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Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 Portable SSD Review (Page 2)

By Chris Ramseyer from Aug 28, 2018 @ 9:00 CDT

Performance Testing

Product Comparison

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We pulled our fastest portable and desktop external SSDs to compare to the Samsung Portable SSD X5. This includes two NVMe-based portable SSDs, the HP P800, and TEKQ Rapide.

Thunderbolt isn't the only high-speed game in town. USB 3.1 Gen 2 delivers 10Gbps performance and comes standard on more systems. Drives like the SanDisk Extreme 900 Portable SSD utilize two SATA SSDs in RAID to maximize the bandwidth available.

Single-drive USB's like the Samsung Portable SSD T5 maximize value. Samsung's mainstream 2TB T5 sells for $100 less than the 1TB X5 we're testing today.

Block Testing

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The Samsung Portable X5 leverages Samsung's strong V-NAND to deliver class-leading read performance. Most users will transfer videos, pictures, or other large block size files to these drives. Windows breaks those data blocks down into 128KB sized blocks and transfers them sequentially to and from the drive.

The Portable SSD X5 has some competition writing data from the TEKQ Rapide in our write speed test. The Rapide has a capacity disadvantage; TEKQ limited the size to 960GB for the largest model. It also uses an open-air metal heat sink design, so the outside case can get extremely hot under large data transfers.

Full LBA Span Performance

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With a single large block size data transfer, the Samsung Portable SSD X5 moves files at 1,500 MB/s from the drive and 1,100 MB/s to the drive. There is a dip in write speed when you fill the TurboWrite buffer (SLC programmed cache).

Users reading or writing more than one transfer at the same time will benefit from the NVMe protocol's high-speed that scales with the workload.

File Transfer Tests

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In real-world use, the Samsung Portable SSD X5 outperforms the other drives in two of the three tests. The two wins come in the long tests with the most data to transfer. The Blu-Ray Transfer test uses the ISO file from a popular movie that is just under 50GB. The Game Direct Transfer test comes from the installation files from rFactor 2.0 and uses a mix of small and large block sizes.

The Portable SSD X5 is competitive in this test but trails the two other NVMe-based portable SSDs. The Backup Director test is a collection of files found in an old 'My Documents' folder with a size of 15.2GB. It uses a mix of large block size files like pictures and web optimized videos, but also has several small block size files like text and Word documents. The X5 again outperforms the other drives in this test but the performance is very close to the other NVMe-based drives.

The real-world transfer tests show us how Samsung optimized the Portable SSD X5 for creator file types and didn't just stuff enclosures with 970 EVOs.

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