X81

You don’t really expect external storage to be fast. Portable storage is there for its convenience, but often they have such slow transfer speeds that using them for anything beyond the transfer of a few smaller files is a bit of a drag. Largely because of their very nature, they have to use an interface that’s not especially fast. The X8 from Crucial fixes that dilemma, provided you have the right hardware.

It’s a tiny device of anodised aluminium and rubber that’s sleek, light and portable – but rugged enough to take a few knocks, making it the perfect companion for portable data storage. The Crucial X8 is smooth, like a flat black lozenge or a travel mouse. It’s classy, and probably one of the most aesthetically-pleasing devices in Crucial’s arsenal. I wish there was some activity light to show that it was plugged in and doing its job of reading and writing, but that would probably clash with the monolithic appearance. It’s also just nice to have because once it’s plugged in you can easily tell if it’s working or not. There’s not very much else to its appearance that warrants a mention. Crucial ships it with a short USB C-type cable, with a USB A-type connector, if necessary.

CrucialSSD

What makes the X8 special is that it’s really really fast, outpacing many internal SSD drives. That’s because Crucial’s put an NVMe drive inside of it. That means it’s not subject to the same limitations of both the SATA bus and the USB port, which would see transfer speeds cap out at around 480MB/s. Crucial promises speeds of up to 1050MB/s – and I’m happy to report I got quite close to that. Those aren’t remarkable speeds for an NVMe drive, but they’re blisteringly quick for an external. To make the best of that, you will need USB 3.2 Gen 1 ports, as they’re the only USB standard for now that has the necessary bandwidth to nix the bottleneck – and you’ll only get those on newer hardware. I don’t have newer hardware, so at first, I was forced to use the drive plugged into my regular old USB 3 ports, where the speeds just barely exceeded 450MB/s.

Unremarkable, right? I wondered if I’d be able to even test this thing properly without the requisite hardware – and then I remembered that I had a USB C port on the back of my GPU. With that interfacing directly with the PCI bus, I should be able to access the necessary bandwidth to reach the drives potential. I plugged it into my GPU with a nice long cable that I had, ran CrystalDiskMark and promptly got…read speeds of 40MB/s. I was dumbfounded, thinking that Nvidia was somehow capping the speed of the GPU’s USB port. I troubleshot, reinstalled drivers and I did a deep dive into settings and nothing. Then I used the shorter cable that shipped with the drive instead of the one I already had – and that was just the ticket. Doing that saw me reach sequential read speeds of 1038.646 MB/s, and sequential write speeds of 1001.656 MB/s; not far off from Crucial’s claims. That would effectively allow you to transfer 1GB of data to or from the drive in a single second. Once again, not mind-blowing for an NVMe drive, but exceptionally quick for an external.

X8Ps4

It’s effectively the same hardware you’d get in their M2 P1 drives, just stuffed in a gorgeous diminutive case, with its software and logic tweaked to run as portable storage. You could, of course, use this on a PC without USB 3.2 Gen 1 – or even consoles like the PS4 or Xbox One, or phones that will work with USB C in that way – but you’ll be getting half the performance. If you don’t have the requisite hardware, I’d recommend getting a cheaper drive. If you do though, you’ll be getting a super-fast 500GB external for a recommended local retail price of R2,979, or a 1TB version for R4,159.

CDMresultX8

It’s not the fastest external drive in the world; you’ll have to use a much more expensive Thunderbolt drive to get speeds of up to 2.8GB/s, but it’s an exceptionally fast consumer-level drive that’s easy to recommend if you have the requisite hardware. It’s also worth noting that there are no additional features, tools or utilities on this drive. It doesn’t come with any partitioning tools, or even encryption. I’m okay with that, because it makes setup simple; plug it in, and it works. It does however get a bit warm during use. It’s nothing I’d be concerned about because you can still pick the thing up without burning yourself, and more of an observation.

The winner of the drive, as decided by the overlords at Random.org is Craig Riley! Congrats Craig! your drive is on its way to you.


Last Updated: March 2, 2020

Crucial X8 1TB Portable SSD
Crucial's X8 is a blazing-fast portable SSD that's short on frills, but makes up for that with incredible speeds for a drive you can carry in your pocket.
8.5

45 Comments

  1. Alessandrino

    February 6, 2020 at 15:14

    My current External HDD has literally been slowly giving up the ghost over the past month, this could not have been better timed!

    Reply

  2. Boywonder1939

    February 6, 2020 at 15:18

    1. I would use it for all my PS plus games as I run out of space constantly on my PlayStation.
    2. Back up all my work documents and personal information I do not want in the cloud.
    3. Giggle at 1000+ MB/s (MEGABYTES!) per second speeds!

    Reply

  3. Gareth Lagesse (eXCheez)

    February 6, 2020 at 15:28

    I need this to boost my One X’s game load times, please.

    Reply

  4. Grant Webster

    February 6, 2020 at 15:28

    Can never have enough external hard drives this one will be the fastest of the lot

    Reply

  5. Ryno

    February 6, 2020 at 15:28

    I would use mine as my go to back up drive for all my applications and documents that you just can’t keep on cloud storage!

    Reply

  6. Pariah

    February 6, 2020 at 15:31

    The last external drive I had was a 160GB HDD that died 10 years ago. It’d be nice to have a new one.

    Reply

  7. D@rCF0g

    February 6, 2020 at 15:38

    When do you ever not need more storage! Plus, I need another drive for my RaspberryPI project that is in the pipeline! – A. Stafford (to match my entry with my handle)

    Reply

  8. David - John Milne

    February 6, 2020 at 16:21

    Pick me, Pick me!

    Reply

  9. Carlo G

    February 6, 2020 at 16:21

    This would be a perfect edition, Can store games, work stuff and anything else… OLD hDD slowing down now and this would à Perfect fit.

    Reply

  10. Yozzie

    February 6, 2020 at 16:27

    I want it because its shiny.

    Also look at all these new friends!

    Reply

    • Pariah

      February 7, 2020 at 08:35

      These are not friends. They’re frenemies. We like them until they come higher on the random.org list.

      Reply

  11. JWT-80

    February 6, 2020 at 18:46

    Because my Wi-Fi is too slow to stream my 4K, eh, family videos ?

    Reply

  12. Mbalee YamaZwide

    February 6, 2020 at 20:00

    I’m a Law student and winning a external hard drive would be awesome. I’d store all my notes and tutorials. This would be a great win indeed.

    Reply

  13. Smuroh

    February 6, 2020 at 15:38

    As someone that’s always on the move and taking photos then editing from a laptop, something like this that’s going to take a punch if dropped it’s the perfect thing to add into my arsenal

    Reply

  14. Damian Fredericks

    February 6, 2020 at 16:02

    This would be perfect for me as I take lots of photos and it would help in storage of videos and transfering them plus a safe place for all my documents and apps and games. I can only imagine how much I’ll enjoy being able to transfer files at 1GB/s ?

    Reply

  15. Leroy Appolis

    February 6, 2020 at 16:03

    Would like to win this for a very special friend of mine that cannot afford this at the moment. Started his student life and always on the go and in a hurry, what better gift can you have than this with optimal speeds and light weight. Crossing fingers to win this for him

    Reply

  16. Caveshen Rajman

    February 6, 2020 at 16:48

    I wouldn’t mind a hard drive to beat my meat to. And by beat I mean watch. And by meat I mean movies.

    Reply

  17. Unavengedavo

    February 6, 2020 at 16:48

    I need it so that my SO can actually install and play games on her laptop.

    Reply

  18. Khaleesi's Boobs

    February 6, 2020 at 17:18

    My bf has more hard drives than me and it’s not fair.

    Reply

  19. Loftus ~ Sic Parvis Magna

    February 6, 2020 at 17:33

    I want one please. 🙂

    Reply

  20. Mbalee YamaZwide

    February 6, 2020 at 20:00

    I’m a Law student and winning a external hard drive would be awesome. I’d store all my notes and tutorials. This would be a great win indeed.

    Reply

  21. Edmund Paul

    February 6, 2020 at 22:58

    Shiny!! I want yes!

    Reply

  22. Johann

    February 7, 2020 at 00:48

    I would use it for an extra drive where I can store all my media, or as an extra drive for my PS4 games.

    Reply

  23. Ali

    February 7, 2020 at 03:10

    Recently i upgraded my laptop with Crucial MX500 250GB SSD and Crucial 8GB DDR4 RAM.Now my machine is incredibly fast.I would definitely use the Crucial X8 for my backup.

    Reply

  24. DRAGON

    February 7, 2020 at 08:25

    need this for the Xbox please, so many games from Game Pass

    Reply

  25. DRAGON

    February 7, 2020 at 08:25

    need this for the Xbox please, so many games from Game Pass

    Reply

  26. Psyduck

    February 7, 2020 at 09:53

    It is free. I want it because it will be free

    Reply

  27. Nyaniso

    February 7, 2020 at 11:17

    Would like to back up my work documents as we are not on the Cloud Storage due to the nature of work we do.

    Reply

  28. life is... okay...

    February 7, 2020 at 07:03

    I am currently building up a PC and was looking for an ssd so this really does sound amazing.

    Reply

  29. Dalezorz

    February 7, 2020 at 07:20

    I work in IT and this could save my bacon as I destroy 2.5″ spinning disks all the time. Copy times are also the bain of my existence ?

    Reply

  30. TJames47

    February 7, 2020 at 09:21

    Running out of space on my PS4. Will be great to use this as an external game drive.

    Reply

  31. Hammersteyn

    February 7, 2020 at 09:31

    I’m entering to land 4th and steal Kaasie’s spot

    Reply

    • Pariah

      February 7, 2020 at 09:59

      I love how Llew’s spot has been immortalised. No matter who comes there, it’s still regarded as his number.

      Reply

  32. AchillesD9

    February 7, 2020 at 09:47

    I WANT ONE!! 😀

    Reply

  33. danny139

    February 8, 2020 at 10:48

    I want one because the best I currently have is a miniscule USB/Micro USB connector with 32gb. And I can’t afford to spend money on a portable drive. And this one sounds awesome, with portability, high speed and great storage space.

    Reply

  34. Omega96

    February 8, 2020 at 18:12

    Want this so badly, especially because the damn gremlins have been at all of my current HDD. Hope a solid state can hold them off 😉

    Reply

  35. Adrian Phipps

    February 10, 2020 at 08:51

    In April of this year I will be embarking on my journey as an English teacher, leaving behind an IT career of almost 20 years. I would love to win this nippy little drive to kickstart those all those Powerpoint presentations (internal groan) I shall surely be using to drill my English lessons to my students. If there is anything worse than a Powerpoint presentation it can only be a slow and unresponsive presentation. So this fast little drive will give me the response I need to get a response from my students. Do it for the children and let me win please.. It’s for the kids after all hahahaha. Thanks for the wonderful opportunity and always insightful reviews. Cheers

    Reply

    • Geoffrey Tim

      February 10, 2020 at 09:38

      Wow! Major change in career at this stage of life. That’s gotta take some major balls. Big respect!

      Reply

      • Adrian Phipps

        February 10, 2020 at 09:48

        Indeed, but been a bit jaded with corporate for while so about to live the adage ”
        May you always do what you are afraid to do” 🙂

        Reply

  36. RossJantjies

    February 10, 2020 at 15:11

    Faster Speed means Faster….transferring all my downloaded files from my work pc before my boss can catch me:D

    Reply

  37. Yondaime

    February 12, 2020 at 15:49

    I have one these USB C ports on my GPU, I’d be keen to test out these speeds. Been thinking of NVMe drives for my upgrade but my wallet keeps shouting at me 🙁

    Reply

  38. Tbone187

    February 13, 2020 at 11:38

    Space + Speed + Free = I want!

    Reply

  39. Michael Finlay

    February 27, 2020 at 19:11

    I dont want one…I neeeeeeeeeed one!!!!

    Reply

  40. Michael Finlay

    February 27, 2020 at 19:11

    I dont want one…I neeeeeeeeeed one!!!!

    Reply

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