Xbox Series X|S 1TB SSD expansion card priced at £220 / $220 – now available for pre-order [Updated]

Update: The UK pricing for the 1TB expansion card for Xbox Series X|S has now been confirmed at £220, per the Microsoft Store where it’s also now available for pre-order. That’s a chunk higher than we were expecting, considering the $220 US pricing.

The original article is below.

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While we’re waiting for a price in the UK and Europe, US retailer Best Buy has revealed the price of the 1TB SSD expansion cards for Xbox Series X|S. It will set US customers back a stinging $220 to double the effective internal storage of the Xbox Series X.

Australian retailers EB Games, JB Hi-Fi and Mighty Ape have also listed the SSD, with their prices in the $360–388 AUD range. In both cases, once we account for sales tax or lack thereof, this would roughly convert to £200 including VAT in the UK. This is, unfortunately, much higher than the £159 listing that was briefly spotted on Smyths Toys.

That’s a pretty steep price for a 1TB expansion of the Xbox Series’ internal memory, but comes from a combination of factors. Firstly, the SSD needs to match the ultra-high speed specs of the internal SSD, with a raw throughput of 2.4GB/s and a matching SSD controller to work with the Velocity Architecture. However, you can find similarly specced 1TB SSDs for PC that cost around £120-140. So there is clearly a bit of a markup. This can be attributed to a proprietary form factor which allows the SSD to be a plug and play memory card that slots into a dedicated port on the back of the console, and a partnership with Seagate, whose gaming branded storage is always pricier than identical general purpose options.

Thankfully the Xbox Series X|S will both be able to use basic USB 3.0 external hard drives in some ways. You will only be able to play Xbox Series X|S games from the internal SSD or these SSD expansions, but Xbox One games can be run from a standard hard drive, and these drives will also let you backup next-gen games to clear space. We’d expect and hope that the system software has robust tools for transferring games, much like the current Xbox One does.

Just because Microsoft have gone proprietary with their SSD expansion cards doesn’t mean things will be much better or cheaper over on PlayStation. Sony have pushed the PlayStation 5’s internal SSD to be more than twice as fast as that of the Xbox Series X|S, with 5.5GB/s in raw throughput. You will be able to use a standard PC NVME SSD to expand the internal storage of the PS5, but because of the custom design of Sony’s SSD, these will need to be at least as fast as the one in the PS5.

For that reason, Sony will be certifying third party drives for use with the PS5. The one problem? They don’t exist yet, and it’s only yesterday that Samsung revealed the 980 Pro SSD range that can potentially meet those lofty standards. For a 1TB drive, it has a similar price to the Xbox Series X|S expansion cards.

In other words, unless you’ve got a lot of cash to spare, you’ll be frugally managing your game installs for quite some time to come.

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7 Comments

  1. I don’t think using an external HDD for storage is going to be a huge issue. Read speeds on traditional harddrives with spinny bits in are (quickly Googles…) 100-200MB/s. Call it 150MB/s. Or around 9GB/min.

    So a 50GB game would take just under 6 minutes to copy onto the SSD. (We can ignore the speed of the SSD)

    How often would you be doing that? Even after a few years with lots of games? Most people will be sticking to a handful of games at any one time, which can all be safely left on the SSD. Maybe once a week you play something else and have to wait 6 minutes to move it across?

    And how much time do we currently spend waiting for things to load? You start a game up, it might take a couple of minutes before you’re in the game. Loading a level? Another minute waiting there. Zipping about all over the map with so-called “fast” travel? Half a dozen 30 second waits? There’s the 6 minutes you waited to unarchive the game from your external drive. And that’s just playing the game once. You’ll probably come back to it the next day and spend the same amount of time waiting.

    So even with carefully managing the SSD space and moving stuff about when needed, you’re still going to have more time actually playing the games once those loading times disappear with the SSD.

    Those rumoured prices from MS are going to be fun though. They may be around the same price as what you’ll need for a PS5, for a much slower SSD, but give it time and more options for the PS5 will appear and they’ll end up being cheaper.

    Who thought a proprietary format was a good idea? Ok, it’s probably more convenient.

    But do you want to pay extra to just easily slip it in? Or go for the cheaper option and spend a bit longer having to take things off first, maybe having to use some sort of tool, possibly with some swearing as you realise your fingers are too big to fit in the tight hole where it needs to go?

  2. I’d be happy to pay extra just to slip it in, but smut aside I agree, external hard drives and some thoughtful backup management are the way forward here. The yoot of today might even learn something.

    • Smut? That’s just you. My comments were perfectly innocent.

    • That makes the Series S price not so appealing as you will need extra storage if you want to install more than a few games.

      With only Seagate producing the game drives I cannot sea prices reducing very quickly if at all for a long time. There will be quite a few companies producing expansion drives suitable the PS5 so there will be competition which will help to reduce prices.

    • Exactly Camdaz

  3. I suspect the external drives for PS5 will be just as expensive, if not more, initially. But across the lifecycle of the console, the Sony route has the greater potential to reduce in cost over time.

    • Internal drives for the PS5. Not external.

      But yes, initially probably going to be just as expensive (but a lot faster) than the MS ones. But I doubt that’ll last long. Although these things tend to be a weird balance between getting bigger all the time and getting cheaper. The price comes down to a point, then gets replaced with a bigger capacity for a similar price.

      Quite possible the ones you need for a PS5 will come down in price, to a point, and MS are going to get left behind.

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