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Home / Technology / Samsung Portable SSD X5 Review: Wickedly Fast, Portable Thunderbolt 3 Storage

Samsung Portable SSD X5 Review: Wickedly Fast, Portable Thunderbolt 3 Storage

When Apple finally introduced support to third party NVMe drives in MacOS 10.12 Sierra, NVMe over Thunderbolt storage was just a matter of time. And for a while, the road to remote storage was a bit of a rocky road, but the bumpy ride is over now thanks to Samsung's portable SSD X5, a complete NVMe over Thunderbolt 3 storage solution that delivers fast fast 2GBps plus read and write speeds [19659002] X5 is now the laptop drive for multimedia pros, or someone who does not like to wait for the files to copy – if you can afford it and of course you have Thunderbolt 3.

Samsung Portable SSD X5: Not cheap

X5 is a blazingly fast and animal drive: $ 400 for 500GB, $ 700 for 1

TB and $ 1,400 for 2TB. If that helps, it's not really like the "Apple Prize" as it seems; a mere 1TB Samsung 970 EVO NVMe SSD runs for around $ 300. When you add a cabinet (as far as I know there is no "portable" Thunderbolt 3 NVMe / PCIe cabinets available), you would be somewhere near $ 400 to $ 500. You can save a few dollars at the 2TB level, but the resulting device will hardly fit into your pocket.

On the other hand, you can get a 1TB Samsung T5 or a Sandisk Extreme external SSD with a USB 3.1 10Gbps interface for less than $ 300. I love NVMe and it makes a perfromance difference , but 500MBps is not exactly chicken feed.

Samsung Portable SSD X5: Design and Features

The first thing that struck me about X5 is that it does not look like external storage. Samsung says it was inspired by a supercar, but I do not see it. Then I have not seen the supercar they had in mind. Take a look below and set up your own mind. Do not let my mention of a hand phases affect you.

Only the USB-C / Thunderbolt 3 port is a hint of the X5 feature, but with that goal, it can be as easy as a USB 3.1 drive. It is not. Not a long shot.

  x5 front Samsung

Phasers on stun. Samsung made some interesting style choices with its first Thunderbolt 3 NVMe drive.

X5 is dark silver on top and a light red red on the bottom. I am a bit confused about the bottom of the drive, as it is a rather difficult substance that gives little friction or horizontal stability. You trust that it is not insignificant (for a portable SSD) of 5.3 grams of pin and the Thunderbolt 3 cable of the unintended motion department. Not a big deal, since the drive is largely constructed of magnesium and is said to be able to withstand a two-meter drop.

Part of the aforementioned booklet is an internal cooling water, which undoubtedly radiates heat to the outer shell. I did not notice unnecessary heat, so the large amount of magnesium does its job well.

  x5 back Samsung

The underside of the X5 is red, hard, and does not provide much traction to prevent it from moving. It's a bit heftier than the average external drive, so it will help someone.

Since I did not want to destroy the device by tricking it open, I had to rely on Samsung's reviewer and some questions to media relations to determine the content of the drive. According to a screen in the wizard, there is an NVMe adapter card with an M.2 NVMe SSD that is in a slot. According to media connections, the station is based on a 970 EVO with the same 64-layer, TLC NAND. X5 also has encryption and can be password protected using the included Samsung utility.

Samsung Portable SSD X5: Not Compatible

Unfortunately, users of older Thunderbolt 1 and 2 Macs could not use X5. It runs on bus power and Apple's adapter – the only thing I realize that allows connection of Thunderbolt 3 devices to earlier version ports – does not transfer bus power. The X5 has no AC connector, so there's just no way to run it. X5 seems to have enough space for a jack, but I suppose the wires are not sexy and direct AC will add extra circuits. Bummer.

Finally, you have a drive that is only compatible with Thunderbolt 3 Macs and the relatively rare Thunderbolt 3 PC. The drive comes formatted in ExFAT for compatibility across the platform, but if you only use it on your Mac You get better little write write performance by formatting it to HFS + or APFS.

Samsung Portable SSD X5: Performance

If your Mac or PC has Chips (Thunderbolt 3), you'll like X5 (shown in charts like gold bars), Read them and cry Thunderbolt 1/2 and USB users. The Black Magic Disk Speed ​​test was run on a 2018 MacBook Pro.

  screenshot 2018 08 18 at 10.22.17 IDG

Black Magic's Disk Speed ​​measures only large file transfers. Note that NVMe over Thunderbolt is only weaker than internal NVMe.

MacBook Pros Internal Drive is even faster (results for disk speed shown below), but you will never be able to tell the difference with the naked eye. [19659027] Macbook Internal "width =" 700 "height =" 722 "data-imageid =" 100769608 "data license =" IDG "/> IDG

X5 is not as fast as MacBook Pros internal NVMe SSD , but few drives are.

Note that I've reformatted the drive to NTFS for testing on our Windows storage test pad so that small file writing performance would not suffer. Next up are 20GB copy sites compared to Samsung T5 and WD Passport SSD USB 3.1 10gbps portable SSDs. X5 flat out whomped them.

  20gb copy samsung x5 IDG

There's really nothing comparable to X5 on the market. Samsung T5 and WD My Pass SSD are both fast USB 3.1 10GBps drives, and X5 smokes them. Shorter bar is better. Much better in this case.

X5 did well on our 48GB true world-class tests shown below, but I managed to lower it by making another copy after waiting in about 5 seconds. 48GB is more than enough for most applications, but you want View the performance drop to 1GB or lower if you copy a file much larger than 50GB. Batches of files and folders will generally maintain the same rate as SSD has more time to remove the buffer between files.

While the chart above compares the performance with other portable SSD, the chart below compares X5 with internal SSDs. If you ever doubt that Thunderbolt is PCIe over a wire, you will no longer.

  48gb copy samsung x5 IDG

Remember this is an external drive competing with two very fast internal NVMe SSDs.

CrystalDiskMark 6, a Windows reference that measures more different read and write loads, seems quite high on X5. Note that we are testing many different SSDs, but one of the 970s is likely to work as innards for X5. Hence their presence on the chart.

  cdm 6 samsung x5 IDG

CrystalDiskMark 6 measures both sustained and shorter transmissions. Q stands for the width of the knee, and T for the number of threads that read or write at the same time. Longer rods are better.

Part of NVMe's appeal is its startling short search times (the time it takes to find a file). You do not lose much of it according to AS SSD 2 (shown below), although the Thunderbolt protocol pays a little bit overhead. Note that this test varies quite a lot from driving to driving.

  as ssd 2.0 search samsung x5 IDG

You still get the spectacular search times that NVMe provides. About 10 times as fast as SATA. Shorter rods are better.

All in all, the X5 is almost the same as an internal NVMe drive. In my subjective tests, macOS from the X5 drive did not feel quite as smooth. But the difference is small, and improved drivers can correct this over time.

Bottom Line

For the fastest possible portable storage for Thunderbolt 3 Mac, X5 is. The biggest problems are price and complete lack of compatibility with the vast majority of Macs and PCs. If it is a big concern, go USB 3.1.

But USB 3.1 is boring, while backup and large data transfers use X5 and a Thunderbolt 3 Mac is a hoot. I'm about hoot. At least when I can afford it.

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