With the latest generation of Xbox consoles coming with built-in solid-state memory, new games are being built around the expectation of being able to access this lightning-quick resource. Last year, we took a look at Seagate’s External Hard Drive solution for Xbox, which while surprisingly fast and a great solution for older Game Pass titles, simply wasn’t compatible with modern Series X/S games. With game install sizes increasing, the only way to get more storage for these new games is with the Seagate Storage Expansion Card, currently available in 1TB for an RRP of AU $359, which is compatible with the ‘Xbox Velocity Architecture’ which these games require.
It’s a premium price for another 1 TB of storage, but for the moment the Storage Expansion Card is a premium product, and it feels like it. Coming packaged snugly with a plastic protector for its connection into the Xbox, the card feels solid despite its slight size, coming in at only 5.3cm long, by 3.1cm wide and 0.7cm deep. Fitting into the ‘Storage Expansion’ slot at the back of your Xbox unit, the card isn’t completely enclosed, and its black plastic handle sticks a fair distance out of the back.
Installing the card is literally plug-and-play; although it’s worth noting on my first attempt the system gave a warning that the card wasn’t making proper contact with the drive bay – but it just took re-inserting the card a single time for everything to work smoothly. That’s all there is to it, really. Once it’s in, the Xbox automatically picks it up and makes the space available for you to use on any new game installations or downloads.
Speeds are impressively fast, a game like Destiny 2 with over a 100GB install size taking less than a couple of minutes to completely transfer onto the drive. Playing games from the drive feels absolutely no different to playing them off the internal one – it’s hard to find fault with a product like this that does exactly what it says on the tin, and doesn’t seem to overheat or fail even after extended sessions. Load times are short – if present at all with Xbox’s Quick Resume feature. In terms of actual space, 1TB isn’t a massive amount by today’s standards, but it certainly gives your Xbox a lot more breathing room, considering the Series X comes with a 1TB internal SSD, while the Series S only has 512GB of space. That said, it’s also worth taking price into consideration.
The Storage Expansion Card has an RRP of AU $359, although it can be found cheaper through various retailers at the moment. It’s worth comparing with the cost of the actual Xboxes, given the Series X is AU $749 and the S is AU $499. Buying it together with the Series S almost doubles the price you’re paying, which seems a little ridiculous when you could spend a little less for the Series X and get extra graphical horsepower on top. How the cost adds up for you is a question only you’ll be able to answer, but whether you’re purchasing for the Series S or X, the extra space provided is very much welcome.
One really cool thing is that the drive isn’t necessarily locked to the one console, and by Seagate making the card easily removable and protected with its little plastic shield, you can load the drive up with your own games, then take it over to a friend’s house to play. Assuming you do it at a post-2020 time when house visits are OK, of course.
As a product that doubles, or triples, the space inside your Xbox Series X and offers apparently no performance drawbacks, the Seagate Storage Expansion Card is excellently made and performs as you would expect. And, don’t forget, that it’s currently the only way to play Xbox Series X/S games natively on expanded storage, without having to copy the game back onto the console’s provided internal SSD. The question is whether you need that extra storage right away, or whether you can hang on for another year or so for prices to potentially come down. It’s possible that we’ll see increased sizes for the same price, as is often the case with storage media, over time.
It’s certainly a pricey addition, and if you find that you only need that extra room for older Xbox One or 360 games, then for your money’s worth there are other options which will offer far more space at a lower price. For an Xbox Series X/S owner with a plethora of X/S games to play, there’s no better option right now than the Seagate Storage Expansion Card, so long as you can budget for it in a way that makes sense for you.
-Doubles the storage of your Series X, or triples your Series S, instantly -Small, easy to install and immediately works, and can be switched between consoles -Blazing fast speeds to copy games -Supports all Series X/S games, unlike other external hard drives
-Comparatively high cost compared to external drives, costs almost as much as a Series S