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Samsung Portable SSD T3 Review

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Samsung Portable SSD T3 Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions.

The Samsung Portable SSD T3 is the first solid-state external drive we here at Benchmark Reviews have ever tested. It’s not really fair to compare it to the internal drives we’ve tested, but that’s all the data we have, so that’s what we did.

Although the Samsung drive strives to maximize its performance by using UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol), it cannot compete with the performance of a drive connected to a SATA 6G or a PCI-E based m.2 port. This is why its scores were at or near the bottom of the charts in most of the benchmarks. Also, there’s currently no way to support TRIM over USB, so you’ll be dependent on the drive’s internal garbage collection.

However, this product is not competing against internal drives; rather, it’s competing against the slowest computing storage available today: 2.5″, USB-powered external drives. Typically equipped with sluggish 3,400RPM laptop drive mechanisms to save power, these external drives are generally inexpensive for the storage capacity they offer, and are adequate for backup use.

samsung_portable_ssd_t3_final

The Samsung Portable SSD T3, on the other hand, doesn’t really make sense for backup– although it can certainly be used for same. It’s for people who routinely move large amounts of data to and from platforms, especially mobile platforms, (although we tested a 500GB version, Samsung offers a 2TB version) and need the performance…the small size and shock resistance are just icing on the cake. Samsung claims that compared to standard USB-powered external hard drives, the T3 is anywhere from 4-7 times faster, and in informal testing with a Seagate external USB-powered drive I had, I achieved that level of improvement.

My only real complaint about this drive is the lack of a cable or adapter to enable it to connect directly to a USB Type C port. These are rare today– Apple’s Macbook Retina is one of the few laptops with this connector– but it’s becoming more common on Android phones and it would have been nice to be able to connect this drive directly to these devices.

Samsung offers the Portable SSD T3 in 250GB at $84.99 (Newegg / Amazon), 500GB at $219.99 (Newegg / Amazon), 1TB at $429.99 (Newegg / Amazon), and 2TB at $849.99 (Newegg / Amazon) capacities. There’s not a lot of competition in the external SSD market these days; for now, it looks as if Samsung has a winner on its hand if it’s what you need.

Pros:

Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award Logo (Small)

+ Outstanding performance for an external USB-powered drive
+ Very small and light, high impact resistance
+ Easy to use security application

Cons:

– Very expensive compared to traditional external drives
– USB 3.1 Gen. 1 support limits raw transfer speed to 5Gb/s
– No Type C connector cable included

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.00
  • Appearance: 8.50
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 8.75
  • Value: 8.00

Final Score: 8.75 out of 10.

Quality Recognition: Benchmark Reviews Silver Tachometer Award.

COMMENT QUESTION: Which brand of SSD do you trust most?

NewEgg.com

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3 comments

  1. BeX

    Driver needed for Mac? See warning for previous model at
    Mac Owners Should Hold Off on New Samsung T1 Flash SSD
    http://www.macobserver.com/tmo/article/mac-owners-should-hold-off-on-new-samsung-t1-flash-ssd

    Can it be used to boot Mac and work from it all day long?

    RAID 0 inside as in SanDisk’s 1.92TB Extreme 900 Portable SSD? That is the best way to lose data (2x probability or more). One disk fails (or controller), all lost.

    1. David Ramsey

      The T3 drive comes with the necessary software to run it on a Mac, included the SAT driver mentioned in your link. I tried the drive on a Mac and had two minor issues: the first time I ran the installer, it installed the security software, but not the SAT driver, so the drive was inaccessible. Running the installer again brought up the option to install the SAT driver. Second, the “T3 Login Activator for Mac” utility you need to unlock an encrypted drive doesn’t “see” the T3 if it’s connected when you boot the Mac– you need to unplug the drive and then plug it in again.

      I copied over 200GB of video files to the drive (simply by dragging them over in the Finder) and saw a transfer rate of about 1GB every 7 seconds, or about 140MB/second.

      I don’t see any way to use the T3 as a boot drive for the Mac, since their installer will not install the security software and SAT driver on the T3 itself. You might be able to hack around this by manually transferring a preconfigured system folder, but I wouldn’t recommend it. In any case, an internal SSD would be much faster than a USB 3 SSD.

      1. BeX

        Thanks. I guess you mean when using the T3 security software. I guess, no problem when not using it.

        Sure an internal SSD could be faster, but booting from external Thunderbolt or SSD is very convenient as Mac to Go (like Windows to Go) to carry your stuff and boot from Mac at work and home.

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