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Samsung X5 M.2 drive

Samsung has recently released a new series of
external harddrives which base upon an internal
M.2 drive in a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure. With the
Thunderbolt 3 connector, the drive is reaching…

new speeds up to 2800 MB/s Read and 2300 MB/s Write speeds (2100 MB/s for the 500GB model).

Imagine that: Just 1 year ago, the fastest externally connected drives could just hit roughly about 400 MB/s in both directions using USB 3.1.

With the new fast drive, even large files (20GB in just 12 seconds) can be simply moved from one to another computer without maxxing out even a 10G network line.

So what’s inside?

Product Packaging with drive top view

Drive Top View


Thunderbolt 3 cable (included)

  Drive (bottom view)

Pretty design in Ferrari Red representing the projected speeds that drive is supposed to handle.

So all in all you get a nice bunch of hardware for your money (500GB, 449US$ – 1TB, 799US$ – 2TB, 1399US$) yet the prices are high compared to the storage you get. But one must admit. Speed is time is money so don’t be too astounded to see such prices appear!

Let’s dig a little deeper into the housing to see what’s inside:

Bottom lid removed (the PCB with EMI shield)

The PCB (showing the M.2 NVMe drive with 1TB)

The enclosure in a Burst view

As you can see, the drive has a lot of technical engineering inside to cope with heat dissipation from the NVMe drive. Although the heat sink is quite bulky, the drive will still run into Heat Protection mode and thus throttle Write speeds to roughly 500MB/s in order to prevent overheating. Usually if you’re not torturing the drive with permanent Writes and large files, you shouldn’t see the speed throtles at all. But anyway good to see that Samsung is taking precautions to ensure a long drive lifetime.

There’s not yet information about what kind of memory chips are used (SLC, MLC, TLC or even QLC) but you should be able to expect 3-5 years of functionality at least where Samsung is granting a 3 year warranty.

What about speeds?

Here we go: I checked various sites and their test results and you can expect read speeds (sequential) from 2100 to 2700 MB/s and write speeds (sequential) from 1800 to 2300 MB/s – so they’re almost as advertised which is great!

If you copy a lot of small files the rate may drop down to 200-300 MB/s write and 600-800 MB/s read speeds but yet that’s blazing fast.

So what do you need to achieve these speeds?

If you think, you can plug that puppy to your USB3.1 (USB-C) port then you’re out of luck as the drive wouldn’t work at all! You either need a TB3 extension card popped into your computer or a TB3 connector on your notebook. Mac users are in luck here as their newest models already have TB3 included.

If you’re not in need of every MB/s of speed you’re fine to go with a USB3.1 drive as well as they’re way cheaper yet offering up to 550 MB/s Read/Write speeds and even at 4K segments the speeds are up to 80 MB/s Read/Write speeds.

And last but not least a small summary table:

Samsung X5 TB3 SSD
  500GB 1000GB 2000GB
Speed Seq. Read 2800 MB/s 2800 MB/s 2800 MB/s
Speed Seq. Write 2100 MB/s 2300 MB/s 2300 MB/s
Speed Seq. Read (4K) 800 MB/s 800 MB/s 800 MB/s
Speed Seq. Write (4K) 200 MB/s 300 MB/s 300 MB/s
Weight 150g
Interface Thunderbolt 3
Price 449 US$ (MSRP) 799 US$ (MSRP) 1399 US$ (MSRP)

August 29, 2018 Netspark - 1594 posts - Member since: May 9th, 2011 No Comments »

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