Samsung maybe isn't the first name you think of when you think of SSDs and is better known for its Samsung Galaxy phones, as well as a wealth of other personal electronics. But Samsung has been steadily making both portable external and internal SSDs for some time.
Samsung's latest is the Samsung T9, which is a refinement of the different variations of the T7, T7 Touch, and T7 Shield that came before, taking some of the best bits of that hardware and combining it into this newer model, with new headline top speeds. But does the Samsung T9 have what it takes to keep up with the best from SanDisk and other more established SSDs?
Samsung T9: Specifications
|Interface||USB 3.2 Gen 2x2|
|Capacity||1TB, 2TB, 4TB|
|Performance||Sequential Read Up to 2,000 MB/sec, Sequential Write Up to 1,950 MB/sec (1TB / 2TB), Sequential Write Up to 2,000 MB/sec (4TB)|
|Drop rating||Up to 3m (9.8ft)|
|Security||AES 256-bit hardware encryption|
|Operating temperature||0°C to 60°C|
|Non-operating temperature||-40°C to 85°C|
|Size||88 x 60 x 14 mm|
Samsung T9: Key Features
With the rise of 8K resolution video and ever-increasing image sizes, the Samsung T9 is designed to support tasks like shooting, transferring, editing, and backing up videos, making it ideal at each stage of work. The Samsung T9 drive is available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB sizes, and offers performance of up to 2,000 MB/s via its USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 interface to speed up workflows. Samsung also claims sustained write performance of the drive is capable of smooth direct recording in 8K or even 12K.
T9 employs TurboWrite technology, creating a high-performance buffer to maintain write speeds, with ratings of 22GB, 88GB, or 180GB depending on the size of the drive. Samsung claims this buffer size is up to three times larger than its (conveniently unnamed) competitors.
The T9 also has a much lower power consumption than other drives, using just 0.67W while idle and up to 7.3W during peak usage. Thermal materials are employed for heat management and for efficient heat dissipation, maintaining lower component temperatures compared to other drives.
Samsung T9: Build & Handling
The Samsung T9 builds upon the design of the Samsung T7 Shield, which itself was the T7 with a rubberized exterior that added additional drop and moisture protection to make the SSD more rugged to compete with SanDisk’s offerings. However for the T9 Samsung has refined this, instead of looking like something that was made for the outdoors, the T9 looks just at home even on the most minimalist desk with its chunky rubber casing reduced to a more textured and uniform design.
I haven’t thrown my SSD to the floor or jumped up and down on it, (but there is probably a YouTube channel for that), so I can’t attest to how rugged the new design is in practice, but it feels solid in the hand, with thick enough rubber casing to take a battering. It makes my unprotected aluminum Samsung T7 feel precious by comparison. Samsung’s drop testing of the T9 has shown that is able to withstand drops of up to 3m (9.8 feet).
The T9 is still very compact at 88x60x14mm and weighs just 122g, so can easily slip into pockets without bother. The T9 has a USB-C port on the SSD, and comes with a USB-A and USB-C cable. The T9 is also formatted in exFAT, so can connect to most devices via plug-and-play straight out of the box.
Samsung T9: Performance
In speed tests conducted using the Blackmagic Disk Speed Test and a MacBook Air M2 laptop, the Samsung T9 consistently achieved read and write speeds of between 890-920MB/s. This is less than the headline speed advertised, but these are merely the potential for the drive, and those advertised speeds are rarely achievable. The speed achieved by the T9 is a fantastic rate for transferring and editing images and working with video all the way up to 8K (and potentially some 12K).
Using the exact same setup, the T9 scored around 200MB/s a second faster than the T7 (USB 3.2 - 2TB) which has been my regular portable SSD drive for the past year or so. With some rough math, the T9 should transfer an additional 1.5GB per minute, or 90GB per hour, compared to the T7 in this testing environment.
In more practical testing, I managed to transfer 35GB of data, made up of around 500 large RAW and JPEG images from a Fujifilm GFX 100 II, from my internal MacBook SSD to the Samsung T9 SSD in 37 seconds, which actually puts the T9 speed at around 945MB/s, slightly higher than the Blackmagic Disk Test. The transfer was stable throughout with no dips in speed.
The same files took 50 seconds to transfer on the Samsung T7 (putting it at ~700MB/s). And just for fun, the same files took a whopping 10 minutes and 24 seconds (~55MB/s) to transfer on a Western Digital portable HDD, which was almost 17 times slower than the T9, so anyone still using a hard disk, it is certainly time to upgrade.
Samsung T9: Verdict
The Samsung T9 represents a notable improvement in speed compared to its predecessor, the T7. While it may not deliver the astronomical leap some anticipated (or that marketing might boast about), the increase in performance is substantial enough to make choosing this over the T7 a worthwhile decision. However, there's no need to rush into replacing all your existing SSDs immediately.
The Samsung T9 also looks better than ever, with its rubberized exterior having a textured wavy pattern to it that looks and feels more sophisticated than the rough-and-tumble T7 Shield. Although it still provides drop protection of up to 3m for accidental drops.
Ready to roll straight out of the box, the T9 eliminates any hassle by including both USB-C and USB-A cables, as well as being formatted in exFAT for plug-and-play with both Windows and Mac computers.
Read more: check out our top picks for the best portable SSD.