The Samsung Portable SSD X5 is the most refined Thunderbolt 3 drive we've tested. In our experience, most companies have simply pulled a retail or OEM grade NVMe SSD from the shelf and slapped it in a fancy enclosure. The smaller companies lack the resources to build firmware from the ground up which can then be optimized for the most common type of data transferred to portable storage. Samsung has the resources and has tapped them to build a better high-speed portable SSD.
The Portable SSD X5 is one of the fastest drives we've tested thus far. As we mentioned in the article, this is more than just a high-performance desktop NVMe drive in an enclosure. The massive heat sink plays a role in the performance.
The magnesium heat sink keeps the controller cool during long file transfers. The plastic cover over the heat sink keeps the drive from burning your hand after a long file transfer, which is an issue we've had with other products.
The Portable SSD X5 may be one of the most user-friendly drives on the market, but we still have our doubts over the size of the market. To fully utilize the X5 you need a PC with an NVMe or an array of SSDs in the host system. Most systems armed with Thunderbolt 3 will have at least an NVMe SSD, but that is still a small portion of PC users.
Design professionals or "creatives" are likely to have at least one system, if not more with Thunderbolt 3 so they can fully take advantage of this drive. If you fall into this group, and have the need for portable NVMe performance, then the Samsung Portable SSD X5 is a strong, but expensive, option you should put in your cart.
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