The next generation of consoles is here with faster speeds and better graphics. Sadly, the base storage is still capped at 1TB. You can always add on an external HDD or SSD drive for more storage. For the Xbox One, this worked great and even improved game loading speeds and performance. In the case of the Xbox Series X|S, however, you will not be able to take advantage of the faster load speeds of the console with an external drive. That’s where Seagate comes in.
Our Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S review looks at an SSD expansion card that promises to match the peak performance of the consoles. Read on to see if it lives up to that promise!
The Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S sent to us has the following features and specifications:
- Built-in partnership with Xbox to seamlessly match the full power of both the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S
- Add 1TB of peak performance storage to your Xbox Series X or Xbox Series S without sacrificing performance
- Compatible with the Xbox Velocity Architecture—providing faster load times, richer environments, and more immersive gameplay
- Achieve the same performance of the Xbox Velocity Architecture when playing games that have been optimized for Xbox Series X
- Quick resume means gamers can switch between multiple titles in seconds—from either the internal SSD or the expansion card
- Easily plug in and play, or remove the card and take your games with you
- Capacity: 1TB
- Flash Memory: Custom PCIe Gen4x2 NVMe
- Form Factor: Xbox Series X|S Storage Expansion Card
- Dimensions: 7.8 x 31.6 x 52.95mm (0.31 x 1.24 x 2.09in)
- Weight: 30g (1.06oz)
- Limited Warranty: 3 years
What’s in the box
- Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S
- Protective cover
- Product information guide
- Limited warranty guide
The Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S is a small little guy. just over 1/4-inch thick, it’s about 1 1/4-inches wide and just over 2-inches in length. The bottom inch-and-a-quarter is metal and has the Seagate logo on it. This top black plastic piece is slightly thicker, has the Xbox logo stamped in it, a small rectangular nub on each flat side to help with removal from your Xbox Series X|S, and 1TB stamped on the back edge.
The expansion card also comes with a small translucent smoke grey protective cover for when the card isn’t in your Xbox.
There really is nothing to the installation for the Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S. If you’ve used an SD or microSD card, it’s as simple as that. Locate the storage expansion slot on the back of your Xbox (it’s below the network port on the Series X and to the left of the HDMI port on the Series S), and push it in with the 1TB lettering matching the orientation of the lettering on the ports on the back of your Xbox.
Once done, fire up your Xbox and you should see the new drive ready to use. For your convenience, you can also rename it in the settings menu on your console.
Microsoft and Seagate both claim that the Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S gives the same performance as a game installed on the internal hard drive. To test that claim, we loaded up the games below on both the internal drive and the expansion card and compared the load times.
The process I used was to hard shutdown the Xbox Series X. I then started it up from a cold boot. Once booted, I launched each game at the same time as starting the stopwatch app on my smartphone. Once the first screen came up where I could use an input (press A/menu to continue, login, etc), I stopped the stopwatch. Of course, the test isn’t 100% scientific and there is sure to be a bit of delay due to reaction time in stopping the stopwatch, but gives a rough idea of the loading times of various games.
NOTE: * denotes Series X|S optimized games at time of testing.
|Game||Xbox Series X internal drive||Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S|
|Anthem||33s 84ms||34s 92ms|
|Assassin’s Creed Odyssey||44s 04ms||41s 51ms|
|Assassin’s Creed Valhalla*||33s 10ms||34s 58ms|
|Bright Memory*||28s 13ms||28s 83ms|
|Destiny 2||14s 15ms||16s 51ms|
|DOOM Eternal||34s 01ms||34s 54ms|
|Fallout 76||19s 47ms||20s 12ms|
(variance likely due to connecting time)
|21s 69ms||15s 67ms|
|Forza Horizon 4
(time to actual gameplay)*
|1m 24s 54ms||59s 06ms|
|Forza Motorsport 7||31s 37ms||30s 41ms|
(timed to when intro started as it can be skipped)
|21s 75ms||23s 09ms|
|Gears 5*||53s 11ms||45s 93ms|
|Gears Tactics*||54s 99ms||50s 53ms|
|Halo: MCC*||33s 40ms||31s 33ms|
|Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice||34s 27ms||37s 04ms|
|The Outer Worlds||31s 92ms||32s 65ms|
|Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order||1m 06s 01ms||59s 02ms|
|Tetris Effect Connected*||40s 70ms||41s 03ms|
|Warhammer Chaosbane: Slayer Edition*
(timed to when intro started as it can be skipped)
|38s 98ms||40s 24ms|
|Wasteland 3||42s 56ms||43s 92ms|
As you can see, the load times are near identical for games installed on the internal Xbox Series X drive or the Seagate expansion card. Some games loaded a second or two quicker on the internal drive or the expansion card, but again, that’s likely due to human reaction delay. It’s nowhere near the difference I experienced with an external SSD on the Xbox One. Transferring files is pretty quick as well. For example, a 40GB game only takes about 45 to 60 seconds to transfer from the Seagate expansion card to the Series X internal drive and vice versa.
With an MSRP of US$219.99/CA$299.99, the Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S is expensive. At that price, it’s about 40% of the cost of a new Series X.
When compared to 1TB NVMe cards on the market, it’s easily double the price of most — however, those are not 4th Gen cards. If you move to the higher end cards, however, it’s about 30% more expensive than the current sale price of cards like the Samsung 970 Pro or the WD_Black. Going one step further, it’s not that far off in price from the few new PCIe Gen 4 SSD cards on the market.
While you could get a regular external SSD to expand your storage, you won’t be getting the same internal speeds or be able to take advantage of the Series X|S improvements. And with some games hitting almost 200GB an install, you’ll be needing all the fast storage you can get.
That being said, if you only play one or two games regularly, you could easily do with standard HDD or SSD external storage and just copy to your internal drive when playing a certain game. But if you’re in a household with a few gamers who play different games, the extra storage and performance of the Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S definitely comes in handy.
The Seagate Storage Expansion Card for Xbox Series X|S allows you to easily double the storage on your new console without sacrificing speed. Sure it’s a bit expensive, but it is a newer technology and in line with other NVMe 4.0 drives cost-wise. Hopefully, over time, there will be other options, including different storage sizes.