doddleREVIEW: Samsung T5 SSD

by Larry Jordan

It all started innocently enough. I wanted to record some RAW footage using the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema 4K camera. Except, the SD card I was using was not fast enough to record RAW.

A trip to Blackmagic’s website told me that I needed to use a faster drive, preferably an SSD. They recommended several, one of which was the Samsung T5 SSD.

Now that I have it, let me share what I’ve learned.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

This pocket-size SSD powerhouse stores up to 2 TB of data, can be dropped with a clear conscience and delivers about 500 MB/second of data using either a Thunderbolt 3 or USB-A interface.

It is small, silent, light and very fast. While not as fast as NVMe systems, it is more affordable and, like all SSDs, your data remains safely stored once power is removed. Though the system provides a utility to encrypt all data on the device, the utility is poorly implemented and unreliable.

Smaller than a 1/4″ stack of business cards, this has roughly the same speed as a CFast card, stores far more and costs far less. While you can’t slide it into a CFast slot, it is small and light enough to be gaffer-taped to the side of just about anything.

Manufacturer: Samsung
Website: www.samsung.com/semiconductor/minisite/ssd/product/portable/t5/
Available through a wide variety of distributors
MSRP: $239.99 for 1 TB version
Storage capacity: Ranges from 256 GB to 2 TB

SPECS

Think of this as a next-generation thumb drive. Because it uses an SSD, there are no moving parts inside.

Housed in a metal case (blue or black, depending upon capacity) the system uses multi-level cell flash memory (V-NAND) which ranges in capacity from 256 GB to 2 TB.

It has exactly one connector – Thunderbolt 3. It ships with two cables:

  • Thunderbolt 3 to Thunderbolt 3
  • Thunderbolt 3 to USB-A

NOTE: The Samsung T5 is a “Recommended” storage device by Blackmagic Design for its Pocket Cinema 4K camera.

SPEED

There are two reasons for buying this unit:

  • You keep dropping your hard disks and they break
  • You need more speed than a spinning drive can support.

This meets both requirements. Let’s take a look at the speed.

When connected via Thunderbolt 3, the unit delivers very respectable speeds of 486 MB/second write, and 519.8 MB/second read.

NOTE: In almost all cases for storage, write speeds are slower than read speeds. This speed difference is is normal.

This is fast enough to support ProRes 422 HQ up to 4K, and Cinema DNG RAW up to 2160/30. (The latest version of the Blackmagic Speed Test has not be updated to show the results of recording Blackmagic RAW or 4K images.)

NOTE: Extrapolating from the numbers, this unit looks fast enough to support UHD/24, but not any faster frame rates. I hope to test this later next week.

What STUNS me about this unit, though, is its speed when connected via USB-A, as illustrate in the above screen shot!

Yes, there’s about a 13% drop in write speed, and a 17% drop in read speed, but look at the speed that is left. I’ve NEVER associated 400+ MB/second with USB-A.

Larry also has a few thoughts on whether using drive encryption is a good idea for this device (hint – it definitely isn’t). Read the rest of his review here.

About James DeRuvo 801 Articles
Editor in Chief at doddleNEWS. James has been a writer and editor at doddleNEWS for nearly a decade. As a producer/director/writer James won a Telly Award in 2005 for his Short Film "Searching for Inspiration. James is a recovering talk show producer from KABC in Los Angeles, and a weekly guest on the Digital Production Buzz with Larry Jordan.

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