External storage has evolved over the years, but by far the biggest performance leap has come from Thunderbolt technology. With portable SSDs becoming increasingly popular, vendors have taken advantage of Thunderbolt 3 to boost sequential performance up to and over 3000 MB/s. Today we look at the top solution from Dell with its own Portable Thunderbolt 3 SSD.
Dell doesn't get a lot of press for its storage accessories, instead, we read about new notebooks or Alienware gaming solutions, but they do quietly offer a wide range of accessories from Docking Stations and Speakers to Storage with Portable SSDs etc. The Portable TB3 SSD from Dell is aimed at consumers that want incredible performance from their portable solution, and as mentioned takes advantage of Thunderbolt 3. The enclosure comes in at 3.9 x 1.9 and weighs a touch over 2 ounces. Capacity options include 500GB and 1TB, both said to reach 2800 MB/s read, and 1100 MB/s write.
Compatibility includes Windows 10 along with macOS 10.3 and later. MSRP of the 500GB Dell Portable Thunderbolt 3 SSD sits at $354.99 with a three-year warranty. The 1TB model comes in at $639.99 with the same three-year warranty.
Packaging is quite nice for the Portable SSD. We have a clear plastic front offer capacity and branding at the bottom.
The back offers a quick performance statement about the drive.
Included in the box, we have the drive and short Thunderbolt 3 cable. The front of the drive is offered in a silver colorway, Dell branding in a chrome embossed logo.
The top houses the Thunderbolt 3 connection and white LED to the left for activity.
The backside offers capacity and model information along with regulatory information.
For those that want to use the drive in Windows 10, Dell has put together a utility for you to monitor health and capacity.
Further, the utility can offer you the ability to unlock and lock the drive, check TRIM status and run performance tests, which of course we did and the results came back with 2500 MB/s read 1100 MB/s write.
CDI shows the drive used internally is a Toshiba XG5 NVMe solution.
Of the 500GB capacity, useable we have 476GB.
Testing performance in Windows 10, we came up with 2800 MB/s read, and 1108 MB/s write.
Performance in macOS came in at 2350 MB/s read, and 969 MB/s write.
Dells solution to the portable SSD market seems to be a rather decent play. We have the Toshiba XG5, a solid drive in its own right, placed inside a small form factor chassis that both matches their own XPS lineup and at the same time the MacBook. This allows users a more subtle option to their portable storage with something that matches their desktop aesthetic. Build quality is equal to most competing units on the market.
Performance too is quite good. In testing, we found favorable performance from Windows 10 reaching 2828 MB/s read and 1108 MB/s write while macOS presented us with 2350 MB/s read and 969 MB/s write. This puts it on the same playing field as the Samsung X5, HP P800 or Plugable solution.
As for pricing, Dell recently reduced the 500GB model to $359.99 keeping with the 3-year warranty. This undercuts both Samsung and Plugable by a significant margin, and in today's market, it's certainly a win in my book.
Tyler's Test System Specifications
- Motherboard: ASUS Prime Z370 (buy from Amazon)
- CPU: Intel Core i3 8350K (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: Corsair Vengeance 32GB 4x8GB DDR4 3200 (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: Corsair Hydro H115i (buy from Amazon)
- Case: Corsair Air 540 (buy from Amazon)
- OS Storage: Samsung 960 EVO 250GB (buy from Amazon)
- Power Supply: Corsair RM850x (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 (buy from Amazon)
- Wi-Fi NIC: ASUS PCE-AC88 (buy from Amazon)
- 10Gbe NIC: ASUS XG-C100C (buy from Amazon)
- Thunderbolt 3: ASUS Thunderbolt EX3 (buy from Amazon)
The Bottom Line: Dell presents a solid storage solution with its Portable SSD and with its current pricing one of the better options for the budget minded.
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