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How much free storage does Xbox Series S have?

The Xbox Series S comes with a 512GB internal SSD, but you only get 364GB of usable storage space out of the box after accounting for reserved system files. This article provides an in-depth look at the Xbox Series S storage capacity, how to expand it, and how the smaller SSD still delivers fast performance.

Breaking Down the Xbox Series S 512GB SSD

When you first boot up your brand new Xbox Series S, you‘ll notice that the 512GB SSD advertised on the box does not show 512GB of available space. Here‘s how the storage breaks down:

  • Total SSD capacity: 512GB
  • Reserved for system software and functions: 148GB
  • Usable space for games, apps, and media: 364GB

This means the operating system and critical console files take up 148GB right off the bat. The remaining 364GB is what you have left over to install your games library and media.

Why System Files Take Up 148GB

It‘s completely normal that you don‘t get 100% of the advertised capacity. All computers and consoles reserve part of their storage at the system level. Here‘s what‘s included in that 148GB reserved space on Xbox Series S:

  • Xbox operating system
  • System update files
  • Critical system tools and drivers
  • Background services and processes
  • System cache and temporary files
  • Saved game backups

Ensuring this portion of storage is protected for system-level files enhances performance and stability. While it does reduce usable space for users, this practice is standard across Xbox, Playstation, Nintendo Switch, PC, and other gaming platforms.

Is 364GB Enough for the Average Gamer?

For casual or budget-focused gamers, 364GB is a workable amount of storage. The average game size is 25-50GB, so you can fit around 7-14 average sized games on a fresh Series S.

However, those with larger game libraries or who play storage-heavy games may need to invest in expansion storage. Some AAA game file sizes now exceed 80GB or even 100GB. If you have a library filled with these beasts, your 364GB will vanish quickly.

Here‘s a quick table to illustrate how many games fit depending on size:

Game Size # of Games on 364GB
25GB (Average) 14
50GB (Large) 7
80GB (Huge) 4

As you can see, huge 80GB and 100GB games will eat your storage fast. But for casual gaming focused on smaller indie titles, 364GB is definitely sufficient.

Expanding Your Xbox Series S Storage

While the 364GB out of the box is certainly usable, more hardcore gamers will inevitably need to expand their SSD capacity. Here are your options:

External USB HDDs and SSDs

You can plug in any USB hard drive or solid state drive to gain more storage space. External drives let you store and run backwards compatible Xbox One, Xbox 360, and original Xbox games.

However, you cannot play native Series S/X games from external USB drives. Those must run from the internal SSD or expansion card.

Still, offloading older titles to a large external drive can free up precious space on your 364GB for next-gen games. A 4TB or 8TB drive gives tons of cheap space for classics.

Xbox Series Storage Expansion Card

This proprietary 1TB SSD card from Seagate plugs directly into the back of your Xbox Series S or X. It provides extra storage just like the internal SSD, meaning you can play native next-gen games.

The 1TB card retails for $219.99, so it‘s an expensive upgrade. But on the plus side it‘s plug-and-play with speeds identical to the internal drive. No messing with external cables.

Xbox Game Pass Subscription

For $9.99-$14.99 per month, Xbox Game Pass grants you access to a library of over 100 games to download and play.

The benefit for storage? You only need to install the games you are currently playing, saving tons of space. And you can uninstall and re-download games from the library as needed.

Game Pass lets you play way more games than you could install locally on 364GB of storage. It‘s a great companion for the Series S.

Delete Unused Games

The simplest way to free up space is deleting games you no longer play. It sounds obvious, but regularly pruning unused games keeps storage anxiety at bay.

You can always re-download previously purchased games when you want to play them again. So don‘t be afraid to remove unused titles sitting around hogging your precious 364GB.

Does the Smaller SSD Affect Performance?

While the 512GB capacity seems small, the SSD inside the Xbox Series S is blazing fast – virtually identical in speed to the 1TB drive inside the Xbox Series X.

Here are some key specs:

  • Custom NVME SSD
  • 2.4GB/sec raw bandwidth
  • 4.8GB/s compressed bandwidth
  • Hardware decompression
  • Ultra-fast load times

So while capacity is smaller, the SSD performance itself does not take a hit. You still get nearly instant load times and the same Velocity architecture as Xbox Series X.

The only difference is you may need to juggle your library more often due to the limited amount of usable 364GB storage.

TLDR: 364GB Usable but Still Blazing Fast SSD

In summary:

  • 512GB SSD but only 364GB usable out of the box
  • Enough for 7-14 average sized games
  • Can be expanded with USB, expansion card, Game Pass
  • Smaller capacity but same fast performance as Series X

The Xbox Series S gives you 364GB to start. With some occasional trimming of unused games, this is a decent amount of space for casual gaming. Power users will want to invest in storage expansion options, but the SSD itself does not sacrifice any speed despite the smaller size.