Small wonder: Samsung announces 2TB T3 portable SSD

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CES 2016 is ground zero for new gadgets and technology, and Samsung has wasted no time.

The company unveiled its new T3 portable SSD — a 2TB micro-drive that uses a single

cable for both power and data, transfers data at up to 450MB/s, and answers the age-old

question: “How can I ensure I don’t run out of TV episodes during my six-month stay

in Nepal?”

The T3 SSD will ship in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB capacities and offers USB

3.0 support, with fallback options for USB 2.0. While Samsung claims that the

hardware also supports USB 3.1, don’t be fooled by the marketing — the specific version

of USB 3.1 that the T3 supports is USB 3.1, Gen 1. The 10Gbps advertised performance of

USB 3.1 is reserved for the not-yet-available USB 3.1 Gen 2 hardware. USB 3.1 Gen 1 is

identical to USB 3.0, with the same performance and the same controllers.


Size comparison of the T3 against a typical mobile device.

Samsung claims that the T3 is capable of up to 450MB/s, but you’ll need to enable UASP

to do it. We’ve covered UASP in earlier stories — it’s an advanced transfer protocol

(the term stands for USB Attached SCSCI Port) that replaces the standard BOT

(Bulk Only Transport) protocol that USB 3.0 transfers typically rely on.

BOT transfers vs. UASP

UASP can significantly improve device performance, but you’ll need hardware that

supports it in order to take advantage of the protocol. Asus has integrated UASP

support in a number of motherboards, but check with your vendor to know if the capability

is included on your own hardware.


A secure solution?

Samsung is touting the drive’s 256-bit hardware AES encryption as a major step

forward for device security, but after the reports we’ve seen recently on hard

drive AES encryption implementations, we’re going to withhold judgment.

Reports have suggested that the current methods of implementing drive-level security

are flawed, to put it mildly.

That’s not to say that Samsung’s methodology or design are intrinsically flawed,

but we want to see more specifics on what chips and technology the Korean company

is using for its AES 256-bit encryption before we declare the drive secure.

Price on the T3 is still unknown, but the previous model debuted at up to $600 for

a 1TB drive. The current T1 portable drive is $119 for a 250GB model at Amazon and $377

for the 1TB flavor. Samsung will likely introduce the new T3 at a modest premium for the

higher capacities.