Comparing the Samsung X5 Thunderbolt 3 SSD versus the G-Drive Mobile SSD & Glyph RAID Atom...

Posted:
in Current Mac Hardware edited August 14
Samsung's X5 portable SSD is a beast with best in class performance, but a price tag above what the average consumer will need. We review the red and gray device and compare it to a pair of other extremely capable SSDs from GDrive and Glyph.

Mobile SSDs
G|Drive R-Series (left), Samsung X5 (middle), Glyph RAID Atom (right)


The X5 is Samsung's fastest SSD to date, following a long line of other excellent T-series drives. Metal encapsulates the X5, with a glossy finish on top and a matte, non-slip red finish on the bottom.

Samsung X5


Samsung built in some durability into the X5, including six feet of drop protection. This isn't the most we've seen, but it should be sufficient for most drops in the field.

As an interface choice, Samsung is one of few who have adopted Thunderbolt 3. It has speed improvements over USB 3.1 type C drives, but often is accompanied by a larger price tag.






Since most won't need the speediness, or care to pay the high price tag, associated with the X5, we wanted to compare it to the G|Drive Mobile SSD R-Series as well as the Glyph Atom RAID SSD -- two other excellent drives.

For the test, we ran the Blackmagic Disk Speed test several times on each drive, averaging the results. We also made sure that each drive was the same capacity to even the playing field.

G|Drive Mobile SSD R-Series

G|Drive's R-series SSD is the most durable of the lineup, withstanding drops from nearly ten feet, IP67 water and dust resistance, and 1000lb crush resistance.

G|Drive Mobile SSD
G|Drive Mobile SSD


It has a sharp exterior with a vivid blue peeking out from behind the grill of the exterior. Instead of Thunderbolt 3, G|Drive uses USB 3.1 type C and has speeds up to 560MB/s.

G|Drive Mobile SSD speeds
G|Drive Mobile SSD speeds


In our real-world speed tests, we read speeds averaging 520MB/s and write speeds around 400MB/s -- not far off from the advertised performance on our 1TB model.

Glyph Atom RAID SSD

The Glyph drive we tested isn't quite as durable, though it does have an all-metal exterior and an optional silicone cover.

Glyph Atom RAID SSD
Glyph Atom RAID SSD


There are two SSDs inside with a RAID configuration, letting it read and write to both simultaneously. That should yield near double the performance over USB 3.1 type-C than one drive over SATA, which is pretty spot on with what we saw.

Glyph Atom RAID SSD speeds
Glyph Atom RAID SSD speeds


Write speeds averaged around 600MB/s and read speeds clocked in at 850MB/s.

Samsung X5

Samsung X5
Samsung X5


The Samsung X5 is the only one of the three using NVMe media as well as Thunderbolt 3. It also is durable, capable of carrying on after a 6-foot drop.

Samsung X5 speeds
Samsung X5 speeds


In testing, we saw write speeds average around 1750MB/s and read speeds around 2150MB/s.

That is near triple the speed we saw from Glyph, making it an ideal choice for high-speed work on-the-go.

The three bears

G|Drive and Glyph SSDs
G|Drive and Glyph SSDs


Each of these drives has its pros and cons. G|Drive is the slowest, though it is also the most durable, capable of weathering extreme conditions. It is also the cheapest, running around $250 for the 1TB model.

Glyph is almost twice as fast, but only a $50 premium over the prior. This makes it an excellent choice if the extreme ruggedness of the G|Drive isn't essential.

The Samsung X5 is -- to no surprise -- by far the fastest, but carries the corresponding price tag. For a 1TB, the X5 will run you around $600. It is well built, fast, and durable. Any pro would be thrilled to have such high performance while working in the field.

The real choice between the three presented here is made based on what you, the user, prioritizes. If you need a SSD, and price plus ruggedness is the primary consideration, the G|Drive is your choice. If maximum speed is the goal, then the Samsung X5 or the Nekteck SSD we reviewed earlier in December are the choices. On the other hand, if you can sacrifice ruggedness and want a bit more speed, then go for the Glyph.
DonEverest

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 17
    J.G.ViaJ.G.Via Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    Important advise should be added: Samsung unit with Thunderbolt 3 will ONLY work with Thunderbolt 3 input plug. No USB compatible. (AFAIK)
  • Reply 2 of 17
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,881administrator
    J.G.Via said:
    Important advise should be added: Samsung unit with Thunderbolt 3 will ONLY work with Thunderbolt 3 input plug. No USB compatible. (AFAIK)
    Right -- that's why we called it a Thunderbolt 3 drive.
    zoetmb
  • Reply 3 of 17
    anomeanome Posts: 1,297member
    Now if someone would just do a striped RAID array in a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure...
    viclauyyc
  • Reply 4 of 17
    Why did you not compare this Samsung drive with the g-tech G-drive Mobile Pro SSD for a more closer comparison? Pretty unfair test to showcase Samsung as the winner without drives that are more closely aligned. 
  • Reply 5 of 17
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,881administrator
    anome said:
    Now if someone would just do a striped RAID array in a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure...
    Four Crucial MX500 1TB drives are delivering me about 2050 megabytes per second read, and 1550 megabytes per second write across Thunderbolt 3 with my Akitio Thunder3 Quad Mini enclosure. RAID 5 is delivering the same 2050 read, with write speeds of about 1100 megabytes per second.

    Cost = about $800.

    I'm trying to get a vendor to loan me an 8-bay enclosure.
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 6 of 17
    DrDumDumDrDumDum Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Agreed. This is like comparing apples to oranges to bananas. 

    Compare 2.5" SSDs to 2.5" SSDs and nvme to nvme? 
  • Reply 7 of 17
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,881administrator
    nadkavs said:
    Why did you not compare this Samsung drive with the g-tech G-drive Mobile Pro SSD for a more closer comparison? Pretty unfair test to showcase Samsung as the winner without drives that are more closely aligned. 
    Because we review and compare what we get requests to do. This was three specific requests, rolled into one piece. To be clear, we like all three drives. We didn't declare Samsung the winner in all cases, and we aren't fond of the pricing.

    And, there is value in comparing apples to oranges to bananas sometimes. If you only eat bananas, how do you know if you'll like oranges?
    edited December 2018
  • Reply 8 of 17
    J.G.ViaJ.G.Via Posts: 2unconfirmed, member
    J.G.Via said:
    Important advise should be added: Samsung unit with Thunderbolt 3 will ONLY work with Thunderbolt 3 input plug. No USB compatible. (AFAIK)
    Right -- that's why we called it a Thunderbolt 3 drive.
    Ok.
    I mentioned just in case, as seemed strange to me you don't mention "compatibility" in your "pros & cons". 
  • Reply 9 of 17
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,881administrator
    J.G.Via said:
    J.G.Via said:
    Important advise should be added: Samsung unit with Thunderbolt 3 will ONLY work with Thunderbolt 3 input plug. No USB compatible. (AFAIK)
    Right -- that's why we called it a Thunderbolt 3 drive.
    Ok.
    I mentioned just in case, as seemed strange to me you don't mention "compatibility" in your "pros & cons". 
    Because it isn't really much of an issue. The Retina MacBook is the only one of Apple's currently shipping models that doesn't have a Thunderbolt 3 port, and it is easy to get a Thunderbolt 3 drive to work on an older machine with Thunderbolt 1 or 2, which goes back half a decade.
    StrangeDaysaknabi
  • Reply 10 of 17
    anomeanome Posts: 1,297member
    anome said:
    Now if someone would just do a striped RAID array in a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure...
    Four Crucial MX500 1TB drives are delivering me about 2050 megabytes per second read, and 1550 megabytes per second write across Thunderbolt 3 with my Akitio Thunder3 Quad Mini enclosure. RAID 5 is delivering the same 2050 read, with write speeds of about 1100 megabytes per second.

    Cost = about $800.

    I'm trying to get a vendor to loan me an 8-bay enclosure.

    Now you're talking. It would almost be worth the slight write cost for the redundancy. Almost.

    But it's not really portable. I want something I can carry in my bag with my MBP.

    Sourced from Amazon, that comes to about A$1250. Not too bad, given the exchange rate and GST. Also, I note that's using SATA, not NVMe. No doubt 4x1TB NVMe SSDs and an NVMe enclosure would put the cost up further, but it would be so cool...

  • Reply 11 of 17
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,701member
    anome said:
    Now if someone would just do a striped RAID array in a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure...
    I have a six-drive Thunderbolt 2 RAID5 array.  Works quite well and even with six drives, I still haven't been able to saturate the TB2 bandwidth.
  • Reply 12 of 17
    sflocalsflocal Posts: 4,701member

    anome said:
    anome said:
    Now if someone would just do a striped RAID array in a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure...
    Four Crucial MX500 1TB drives are delivering me about 2050 megabytes per second read, and 1550 megabytes per second write across Thunderbolt 3 with my Akitio Thunder3 Quad Mini enclosure. RAID 5 is delivering the same 2050 read, with write speeds of about 1100 megabytes per second.

    Cost = about $800.

    I'm trying to get a vendor to loan me an 8-bay enclosure.

    Now you're talking. It would almost be worth the slight write cost for the redundancy. Almost.

    But it's not really portable. I want something I can carry in my bag with my MBP.

    Sourced from Amazon, that comes to about A$1250. Not too bad, given the exchange rate and GST. Also, I note that's using SATA, not NVMe. No doubt 4x1TB NVMe SSDs and an NVMe enclosure would put the cost up further, but it would be so cool...

    While I'm sure doing a multi-drive RAID0 thunderbolt3 array would be fun just for the heck of it... what the heck would any single user be doing to ever saturate that kind of bandwidth?  What's the bandwidth necessary to render an 8K movie in realtime?  Would that even saturate a single NVMe pipe?
  • Reply 13 of 17
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 4,881administrator
    anome said:
    anome said:
    Now if someone would just do a striped RAID array in a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure...
    Four Crucial MX500 1TB drives are delivering me about 2050 megabytes per second read, and 1550 megabytes per second write across Thunderbolt 3 with my Akitio Thunder3 Quad Mini enclosure. RAID 5 is delivering the same 2050 read, with write speeds of about 1100 megabytes per second.

    Cost = about $800.

    I'm trying to get a vendor to loan me an 8-bay enclosure.

    Now you're talking. It would almost be worth the slight write cost for the redundancy. Almost.

    But it's not really portable. I want something I can carry in my bag with my MBP.

    Sourced from Amazon, that comes to about A$1250. Not too bad, given the exchange rate and GST. Also, I note that's using SATA, not NVMe. No doubt 4x1TB NVMe SSDs and an NVMe enclosure would put the cost up further, but it would be so cool...

    The biggest issue you're going to run into with SATA at least, is the powering of said enclosure. I've seen plenty of two-bay bus-powered enclosures, but I don't recall seeing any four-bay bus-powered enclosures. 

    As far as M.2 drives go, the OWC Express 4M2 uses (as you'd expect) four M.2 drives, but requires an external power supply. 
  • Reply 14 of 17
    nadkavs said:
    Why did you not compare this Samsung drive with the g-tech G-drive Mobile Pro SSD for a more closer comparison? Pretty unfair test to showcase Samsung as the winner without drives that are more closely aligned. 
    Because we review and compare what we get requests to do. This was three specific requests, rolled into one piece. To be clear, we like all three drives. We didn't declare Samsung the winner in all cases, and we aren't fond of the pricing.

    And, there is value in comparing apples to oranges to bananas sometimes. If you only eat bananas, how do you know if you'll like oranges?
    Good article.

    to be fair, this is not exactly a hardware/hard drive review site. It is a site for tech things that might interested Apple user. If reader want some in-depth review, there is tons other site do it.

    If reader just read one article and go buy something AI suggests. That person need to do more homework. Google is not that hard to uses.
  • Reply 15 of 17
    tzeshantzeshan Posts: 2,008member
    If you have $600 to spend on the 1TB Samsung drive, it is better to buy the other drives to get 2TB.
  • Reply 16 of 17
    I was considering the Samsung X5, but ended up getting the G-drive Mobile Pro SSD (not included in your comparison).  G-drive Mobile Pro is similar to X5 in performance and price.  Three things kept me from getting X5 for my MacBook Pro 2018:

    1. Samsung's site does not claim compatibility with Mojave.
    2. Negative reviews at Amazon claim X5 does not work with Mojave on MacBook Pro 2018.
    3. Quote on Samsung site: "
    software updates for X5 are only supported on Windows PCs". Not sure what that would mean to me.

    So my question: is Samsung X5 compatible/supported on MacBook Pro 2018 with Mojave?
  • Reply 17 of 17
    anomeanome Posts: 1,297member
    sflocal said:

    anome said:
    anome said:
    Now if someone would just do a striped RAID array in a Thunderbolt 3 enclosure...
    Four Crucial MX500 1TB drives are delivering me about 2050 megabytes per second read, and 1550 megabytes per second write across Thunderbolt 3 with my Akitio Thunder3 Quad Mini enclosure. RAID 5 is delivering the same 2050 read, with write speeds of about 1100 megabytes per second.

    Cost = about $800.

    I'm trying to get a vendor to loan me an 8-bay enclosure.

    Now you're talking. It would almost be worth the slight write cost for the redundancy. Almost.

    But it's not really portable. I want something I can carry in my bag with my MBP.

    Sourced from Amazon, that comes to about A$1250. Not too bad, given the exchange rate and GST. Also, I note that's using SATA, not NVMe. No doubt 4x1TB NVMe SSDs and an NVMe enclosure would put the cost up further, but it would be so cool...

    While I'm sure doing a multi-drive RAID0 thunderbolt3 array would be fun just for the heck of it... what the heck would any single user be doing to ever saturate that kind of bandwidth?  What's the bandwidth necessary to render an 8K movie in realtime?  Would that even saturate a single NVMe pipe?

    The same argument could be used for people who want a better graphics card, or more memory, or faster processors. What does a single user need with that?

    And people will find answers for that. Similarly, people will find a way to use all the bandwidth available and complain they need more. Your workload always expands to exceed the available bandwidth.

    [EDIT] Oh, and it being fun is always enough of a justification for anything. Why do people buy sportscars that can go at 5 times the speed limit? There's no way they're ever going to need that...

    edited December 2018
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