Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster

Corsair is upping its portable storage game with its new native USB speedster, the EX100U 2TB, capable of a whopping 1,600 MB/s throughput.

Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD  - Universally Compatible Speedster
Published
Manufacturer: Corsair (CSSD-EX100U2TB)
3 minutes & 49 seconds read time
TweakTown's Rating: 95%
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The Bottom Line

Up to 1,600 MB/s over native USB for PC, Mac, or Console. Portable storage doesn't get much better than this.

Pros

  • + Compatibility
  • + Portability
  • + Low power

Cons

  • - None

Should you buy it?

AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy

Introduction & Drive Details

We've been seeing a new wave of fast native USB portable SSDs as of late, and we love it. Nothing beats a portable storage device that delivers up to 20Gbps throughput and offers backward compatibility going all the way back to the dawn of USB 1.1. Even though there are faster portable storage devices than what native USB can muster, we find these to be overall less desirable than something with supreme compatibility, like the subject of today's review.

As we see it, what good is a fast portable SSD if it's not universally compatible? Works on one host device but not another; nothing is more annoying as we see it. This is why we love native USB and prefer it over anything with a bridge chip. At its heart Corsair's EX100U portable SSD is controlled by Phison's PS2251-18 U18 USB 3.2 Gen2 x2 UASP controller:

Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 25

Native USB eliminates the need for a bridge chip to interface with the host device. Universal compatibility across all USB revisions is made possible by the U18's ultra-low power requirements. Sufficient power to operate the EX100U can even be delivered by low-power USB 1.1 ports. Impressive. Super compact, universal compatibility across all USB revisions and up to 20Gbps throughput, this is portable storage done right.

Enclosure Details

Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 01

The Micron TLC arrayed 2TB EX100U is currently selling for less than 10 cents per gigabyte which is quite a bargain as we see it. Corsair advertises its EX100U series as capable of up to 1,600 MB/s throughput over a USB 3.2 Gen2 x2 interface.

Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 02

CDI identifies our test subject as UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) interfaced.

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The lightweight, compact device is smaller than a credit card and constructed of high-quality materials. Both USB-A and USB-C cables are included. Additionally, and worth noting, the device is preformatted as exFAT, so it is out-of-the-box compatible with Mac, PC, and gaming consoles.

Buy at Amazon

Corsair EX100U 2TB SSD - Portable SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$189.99$189.99-
* Prices last scanned on 1/28/2023 at 7:37 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, ATTO & Blackmagic

CrystalDiskMark

Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 07
Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 08
Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 09

Results here demonstrate outstanding and higher-than-advertised sequential throughput, whether serving data to the host or programming data to the device. 4K Q1T1 random results are similarly impressive.

ATTO

Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 10
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Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 12

ATTO demonstrates our test subject hits full stride at 256KB transfers. We like the smooth pattern the drive is delivering, and no hiccups along the way is always great to see.

Blackmagic

Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 13
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The EX100U appears to be an excellent choice for video duties.

Real-World Testing: PCMark 10, 3DMark SSD Gaming & Transfer Rates

PCMark 10 Data Drive Benchmark

The Data Drive Benchmark is designed to test drives that are used for storing files rather than applications. You can also use this test with NAS drives, USB sticks, memory cards, and other external storage devices.

The Data Drive Benchmark uses 3 traces, running 3 passes with each trace as follows:

  • Copying 339 JPEG files, 2.37 GB in total,?into?the target drive (write test).
  • Making a copy of the JPEG files (read-write test).
  • Copying the JPEG files to another drive (read test).
Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 16
Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 17

We won't fault the EX100U much for this as it is a very unlikely use case scenario for this type of ultra-portable device.

3DMark SSD Gaming Test

UL's newest 3DMark SSD Gaming Test is the most comprehensive SSD gaming test ever devised. We consider it superior to testing against games themselves because, as a trace, it is much more consistent than variations that will occur between runs on the actual game itself. This test is in fact the same as running the actual game, just without the inconsistencies inherent to application testing.

In short, we believe that this is the world's best way to test an SSDs gaming prowess and accurately compare it against competing SSDs. The 3DMark SSD Gaming Test measures and scores the following:

  • Loading Battlefield V from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Call of Duty Black Ops 4 from launch to the main menu.
  • Loading Overwatch from launch to the main menu.
  • Recording a 1080p gameplay video at 60 FPS with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) while playing Overwatch.
  • Installing The Outer Worlds from the Epic Games Launcher.
  • Saving game progress in The Outer Worlds.
  • Copying the Steam folder for Counter-Strike Global Offensive from an external SSD to the system drive.
Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 18
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Gaming is a performance metric that matters to the majority of DIY consumers, especially to the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to. We are now including gaming performance as a part of our external SSD reviews, as using portable storage for gaming duties is very popular among avid gamers. We consider 1,000 points here to indicate the drive as an acceptable portable game storage device. We get that, so good enough.

DiskBench - Transfer Rates

Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 20Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 21
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We brutalize our test subjects with our extremely hard-to-swallow 100GB data block. This data block is the same one we use for our internal SSD testing and is composed of more than 62K files. This is where the rubber meets the road for a portable SSD. Real-world transfer performance is good enough when programming data, excellent when serving data to the host.

Final Thoughts

Corsair EX100U 2TB Portable SSD Review - Universally Compatible Speedster 24

Our take on portable storage is compatibility comes first. Then performance. This new wave of fast native USB storage is finally giving us the universal compatibility we demand, and it's also delivering plenty of performance for our liking.

Corsair's EX100U gives us exactly what we want and is the best portable storage device Corsair has ever brought forth. Editor's Choice.

Buy at Amazon

Performance

90%

Quality

100%

Features

100%

Value

90%

Overall

95%

The Bottom Line

Up to 1,600 MB/s over native USB for PC, Mac, or Console. Portable storage doesn't get much better than this.

TweakTown award
95%

Corsair EX100U 2TB SSD - Portable SSD

TodayYesterday7 days ago30 days ago
$189.99$189.99-
* Prices last scanned on 1/28/2023 at 7:37 pm CST - prices may not be accurate, click links above for the latest price. We may earn an affiliate commission.

Jon joined the TweakTown team in 2013 and has since reviewed 100s of new storage products. Jon became a computer enthusiast when Windows XP launched. He was into water cooling and benching ATI video cards with modded drivers. Jon has been building computers for others for more than 10 years. Jon became a storage enthusiast the day he first booted an Intel X25-M G1 80GB SSD. Look for Jon to bring consumer SSD reviews into the spotlight.

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