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Samsung's portable SSD X5 drives fast and rocks race car red

How does a read speed of 2,800 megabytes per second grab ya?

David Katzmaier Editorial Director -- Personal Tech
David reviews TVs and leads the Personal Tech team at CNET, covering mobile, software, computing, streaming and home entertainment. We provide helpful, expert reviews, advice and videos on what gadget or service to buy and how to get the most out of it.
Expertise A 20-year CNET veteran, David has been reviewing TVs since the days of CRT, rear-projection and plasma. Prior to CNET he worked at Sound & Vision magazine and eTown.com. He is known to two people on Twitter as the Cormac McCarthy of consumer electronics. Credentials
  • Although still awaiting his Oscar for Best Picture Reviewer, David does hold certifications from the Imaging Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology on display calibration and evaluation.
David Katzmaier

Yup, looks pretty fast.


Are you a professional working with large multimedia files? Or an impatient amateur willing to pay money for time?

Behold Samsung's latest storage gadget, the X5 portable external solid state drive. Boasting boosted Thunderbolt 3 connectivity, the company says the X5 can achieve read speeds up to 2,800 megabytes per second (MBps). That's up to 5.2 times faster than SATA portable drives and 25.5 faster than standard 1TB HDDs, according to Samsung.

The downside? It requires a Mac or PC with a Thunderbolt 3-compatible port for use; it's not backward-compatible with older computers. According to one early review, "If you try to plug it into a regular USB port that doesn't support Thunderbolt 3 it simply won't power on."

The drive is metal with a non-slip bottom mat (the red bit) and Samsung touts its drop-resistance. It ships worldwide Sept. 3, 2018, starting at $400 for the 500GB model, $700 for the 1TB model and $1,400 for the 2TB model.

By comparison, Samsung's popular 500GB T5 SSD, with a modest 540 MBps read-write speed, can be had for $130. But it doesn't look nearly as sweet.


That fetching red undercarriage