A one minute review
With the X6, Crucial has delivered a solid external solid state drive for those looking for a suitably small storage device with an attractive price tag, Type-C connectivity and a larger-than-average capacity to boot. It is a no-frill portable SSD that has mass appeal but will leave those with a need for speed wanting something faster, either based on USB 3.2 Gen 2 or Thunderbolt 3.
Its lack of salient features and the presence of two formidable opponents - the Samsung T5 and the Sandisk Extreme portable SSD mean that there’s pretty few reasons to opt for it. Things are worse for lower capacities (e.g. 1TB) where established nimbler players like Adata or Silicon Power offer extremely price competitive products with plenty of enticing features.
Note that a 4TB model was launched in February 2021 and carries a suggested retail price of $490. It is about 60% faster than the 2TB model as well.
Price and availability
You can get the X6 (CT2000X6SSD9) for as little as $259.95 from Amazon, direct from Crucial and BHphotovideo. It comes with a three-year warranty, which is in line with the rest of the market but feels light compared to the T5 which has a 5-year warranty.
Design and features
The first thing you notice about the Crucial X6 is how small it is; it is not USB thumb drive small but it is not that far. At 68.83 x 64 x 10.92mm, for a weight of only 42g without cable, it is slightly larger and a tad lighter than its nearest competitor, Samsung’s widely acclaimed Portable T5, which was launched back in 2017. The latter started life as a premium product and is now entering mainstream while the X6 is clearly aimed at a price-sensitive crowd given its minimalist black plastic case that’s adorned by the Crucial logo.
Inside the drive are a ASMedia ASM235CM USB 3.2 Gen 2 bridge and Silicon Motion SM2259XT controller, alongside Micron 96-layer 3D QLC flash. It supports UASP and TRIM and as expected, is a SATA-based storage device likely to be based on Crucial’s entry level internal SSD product range, the BX500 which means that it is likely to be DRAMless.
Note that unlike most of its competitors, the X6 doesn’t come with any software or a Type-A to Type-C cable - you are only provided with a Type-C to Type-C cable and have to pay extra for an adaptor. We’d love to have at least the option for a free backup software or even better have a cloud storage option offered, similar to what Seagate did with Adobe Creative Cloud.
Crucial quotes read speeds up to 540MBps via the USB 3.1 Gen-2 Type-C interface. Our benchmark tests show that the Crucial X6 performs in general below expectations. CrystalDiskMark numbers were unsurprisingly, the most optimistic hitting 464MBps and 432MBps on read/write speeds. AJA, ATTO, AS SSD all gave worse numbers - as expected - although we were surprised by the real life transfer rates.
Here’s how the Crucial X6 2TB portable SSD performed in our suite of benchmark tests:
CrystalDiskMark: 464MBps (read); 432MBps (write)
Atto: 443MBps (read, 256mb); 429MBps (write, 256mb)
AS SSD: 435MBps (seq read); 375MBps (seq write)
AJA: 430MBps (read); 410MBps (write)
A single 10GB file was transferred in less than 33 seconds, yielding a transfer rate of more than 300MBps which was better than quite a few of the rivals we tested recently. It is likely that you won’t get the same performance levels with smaller versions of this drive. Larger drives can write to several NAND chips at the same time and speed up the read/write process.
Buy it if
You want something very small with a high capacity. The X6 target price-sensitive users who are looking for a portable storage device that is faster or smaller or more resistant than an external 2.5-inch hard disk drive. The Samsung T5 Portable is smaller by about 8% but is heavier by roughly 9g thanks partly to its metal body.
Don't buy if
You want something fast. If you plan to move large files around often, then the X6 might not be your best bet as its real life speed is poor compared with others out there given that it is stuck on USB 3.2 Gen 1 technology. The X8, the bigger brother of the X6, is twice as fast - thanks to USB 3.2 Gen 2 - and costs only 10% extra but it is not as compact. Thunderbolt 3 SSDs are even faster but also significantly more expensive and require a compatible interface.
Something which is waterproof. The X6 is shockproof but not waterproof. Opt for the Sandisk 2TB Extreme portable external SSD is that’s what you’re after. It is about the size of the Crucial X8 so not as discreet but it costs a tad less.
A solid state drive which is secure. The X6 doesn’t come with any sort of hardware security features like a fingerprint reader, hardware encryption support or a pin pad. Use one of the many free encryption tools available in the market if you want to secure your files on the fly. Alternatively, Samsung’s T7 Touch SSD should be a great alternative; it costs far more (about 25% extra) but then again, it is twice as fast and has a fingerprint scanner.
You’re looking for the cheapest 2TB portable SSD drive around. Believe it or not, the Samsung T5 portable SSD, is cheaper than the Crucial X6 by about 4% and uses Samsung’s 64-layer TLC V-NAND hardware which is usually considered to be more reliable. As mentioned above, the waterproof Sandisk Extreme portable external SSD is also cheaper by the same margin.
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