Ever since Microsoft introduced its Xbox Series X/S game consoles in late 2020, Seagate has been exclusively selling storage expansion cards for these systems. But to the chagrin of gamers everywhere, these single-supplier drives have maintained their high prices even as the price of NAND and industry-standard SSDs has plummeted in the last year. But this might finally be changing, as Western Digital on Tuesday introduced its first WD_Black-branded storage expansion cards for Microsoft's latest Xbox consoles.

Western Digital's WD_Black C50 lineup of expansion cards for Microsoft's Xbox Series X|S consoles includes 500 GB and 1 TB models. The WD_Black C50 expansion cards are designed to offer similar performance and features (e.g., Quick Resume) as built-in Xbox Series X|S internal storage so to provide seamless experience no matter where the games are installed physically: on the internal SSD or on an expansion card.

Western Digital's WD_Black C50 500 GB is priced at $80, whereas the 1 TB version costs $150. By contrast, Seagate currently has 512 GB ($110), 1 TB ($150), and 2 TB ($280) options. It is noteworthy that Seagate is now offering its expansion drives with a 30% discount in the U.S., presumably in reaction to Western Digital's offerings.

The storage expansion units for Microsoft's newest Xbox Series X|S gaming systems are proprietary and only designed to be used with these consoles. Technically, these storage units resemble the CFexpress 1.0 Type-B design, yet they operate with a PCIe 4.0 x2 interface, whereas the CFexpress 1.0 Type-B specification mandates usage of a PCIe 3.0 x2 interface.

Microsoft is thought to charge a licensing fee from makers of Xbox Series X|S storage expansion cards, and apparently Seagate was the only company to agreed to the software giant's terms, which is why it was the exclusive supplier of such storage units for over two years.

It is noteworthy that it is possible to DIY a storage expansion card for the latest Xbox consoles by using a CFexpress-to-M.2-2230 adapter, originally developed to increase storage capacity in cameras using an M.2-2230 SSD. Currently, these adapters can be purchased from Amazon for $30. However, only a couple of hard-to-find 2230 drives are actually compatible with this method, leaving the official expansion cards as the only sure-fire and reliable way to add storage to Microsoft's consoles.

Source: Western Digital

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  • PeachNCream - Tuesday, June 6, 2023 - link

    The current gen Xbox storage situation is discouraging. I very much prefer the open way that Sony simply lets you pop in a new SSD.
  • Igor_Kavinski - Wednesday, June 7, 2023 - link

    Yeah, great strategy, Microsoft. You have a smaller user base so you milk them to shrink your user base even more. Brilliant! Only Yale/Harvard alumni could come up with a shooting your own foot idea like that. Gotta come up with cool ways for their employers to be able to afford their salaries.
  • Samus - Wednesday, June 7, 2023 - link

    Get a PS5. XBOX hasn't been a user friendly console since the original, and the only model to actually compete with the competition was the XBOX 360, many of which spectacularly failed.
  • StevoLincolnite - Wednesday, June 7, 2023 - link

    Spoken like a true fanboy.
  • Igor_Kavinski - Wednesday, June 7, 2023 - link

    He isn't a fanboy for speaking the truth.
  • Biden2024 - Saturday, July 29, 2023 - link

    Nope. PS5 NETWORK isn't free! Stay with Xbox Series. Sony is full of crap
  • Einy0 - Wednesday, June 7, 2023 - link

    Oh goody, now I can be ripped off a little less by WD instead of Seagate. How does Microsoft continually find ways to ruin everything they touch?
  • Igor_Kavinski - Wednesday, June 7, 2023 - link

    They hire the very best and ignore their advice. Those who shout the loudest in meetings get to dictate the outcome of the meeting.

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