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Prospective Xbox Series X/S owners who plan to expand the capacity of their built-in NVMe SSDs (1 TB, 512 GB) with expansion card solutions should prepare to pay dearly. The listing for Seagate’s 1 TB Game Drive has popped up on Best Buy, and it’s a whopping $220.

That’s kind of ridiculous, isn’t it? Run a quick search at your favorite retailer, and you’ll find that 1 TB SSDs can easily be found for $100 or less.

According to Microsoft’s Jason Ronald (Director of Program Management), the premium stems from the expansion cards’ PCIe 4.0 speeds and their ability to shift data 40x faster than standard HDDs.

“This level of consistent, sustained performance requires advanced components which comes at a higher cost than traditional hard drives or SSDs often found in PCs,” Ronald explained. “By partnering with an industry leader in Seagate, we worked together to deliver an expandable storage solution which delivers identical performance at the lowest cost possible and available this holiday.”

We’re guessing that the custom nature of the cards and the convenience they provide may have also led to premiums.

Something else that next-gen Xbox owners should be aware of is that Series S/X games can only be run from an SSD (USB 3.1 HDDs can only be used for Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games). You can check out Microsoft’s article from today for additional insight, but we’ve copied some of the bigger Q&As below.

Xbox Wire: How will the Storage Expansion Card work with Xbox Series X|S?

Jason Ronald: It’s pretty simple: just plug the Storage Expansion Card into the Storage Expansion port on the back of your Xbox Series X|S and you can use it just as you would with any external storage solution. You can choose to install games to the expansion card by default, play games directly from it, move or copy games between local and external storage, or do anything you already do today with an external hard drive. The only difference is that the expansion card is designed to match the exact performance of the internal storage of the Xbox Series X|S.

Xbox Wire: How does the Storage Expansion Card enable the use of Xbox Velocity Architecture?

Jason Ronald: The foundation of the Xbox Velocity Architecture is our custom, internal SSD delivering 2.4 GB/s of raw I/O throughput, more than 40x the throughput of Xbox One. The Seagate Expandable Storage Card was designed using the Xbox Velocity Architecture API to deliver the exact same consistent, sustained performance of our internal SSD ensuring you have the exact same gameplay experience regardless of where the game resides.

Xbox Wire: Will you be able to play games right from the Storage Expansion Card or do they need to be copied to the internal storage?

Jason Ronald: You can play directly from the Storage Expansion Card and you will have the exact same experience and performance as if the game was running from the internal SSD. Not only does this apply to games optimized for Xbox Series X|S, but also your favorite backwards compatible Xbox One, Xbox 360 and original Xbox games. When backwards compatible games are played directly from either the internal SSD or the Storage Expansion Card you will see significant improvements in load times due to the next generation performance of Xbox Series X|S.

Xbox Wire: Why did you decide to create a custom solution rather than enabling users to install off-the-shelf SSDs?

Jason Ronald: The Xbox Velocity Architecture delivers over 40x the performance of a standard hard drive, unlocking a new level of speed and performance that will virtually eliminate load times and enable new levels of innovation. To make this simple for both gamers and developers, we partnered closely with our friends at Seagate to deliver the very first 1 TB expandable storage solution that matches the exact performance of our internal SSD. This means that you can be confident you will receive the exact same next generation experience regardless of whether or not you are playing your games from the internal SSD or the Seagate Storage Expansion Card. Working with Seagate also enabled us to have a custom storage solution that is super compact, plug & play, and available at the launch of Xbox Series X|S.

Seagate’s 1 TB expansion cards will launch alongside the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S on November 10 for $219.99. Preorders are already open at select retailers.

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7 Comments

  1. It certainly is on the more expensive side even for an NVMe drive, but I honestly thought they were going to be even more expensive given the proprietary design. Let see what the price looks like in a year when there are more products on the market competing against each other.
  2. Lets see what compatible drives turn out to be fine for XBX/PS5 and can be used.

    I wouldn’t pay $200 for something I could buy for $100 and modify slightly. Xbox 360 120gb hdd firmware flash anyone? That was like a $200 upgrade that wasn’t that hard to modify a $50 drive and make work. I know 120gb is nothing now, but back in the 360 days it was like an infinite amount of space (sorta). PS4 was even easier, didn’t have to flash anything. 500gb drive came out, 2tb drive went in.

    And since when does seagate make nvme drives? I must have missed that meeting.

  3. That’s basically Samsung pricing. Probably not Samsung quality, of course, but if the drives can keep up it’s not too out to lunch.

    Would definitely like to see prices on higher-capacity expansion cards though!

  4. I’d like to see what 3rd-party options will be available. I still prefer the way Sony does things with PS3, PS4, and I think PS5: throw in your own off-the-shelf drive.
  5. I’d like to see what 3rd-party options will be available. I still prefer the say Sony does things with PS3, PS4, and I think PS5: throw in your own off-the-shelf drive.

    That could actually be pretty dangerous for Sony with the PS5, where they need guaranteed performance for their version of game asset streaming.

  6. That could actually be pretty dangerous for Sony with the PS5, where they need guaranteed performance for their version of game asset streaming.

    I’ve heard the same multiple times, and indeed it will be interesting to see how that situation plays out when devs have had a few years to get familiar with the hardware and really start cranking out games built for these systems from the ground-up.

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