Saturday, October 26th 2019

Crucial Unveils the X8 Portable SSD

Micron's consumer storage solutions arm Crucial unveiled the X8 Portable SSD. The Crucial X8 is a lightweight, portable flash-based storage device that comes in capacities of 500 GB and 1 TB, and offers sequential transfer speeds of up to 1,050 MB/s reads. It leverages USB 3.1 gen 2 (10 Gbps) and UASP, and supports USB type-C. A type-C to type-A adapter is included in the package, but runs the drive at 5 Gbps. The drive requires USB 3.1 and isn't compatible with USB 2.0/1.1. This is because it needs 1.5 A of current, which older generation USB ports typically can't provide. A single cable with USB-C connectors on both ends handles both power and host connectivity.

Under the hood, the X8 is essentially a Crucial P1 M.2 NVMe SSD wired to an ASMedia-made USB-to-PCIe bridge chip. The X8 supports TRIM command if the volume is formatted in NTFS. Out of the box, it comes in a camera-friendly exFAT format with GPT. The drive is hence compatible with PCs (Windows 7 or later and GPT-aware *nix), Macs, the iPad Pro, Chromebooks, and Android devices that have USB 3.1. Although not certified, The Crucial X8 also works with Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and Crucial provides support on how to get the drive to work with these consoles, making it a formidable portable game drive given its sequential read speed. The drive is roughly the size of a 4-inch smartphone, and can survive drops onto carpet up to a height of 7.5 feet (2.28 m). It's not water-resistant. Backed by a 3-year warranty, the 1 TB variant (CT1000X8SSD9) is priced at $164.95, and the 500 GB variant (CT500X8SSD9) at $119.95.
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9 Comments on Crucial Unveils the X8 Portable SSD

#1
hojnikb
Having a QLC based portable drive is such a bad idea. This thing will most of the time be disconnected from the PC/power, which means potential data degradation over time.
Posted on Reply
#2
Crowley
hojnikb
Having a QLC based portable drive is such a bad idea. This thing will most of the time be disconnected from the PC/power, which means potential data degradation over time.
I would think this would be geared more towards the console crowd. If you have this connected to an XBOX, for example, as long as you don't perform a complete shutdown and stay in stand-by mode, you will always have the power flowing. Also it might be a boost in terms of speed. I know that XBOX uses USB 3.0 and not 3.1 gen xx but it is still an SSD going over USB 3.0 and not SATA
Posted on Reply
#3
The Egg
hojnikb
Having a QLC based portable drive is such a bad idea. This thing will most of the time be disconnected from the PC/power, which means potential data degradation over time.
It's moronic. The 840EVO had serious problems with data retention, and that was TLC. Since there's no shortcut to waiting actual time (for testing), the manufacturer doesn't even know themselves. They probably have a general idea based on some calculations, but it hasn't been vetted in the field whether that estimation is accurate. NAND hasn't been tested very well for data retention in general.

Buy external QLC you're ready to be careless and gamble with some of your data.
Posted on Reply
#4
trparky
The Egg
The 840EVO had serious problems with data retention, and that was TLC.
That was happening more because of how small (process mode) they were trying to use. As they shrunk the NAND Flash they were decreasing the amount of electrons they could store along with shrinking the walls of the cells which caused electron drift.

Since then they put the brakes on and put the whole process in reverse. Now NAND Flash memory is made using much larger process nodes to not only store more electrons by also increase the spacing between cells.
Posted on Reply
#6
biffzinker
trparky
Now NAND Flash memory is made using much larger process nodes to not only store more electrons by also increase the spacing between cells.
Since the NAND manufactures started stacking the dies (96 layers currently) their back to shrinking the fabrication process in smaller increments.

Micron is getting ready to move to 128 dies stacked.
https://www.anandtech.com/show/14942/micron-128layer-3d-nand-with-replacement-gate-cmos-under-array-taped-out
Posted on Reply
#7
trparky
biffzinker
Since the NAND manufactures started stacking the dies (96 layers) their back to shrinking the fabrication process in smaller increments.
I didn't know that. I know that Samsung is using something called Charge Trap Flash that's slightly different than traditional NAND Flash Memory. Their CTF has shown to be quite reliable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charge_trap_flash
Posted on Reply
#8
hojnikb
trparky
That was happening more because of how small (process mode) they were trying to use. As they shrunk the NAND Flash they were decreasing the amount of electrons they could store along with shrinking the walls of the cells which caused electron drift.

Since then they put the brakes on and put the whole process in reverse. Now NAND Flash memory is made using much larger process nodes to not only store more electrons by also increase the spacing between cells.
Yes, but drive in question is QLC. While it is 3D nand, it uses 4 bits per cell, which means a lot finer voltage differentiation, so degradation issue gets worse again.
Posted on Reply
#9
trparky
hojnikb
Yes, but drive in question is QLC. While it is 3D nand, it uses 4 bits per cell, which means a lot finer voltage differentiation, so degradation issue gets worse again.
That's why I won't ever buy a QLC drive, TLC or bust.
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