Crucial X6 and X8 Portable SSD Review: A Pair of 2TB Pocket Options
Big Storage In The Palm Of Your Hand
What we have for you today is a pair of portable 2TB SSDs in compact form-factors. These are the X6 and X8 from Crucial, portable SSDs that offer a slick, dare I say post-HP-acquisition-WebOS-era-Palm-like aesthetic that I WHOLEHEARTEDLY approve of.
Before I Veer off topic at 4G speeds, I’ll get back to the delightfully rounded, soft-touch, palm-sized device that constitutes Crucial’s X6 drive. This attractive little contrivance offers up to 2TB of capacity, and can also double as a worry stone.
The larger X8 is an oblong take on this design, and is the right size to be an NVMe enclosure – which might explain the high performance of the 2TB SSD within.
- Models Tested: CT2000X8SSD9, CT2000X6SSD9
- Capacity: 2TB
- Sequential Read:
- X8: Up to 1050MB/s
- X6: Up to 540MB/s
- Interface: USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C 10Gb/s (compatible with USB 3.2 Gen 1 5Gb/s)
- Compatible with:
- Windows 10, 8.1
- PS4 & PS4 Pro3
- XBOX One & XBOX One X
- iPad Pro (2018 USB-C model)
- Warranty: 3 years
- Crucial X6 1TB $154.95, 2TB $284.95 (list)
- Crucial X8 1TB $189.95, 2TB $329.95 (list)
“How much can you carry between the tips of your fingers? With the Crucial X6 Portable SSD, the answer is: A lot! Whether you’re downloading videos for offline travel, organizing family photos, collaborating with classmates, or heading off on a great adventure, the Crucial X6 is affordable, and ready to go wherever you do.”
“Protect your memories with the Crucial X8 Portable SSD — back up important photos, videos, and documents with up to 2TB capacity. Expand storage on your PS4™, Xbox One, iPad Pro, Android device, or simply free up space on your computer quickly with speeds up to 1050MB/s. The Crucial X8 runs up to 1.8x faster than other portable SSDs and up to 7.5x faster than portable HDDs.1 Store with confidence on the Crucial X8.”
To assess the speed of these Crucial SSDs I ran a couple of common benchmarks, as well as measuring the “real-world” speeds during read and write operations using Windows 10.
The test platform was the Intel NUC 9 Extreme we reviewed back in April, and while connectivity with this system includes up to Thunderbolt 3, we only need 10 Gbps USB here.
Here are results from both the X6 and X8 using the default settings from CrystalDiskMark 7.0.0 x64.
Crucial X6 results on the left, X8 results on the right
The X6 hit 560 MB/s (20 MB/s above its advertised 540 MB/s transfer speed) on reads at the default queue depth of 8 (QD8) in the sequential 1 GiB test, with writes of 508 MB/s.
For its part the faster X8 was not able to hit the advertised 1050 MB/s, at these settings with this test platform, anyway. Still, reads of 968 MB/s and writes of 980 MB/s at QD8 are nothing to sneeze at.
4K random numbers show much closer closer performance with write speeds, with both drives in the 40 MB/s range in this 4K random test at QD1. The faster X8 offered approximately 22% higher 4K read speeds, however.
ATTO Disk Benchmark
Here are results from both the X6 and X8 using the default settings (QD4) in ATTO 4.01.0f1.
Crucial X6 results on the left, X8 results on the right
In this test the X6 hit 536 MB/s on reads, topping out close to 480 MB/s on writes. We saw faster writes than reads in this test from the X8, as reads hit 923 MB/s at these settings, with writes topping out at 936 MB/s.
Using Windows 10 version 1909, I conducted some file transfers using a pair of folders filled with large files (OS install media images) totaling roughly 90 GB.
The gallery begins with Crucial X6 read/write results on the left, moving on to Crucial X8 read/right speeds on the right:
In these transfer tests the X6 managed around 497 MB/s on reads and 476 MB/s on writes. Results from the X8 included reads of 832 MB/s, with writes topping out at about 990MB/s once the Windows cache effect had been exhausted.
While it is possible that we were simply limited by the USB-C connection to this particular system (and its requisite 10 Gbps controller), the Crucial X8 did come within about 6% of its rated speed – though the full 1050 MB/s proved elusive.
As of this writing (10/07/20) these Crucial portable SSDs are priced as follows, based on current Amazon listings:
- Crucial X6 1TB Portable SSD: $154.95
- Crucial X6 2TB Portable SSD: $284.95
- Crucial X8 1TB Portable SSD: $149.95 (down from $189.95)
- Crucial X8 2TB Portable SSD: $307.00 (down from $329.95)
Looking first at the X8, which has street prices that are already lower than list. This drive becomes a much better value at ~$307 for the 2TB version we tested, which is less than the current ~$319 street price for the similar (up to 1050 MB/s) 2TB Samsung T7. And before commenting on how much less expensive other 2 TB options can be, please remember that with the X8 we are talking about a much faster 10 Gbps device, and most drives on the market are still limited to 5 Gbps speeds.
The smaller Crucial X6 with its rated ~540 MB/s speeds don’t fare as well at current prices, which will likely drop soon as things are a bit skewed on Amazon (and the world in general) right now. The list price of $154.95 for the 1TB version is higher than the current street price of the faster X8, so I would expect a correction there very soon, depending on availability. Still, this price is in line with other offerings such as the (up to 550 MB/s) 1TB SanDisk Extreme Portable SSD, which sells for ~$149.
These Crucial portable SSDs offer a 3-year warranty, and no software is included. I like this, as I prefer to use my own solutions for security and backup, but it’s worth noting. The box contents for both products are pretty minimal, though the X8 includes a USB Type-C to Type-A adapter, while the X6 does not (the adapter is available for a few dollars more).
Crucial’s new X6 and X8 external drives are impressive entries into the ever-expanding portable SSD market. They offer excellent performance and, especially from the 2TB versions we received, tremendous storage capacity for their size.
While the smaller X6 has an interesting form factor that could be described as resembling a flattened AirPods case, its current pricing relative to the rated 540 MB/s transfer speeds is less appealing when the much faster Crucial X8 is available for just a bit more right now (or even less in the case of the 1TB version).
My money is on the Crucial X8, which offers speeds as fast as any 10 Gbps USB-C drive I’ve tested to date, and does so with a slick enclosure, zero bloatware, and the assurance of a 3-year warranty. I give it our “gold” award, and look forward to seeing how street prices adjust for both the X6 and X8 SSDs over time.
This disclosure statement covers the way the product being reviewed was obtained and the relationship between the product's manufacturer and PC Perspective.
How Product Was Obtained
The SSDs are on loan from Crucial for the purpose of this review.
What Happens To Product After Review
The SSDs remain the property of Crucial but will be on extended loan to PC Perspective for the purpose of future testing and product comparisons.
Crucial provided the product sample and technical brief to PC Perspective but had no control over the content of the review and was not consulted prior to publication.
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Neither PC Perspective nor any of its staff were paid or compensated in any way by Crucial for this review.
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