Xbox Series X: Memory Cards Return to the Console

Xbox Series X: Memory Cards Return to the Console


The mysterious port on the back of the Xbox Series X would be good for expanding the console’s SSD storage. This would mark the return of console memory cards.

Microsoft’s next console, the Xbox Series X, continues to be unveiled little by little. In January, photos of the console prototype confirmed the connection at the rear of the machine.

An extension of SSD storage

However, the photos showed a mysterious, unlabeled port between the HDMI port and the S/PDIF audio port. We then assumed that this port was an expansion port for the console’s SSD storage.

Journalist Brad Sams was able to confirm this hypothesis by asking his sources. According to these, the Xbox X Series will offer a specific port for expanding storage.

Games that take up space

Both the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will incorporate high-speed internal SSD storage. This should develop new opportunities in video games, and reduce loading times to zero.

The problem is that SSD storage is still relatively expensive, and video games are taking up more and more space. Red Dead Redemption 2 had been noticed for its 107 GB requested to be installed on Xbox One.

Sony has already announced that PS5 games can be modularized to take up less space, for example by installing a single-player mode in a game. The brand also said that with the optimal speed of SSDs, developers will no longer have to duplicate certain files as they did with hard drives.

The two firms are therefore clearly thinking about allowing the installation of as many games as possible on a storage that is certainly fast, but limited. Expect a limited space of 1TB at launch, enough to install a little less than 9 games like Red Dead Redemption 2.

The memory card for more games

Microsoft’s solution would therefore include the integration of this extension port on the back of the console. That means players should be able to buy “ cartes mémoires ” SSDs sold by Microsoft to extend storage.

The interface will not be done in USB, whose speed is generally limited to 5 or 10 Gb/s (USB 3.0 and USB 3.1).

Brad Sams hypothesizes that CFExpress cards are currently used in photography. However, the prices are very high: 200 euros for a 64 GB card that won’t even be big enough to store an AAA game.


The SSD of the Surface Pro X. Credit: iFixit

Our preference is to use NVMe M.2 SSDs in 2230 format. It is this type of ultra compact SSD that is integrated into the Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 3. Two machines where Microsoft promotes interchangeable SSDs.

The prices of these storages are much more reasonable: about 130 euros for a 512 GB SSD for example.

Of course, we can only imagine that this SSD will come directly behind the Xbox. It would be necessary to imagine a case making it easier for the general public to handle it and not directly showing the printed circuit board of the storage.

Microsoft is expected to showcase the Xbox Series X, and its external storage solution, in detail at E3 in June.

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