When it comes to Xbox Series X storage, you’ll want to know exactly what you’re dealing with before you start thinking about diving into your favorite games, and yet some of the terms can be pretty intimidating to a new gamer.
While the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S are more user-friendly than the gaming PCs, the storage mode is not as intuitive as it should be and can be for a first-time user. There are a few caveats to note, and with a decent amount of ready stock, you’ll want to make sure you know exactly what you’re buying and why it can be so useful.
We’ll cover everything from internal to external drives, the differences between an HDD and an SSD, and shed some light on what an NVMe SSD is. Most importantly, you’ll know exactly how Xbox Series X storage works by the end of this guide. Of course, everything mentioned here is also about the Xbox Series S, which is worth remembering for gamers who have opted for a more budget-friendly console.
Xbox Series X Storage: Everything you need to know
Xbox Series X Storage: How Much Do You Get?
The Xbox Series X comes with a 1TB NVMe SSD, while the Xbox Series S is equipped with a 512GB NVMe SSD. The Xbox Series X has 802GB of storage, which means that 198GB is reserved for system files and the Xbox OS.
The Xbox Series S, meanwhile, only has 364GB of usable storage. Games should take up 30% less space than their Xbox Series X counterparts as file sizes are reduced since developers aren’t targeting 4K resolution, but you’ll likely need to expand system memory sooner rather than later.
What is an NVMe SSD?
NVMe SSDs (Non-Volatile Memory) are a superior storage solution compared to standard HDDs and SSDs. Due to the fact that NVMe SSDs use PCIe sockets to transfer data, they can transmit up to 25 times more data than their slower SATA counterpart (which is the hard drive the Xbox One uses).
NVMe drivers also cut out the middleman by connecting directly to the system’s CPU, and the end result is blazingly fast performance. The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S both rely on this new storage format to create the next generation performance leap, so it is essential to understand the difference between the three types of drives.
Is NVMe SSD the same as an SSD?
No, and that can be confusing to many — especially since Microsoft regularly refers to their storage units as just “SSD”. Regular SSDs (Solid State Drives) are based on SATA, which is a much slower way to transfer data within a system.
An SSD is still much faster than a regular mechanical hard drive (and much less likely to fail due to a lack of moving parts), so it’s not all bad. However, its speeds pale in comparison to an NVMe drive.
How to expand Xbox Series X storage | S.
Microsoft’s solution to expanding the internal memory of the Xbox Series X | S with ultra-fast NVMe storage is fairly neat, if expensive. Microsoft has released 512GB, 1TB, and 2TB models of the Seagate Xbox Storage Expansion Card that inserts into the back of both consoles, like a memory card. Anything you store on NVMe drives will benefit from the full power suite that the Xbox Series X | hardware has to offer S.
Microsoft also revealed that more storage solutions will be on the way, so consumers won’t be at the mercy of buying their own drive. This is good news, as proprietary drives can often be more expensive than components from third-party manufacturers.
You can connect an external hard drive or hard drive to play Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games. You won’t benefit from the blazing speeds offered by NVMe drives, however, SSDs are still much faster than hard drives, so if you’re going for an external option, choose an SSD. Any games optimized for Xbox Series X (like Gears 5 for example) will need to go to internal NVMe drives in order to run.
Xbox Series X | Games can be stored S files on external drives, but they will not be bootable unless they are moved back to the main NVMe drives. Quick Resume, a feature that allows you to suspend and resume multiple games at once, will work regardless of where the games are installed.
|Header cell – column 0||Can You Play XSX Games | XSS optimized from it?||Can You Play XSX Games | Enhanced and compatible XSS?||Can you play Xbox One / replay compatible games from it?||Can you store xsx | XSS / Xbox One / Compatible?|
|Xbox Series X | S NVMe SSD||yes||Yes (they will benefit from faster load times)||Yes (they will benefit from faster load times)||yes|
|External Hard Drive (USB 3.1)||number||No, only Xbox One / backward compatible games||yes||Yes, but cannot play XSX | games Enhanced XSS except from an NVMe SSD|
|External SSD (USB 3.1)||number||No, only Xbox One / backward compatible games||Yes (they will benefit from faster load times)||Yes, but cannot play XSX | games Enhanced XSS except from an NVMe SSD|