Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card: one minute review
The Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card is a useful fix for an ever growing problem. Video games are getting much larger – not just in the size of their in-game worlds, but the file sizes they come in too.
It’s not uncommon for games to weigh in at more than 100GB these days, and the latest Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S consoles come with only 1TB and 512GB of built-in storage space respectively. So, the Seagate Storage Expansion Card looks to alleviate the pressure on that over-burdened built in storage. A simple plug-and-play memory card, it slots into the back of the new Xbox consoles, and… that’s it.
If you’re looking to pick up the Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card soon, you’re in luck. This excellent external SSD is likely to go on sale during the Black Friday 2022 sales period, as it has done in previous years. It’s typically among the best Black Friday Xbox deals with generous discounts on the 1TB variant especially.
In an instant, extra storage is seamlessly added, no set up required. Making use of the new Xbox Velocity Architecture storage system, the card can hit incredibly fast transfer and load speeds. It’s not as speedy as the built-in storage, but around forty times faster than a conventional drive, according to Microsoft. Note that a Velocity Architecture storage system is required to play Xbox Series X|S enhanced games.
The big drawback? The cost – it’s prohibitively expensive, almost the price of an Xbox Series S console itself. And Seagate kind of has us over a barrel at the moment – there’s no alternative to its card if you want extra space for your console, barring the laborious process of moving games back and forth between a conventional hard drive and the internal storage.
But the simplicity of the system can’t be knocked. It’s expensive, but not hugely more so than equivalent PC SSD sticks – and looks a damn sight easier to install than what Sony apparently has planned for the PS5. The Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card comes highly recommended.
Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card: price and availability
Available now, the 1TB Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card has a retail price of $219.99 / £254.99. So far, that seems to be a pretty unwavering price point, with discounts remaining quite rare.
It’s expensive, no doubt about it – but so is cutting-edge SSD technology as found in PCs, and somewhat trumped here. Considering the ease of installation and the performance of the card, it just about justifies the price – even if there’s a begrudging feeling that both the Xbox Series X and Series S should have had more built in storage to begin with.
Since it launched, two new 2TB and 512GB storage expansion cards have since released. The 512GB storage card is available to order for $139.99 / £159.99, while the 2TB storage card can currently be found for $399.99 / £474.99 instead.
Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card: design and performance
The Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card is a small gadget at 2.1” x 1.25” x 0.3” inches. Featuring a proprietary connection to the back of the Xbox Series X/S consoles, it can only be used with Microsoft’s machines. Two thirds of the card is a metal alloy that slips snugly into the console’s port, while the rest is wrapped in a black plastic shell with the Xbox logo and a little grip notch attached. There’s also an included transparent plastic cap for storage purposes.
Setup couldn’t be simpler – take it out of the package, pop the cap off, and push it into the appropriate port on the back of the console. That’s it – your card is prepared to work as additional Velocity Architecture SSD storage straight away. You might need to push it in slightly more than you’d have expected though – I initially received a warning that the card was recognized, but that the connection to it from the Xbox was weak. Inserting it more firmly worked and everything then worked as expected.
What’s worth pointing out though is that, like almost every hard drive, the usable space on the expansion card is less than the advertised 1TB. Between onboard drivers and the discrepancy in how the console reads available space on the card, you’re actually left with 920GB to play with. Still, that’s more than the 802GB the Xbox Series X’s “1TB” hard drive provides, and huge compared to the 512GB the Xbox Series S is shipped with.
So how many extra games can that 920GB let you install? That’ll vary on the type of game you’re playing. Call of Duty: Black Ops Cold War weighs in at a gigantic 190GB, so you’d barely be able to get that installed on the card four times. But if we say that the average game download size hovers around 30GB, you’d get an extra 30 games safely stored on the card. If you’re into smaller indie titles, expect that number to be much higher, while AAA open world game fans can expect it to be lower.
As for speed, the Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card is incredibly fast, supporting all the same Quick Resume features and speedy loading times that the console’s internal drive supports. It’s not quite as fast (booting a Yakuza: Like a Dragon save from the home screen took 45 seconds from the card, and 37 from internal storage), but it’s still much faster than previous console generation. When it comes to loading times in-game, the gap is almost imperceptible to anyone not carrying a stopwatch.
Transfer speeds are solid too – it’s slightly speedier to send files to internal storage from the card as opposed to the other way around, but only by a fraction. But it’s a night and day difference between the Seagate card and an external HDD – the 24.6GB driving sim WRC 9, for instance, took 3 minutes 50 seconds to move from internal storage to a USB 3 HDD, compared to just 1 minute 6 seconds for the Seagate card.
The Xbox Series X/S interface itself is very clear and easy to use when it comes to managing storage devices too. The settings section makes it obvious where each game is stored, and offers a simple transfer queue view to enable you to easily manage installation locations.
It’s worth noting also that, should you be going to a friend’s house, you can just plug your card into the back of their Xbox Series X/S console and access all the games stored on it with little faff. You’ll either need to sign into your account on their console to play the games, or your friend will need to have a license for them too. But it’s a quick and easy way to transport a good chunk of your game library.