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Samsung Portable SSD T3 Review

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Closer Look: Samsung Portable SSD T3

The Samsung Portable SSD T3 is much smaller than a typical 2.5″ USB-powered external hard drive. The form factor seems to be unique to Samsung, but it’s a nice one, with a smaller area than a business card and only 10.5 mm of thickness. Weighing a mere 51 grabs without an interface cable, you’ll never notice either the size or weight of half a gigabyte of data.

The case is elegant, but plain, with naught but a SAMSUNG logo on one side…

samsung_portable_ssd_t3_1

…and a model designation on the other.

samsung_portable_ssd_t3_2

One end of the drive has the USB Type C connector, which supplies both interface and power. USB Type C connectors are reversible, so it doesn’t matter which way the cable is plugged in.

samsung_portable_ssd_t3_connector

The remaining side merely has a serial number, a model number, and a power specification.

samsung_portable_ssd_t3_3

Although the presence of the Type C connector implies that this is a full USB 3.1 drive, it’s really not: it’s using standard USB 3.0 protocols and is limited to the 5Gb/s of SuperSpeed USB, rather than the 10Gb/s of USB 3.1. The supplied cable plugs into a standard USB 3.0 connector on the host end:

samsung_portable_ssd_t3_cable

…so if you want to connect this drive directly to the Type C port on a laptop or Android device, you’ll need to supply the Type C – Type C cable yourself.

Let’s take a look at the performance of this drive in the next section.


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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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