Game sizes are getting out of hand. Call of Duty Warzone is hovering around 250GB, MS themselves managed to shrink the size of Flight Simulator from 173GB to “just” 83GB. And of course MS’s other storage hog Halo The Master Chief Collection has varied between 50GB and 100GB as 343 has added features and improved the games over the years. That is why when the new consoles came out with internal storage of 1TB, many were skeptical about whether these consoles would be up to the task. MS and Sony, of course, anticipated this and happily revealed that their consoles would support super-fast expansion storage, albeit very different implementations.
Microsoft’s approach to this issue is to go back to the 32-bit era. They announced that they would with storage manufacturers to create expansion cards that are, effectively, the memory cards of old. Except more robust as they are based on modern storage technology and not just the pieces of cardboard that would fail if you looked at them wrong that was used in the past.
Basically this card is an external SSD, a PCI-E Gen 4 SSD that is certified by MS as compatible with their Velocity Architecture. This is the secret sauce that enables games on the Series X/S to launch in seconds and minimize to near zero any and all load times. Plugging one of these cards into the back of your console will have zero impact on load times when compared to games installed on the internal storage. The form factor is tiny measuring at 7.8mm x 31.6mm x 53mms. So it is slightly larger than your old PS2 memory card and just as easily lost, so be sure to keep an eye on it.
While the card itself is tiny, the packaging is not. Now I am sure there is a good reason for the packaging this card ships in (protection, not so easy to drop into a bag by a shoplifter, etc.), but in these days of eco friendly design it is a bit curious. Measuring at 51mm x 76mm x 140mms, the box is relatively huge and unnecessary as all that is inside is the card and some warranty and product pamphlets. If it sounds like I am reaching for a negative, I probably am. There is not much to not like about this card.
This is the secret sauce that enables games on the Series X/S to launch in seconds and minimize to near zero any and all load times.
I transferred all my Series X optimized games to the card, about 150GB or more, and that took less than five minutes.
Grumpy Old Man who still collects toys (THEY. ARE. NOT. DOLLS), PC Gamer lured to the Dark Side of console gaming, comic book reader and fan of all things pop culture.
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9 June 2021
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