First Look at the Ultra Fast Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 SSD

Earlier today Samsung introduced a new line of ultra fast portable drives based on its new 970 EVO NVMe SSD in a small external enclosure which you can use with almost any computer equipped with a Thunderbolt 3 connector (both PC’s and MACs).

The advantage of this type of unit over existing external SSDs (which use either USB 3.0 A type connectors or the newer USB C connectors) is speed. In order to get the most out of the 970 EVO NVMe SSD you need a fast connection and USB with its max 5gbps or even the 3.1 with its 10gbps are still too slow).

The new Samsung X5 – only works with TB3

The only solution is to use Thunderbolt 3 which can go up to 40gbps and handle these super fast data transfer rates. Interestingly, Samsung decided not to allow this drive to be functional at all with computers which do not have TB3 (even if they work with USB-C which is the same physical connection TB3 uses).

There are some initial tests of this new drive family although the video above is only an overview.

Here are some specs of the new drive family:

Capacity 2TB/1TB/500GB[8]
Interface Thunderbolt™ 3 (40Gbps)
Dimensions (LxWxH) 119 x 62 x 19.7 mm (4.7 x 2.4 x 0.8 inches)
Weight 150 grams (5.3 oz.)[9]
Compatibility H/W) Macs and Windows PCs with Thunderbolt 3 ports

(Not backward compatible / Not compatible with PCs only with USB interface)


O/S) Mac OS Sierra (10.12) or higher

Windows 10 64 bit RS 2 or higher


Performance Up to 2,800 MB/s sequential read speedsUp to 2,300 MB/s sequential write speeds (500GB: up to 2,100 MB/s)
Encryption AES 256-bit hardware encryption
Security Samsung Portable SSD Software[10]Password protection (optional)
Certifications CE, BSMI, KC, VCCI, C-tick, FCC, IC, UL, TUV, CB
RoHS Compliance RoHS2

As for pricing – you can pre-order these drives starting from $400 (500GB), with the 1TB version costing $700 and the 2TB going for $1400.

If you don’t want to miss any new photography related product be sure to check out our product photography section on our photo gear channel.

Iddo Genuth
Iddo Genuth is the founder and chief editor of He has been a technology reporter working for international publications since the late 1990's and covering photography since 2009. Iddo is also a co-founder of a production company specializing in commercial food and product visual content.

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