Microsoft announced some key details about the next generation Xbox Series X console today. In addition to clock speeds, new technologies and much more, the biggest news is that the next Xbox supports removable storage thanks to 1 TB expansion cards. Microsoft uses a special proprietary expansion card and has partnered with Seagate to launch 1TB expansion cards for the Xbox Series X.
The cards are simply inserted into the back of the console and serve as a quick way to expand the integrated 1 TB NVME SSD. Microsoft uses PCI Express 4.0 connections for both the internal NVME SSD and external SSDs. This means that the speeds are designed for next generation games. This also means that games optimized for the Xbox Series X must run on the internal SSD or these expansion cards.
Xbox Series X memory expansion card.
"You can continue to use your existing external USB 3.1+ hard drives on Xbox Series X and run Xbox One, 360, and OG Xbox games directly from the external USB hard drive," said a Microsoft spokesman. "Games that are optimized for Xbox Series X and the Velocity architecture must be run from the internal SSD or expandable storage drive."
So if you want to expand your storage on the Xbox Series X, you'll need an expansion card for all newer games and titles that will be updated gradually. Microsoft has not yet announced exactly how much these cards will cost. External USB storage drives are currently available in various forms and are often much cheaper than comparable NVME SSD drives.
Seagate will also be the exclusive starting partner for these expansion cards. "At launch, the Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X will be the only expansion card available," said a Microsoft spokesman for The Verge. "We look forward to sharing more details in the future." It is not clear whether Microsoft has its own expansion cards or how many other third-party drive manufacturers can create expansion cards. More providers will intensify competition and lower prices for consumers. So it would be surprising if Seagate were the only manufacturer after launch.
This new support for expansion cards and the integrated NVME SSD mean significant improvements in loading times. Microsoft today demonstrated a 40-second improvement over the Xbox One X and showed how much SSD storage affects gaming on the next-generation Xbox. Microsoft can also activate multiple game resumes from standby or even after restarting the console for an update.
Xbox Series X rear ports.
Microsoft simply caches everything that is used by a game in RAM directly on the SSD so that the console can immediately resume tracks. Microsoft doesn't say exactly how many games can be resumed quickly overall, but at least three are supported. Since different RAM requirements apply to each game, the actual number may vary depending on how much memory is used by the "quick recovery" function.
We need more information about the Xbox Series X expansion cards, but at the moment it is clear that they will inevitably be the only way to expand memory on the next Xbox once the games are updated. We hope that this proprietary solution is not too expensive.