Samsung X5 Portable SSD review

Memory (DDR4/DDR5) and Storage (SSD/NVMe) 357 Page 12 of 12 Published by


Final Words & Conclusion

Final Words & Conclusion

Never ever have I tested a portable device that is this fast. Samsung did this clever, basically, this is an M2 unit running over Thunderbolt 3 with proper cooling in a sexy package.  The performance metrics are through the roof, that said it does show a little congestion at lots of smaller file writes in certain workloads, but even then it's twice as fast as a regular SSD. For massive workloads, it'll do fine, for heavy database work it would even be really sufficient. But this is a portable unit, if you need to transfer HUGE files on a constant basis, hey man look no further. Other than that the product, however, belongs in a niche category as both the price and connector are of course hugely limiting factors. The install base for end-users with Thunderbolt 3 controllers is also incredibly small.

Armed with its sexy red and black design the Samsung X5 simply has nice aesthetics while easy to carry around. It is, however, bigger and a notch heavier then what you are used too, it's the cooling needed for this unit, which works great by the way. And even if it would overheat, it has throttling protection. The best thing yet, you don't need to power is external. Simply plug it into TB3  connector with preferably Windows 10 and it will feed off the host controller as incredible speeds. But then again, Thunderbolt 3 is a rare thing on any PC or laptop, but granted this puppy is four to five time faster than anything you've ever seen portable. For Mac users that is a different topic.


For those that need a layer of protection, you can secure the unit with AES encryption through a username and password. Where you need fast read performance, the X5 will do its job nicely. Copying many small MP3 files resulted at 200MB/sec, which we find to low for a USB 3.1 device like this. One remark I need to make, this works on Thunderbolt 3 only, so the Samsung X5 on anything else is useless USB Type C? Nope. Thunderbolt only.



The Samsung x5 matches its advertised read speed and writes thanks to that fast last generation 64-layer 3-bit written V-NAND. Combined with a bit of an SLC and DRAM cache and a very fast Thunderbolt 3 interface, this thing will smoke anything and after copying you'll make a nervous laughter. It's that fast. The usability and install base, however, remains trivial, I mean it is fantastic that technology wise you can achieve these speeds on something portable, but would you ever need such fast speeds for something on the road? We doubt it. But hey, it's x-factor stuff, we like that very much. So technology wise this is a massively impressive product. A small note on our benchmark suite. You will have noticed fewer benchmarks test. Some software did not run or did not run well. The trace suite was no go. Some other software needs an unpartitioned unit to be able to test, something a portable unit cannot do. Overall though the tests that we ran should give you a very decent impression of what this puppy can do.

Samsung is going large in volume with these units and will be offering up-to 1TB and even a 2TB unit (!), as explained, they are not cheap though, in fact far from it. Stability and compatibility wise we had no problems whatsoever with it and it is just the coolest looking easy to carry around portable storage unit. We can recommend it if you have that massive budget to spend. But remember, you'll need a Thunderbolt 3 host port in order to fully benefit from the fast speeds. If you're an Mac man, that choice is made easier, on the PC or Windows 10 laptop, however, that is more of a challenge. The Samsung X5 external SSD is record-breaking and glass shattering stuff, it deserves a top pick award even if only for innovation. Keep the above-mentioned limitations in mind, and also realize that a Samsung T5 on USB 3.1 is a far cheaper product that easily would be satisfactory as well.

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