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Crucial X8 Portable SSD review: An affordable drive for mainstream users


Crucial’s X8 Portable SSD (1TB as tested) is affordable, fast with everyday tasks, and sports a classy design. It feels nice in the hand and looks good emerging from your pocket. But there is a performance caveat for those who work with very large files and data sets. 

Design and specs

Crucial takes a slightly different approach to the design of its X8 Portable SSD by mixing materials. The main body is anodized aluminum, and there are plastic inserts running across each side, with grippier end caps. They’re all shades of black, and the overall effect is quite nice.

The X8 is one of the larger portable drives I’ve tested. Measuring 4.33 x 0.45 x 2.08 inches (width/depth/height), and weighing just shy of 3.5 ounces, it’s not quite as husky as Samsung’s X5, but more like Sandisk’s Extreme Pro Portable SSD. It sits in your hand nicely. 

The X8 connects using USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps) and is available in two capacities: 500GB ($119.95 from Crucial) and 1TB ($164.95 on Amazon), the latter being the capacity we tested. The NAND is TLC, which is plenty fast for an external USB SSD—most of the time. Yes, another tease about performance.

crucial x8 ssd flat front Crucial

Crucial’s X8 portable SSD is a handsome drive that’s svelte, but with a nice smooth texture and heft. 

The X8 Portable SSD ships with a Type-C to Type-C cable, with a Type-C to Type-A adapter. 

Performance

For the vast majority of our testing, the 1TB Crucial X8 Portable SSD performed like a champ. That covers 99.999% of likely scenarios. However, in the one test where the X8 Portable SSD fell short—the 450GB write test—it fell short by miles. More on that in a bit, and back to the good news in CrystalDiskMark 6 (see darkest bars below).

cdm6 crucial x8 IDG

For 1GB files, the Crucial X8 Portable SSD is as fast as the competition. Longer bars are better.

CrystalDiskMark 6 (shown above) ranked the X8 Portable SSD as basically equal to the competition. The numbers in the chart above are very competitive, and indicate performance for relatively short 1GB read and write tasks. All the other CDM 6 numbers were on track as well.

48gb crucial x8 IDG

When on cache, as it was the vast majority of the time, the X8 is almost as fast as SanDisk’s Extreme Portable Pro. Shorter bars are better.

However, as with the other portable USB SSD drives we’ve tested, real-life performance didn’t match the synthetic benchmark results. The X8 Portable SSD’s 48GB copy test results (shown above) are highly competitive, nearly the equal of those turned in by SanDisk’s top-dog Extreme Portable Pro.

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