Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB Review

Samsung's mighty fast and compact Portable SSD T1 that was launched last year has been improved and had it's capacity increased! Samsung unveiled the Portable SSD T3 at CES 2016 and we've patiently waited for a review sample to show up that we could take a look at ourselves. The new and improved portable Solid-State Drive (SSD) features an aluminum enclosure, USB-C connector,  the latest Samsung 3D NAND and speeds of up to 450 MB/s. If you were a fan of the original Samsung Portable SSD you should like the Portable SSD T3 even more! Samsung T3 Portable SSD The Samsung Portable SSD T3 measures in slightly larger than the original as it measures in at 74mm x 58mm x 10.5mm in size and weighs in at just 51 grams! The drive has chunked up a bit since last year, but it's still relatively small considering you can get it in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities. The 2TB capacity is a brand new size for the Portable SSD T3 and should appeal to those that need to carry around large amounts of data with them. The pricing and model numbers for the four capacities are listed below. When it comes to Suggested Retail Pricing you are looking at $0.42 to $0.52 per Gigabyte with regards to the Samsung Portable SSD T3 series. We expect pricing to come down from the SRP in the weeks and months ahead. Portable SSD T3 Retail Packaging Legit Reviews got our hands on a Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB drive. This is the largest capacity drive of the bunch and is available under part number MU-PT2T0B/AM. Portable SSD T3 The T3 comes with a USB 3.0 cable and a small instruction booklet that ensures you are up and running without needing to call Samsung tech support or that tech savvy friend of yours.  The included SuperSpeed USB 3.0 cable features USB-C to USB 3.0 Type-A ends and measures in at 18-inches in length. The USB cable carries the power needed for the drive, so no external power source is needed. It should be noted that this is a USB3.1 (Gen.1, 5Gbps) device. Samsung Portable SSD T3 The Samsung Portable SSD T1 weighs 1.8 ounces by itself, so it is very light despite having a metal/plastic enclosure. That said the feel of the drive is nice and is has enough heft to it to feel like it is well built. Samsung rates the drive as being able to sustain a up to 1500G of forceand will survive a drip of up to two meters! Samsung Portable SSD T3 USB-C On one end of the Portable SSD T3 you have the USB-C port (5Gbps) and off to the side of that there is a blue LED activity light. The light glows blue when the drive is properly connected to a USB port and then flashes when the drive is being actively accessed by the system. Most portable drives use a micro-USB 3.0 port, so this is one of the key features that make this drive stand out from the crowd. Samsung includes a USB-C to USB-A cable that allows this drive to work on all existing computers, laptops, TV's and Blu-ray players that have regular USB ports. Samsung does not include a standard USB-C cable to work with new systems that have a USB-C port for some reason. It would have been nice to see one included for a premium storage device like this! Samsung Portable SSD T3 On the back side of the T3 you'll find the product name, capacity and other information laser etched into the housing. On other end of the drive you'll find the serial number, model number, capacity and power ratings among other things. This particular drive is rated at 5V and 0.7A. If you'd like to void the Portable SSD T3's 3-year warranty anyway you could remove the serial number sticker and remove two screws to gain access to the circuit board. Samsung told us that the Portable SSD T3 uses the latest Samsung TLC V-NAND memory along with the Samsung MGX controller. The internal design is basically an mSATA SSD plugged into a USB adapter, so it is pretty straight forward. [gallery ids="179340,179343,179342,179341"] The Samsung Portable SSD T3 comes pre-formatted in the exFAT file format and will work right out of the box. When you first plug the drive into a USB port you'll discover software on the drive called 'T3 Security Enabler' for Windows and Mac that will allow you to enable the AES 256-bit security. Android users will find a text file that points them to Google Play for the Samsung Portable SSD App. This software, once installed, will allow you to manage the drives security functionality. This basically means you just enable the password settings on the drive and that activated the AES 256-bit encryption standard. If you forget your password, a Samsung T3 can be restored to its factory settings at a Samsung Service Center. This means that you will loose all your data in the process due to the advanced AES 256-bit encryption technologies Samsung is using. Please exercise caution not to forget or misplace your password as you'll end up with a total data loss. Let's take a look at the test system and move along to the benchmarks!

The SSD Benchmark Test System

Before we look at the numbers, let’s take a brief look at the test system that was used. All testing was done on a fresh install of Windows 8.1 Pro 64-bit and benchmarks were completed on the desktop with no other software programs running. This means windows defender, windows update, disk fragmentation and everything else that would interfere with testing was disabled. Windows 8.1 also had the power option set to high performance. We also disabled Turbo mode on the Intel Core i7-5960X to ensure our numbers are spot on and repeatable. We used the boards integrated USB 3.1 port on the rear I/O panel to test the Samsung Portable SSD T3. ASUS X99 Sabertooth Motherboard The Intel X99 platform that we used to test the storage drives was based around the ASUS X99 Sabertooth motherboard with BIOS 1801 that came out on 06/25/2015. We used Intel RST storage drivers, the exact version was 13.1.0.1058. The Crucial Ballistix DDR4 32GB 2400MHz memory kit was run at 2666MHz with 15-15-15-28 1T memory timings. The Corsair Neutron XT 240GB SSD was used as the primary drive.

Intel X99 Test Bench

Intel LGA 2011v3 Test Platform
Component Brand/Model Live Pricing

Processor

Core i7 5960X

Motherboard

ASUS X99 Sabertooth

Memory

Crucial Ballistix 2400MHz 32GB

OS Drive

Corsair Neutron XT 240GB

Power Supply

Corsair AX860i

Operating System

Windows 8.1 Pro 64-Bit

Samsung Portable SSD T3 CrystalDiskInfo:

The readout on CrystalDiskInfo 6.7.5 shows that the Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB drive S.M.A.R.T., NCQ and TRIM. The drive we received had firmware version MAV41P1Q installed and that is the version that we used for general testing and benchmarking. cdi

Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB Capacity:

Portable SSD T3 2TB Capacity By default the Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB drives uses the exFAT file system that allows for large content to be stored and used on a wide variety of operating system. Samsung designed the Portable SSD T3 to be used across Windows, Mac and Android devices and the AES 256-bit hardware encryption also will work across all three platforms if you choose to enable that level of security. Let's have a look at the performance!

Real World Benchmark Results and ATTO Disk Benchmark

The Samsung Portable SSD T3 can reach up to 450MB/s read and write when used on a proper USB 3.0 or USB 3.1 port with UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) enabled. If you run it on a normal USB 3.1 Gen.1 or USB 3.0 port you'll be limited to 350MB/s and when used on USB 2.0 you'll top out at no more than 49 MB/s. The performance you get also depends on what OS that you are using. Samsung Performance Chart The chart above shows Samsung's internal Portable SSD T3 performance numbers on Windows 7, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10 as well USB 2.0, USB 3.1 Gen1 and USB 3.1 Gen1 with UASP. We performed all of our own testing on Windows 8.1 with a USB 3.1 port with UASP enabled. The first test we performed on the Samsung Portable SSD T3 was to move a 4.0GB 1080P movie from the Videos folder on PC running Windows 8.1 to the T3 2TB drive and then back again using the built-in Windows 8.1 Explorer file moving utility. move-from move-to We were shocked to see that our speeds were in the 400-405 MB/s range during the file transfer and it took just under 10 seconds to move a full length 1080P film! If you are transferring 1-2TB of data at once the drive does get hot and that could slow performance down. Samsung Dynamic Thermal Guard Protection automatically monitors and maintains optimal operating temperatures to reduce the risk of overheating. It's winter when we did our testing and we moved around 25GB of data around at times and didn't see any performance drops.

ATTO v3.05

ATTO is one of the oldest drive benchmarks still being used today and is still very relevant in the SSD world. ATTO measures transfers across a specific volume length. It measures raw transfer rates for both reads and writes and places the data into graphs that can be very easily interpreted. The test was run with the default runs of 0.5KB through 64MB transfer sizes with the total length being 256MB.

Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB on USB 3.1:

Samsung Portable SSD T3 ATTO Benchmark Benchmark Results: ATTO showed Samsung Portable SSD T1 250GB drive maxing out at 448 MB/s read and 434MB/s write in the standard overlapped I/O benchmark when connected to the ASUS X99 Saberthooth motherboard with the USB 3.1 interface. This drive is rated at having up to 450MB/s sequential read and write speeds, so we are happy with our test results.   

CrystalDiskMark & ASSSD

CrystalDiskMark 5.1.2 x64 Benchmark:

CrystalDiskMark is a small benchmark utility for drives and enables rapid measurement of sequential and random read/write speeds. Note that CDM only supports Native Command Queuing (NCQ) with a queue depth of 32 (as noted) for the last listed benchmark score. This can skew some results in favor of controllers that also do not support NCQ.

Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB on USB 3.1:

Samsung Portable SSD T3 CrystalDiskMark Benchmark Results: The Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB was showing 443.3MB/s read and 430.2MB/s write on the sequential test when we ran the drive on the CrystalDiskMark storage test with the default settings (incompressible data). When running the 0×00 (0 Fill) test (compressible data) we found that the sequential read/write performance of the drive was about the same. The 4K performance was a respectable 29MB/s read and 79MB/s write.

AS-SSD (1.8.5636.37293) Benchmark:

We have been running the AS-SSD Benchmark app for over some time now and found that it gives a broad result set. The programmer has worked very hard on this software and continues to make updates often so if you use it, show him some love and send him a donation. There are now three tests that are found within the tool and we’ll show the results from all three of them.

Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB on USB 3.1:

ASSSD T3 Benchmark Benchmark Results: In AS SSD we found the Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB Drive was reaching 433MB/s read and 409MB/s in the sequential write test. The AS SSD Benchmark overall score ended up being 382 points. AS SSD Copy Benchmark Benchmark Results: In the AS SSD Copy-Benchmark we found the Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB Drive had a speed of 202 MB/s in the ISO test, 162 MB/s in the Program test and 196MB/s in the Game test. 

Anvil Storage Utilities

Anvil Storage Utilities 1.1.0

Along with the move to a new platform, we decided to make a change in one of the benchmarks. There's a relatively new benchmark called Anvil Storage Utilities that is in beta but close to production. It's a very powerful tool that measures performance through a variety of tests which can be customized. Since some of the tests more or less duplicate what we get from other benchmarks we use already, we decided to use the IOPS (Input/Output Operations Per Second) testing on 4kb file sizes at a queue depth of 4, 16, and 32. IOPS performance is something SSD makers tout quite a bit but we generally don't do a lot of IOPS testing because frankly a lot of users can't relate to IOPS metrics as well and it tends to be more meaningful to the enterprise/server crowd. Still, it is another performance indicator with relevance and while some drives post good MB/s numbers, their IOPS scores aren't always commensurate which this test will prove out.

Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB on USB 3.1 - 100% Incompressable Data:

anvil

Samsung Portable SSD T3 2TB on USB 3.1 - Application Test:

anvil2 Benchmark Results: The overall Anvil SSD Benchmark score was 2,513.63 on the standard 100% compression test. With regards to sequential performance we obtained 424MB/s read and 407MB/s write speeds on both the 100% compression and applications tests! 

Final Thoughts & Conclusions

Portable SSD T3 Retail Packaging From a performance perspective not much changed on the Samsung Portable SSD T3 from the original SSD Portable SSD T1 from last year. The predecessor was not slow when it came to transfer speeds, so that shouldn't be an issue. The new Portable SSD T3 is basically the result of the feedback of the Portable SSD T1. The new metal housing, the move to the USB-C data port, and the longer 18-inch data cable are all small, but beneficial improvements that will help this storage drive be usable for years to come. Enthusiasts and power users know that USB-C is the way to go, so if you are going to spend up to $850 for a 2TB portable drive like this you might as well get one that has the latest storage connector! Portable SSD T3 Samsung Portable SSD T3 Lineup:  When it comes to pricing the Samsung Portable SSD T3 is pricey, but it's unlike anything else. You can pre-order the Samsung Portable SSD T3 today, but they won't begin shipping until February 29th, 2016. The Samsung Portable SSD T3 easily gets our top award as its everything the original was with practical improvements! Everything that one could ask for from a refresh right? If the over 400 MB/s file transfers get you excited this might not be the right drive for you! LR Editors' Choice   Legit Bottom Line: The Samsung Portable SSD T3 is the ultimate portable storage drive!