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Crucial X8 Review: (Still) the Fastest USB Gen 2 Portable SSD to Date

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Micron's first try into the realm of portable solid-state drives proved to be a big deal. The Crucial X8 was the fastest USB-based portable SSD I tested 10 months ago.

Now, with the release of the 2 TB version, it's still the one with the fast read speed on the market. And the little storage device is eye candy to boot.

Even better, with the suggested price of $120, $165, and $330 for 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB, respectively, the X8 is more affordable than many of its (slower) competitors.

If you need to copy a lot of data, the time saved by its super-fast speed alone is worth the extra cash. Just make sure your computer has 10Gbps or a faster USB standard.

Dong's note: I first published this review on November 2, 2019, and updated it on September 3, 2020, with the performance of the newly-released 2 TB version.

crucial x8 hand
The Crucial X8 Portable SSD is eye candy.

Crucial X8: Beautiful, rugged, compact design

Out of the box, the Crucial X8 resembles a bar of dark chocolate. It's slightly longer than the WD My Passport SSD but still very compact.

The drive has a unibody made of anodized aluminum that looks great and feels solid in hand. Both ends are covered in a layer of softer material to absorb shock in case of drops. As a result, per Micron, the drive can fall from some 7.5 feet (2m) on a carpeted floor without hurting the data it stores.

You should handle any storage device with care, but for the sake of testing, I did throw the X8 around a few times and even left it with my two toddlers to play for several hours. It survived without a scratch. The result was quite different from the last time I accidentally left my phone with them.

So yes, the X8 is rugged. Another thing I like about it is the fact that it doesn't attract dirt or fingerprints, the way the WD My Passport does. This new portable SSD looks good right out of the box and remains that way.

Simple storage, USB-C connection

The Crucial X8 is quite simple and includes no special software. The drive doesn't feature hardware encryption, but you can use Windows's Bitlocker Go (or macOS's FileVault) with it.

Out of the box, the drive is formatted using the exFAT file system to work with multiple platforms, including Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android. But you can always reformat it into any file system of your liking.

File systems and partitioning: Take control of your storage

The drive has a USB-C port on one of its sides to connect to a host. It includes a short USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB-A converter. You can use it immediately with any computer.

Crucial X8: Detail photos

Crucial X8 2 TB
The Crucial X8's retail box

Crucial X8 Portable Drive
The Crucial X8 is a nice-looking little bar of portable SSD.

crucial x8 port
The Crucial X8 Portable drive features a USB-C port and is ready to work with any computer right out of the box.

Crucial X8 Portable Drive 5
The drive is relatively compact...

Crucial X8 vs. X6 2
...though it's not as compact as its newly-released younger brother, the X6.

Crucial X8 vs WD My Passport
The Crucial X8 is slightly longer than the WD My Passport SSD.

Crucial X8: Hardware specifications

Crucial X8 Portable SSD
Capacity500GB / 1TB
Part NumberCT500X8SSD9 / CT1000X8SSD9
UPC649528822406 / 649528822413
Memory TypeMicron 3D NAND
Product ColorBlack
Dimensions5.01 x 3.64 x 0.944 (127.5 x 92.5 x 24 mm)
Weight5.22 oz (148 g)
Copy SpeedUp to 1050 MB/s
InterfaceUSB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C (10Gb/s)
Backward CompatibilityUSB 3.2 Gen1 (formerly USB 3.0) (5Gb/s), USB 2.0
Non-operating Shock ResistanceExposure up to 1500 G/s for 0.5ms
Drop ResistanceUp to 7.5 ft (2 m) on a carpeted surface
Power UsageUSB Bus Powered (minimum 5V 1.5A required)
Package ContentCrucial X8 Portable SSD, USB-C cable, USB-C to USB-A adapter, Quick-Start guide
Warranty3-year limited warranty
Crucial X8's hardware specifications.

The Crucial X8 has an NVMe SSD inside, and it features USB 3.2 Gen 2 (10Gbps). It has a theoretical copy speed of 1050 megabytes per second. By the way, if you're unsure which USB standard is which, you're not alone. I detailed different USB standards in this post.

USB-C: One port to rule them all

Crucial X8: Excellent performance

I tested the X8 using a 10Gbps USB port (USB 3.2 Gen 2), and it was the fastest of its type. The driver delivered sustained copy speeds of more than 620 megabytes per second and more than 840 MB/s for writing and reading, respectively.

So, the drive has maintained fast in terms of reading. In writing, it's now just a tad slower than the much more expensive WD Black P50. Also, it's worth noting that the X8 handles large operations well. During a test, I made it read and then write some 600 GB at a time, and its performance didn't fluctuate at all.

Crucial X8 Portable Drive Performance

The chart shows that the Samsung X5 is by far the fastest portable SSD on the market. However, it's strictly a Thunderbolt 3 drive that doesn't work with USB.

The X8, on the other hand, works with all USB (including USB 2.0) and Thunderbolt 3 ports. (All Thunderbolt 3 ports have built-in USB 3.2 Gen 2 support.)

When tested with a USB 3.2 Gen 1 (5 Gbps) port, the X8 also excelled, topping the chart of same-standard portable SSDs. The drive also worked with USB 2.0 in my trial with a sustained speed of around 40 MB/s.

I continuously used the X8 for a couple of days and ran into zero problems. The drive got a little warm during the long operation but not to the point of concern.

Crucial X8 Portable SSD's Rating

9 out of 10
Crucial X8 Portable SSD
9.5 out of 10
7.5 out of 10
Design and Setup
9.5 out of 10
9.5 out of 10


Fast USB 3.2 Gen 2 performance

Friendly pricing

Compact, rugged, aesthetically pleasing design

USB-C ready, USB-A converter included


No bundled software or security feature


Micron's new Crucial X8 Portable SSD is an excellent storage device. It's currently one of the fastest USB external drives on the market. The rugged and aesthetically pleasing design doesn't hurt, and the affordable pricing makes it an easy recommendation.

And now, with the newly-minted 2 TB version, the drive is also one of the most spacious. My only complaint is that it has no extra security feature or built-in encryption. But this is an excellent buy if you're looking for a fast, rugged, frill-free, tiny device that works well everywhere, including your game consoles.

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9 thoughts on “Crucial X8 Review: (Still) the Fastest USB Gen 2 Portable SSD to Date”

  1. This is an amazing drive, I bought the 1GB version last year to use as external storage on my PS4 Pro and it works great ( internal is also a upgraded SSD ). One thing of note is you need to disable turning off power to USB ports to prevent the “improper disconnection error” from PS4 Pro being in sleep mode. The downside is I won’t be able to use this drive with the upcoming PS5.

  2. Just wanted to say after lots of testing with different software, copying games from other drives, zippy, this is fricken awesome and value.. They must have improved or it’s my newer PC letting it go off tap! Purchased one today and I am getting almost 1100MB/s Read and 1050MB/s Write. +- 5-10MB/s. Just tested again on CrystalDiskMark 7.0.0 x64.

    It is plugged into the Type-C connector and it’s nicely/safely tucked away in a slot between the top glass and above the top fans on my case. So, while its portable it neither takes up any of my Sata spots, goes twice as fast as them and unlike the M.2 NVMe Samsung 970 evo plus 1tb that utilises sata2, I didn’t have to give up sata5&6 for another M.2 drive. Thus, retaining my other 5x SSDs. (7 hard drives total)..

    My mboard is the MSI MPG z490 Gaming Carbon Wifi that has an onboard ASMedia ASM3241 USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 20Gbps port on the back panel.

    On all benchmark software I am getting or slightly exceeding the rated max speeds.

  3. Dong, I think you have some typos in your USB standard table or I’m really not understanding what you meant. .Example: “USB 3.2 Gen 1: … later renamed to USB 3.1 Gen 1:

    I do appreciate this review; it seems like none of the large capacity USB keys can handle sustained writes but the portable SSDs can which is great to know. I’m guessing that the USB keys can’t handle the heat and have to throttle to protect themselves? That would make an interesting article if you haven’t already done one like that.

    • I rewrote that part to make it clearer, Rob. But the naming of USB standards has been confusing, to put it mildly. USB thumb drives are different from portable SSDs. The later delivers much faster performance. They are internal drives put inside an external enclosure.


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