, is the Xbox’s not-so-secret storage advantage. Now, if I could just plug in two, or three, or …
Warning: Seagate has provided a review product for coverage.