Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S Review
Seagate’s Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X and S offers more space for your games and media, it’s pricey but offers seamless setup and excellent performance, my full review.
The next generation of consoles has been packed with an abundance of things: stunning graphics, ultra high-end resolution assets and blazing fast frame rates. All this high fidelity gaming leaves quite the large footprint on your drive. Despite the remarkable increase in file size, one thing has remained relatively unchanged: storage capacity.
The Xbox Series X comes with a 1TB internal drive, where the Series S sports a smaller 512GB worth of storage. Games are only getting larger and if you plan on downloading 4K assets or capturing your own game footage, that space can fill up quickly.
"Games are only getting larger and if you plan on downloading 4K assets or capturing your own game footage, that space can fill up quickly."
Luckily, there is a solution from Seagate for the Xbox Series X and S, enter the Seagate Storage Expansion Card.
The Expansion Card comes in 3 different sizes offering an additional 512GB, 1TB, or 2TB of storage that plugs directly into the back of your console. The pricing of the hardware starts at $139.99 USD (512GB), $219.99 USD (1TB) and finally $399.99 USD (2TB). Admittedly, these price points can get quite expensive, especially when you factor in the price of the console itself. The bigger question is whether or not it’s worth spending the money on one of these cards, and that’s what I’m here to help answer.
Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S Hardware Details
Device Type: High Speed Storage
Testing the Seagate Storage Expansion Card 1TB model
Seagate was kind enough to send along the 1TB version of their Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X and S to test out. The card is very well designed, it has a simple all-black matte finish and is super compact. The card fits snugly into the dedicated storage expansion port on the back of either console and requires no additional software or setup to get working.
"The card fits snugly into the dedicated storage expansion port on the back of either console and requires no additional software or setup to get working."
As soon as you plug it in and boot up your console, you’ll be able to start downloading games and saving content onto the card with ease.
It currently is the only option on the market to support next-gen storage on the Xbox Series X|S. You can buy other USB hard drives but they will only work with last generation and legacy games, and for storing next-gen games. You cannot load and play an Xbox Series X|S game from a standard USB drive, so keep that in mind with your purchasing decisions. I’m going to breakdown my experience with the Storage Expansion Card into 3 categories: aesthetics, set up and, finally, performance.
Hardware design and aesthetics
In terms of design, the Seagate Storage Expansion Card looks identical to the Xbox Series X black outer shell. It features the same matte black finish with a metallic finish on one side. The card is also very lightweight, weighing in at just 30 grams or .066 lb. The unit itself measures 0.307in x 1.244in x 2.085in in length x width and depth.
(From LEFT to RIGHT a size comparison: Dreamcast VMU, PlayStation One Memory Card, Seagate Storage Expansion Card and a Nintendo Gamecube Memory Card)
This is one tiny SSD, think the original size of a PlayStation One memory card (it’s actually a few millimetres smaller) and you get an idea of it’s ultra compact size. It sports a matte black edge to match the exterior design of the Series X. The main body of the device is a metallic silver but you won’t see that part of it fully inserted into the Series S|X hardware.
The drive also sports a small Xbox logo and a plastic translucent cap to protect it for gaming on the go. The outer facing strip also indicates the size of the card with a "1TB" written in silver text. An added extra to note is the 3-year manufactures warranty which is above and beyond what a majority of hardware makers offer.
One thing to note is that the card does protrude slightly out from the back of the console when plugged in. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it allows for easier access to the card, but it could sit a little more flush. The bottom line is that the Seagate Storage Expansion Card is the only storage solution that lets you take full advantage of Xbox Series X|S power, while expanding the storage.
"The bottom line is that the Seagate Storage Expansion Card is the only storage solution that lets you take full advantage of Xbox Series X|S power, while expanding the storage."
Expansion Card hardware and software setup
Setting up the hard drive is an absolute breeze, there is an included instruction manual but you really won’t need it. Pull off the protective plastic cap, plug in the drive to your Xbox Series S or X and it’s ready for use in 6-7 seconds.
"Setting up the hard drive is an absolute breeze, there is an included instruction manual but you really won’t need it."
As soon as you insert it into the dedicated storage expansion slot on the back of either Xbox Series X or S, it will be ready to go. No extra software or set up is required which makes it extremely user friendly. The drive is also recognised and supported by both Xbox Series X and S consoles so you won’t have to worry about compatibility issues.
Once plugged in, a notification will pop up on screen letting you know that the card has been detected and is ready to use. You can then immediately start downloading games, saving content and locally transferring content without having to do any additional configuration. No formatting, no software its plug and play like an old school memory card, except it has far, far more storage and blazing fast read and write speeds. The whole process from start to finish takes seconds which is very impressive.
"No formatting, no software its plug and play like an old school memory card, except it has far, far more storage and blazing fast read and write speeds."
Once the drive is ready for use the 1TB model has 920GB free space. From there, you can choose to either move your existing games and apps over, or install new ones directly to the expansion card—I opted for a mix of both. The whole process was incredibly seamless and I didn’t run into any issues whatsoever.
Storage Expansion Card Performance
The internal SDD with the Xbox Series X and S hit around 2.4 GB/second with transfer speed which is blazing fast. The Storage Expansion Card has enough read and write bandwidth behind it to sport similar numbers although it boot times it is slightly slower than the internal SSD. It’s the latest in PCIE Gen 4 NVMe SSD technology sporting custom firmware. This allows for things like Quick Resume and the Velocity Architecture all to work with this device.
"It’s the latest in PCIE Gen 4 NVMe SSD technology sporting custom firmware. This allows for things like Quick Resume and the Velocity Architecture all to work with this device."
Supports Next-Gen Xbox Velocity Architecture
The purpose of this drive is to play games optimized for the Xbox Series X and S, it also closely replicates the speed and performance of the internal SSD. This is the drive you need to pack more next-gen gaming experiences onto your Xbox Series S and X. It is the only available expansion card that replicates the Xbox Velocity Architecture, that provides faster load times, more immersive gameplay, and richer settings.
Now let’s talk raw performance - in my tests DIRT 5 a 65 GB game only took 1 minute and 40 seconds to transfer from internal to external. Loading games was a similar ultra fast experience as well. Many have questions about the high price tag but when looking at comparable hardware on the market, the cost is in line with the technology. As the technology is adopted more I am sure we’ll see the price come down but it is a pricey investment, especially considering it’s half the cost of the Series S, or more depending on the model you opt for.
USB Drive vs. Storage Expansion Card
Unlike external standard USB drives, the Seagate card offers the full speed of the Xbox Velocity Architecture. This Velocity Architecture is necessary for next-gen gaming experiences as it offers the fast load times that are crucial for ultra fast loading of HD textures, sound and more. It also is required for Xbox exclusive features like Quick Resume.
Final thoughts on the Storage Expansion Card
The Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S is the perfect way to expand the storage of your next-gen console. It’s easy to set up, looks great and sports similar performance numbers to the internal SSD. The only downside is the steep price tag, but this packs the performance of similar drives on the market and has pricing that is in line. Overall, I highly recommend it for those looking for more storage on their Xbox Series S or X.
Seagate Storage Expansion Card PROS
+ Easy setup
+ Blazing fast read and write speeds
+ Aesthetically pleasing and ultra compact design
+ 3 year warranty
Seagate Storage Expansion Card CONS
- The card is very pricey
- Only option on the market
A sample of the hardware was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of this review.
About the Author - Matthew "Dapper Tux" Rondina
Matthew has been involved in all things gaming since the 8-bit era. He is a veteran of the video game and tech industry who has been passionate about technology and gaming for over 20 years. Along with being the Managing Editor of dappertux.com, he has bylines with Best Buy, Cineplex Entertainment, Mobile Syrup and Walmart. Follow Matthew’s gaming + tech adventures on twitter, Instagram and join in on the fun!
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