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August 28, 2018

Samsung’s external X5 SSD blazes like the stick-shaped drive in your desktop

by John_A

If you’re looking for a quick way to save your files on an external drive, Samsung just introduced its first external NVMe-based solid- state drive: the Samsung Portable SSD X5. It requires a Thunderbolt 3 connection, meaning your files will transfer to and from the drive at up to 40Gbps. The X5 targets professionals and content designers who need a fast, durable drive while they’re on the go.

The key takeaway from here is the NVMe aspect, short for Non-Volatile Memory Express. It’s a specification for NAND flash memory for connecting a storage device to a host PC’s PCI Express bus. In other words, it communicates with the fast lines in your PC versus taking the slow routes used by standard hard drives and cartridge-sized SSDs.

As previously stated, Thunderbolt 3 promises transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps, depending on how many PCI Express lanes the connection can access. By comparison, the older USB 2.0 ports trot along at 480Mbps while the newer USB 3.1 ports are faster at 5Gbps (Gen1) and 10Gbps (Gen2). All three pale in comparison to Thunderbolt 3 connectivity.

That all said, Samsung’s new external drive boasts read speeds of up to 2,800MB per second, and write speeds of up to 2,300MB per second. That’s crazy fast for a hand-held external drive thanks to the Thunderbolt 3 connection and the NVMe-based NAND flash memory. According to Samsung, that read speed is 25.5 times faster than what you will find with a USB-based hard drive.

But Samsung isn’t just targeting speed. The new Portable SSD X5 features a shock-resistant internal frame and rugged metal housing capable of withstanding drops of up to 6.6 feet. This frame is enclosed with a full-metal body sporting a glossy finish. A non-slip mat lines the bottom so it’s not easily dropped or gliding across your desktop surface.

“The Dynamic Thermal Guard technology and a heat sink — a mechanical internal solution — safeguard the X5 from overheating, ensuring reliability while maintaining optimal operating temperatures,” the company says. “The X5 also offers powerful data protection with ‘Samsung Portable SSD Software,’ based on the AES 256-bit hardware data encryption, including optional password protection and easy configuration of security settings.”

Of course, Samsung’s new external SSDs don’t come cheap. The 500GB model retails for $400, the 1TB model sells for $700 and the 2TB version for a hefty $1,400. The drives won’t be made available globally until September 3.

Meanwhile, here are a few more specifications:

  • Capacity: 500GB / 1TB / 2TB
  • Interface: Thunderbolt 3 only (via USB-C)
  • Size: 4.7 x 2.4 x 0.8 inches
  • Weight: 5.3 ounces
  • Performance: Up to 2,800MB/s read – Up to 2,300MB/s write
  • Performance (500GB model only): Up to 2,800MB/s read – Up to 2,100MB/s write
  • Encryption: AES 256-bit hardware-based
  • Security: Samsung Portable SSD Software
  • Compatibility: MacOS 10.12 or higher – Windows 10 Creators Update (64-bit) or higher
  • Warranty: Three-year limited warranty

Editors’ Recommendations

  • How to choose an external hard drive
  • Intel’s ruler-shaped SSD packs 32TB of storage, aims to redesign servers
  • SSD vs. HDD
  • The largest flash drives
  • What changed on Apple’s new MacBook Pro (and why you’ll care)



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