The Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 solid state drive (SSD) is a game changer in the portable SSD market. Portable storage devices with either hard disk drives (HDDs) or SSDs have long been a staple for backups and large file transfers, but with USB connections, these devices are often limited in making every file transfer quick and painless.

The latest interface offers 40 gigabits per second (Gbps) in Thunderbolt 3 mode, which enables the quick and smooth transfer of massive files.

Peak Performance

Using NVMe technology in addition to the Thunderbolt 3 interface, the X5 offers incredible performance up to 2.8 Gbps reads and 2.3 Gbps writes when connected via Thunderbolt 3.

These maximum read/write speeds are 5.2x/4.5x faster, respectively, than an SSD with a SATA interface, and 25.5x/20.9x faster than an external HDD. For example, the X5 can transfer a 20GB 4K UHD video from your PC to the device in just 12 seconds. A backup of the day’s activity can finish in less than a minute, assuming the rest of the PC or laptop system can keep up.

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The transfer speed of the X5 portable SSD and the response times are faster than internal SATA-based SSDs, meaning that the drive can replace an internal SATA HDD or SSD in systems that don’t have internal NVMe SSD support, giving greater performance along with portability. Low latency and a high input/output operations per second (IOps) will ensure that even databases and graphics editing will be faster than with internal HDDs or even SATA-based SSDs.

The X5 Portable NVMe SSD is so fast that backups can finish in less than a minute — fast enough to ensure that users will back up their systems to the drive, a process that has traditionally been a pain point for end users who don’t have the time or patience to take the precaution.

Built to Last

The X5’s performance capabilities stand out, but what about the way it’s built? Does a device with so much power walk a fine line of fragility? In fact, Samsung didn’t just design this SSD differently on the inside, but on the outside as well.

The X5 has been engineered for heat protection with Dynamic Thermal Guard technology to maintain optimal performance, which will slow the drive down if the internal temperature exceeds set specifications, preventing damage. Additionally, an internal heat sink keeps the surface temperature below 45 degrees Celsius, or 113 degrees Fahrenheit.

Because the X5 is a portable SSD, ensuring its physical durability was a top priority during the engineering phase. Its body is reinforced with magnesium alloy that can withstand a six-foot drop. To prevent break-ins of the other kind, optional password protection is provided based on AES 256-bit encryption to ensure your data remains secure.

For added security, files can be placed on the X5 rather than the internal drive in a system, ensuring that when the drive is locked, removed from the system and physically secured, files can’t be accessed by an intruder.

The X5 includes driver software for both Macs and PCs. Offering capacities of 500GB, 1TB and 2TB, there’s more than enough space to back up a PC or laptop, or move around large graphics files or databases.

The evolution of SSDs has made massive advancements in recent years. Learn more about the technology and how it has grown with this infographic or learn about the impact of over-provisioning SSDs in our free white paper.

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Logan Harbaugh

Logan Harbaugh is an IT consultant and reviewer. He has worked in IT for over 20 years, and was a senior contributing editor with InfoWorld Labs as well as a senior technology editor at Information Week Labs. He has written reviews of enterprise IT products including storage, network switches, operating systems, and more for many publications and websites, including Storage Magazine,, StateTech, Information Week, PC Magazine and He is the author of two books on network troubleshooting.

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