Device Features and Characteristics

A comparison of the physical characteristics and the internals is helpful to have prior to looking at the performance profile of the devices.

SATA-Class Direct-Attached Storage Characteristics
Aspect
Upstream Port USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C
Bridge / Controller ASMedia ASM235CM + Silicon Motion SM2259XT JMicron JMS580 + Silicon Motion SM2259XT
Flash Micron 96L 3D QLC Micron 64L 3D TLC
Power Bus Powered Bus Powered
     
Physical Dimensions 68.83 mm x 64 mm x 10.92 mm 86.7 mm x 61 mm x 10 mm
IP Rating N/A N/A
Weight 42 grams (without cable) 35 grams (without cable)
Cable 23 cm USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C to Type-C
Type-C to Type-A adaptor sold separately
20 cm USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C to Type-C
20 cm USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C to Type-A
     
S.M.A.R.T Passthrough Yes Yes
UASP Support Yes Yes
TRIM Passthrough Yes Yes
Encryption Support N/A Software (ADATA HDDtoGO)

The Crucial Portable SSD X6 2TB uses the BX500 SATA SSD platform and adds an ASMedia bridge for the Type-C interface. The other two drives being compared against it use the JMicro JMS580 bridge and a Silicon Motion SM2259XT (DRAM-less) SSD controller for the SATA side of things. All three use Micron flash - the X6 uses 96L 3D QLC, while the other two adopt 64L 3D TLC flash.

The NVMe-class drives all adopt the strategy of placing a M.2 2280 SSD behind the USB 3.2 Gen 2 bridge.

NVMe-Class Direct-Attached Storage Characteristics
Aspect
Upstream Port USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C
Bridge / Controller ASMedia ASM2362 + Silicon Motion SM2263 ASMedia ASM2362 + Silicon Motion SM2263
Flash Micron 96L 3D QLC Micron 64L 3D QLC
Power Bus Powered Bus Powered
     
Physical Dimensions 110 mm x 53 mm x 11.5 mm 110 mm x 53 mm x 11 mm
IP Rating N/A N/A
Weight 101 grams (without cable) 101 grams (without cable)
Cable 23 cm USB 3.2 Gen 1 Type-C to Type-C
Type-C to Type-A adaptor bundled
25 cm USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C to Type-C
Type-C to Type-A Adaptor
     
S.M.A.R.T Passthrough Yes Limited
UASP Support Yes Yes
TRIM Passthrough Yes Yes
Encryption Support Software (Windows BitLocker to Go / Apple FileVault) Software (Windows BitLocker to Go / Apple FileVault)

The Crucial Portable SSD X8 2TB version carries forward the same internal bridge chip as the 1TB version from last year. The main change is the move from 64L 3D QLC to 96L 3D QLC in the 2TB version. Externally, the drives appear the same. Crucial doesn't provide any hardware encryption support for the drive, a feature available in competing SSDs from the Western Digital stable.

We opted against tearing down the X6 and X8 because it involved more than the usual teardown efforts. The internals (silicon and thermal design) have already been photographed and published on other review sites (X6 teardown, X8 teardown).

Introduction Synthetic Benchmarks - ATTO and CrystalDiskMark
POST A COMMENT

21 Comments

View All Comments

  • mostlyfishy - Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - link

    UASP and TRIM support mean these look good for a boot device on the Raspberry Pi 4s! Reply
  • Meteor2 - Monday, October 26, 2020 - link

    Why would you pair a $35 SBC with a $300 SSD? Reply
  • MartenKL - Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - link

    No Samsung T7 or X5 in the comparison? Reply
  • ganeshts - Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - link

    X5 is a Thunderbolt 3 SSD - so I don't consider it here in the USB 3.2 Gen 2 category.

    For T7, we only reviewed the 1TB capacity, so the only non-2TB ones are either the same X8 family or the SSDs launched within the last two months. FWIW, T7 didn't impress us too much: https://www.anandtech.com/show/16120/sandisk-extre...
    Reply
  • Duncan Macdonald - Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - link

    What is the rated write endurance ? External SSDs are often used to transfer large amounts of data between machines - in this use case the TBW rating is important. Reply
  • wrkingclass_hero - Wednesday, October 21, 2020 - link

    Probably the most important spec... if it can only be filled 600 times that's a serious issue. Reply
  • RSAUser - Thursday, October 22, 2020 - link

    If it's not the main OS drive, it will probably last a lot longer, most SSD wear is the small temp files of the OS rather than file transfers.

    Most drives are rated at hundreds of TB, standards are something like 100TB for every 250GB, and I doubt anyone would hit 4000 cycles within a few years, and by that point it should play nicely and be read only.

    What I am more worried about is how long it can store data without being powered up, I have a couple of external HDD's that I haven't plugged in in years.
    Reply
  • Meteor2 - Monday, October 26, 2020 - link

    I too would like to know how stable SSDs are unpowered long-term. Reply
  • TheinsanegamerN - Monday, October 26, 2020 - link

    SSD and long term don’t belong in the same sentence. Guaranteed data integrity for NAND flash memory is measured in weeks. Hard drives are measured in months, but can typically go years.

    Our treasury found this out the hard way when the handful of laptops they bought with SSDs in them all failed to boot after sitting for 2 months. SSDs were fine, but the data integrity was not.

    If you want long term cold storage and tape is not an option stick with writable blu rays or external HDDs and plug them in once every few months
    Reply
  • MrCommunistGen - Thursday, October 22, 2020 - link

    For what it is worth, CrystalDiskInfo has had a bunch of updates since v8.3.2. There's a chance that the latest version (currently v8.8.9) might detect TRIM support on the X8. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now