Appears to be like like there is a easy solution to broaden Xbox Collection X|S storage with a PCIe 4.0 SSD

An image of an Xbox Series X with a WD SSD on one side and a Seagate expansion drive on the other

(Picture credit score: Future)

An enterprising modder has found out a solution to plug a normal NVMe SSD into the Xbox Collection X|S storage growth slot—not solely growing the console’s storage capability, however probably opening it as much as additional unofficial growth with NVMe SSDs, reminiscent of these present in a contemporary gaming PC.

The Xbox Collection X|S comes with a 1TB inside drive as customary. That may sound plentiful, however as we nicely know video games have gotten actual mighty storage hogs. So, to counter rising file sizes, the newest Xbox presents expandable storage by using an formally licensed Seagate growth drive.

That is the one assured solution to broaden your Xbox Collection S|X storage with out concern, however we’re now listening to there may very well be an unofficial possibility that utilises extra customary NVMe SSDs as a substitute.

Noticed by VGC, consumer Huashan Lunjian on Bilibili has outlined a how-to information on increasing the Xbox Collection X|S storage utilizing only a fashionable NVMe SSD and a CFexpress (CFe) to NVMe adapter. 

They clarify the switcheroo like this: the Xbox Collection X|S utilises two PCIe 4.0 x2 connections for storage, one for the inner drive and one other for the growth slot. That is the identical customary utilized by the newest gaming PCs to attach NVMe SSDs and add-in playing cards, reminiscent of a graphics card, to a system’s CPU and reminiscence.

Additional to that, each Xbox and PC use the NVMe protocol for fast storage entry, connected by way of PCIe.

So you have truly bought uniformity within the protocols used between Xbox and PC for storage in NVMe and PCIe. That is not notably shocking as a result of the Xbox Collection S|X consoles are basically simply compact AMD-powered PCs.

In concept, then, all that’s required to get an NVMe SSD constructed for a PC working with an Xbox Collection S|X is changing its M.2 key connection to the CFe connection utilized by each the Xbox and Seagate official growth drives.

The CFe connection is most frequently discovered on high-end digital camera storage and makes use of NVMe protocols over PCIe lanes for prime bandwidths. The newest CFe specification maxes out at PCIe Gen3 x4, for a max velocity of 4GB/s, which is definitely slightly totally different from the Xbox Collection S|X, however that does not seem like a lot of a difficulty as they provide equal bandwidth.

An image of the ESXS CFexpress M.2 adapter

Some adapters appear like the one above, whereas others are constructed with cameras in thoughts and use a cable between the CFe connection and the M.2 drive enclosure. (Picture credit score: TZT)

M.2 to CFe adapters are pretty straightforward to seek out on Ebay or Aliexpress, though you will must buy at your individual danger as we have not examined any ourselves. These all characteristic an M.2 keyed slot, with screw assist for numerous sizes of M.2 (make sure you select the proper one), that extends right into a CFe slot, reminiscent of that discovered on the official Seagate drive.

With an NVMe SSD loaded into the adapter, and put in within the console’s storage growth slot, it’s attainable to find the drive and entry the additional capability throughout the console’s settings menu.

Although some query marks stay, reminiscent of whether or not a wide-range of SSDs are supported and which is able to truly work by way of an adapter. 

The writer of the information notes that they’ve up to now solely examined the method with the identical Western Digital NVMe SSD discovered throughout the Xbox Collection X|S, the WD SN530 M.2 2230. That is fairly a small NVMe drive by PC’s requirements, and is definitely bodily restricted by its dimension as to what capability it will probably supply. Bigger drives, reminiscent of these extra generally present in gaming PCs, could possibly ship higher capacities, however up to now they’re largely untested.

Not less than one digital camera CFe storage card has been confirmed to not work with the system, however that does not rule out different NVMe SSDs. Equally, who’s to say Microsoft will not take nice offence to this workaround and patch out the performance.

Because the consumer notes: “it ought to be a crucial situation for the laborious disk to assist PCIe 4.0. It isn’t clear whether or not there’s a restrict on the dimensions of the laborious disk, and whether or not PCIe 4.0 x4 is feasible. If attainable, numerous laborious disks reminiscent of PM9A1 can be utilized.”

Ultimately you have to weigh up the value of an NVMe SSD and a CFe adapter mixed, and choose whether or not that is providing you greater than shopping for the simplicity of the official $200 Seagate growth card.

It is slightly riskier, to say the least, but when you’ll be able to broaden your console’s inside storage with one of many greatest PCIe 4.0 SSDs in a a lot increased capability that what’s out there formally that may simply unlock some storage issues for all you digital recreation hoarders on the market.

Jacob Ridley

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his personal tech weblog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking issues at PCGamesN, the place he would later win command of the package cabinet as {hardware} editor. These days, as senior {hardware} editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the newest developments within the expertise and gaming trade. When he isn’t writing about GPUs and CPUs, you will discover him making an attempt to get as far-off from the fashionable world as attainable by wild tenting.