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Microsoft Confirms Xbox USB Memory Support

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Keeping secrets under-wraps in the tech sector is close to impossible, but late last week Microsoft confirmed one of the happier rumours flying around the Interweb in recent weeks...

USB drive support is coming to the Xbox 360 through a firmware upgrade due on 6 April. The move will allow USB drives of over 1GB and up to 16GB to be connected and used for storing profiles, game saves, demos and more. USB HDDs can also be used, but again a maximum amount of 16GB can be used - any unallocated space will accessible via a PC or Mac.

"Since performance on flash based USB storage is usually better, I highly recommend using flash based instead of spinning media like a hard drive…it’s just going to give you a MUCH better experience," said Microsoft's director of programming for Xbox Live Larry Hryb on his personal blog. "We’ve also enhanced the memory management functions, so you’ll be able to have better control on what you want to copy or move between storage devices."

Hryb pointed out two key aspects of the upgrade:

  • You can have 2 devices connected to the console at a time, enabling up to 32GB of simultaneous storage.
  • The system won’t just configure the device once it is connected to the console. You’ll need to head to the memory area in system settings, select your USB Device, and choose from Configure Now (Format and Configure the Full Device), or Customize (you can choose how much memory you want configured for Xbox360 from the free space on the device.)
Given point two, while simple, may deter some casual users Hryb said Microsoft has partnered with SanDisk to produce pre-configured Xbox memory sticks that will be released in May - no doubt at a premium.

All in all the move is extremely welcome. Obviously the limit of 16GB and inability to install full games to USB drives and SSDs is frustrating, but I guess Microsoft didn't want to completely lose its lucrative Xbox hard drive upgrade business...

Link:
via Major Nelson (Hryb's blog)

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