A Chinese company has released a conversion adapter that lets you install select M.2-2230 SSDs into the Microsoft's Xbox Series X and S game console expansion slots, reports Hermitage Akihabara. The tiny device enables cheap storage upgrades for Microsoft's latest gaming machines and breaks Seagate's monopoly on Xbox Series X and S storage expansion cards.
Sintech's DIY CFexpress Card PA-CFEM2-C conversion adapter can house an M.2-2230 NVMe SSD and connect it to a CFexpress Type-B interface. The unit is marketed specifically for Microsoft's latest game consoles. However, you can also use it to make your own CFexpress Type-B card for use with professional DSLR cameras and appropriate card readers. The adapter costs $29.99.
The adaptor has a major limitation, though. While it can house any short M.2-2230 drive with a PCIe interface, the consoles are only compatible with select SSDs featuring a specific firmware and internal format. For example, Western Digital's WD Blue CH SN530 is naturally compatible with Microsoft's consoles, but the WD Blue PC SN530 is not. This could be why you can't use typical CFexpress 1.0 Type-B cards to expand the storage in Microsoft's consoles. Unfortunately, it's currently unclear how many SSDs are on the market that fit these specific requirements.
Microsoft's latest Xbox Series X|S game consoles use proprietary storage expansion cards that come in CFexpress 1.0 Type-B form-factor and use two PCIe Gen4 lanes (as opposed to two PCIe Gen3 lanes mandated by the CFexpress 1.0 Type-B specification). Since these cards are currently only made by Seagate, they are quite expensive — they currently cost around $220 for a 1TB version. However, as proven by an enthusiast, it is possible to build an expansion drive for the latest Xboxes using a CFexpress to M.2-2230 adapter (which was designed to build higher-capacity storage devices for cameras) and a compatible SSD.