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How to make the most of the Xbox Series X and Series S SSD

The Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S have finally released. As players around the world are unpacking their boxes and setting up their consoles, the industry is taking its first step into the new console generation.

Newly released games and backwards compatible titles can now be rendered in up to 4K 120 FPS when taking advantage of Microsoft’s cutting edge technology. The Xbox Series X and Series S will also improve load times and unlock newly designed features such as Quick Resume.

There is a suite of improvements, optimizations, and quality of life changes that Microsoft has developed on Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. All of the next-gen features are made possible thanks to Microsoft’s custom NVMe SSD.

We’ll go over how to make the most out of the SSD on your Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S.

Install directly onto SSD

For many players, transitioning to the Xbox Series X/S means bringing over their library from the Xbox One. Rather than plug an existing HDD a USB port on the new console and leaving it, it’s suggested that players move their games over to the SSD. This tip also extends to newly installed games. Regardless of whether you have an HDD connected to the console, it’s advised to always install directly on the SSD. Transferring games from an older external HDD to an SSD is a speedy process. Depending on the file size, a transfer of a larger game can be done in 10 minutes or so.

The reasoning behind this is that all next-gen features directly utilize the power of the Xbox Series X and Series S SSD. Games are still compatible and will run off an HDD – though they’ll only run as if they are being played on an Xbox One S. You will not see the benefits of Quick Resume and Xbox Velocity Architecture improvements on any game that is not installed on the SSD.

Keep storage limitations in mind

Out of the box, the Xbox Series X has 1TB of storage, while the Series S has 512GB. However, the caveat is that both SSD has the OS and system files already installed. In reality, the Series X has 802GB available while the Series S has 364GB.

As you probably know, game sizes are getting pretty steep lately. Games like Halo: The Master Chief Collection, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, and Destiny 2  exceed the 100GB mark. Depending on how many games you have in your library or are keen to purchase this fall, you should consider the limitations of the storage.

Alternatively, you can always purchase the 1TB storage expansion from Seagate. As it is also an SSD, all games installed on the expansion card will support next-gen optimization and features. Additionally, you can shuffle games to and from the SSD to an HDD when not in use.

Prioritize Series X/S enhanced games

Once you’re all set up, go into the My Games and Apps menu from the dashboard. Here, you’ll be able to see all your Optimized for Series X/S games. You’ll know which games are included as their tab will include a little X/S marker in the corner. You can even filter the menu to only show optimized games. It’s highly suggested you keep those games on the SSD at all times.

Any game installed on the console’s SSD will greatly improve from decreased load times and other benefits. However, it’s the games with that marker that have been specifically optimized for the console. More often than not, they are a part of Microsoft’s Smart Delivery initiative. Games like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Yakuza: Like a Dragon, and Destiny 2 can be purchased on Xbox One. They will then be brought over to Xbox Series X/S and leverage the hardware. DirectX Raytracing, VRR, and more can be experienced when playing off the SSD.

With these tips in mind, you can get the most out of the SSD on your Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S. Next-gen is an exciting thing to experience. Now, you’ll be able to concentrate on what matters the most: playing.

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Steve Vegvari

Steve is based in Toronto, Ontario. His adoration for everything gaming began very early on in the SNES-era. He’s gone on to write honest content around the web. While not writing about games, Steve is often looking for the next big narrative-driven title. Something with an impactful story, regardless of genre or platform. Bonus points if it has an appealing achievement/trophy list!

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