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Samsung Portable SSD X5 1TB Review - Quickest External

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Samsung

Introduction, Specifications, and Packaging

Samsung has been in the portable SSD business for a good while now. They released their T1 back in 2015, with the T3 and T5 coming in at a yearly cadence. Keeping with tradition, today we see the release of a new model on a new interface - Samsung's new Portable SSD X5:

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(970 EVO included for scale)

While the 'T' branded predecessors were USB 3.0 and 3.1 (Gen1 - limited to 5Gbps), Samsung has now jumped onto the Thunderbolt 3 bandwagon, taking a firmware-tweaked (for encryption) 970 EVO and placing it behind an Intel Alpine Ridge DSL6340 Thunderbolt 3 controller.

Specifications

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Specs of note are the nearly 3GB/s sequential read speed. 2.3GB/s writes are nothing to sneeze at, either. No random performance noted here, but we will fix that with our test suite later on in the article.

Packaging

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Nice packaging and presentation.

Read on for our review of the Samsung Portable SSD X5!

 

Review Terms and Disclosure
All Information as of the Date of Publication
How product was obtained: The product is on loan from Samsung for the purpose of this review.
What happens to the product after review: The product remains the property of Samsung but is on extended loan for future testing and product comparisons.
Company involvement: Samsung had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
PC Perspective Compensation: Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Samsung for this review.
Advertising Disclosure: Samsung has purchased advertising at PC Perspective during the past twelve months.
Affiliate links: This article contains affiliate links to online retailers. PC Perspective may receive compensation for purchases through those links.
Consulting Disclosure: Samsung is not a current client of Shrout Research.

August 29, 2018 | 03:03 AM - Posted by Jann5s

I don’t understand why they make these so big. Look at all that empty board space and empty space in the enclosure.

August 29, 2018 | 03:40 AM - Posted by Prodeous@Work (not verified)

Did I read it correctly that it only works with PC's/Macs that have thunderbolt, as such not compatible with any AMD or Intel systems without THundebolt?

That should be really emphasized/underlined/bolded/etc to show that it has limited compatibility.

Interesting spects, but not useful to many

August 29, 2018 | 08:05 AM - Posted by PixyMisa

No-one seems to have a USB to NVMe adaptor out yet, so even with USB 3.1 the best you can do is SATA speeds.

August 29, 2018 | 08:48 AM - Posted by Prodeous@Work (not verified)

The issue based on what i read is that current Thunderbolt interface does not fall back to USB interface (the current hardware, not the protocol design) as such even USB is uesless. You need Thunderbolt 3 to use this device, as such the volume of users is limited, very limited. :(

August 29, 2018 | 11:32 AM - Posted by OldEnOutOfDateAndTooHighPriced (not verified)

Strangely Intel's newer TB3 controller does support USB 3.1 Gen 2. So Alpine Ridge does not support USB while the newer Titan Ridge does support USB.

"Intel’s JHL7x40 family of Thunderbolt 3 controllers supports two main features of the TB3 technology, including PCIe 3.0 with 40 Gbps data transfer rate as well as USB 3.1 Gen 2 with 10 Gbps data transfer rate. The big difference is that Titan Ridge adds support for allowing two DisplayPort 1.4 streams to be encapsulated into the TB3 connection, versus two DisplayPort 1.2 streams in case of the previous-gen TB3 controllers. What isn't changing here is the actual TB3 signaling standard or the cabling, so the total amount bandwidth offered by the previous-gen Alpine Ridge controllers and the new-gen Titan Ridge chips is the same." (1)

(1)

"Intel Releases "Titan Ridge" Thunderbolt 3 Controllers: Adds DisplayPort 1.4 Support & USB-C Host Compatibility

by Anton Shilov on January 8, 2018 12:00 PM EST"

https://www.anandtech.com/show/12228/intel-titan-ridge-thunderbolt-3

August 29, 2018 | 09:46 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

Titan Ridge will support it, but the question is does it also have the additional logic necessary to translate from USB to NVMe...

August 30, 2018 | 02:10 AM - Posted by TB3IsTheBetterSolution (not verified)

Probably not much could be done for this drive but at least any USB 3.1 Gen 2/Gen 1 Type-C external HD/SSD device would work if the laptop or PC had that Titan Ridge controller and that PC/Laptop would also work with this TB3 only capable drive over its required TB3 connection.

So hopefully there are some laptop OEMs making use of the Titan Ridge IP and that would be the best solution. Hopefully Apple is updating their new MacBook refresh with at least that Titan Ridge TB3 IP. Even USB 3.2(20Gbs) is still not going to be able to support full PCIe x4 connectivity.

There are some USB 3.1 Gen 2 to NVMe enclosure products but that's only PCIe x2 based and that's going to be performance constrained anyways. TB3 appears to be the only solution to get at the full PCIe 3.0 x4 bandwidth.

The USB 3.2 standard makes use of a doubled up USB 3.1 gen 2(2, USB 3.1 Gen 2 channels Link Bonded) arrangement over the already existing Type-C cable's USB 3.1 gen 2 channel and the Type-C Extra alt wiring for the other channel's USB 3.1 gen 2 signaling, if I'm understanding it correctly. I just wonder if Intel will be doing something like that for any future higher speeds beyond TB3's 40Gbs data rate.

How soon before TB3 is available for that stated open standard usage and others can begin making TB3 controllers and will AMD/others be able to add that to their chipsets sometime in the future. Thunderbolt Going Royalty-Free was announced in 2017, will it be later than 2018? Could TB3 be useful for GPU outputs also?

August 29, 2018 | 09:45 PM - Posted by Allyn Malventano

That JMS583 adapter (second from the right in the contenders pic) does NVMe to USB 3.1 Gen2 directly, but no TB3.

August 29, 2018 | 11:26 PM - Posted by PixyMisa

Awesome, thanks Allyn! Serves me right for skipping ahead to the conclusion. :)

August 30, 2018 | 10:01 PM - Posted by Cyclops

Got a link or name for that device you mentioned on Podcast #511? The M.2 to USB 3.1/3.2 Type C.

Edit: It appears to be called JMS583.

September 4, 2018 | 07:26 PM - Posted by quest4glory

They say it's not backwards compatible, but I think they mean specifically Thunderbolt 3 to USB Type C. I would bet this adapter works for back compat to Thunderbolt 2 (or even 1): https://www.amazon.com/Apple-MMEL2AM-Thunderbolt-USB-C-Adapter/dp/B01MQ2...

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