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Review: Samsung's little one ounce external SSD has blazing fast speed

Lucas Mearian | Jan. 16, 2015
Samsung claims a top read speed of 450 MBps, and that's not far off my test results.

The test results weren't far off Samsung's performance claims. Samsung's specs state the T1 SSD has a sequential read speed of 450MBps, and a random read speed of up to 8,000 IOPS (input/output per second) and random write speeds of 21,000 IOPS.

One of my favorite external back drives is the LaCie Rugged USB3 Thunderbolt SSD. It's a full 2.5-in. form factor SSD, surrounded by a rubber casing. I've always believed it had some of the fastest performance numbers in the industry -- until now.

LaCie's own specs peg the Rugged USB3 Thunderbolt SSD as supporting data transfer speeds of up to 385MBps using either the Thunderbolt or USB 3.0 connection, so Samsung's T1 really blows it away. Actually, my Blackmagic benchmark tests of the SSD showed its write speeds topped out at 353MBps and the read speeds at 415 MBps.

Samsung credits its write speeds, which are better than some internal SATA SSDs, to its TurboWrite feature. TurboWrite, which the company first unveiled in 2013 in its 840 EVO internal SSD, creates a high-performance write buffer to which new data is first written.

The host system writes data to the drive's high-performance buffer at accelerated speeds and then during the idle periods, the data is moved from the buffer to the primary storage region of the SSD. In short, the TurboWrite feature is meant to simulate the performance of a single-level cell (SLC) NAND flash in multi-level cell (MLC) NAND that the T1 SSD uses.

On a 500 GB drive, Samsung allocated 6 GB of space for its accelerated write buffer; on a 1TB drive, it allocates twice that.

And, speaking of MLC flash, Samsung's T1 uses 3D V-NAND flash memory, which increases capacity density by stacking 32 cell layers vertically. By stacking NAND cells vertically, Samsung avoids having to further shrink the NAND process, which necessitates additional error correction software and slows the performance of the device.

Besides the speed of this little solid-state drive, its diminutive size fits easily into a shirt pocket. The T1 is just under three inches long by a bit over two inches wide and about one-third of an inch high (71mm x 9.2mm x 53.2 mm).

Samsung's 250GB external SSD is priced at $179.99, a 500GB drive is $299.99, and a 1TB drive is $599.99.


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