Xbox Series X and Series S -- Here's How External Memory Storage Will Work

Xbox has more than one option when it comes to external storage for their next-generation hardware, but what are the differences?

By Cameron Hawkins

September 11, 2020

After months of anticipation, we finally have the release date of the Xbox Series X and the Xbox Series S being November 10 later this year. We here at DualShockers already have multiple articles explaining the important details for the next-generation of Xbox hardware, but there is something specifically prominent about the Series X and the Series S that some may not fully understand, which is Xbox’s inclusion of expansion cards.

Ahead of the systems’ launch in November, here is what we know so far about how you’ll be able to expand the storage on both the Xbox Series X and Series S.

Expansion Cards vs. External Memory – What’s the Difference?

Xbox has teamed up once again with Seagate, known for producing quality hard drives for both PC and consoles. Together they are creating expansion cards that look similar to memory cards back on the PlayStation 2, but these work differently from the system’s standard storage.

Both the Xbox Series X and Series S are equipped with a Solid State Drive as their form of internal memory storage, with 1TB for the Series X and 512GB for the Series S. With the Solid State Drive, games will load much faster than on current generation hardware. With the expansion cards, this will naturally expand the storage available to download titles onto your Xbox, but it will also benefit from the SSD inside of your Xbox itself, unlike an external hard drive. Xbox tried to implement expansion cards in the past during the 360 generation, but it never really took off.

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As of now, it seems that there will only be expansion cards at the size of 1TB, with no telling whether or not there will be larger ones in the future.  These cards are unfortunately proprietary, so only the Xbox and Seagate cards will work on the Series X and the Series S. There is currently no price point for the Xbox expansion card, but it’s rumored to be $220 after a listing appeared through GameStop’s internal system.

For those who have no interest in the expansion cards, both the Series X and Series S have USB hard drive support, so you can purchase and connect an external hard drive. However, your games installed on it will not get the benefits of the consoles’ Solid State Drive. Portable external hard drives can go up to 5TB, ranging just above a $100 price point; non-portable hard drives go up even higher in storage size as well.

What Storage Should I Get for Xbox Series X/Series S?

At the end of the day, it depends on your personal preference. Generally, the expansion cards will offer less storage but faster speeds, while external hard drives will provide more storage with slower speeds. Both options are viable for the Xbox Series X or Series S, and they can both be used together; it doesn’t have to be one or the other. Hopefully, it will be more affordable to have both in the coming years.

The Xbox Series X and Series S will be releasing on November 10, 2020. Pre-orders will be available beginning on September 22. Check out our pre-order guide, which will help direct you to the major retailers that will have both consoles available for purchase.

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Cameron Hawkins

Cameron Hawkins is a Staff Writer at Dualshockers. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Journalism with an Emphasis in News at the University of Nevada, Reno. He has played Video Games as long as he can remember. Some of his favorite games series include; Kingdom Hearts, Mass Effect, and Final Fantasy.

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