Cloned Xbox Series X internal SSDs can work on other Series X consoles

Internal Xbox Series X SSD drives can only be be used as internal SSDs in other Xbox Series X consoles if they are cloned.

Published Tue, Sep 14 2021 4:25 PM CDT   |   Updated Sat, Oct 9 2021 2:20 PM CDT

The Xbox Series X's internal PCIe 4.0 SSD can technically be replaced, but only with a cloned drive from the exact same console...and a Series X SSD doesn't work on an Xbox Series S console.

Cloned Xbox Series X internal SSDs can work on other Series X consoles 4124 |

The two Xbox Series X SSDs used in the test: the original WD CH SN530 SSD (left) and the donor XA1-31512 SSD (right).

According to YouTuber TronixFix, the Xbox Series X's internal SSD is apparently replaceable, but there's a catch: The replacement drive has to be a cloned version of the console's original drive.

Tests from YouTuber TronixFix confirm that the Series X's internal SSD has custom features that are essential to the console's operation, and the system won't power up unless the original drive--or a clone of the original drive--is installed. You can't just go out and buy a M.2 2230 SSD, slot it into the Xbox Series X's internal socket, and expect it to power up and operate. This is likely due to the custom ASIC that enables PCIe 4.0 (Gen4 x2) on the internal Xbox WD SN530 drive.

On top of the ASIC, this is to be expected as all Xbox consoles require special partitioning and OS software to be installed onto the drive in order to boot. For example, when I replaced the Xbox One's 2.5-inch HDD years ago, I had to use Linux to create special partitions on the new drive and download the latest console firmware for it to boot.

The test was conducted with two internal Xbox Series X SSDs from two separate consoles. The SSDs are actually different models, one being the custom WD CH SN530 SSD and another a XA1-31512 model SSD from Solid State Technology Group. The off-the-shelf third-party drive was a 1TB Sabrent M.2 2242 (SB-1342-1TB) SSD that delivers up to 2.5GB/sec speeds, which meets the Series X/S's speed threshold.

The results show an Xbox Series X won't boot up with a transplanted donor SSD installed. The console's original M.2 2230 SSD was cloned onto the donor SSD, and the console actually booted up with the clone donor SSD installed.

What's interesting is that one Xbox Series X SSD can't be transplanted into another separate Xbox Series X. Like the PS4, gamers can't swap internal Xbox Series drives between two systems. The internal SSD only work with the original hardware similar to a Windows 10 OEM copy.

Gamers also can't swap in an SSD from an Xbox Series X (1TB) into an Xbox Series S, which only comes with 512GB of SSD storage.

That being said, someone was able to take an original internal Xbox Series X SSD, hook it up to a CFExpress card reader, and slot it into an Xbox Series S' expansion card port. The console recognized it as external storage as if it were one of Seagate's 1TB expansion storage modules.

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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