Hardware manufacturers over the past couple of years have been helping to tackle one of the growing problems in gaming: excess storage. With PC gaming and now console gaming focusing more on digital files and new games only getting bigger, an external drive is rapidly becoming a must-own accessory. Samsung is among the manufacturers addressing this issue, but it's approaching it from an intriguing angle. It is making the external drive a truly portable solution.
This year's Consumer Electronics Show saw Samsung introduce a new line of Solid State Drives, called the Samsung Portable SSD T3. These appear to be standard external drives, except these devices fit right in the palm of a user's hand, weighing in at a measly 51 grams. This is not the company's first foray into smaller-sized drives, having recently shown the previous line of drives at November's Blizzcon event. However, the T3 line is offering some noticeable improvements, as well as some additional storage size options. The device will come in 250GB, 500GB, 1TB, and 2TB varieties.
One of the major improvements is that the T3 is a durable piece of work. The fear with the T1 was largely that the device seemed to be a fragile piece of equipment. However, one of the key demo points for the device is that it can withstand a fair amount of punishment, including drops to the ground. The T3 can take up to 1500Gs of force, meaning it can take a two-meter drop without taking significant damage. It can also hold up under more extreme weather conditions, so anyone that leaves their hard drive in the car on a summer day shouldn't have much to worry about. I basically flipped this thing around like a quarter, not having to worry about losing any data. (Not that such activity is recommended, of course. Don't use this as a hockey puck or anything.)
Durability is one thing, but the performance is what makes the T3 worth looking into. Operating with a USB 3.1 interface, it can transfer, read, and write files at speeds of up to 450MB per second, which is about four times as fast as a standard HDD drive. It's formatted as an exFAT drive, so it'll work across Windows and Mac. It'll unfortunately mean that it won't work as an external solution for consoles, but it will work on Android devices, making it an intriguing solution for a device like an Android phone or even an nVidia Shield TV. Samsung is even going the extra mile for Android support, offering an app to check on storage and input user passwords.
Having witnessed the T3 in action, it's definitely an interesting piece of equipment, particularly for somebody that travels frequently. While I don't have a PC gaming library to keep handy, those that do will find this thing to be pretty helpful to keep alongside their gaming notebooks. And it'll be interesting to see just how far its Android compatibility will stretch, particularly when it comes to the aforementioned Shield TV or similar set-top devices.
What's unknown thus far is the price and given that the current T1 portable SSD is running for roughly $400 for 1TB, the final price tag could make users wince. It looks like a fine alternative to external HDD drives, but is it an affordable one? It'll remain to be seen how much of a sticking point the price is when the Samsung Portable SSD T3 arrives in February.