Review Index:

Samsung Portable SSD T5 USB 3.1 Gen 2 10Gbps 500GB and 2TB Review - Even Faster!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Externals, Internals and Software


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A quick spread showing all generations of the T series. Note that I've included a shorter USB Type C to Type A cable for the T1. This was a cable I purchased as the one that came with it (similar to the length included with the T5's here) was a bit long for my preference, so that's what has stayed in my bag with it). Either cable type enables 10 Gbps if supported by the host controller.

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Stacked up, we can see that the T5's are just a tad narrower than the T3 they replace.

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Alright, now that the warranty has been voided, let's get a look at what makes this thing tick.

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A near identical layout to the T3. This 500GB model has 8-die stacks of 256Gbit 64-layer VNAND, coming to 256GB per package.

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Essentially nothing at the rear, as the 500GB capacity only needs two flash packages to operate. There is something interesting on that interface board though:

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At the lower right there is the ASMedia ASM235CM. While there is no product page up yet on their US web site, this is a USB 3.1 Gen 2 controller capable of up to 10 Gbps (provided the host can support that speed).


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When you first plug in the T5, you are greeted with the full available capacity of the drive. Encryption is not switched on by default.

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Pre-loaded are installers for the Samsung T5 front end.

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This software package is simply a refresh of that which came with the T3 and T1. Cleaner looks, but the functionality is identical.

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If the SSD is locked and then removed, reinstalling presents you with this small partition.

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The partition is just large enough to house another copy of the installer packages. A file claims it is read only, however, I was able to rename this file. I recommend placing a small text file with contact information in case the T5 is lost and found by someone nice enough to return it.

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August 15, 2017 | 11:06 AM - Posted by Benjamins (not verified)

So is this $0.10/GB?

August 15, 2017 | 11:09 AM - Posted by Benjamins (not verified)

I think a USB 3.1g2 NVME drive would be nice, so you can get the max speed of the USB cable. Or better yet if we could see a USB 3.2 NVME drive to get near 2GB/s transfer of a USB drive.

August 15, 2017 | 12:00 PM - Posted by Chaitanya Shukla

So basically by using Sata SSD inside, is Samsung just playing safe in terms of heat produced by M.2 SSDs? else it does look like a decent SSD for most people.

August 15, 2017 | 04:16 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Well getting that extra 4 Gbit would require a move to PCIe, which draws more power, as well as the interface to USB (which doesn't really exist in reliable form just yet), which would also draw even more power. That's a lot to ask from a single USB port.

August 15, 2017 | 12:21 PM - Posted by Illford (not verified)

So first was the T1, then the T3, and now we have the T5? their naming scheme is so odd.

August 15, 2017 | 04:19 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

I see what you did there. :)

August 15, 2017 | 03:10 PM - Posted by lensCapsEnMoreSVP (not verified)

Will I be able to get a USB 3.2 Type-C Y splitter/adaptor so I can hang two of these drives off of one USB 3.2 cable(Really only a regular USB Type-C cable with all the alt mode wires included) with is ability to carry 2 full channels of USB 3.1 connsctivity, one USB channel via the pimary USB 3.1 channel/wires and the other USB 3.1 Channel caried over the Type-C standard's alt mode wiring/channel. To use USB 3.2 for some Raid O, or other, external raid drive connecitvity with these SKUs.

And what about any future USB 3.2 connectivity for this type of usage, as that USB 3.2 is just really only a couple of link aggregated USB 3.1 channels anyways.

Allen do you plan on doing a deep dive article into the new USB 3.2 standard and the different possibilities that will present for external RAID usage over USB 3.2/Type-C connections.

August 15, 2017 | 04:17 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

RAID of two separate external removable devices like that is generally a bad idea from a reliability standpoint. It's also not readily supported by most operating systems without some hackery.

August 15, 2017 | 05:36 PM - Posted by StripesOnLinux (not verified)

Linux is more open to those sorts of things for sure while Windows 7 requires an upgrade to the pro version just to be whitelisted to do system image backups to an extarnal USB hard-drive, SSD, or networked share. But USB 3.2 and maybe an adaptor to allow for 2 USB 3.1 drives to be hung off of one Type-C cable with an adaptor/hub for data transfers and such may be useful.

I not really seeing many new laptops with even USB 3.1 gen 2 support and any USB 3.2/Type-C(20Gbs over 2 USB 3.1 channels) support will prabably have to wait for PCIe 4.0 adoption. That "reliability standpoint" has kept me using spinning rust mostly for backups.

August 15, 2017 | 04:17 PM - Posted by willmore

So they use a 10Gb/s USB link and then stuff it down a 6Gb/s SATA connection? Well, okay, that's slightlly better than bottlenecking at the 5Gb/s USB link like th older ones did.

Let's hope the next gen one uses an M.2 drive or is native USB. Hopefully 3.2 (20Gb/s).

Best to go with the native USB controller as the PCI-E of the M.2 would just waste power and add an unnecessary protocol layer.

August 15, 2017 | 04:18 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Exactly, but I think it will be a while before that happens, as Samsung is unlikely to develop its own USB controller just for this purpose.

August 15, 2017 | 04:27 PM - Posted by willmore

Where's that sad panda gif?

At 10Gb/s USB, I tend to agree with your conclusion, but I have to think that at 20Gb/s, they have enough incentive--if they want to keep ownership of this market--to do it.

I don't know of any other companies (not that there aren't any, just that I don't know them) that have the flash interface IP and USB3 IP to make such a device--that's why we tend to see compound devices like these instead of integrated ones. That said, Samsung does own all that IP, so they, if anyone would be in a good position to do it.

Come on, Samsung, do eeeeetttt!

August 16, 2017 | 12:22 AM - Posted by Val

A typo, Alan, first line, T1 was launch in 2015 not 2016. :)

August 19, 2017 | 04:17 AM - Posted by Raisha99 (not verified)

Ayup, PCPer reviewed T1 on January 2015:

August 16, 2017 | 04:11 AM - Posted by It's idiotic (not verified)

Why not a USB 3.2 gen?

August 16, 2017 | 08:06 AM - Posted by Paul Phnom Penh (not verified)

Nice to see (at last, Samsung !) a SATA-USB bridge chip that supports TRIM.
Mr. Malventano,could you please confirm whether this drive is fully compatible with the latest version of Samsung Magician? Thanks.

August 16, 2017 | 09:40 AM - Posted by Palorim12 (not verified)

Magician only supports Samsung's internal SSDs. Who knows about the future though.

August 16, 2017 | 11:43 AM - Posted by vyvyvv6565898 (not verified)


August 16, 2017 | 07:14 PM - Posted by Mobile_Dom

IIRC this is the only M.2 2242 drive that has up ot 2TB of capacity no?

August 17, 2017 | 06:55 PM - Posted by Power (not verified)

It isn't M.2. It is mSATA.

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