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Essential X6 Overview: SSD with Secret Sauce



In early 2020, Essential launched the X8 Transportable SSD, an inexpensive, elegant and high-performance resolution that turned massively common with laptop computer homeowners.

Whereas not costly by moveable SSD requirements, the Essential X8 was undercut by some competitor merchandise that used cheaper SATA-based expertise. These weren’t as quick, however for a lot of out there for a transportable SSD, they have been fast sufficient.

Essential responded in early 2021 with the X6, a transportable SSD that didn’t have the headline 1,000MB/s efficiency of the X8 however was a great bit cheaper.

And, now a 12 months on, I am reviewing the X6 as a result of the trail of this story has subtly modified.

Design & Construct

I by no means reviewed the Essential X6 when it first launched in 2021, however glad I ultimately acquired to it.

Whereas having among the styling cues of its X8 large brother, the X6 is actually a lower-cost model that’s smaller and lighter.

The place the X8 is constructed from a thick steel tube, the surface of the X6 is generally plastic. Undoubtedly much less sturdy, though it’s nonetheless rated for a 2m drop onto a tough floor, and has the identical three-year guarantee because the X8.

By not utilizing a metallic outer shell, the designers additionally lowered the load of the 2TB mannequin from 140g on the X8 to solely 40g on the X6. And, that discount in mass most likely helps with surviving the drop check.

One other distinction is that X8 got here with a USB-C cable with a USB-A adapter, whereas the X6 comes with solely USB-C on the gadget and the host finish. Adapters are very cheap, however Essential determined that the price of that minor merchandise can be borne by the purchasers.

On Amazon, although, you possibly can select whether or not to get the drive with an included adapter or not.

Specs & Options

What this design additionally lacks is a lightweight to sign exercise, and the SSD has no {hardware} encryption both.

From the data offered, the center of the X6 is Essential 96L QLC NAND wired to a Silicon Movement SM2259XT NAND controller and an ASMedia ASM235CM USB interface. The ASMedia chip is USB 3.2 Gen 2 succesful, nevertheless it doesn’t assist the upper efficiency Gen 2×2 mode.

If none of this sounds particularly thrilling or progressive, then persist with me as a result of there’s a plot twist arising that wasn’t anticipated.

Efficiency

When researching a product just like the X6, my typical course of entails downloading all the suitable paperwork and pictures from the makers, typically even earlier than the overview pattern reaches me.

Included on this supporting materials have been field art work and a brochure. These revealed a curious efficiency twist that had made the 4TB model of the X6 a lot faster than the opposite capacities.

Researching again, I observed that when the X6 unique launched, it got here solely in 1TB and 2TB choices, with the 500GB and 4TB choices arriving a few months later.

In keeping with the product flyer, the 500GB, 1TB and 2TB drives have been all rated for a most pace of 540MB/s, whereas the flagship 4TB mannequin provided a way more spectacular 800MB/s.

When the 2TB pattern arrived, boldly printed on the field was “As much as 800MB/s”, confusingly.

To be trustworthy, I questioned if the Essential advertising division had taken the pace of the 4TB mannequin and over-enthusiastically plastered it on each field.

However the fact is stranger. One thing I found when testing the 2TB X6. A drive that may now learn and write at greater than 800MB/s on the majority of capacities.

Within the CrystalDiskMark 8.0.four benchmark, it achieved a median of 834MB/s reads and 820MB/s writes with the default profile and 32GiB recordsdata. This was backed up by AJA System check that scored 836MB/s reads, and 837MB/s writes.

Whereas the X8 was nonetheless sooner than this, nearer to the 1,000MB/s degree, it is a vital enchancment over the 540MB/s degree that was initially quoted for this product.

To be clear, the 2TB drive I examined has exactly the identical half quantity, CT2000X6SSD9, because the launch model, however they’re patently not the identical.

In response to my enquiry on this topic, Essential replied to say:

“Essential is dedicated to delivering nice worth to customers within the moveable SSD phase. Since launching the X6 in 2020, now we have been in a position to improve the worth we carry to the market by profiting from newer applied sciences that end in sooner efficiency – a learn pace of as much as 800MB/s in most capacities.”

“We’re within the technique of updating our collateral and packaging to mirror these increased speeds, so we apologize for any confusion brought on by this midstream efficiency transition. By the tip of this transition, each the 2TB and the 1TB merchandise may also have a marketed learn pace of as much as 800MB/s. The printed spec on the 500GB will stay on the as much as 540MB/s learn pace for now.”

So there now we have it, the packaging shouldn’t be flawed. The X6 is reborn, aside from the 500GB mannequin, a great bit sooner than it first was and now a lot nearer in efficiency to the X8.

Value & Availability

Direct from Essential within the UK, the X6 is priced at £62.39, £98.39, £178.79 and £403.19 for the 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB choices, respectively.

You should buy the Essential X6 from the official retailer in addition to retailers like Amazon, Ebuyer, Field and Scan the place costs are sometimes decrease.

US pricing direct from Essential is $69.95, $109.99, $199.99 and $449.99 for a similar 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB fashions. Within the US you should buy it from Essential, Amazon and Newegg.

These are very aggressive costs for branded moveable SSDs. The WD My Passport SSD 2TB prices $224.99, the Samsung T7 Contact 2TB is $219.99, and the SanDisk Excessive Transportable SSD is $221.99.

All these are marginally sooner, equalling the X8 aside from the SanDisk, which is markedly slower at simply 520MB/s.

When it comes to worth for cash, the X6 is troublesome to beat however you possibly can test extra choices in our greatest moveable SSD chart.

Verdict

One way or the other our option to overview the Essential X6 now seems like a masterstroke when it’s completely coincidental.

The current adjustments to this product have elevated it to a degree the place for some customers, it could be preferable to the wonderful X8 design. The X6 now affords a lot of the efficiency cream of the X8, however at a decrease price and in a extra light-weight bundle.

I’d nonetheless prefer to see an exercise LED and {hardware} encryption come to the X6, however at this worth for a transportable SSD, this is a wonderful buy.

The one mistake Essential has made is that the product quantity stays unchanged, making it tougher for patrons to make certain that they’re shopping for the most recent X6 and never the older inventory.

Be sure that the field says 800MB/s, and if it doesn’t, then discover a provider that may affirm this to you earlier than shopping for.

Specs
Essential X6: Specs

Capacities: 500GB, 1TB, 2TB and 4TB

Color: Black

Controller: Silicon Movement SM2259XT

Flash Reminiscence: Essential 96L QLC NAND

Dimensions: (L x W x H): 69 x 64 x 11 mm

Weight: 40g

Interface: USB 3.1 Gen 2 Kind-C

Quoted Sequential Learn/Write: 540MB/s for 500GB and 800MB/s for all different capacities

Guarantee: Three years

About the author: SubSellKaro

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