The Corsair EX100U is an extraordinary portable SSD that delivers capacities up to 4 TB with a 20 Gbps interface in a small package. This is done using TLC instead of the recommended QLC flash, but the overall performance is inconsistent. The warranty is a bit on the weak side, but Corsair backs it up with software and includes both popular types of USB-C cables. The price isn’t particularly competitive, but this is a capable middle-of-the-road portable SSD.
Portable SSDs tend towards cheaper ones like 10 Gbps with QLC and more expensive professional ones with Thunderbolt speeds and high performance TLC.Both examples are Inland Platinum External When SanDisk Professional G Drive (formerly G-Technology G-Drive), respectively. It is possible to get good sustained performance at 10 Gbps. samsung t7 shieldbut the affordable 20 Gbps option is a bit more limited, especially if you want 4 TB.
The EX100U suffers a bit of an identity crisis with conflicting characteristics. It’s clearly budget-friendly due to its 2-channel controller and poor overall performance, but it comes with TLC, higher capacity options, and a 20 Gbps interface.Despite having this fast interface, it’s not intended to be a professional drive with a weak warranty and physical build. best external ssdCorsair drives are best defined as a compromise or impulse buy when you want a generic portable SSD.
|Form factor (internal)||embedded||embedded||embedded|
|interface/protocol||USB 3.2 Gen 2×2||USB 3.2 Gen 2×2||USB 3.2 Gen 2×2|
|include||USB Type-C to Type-C/Type-A Cable||USB Type-C to Type-C/Type-A Cable||USB Type-C to Type-C/Type-A Cable|
|controller||Phison U18||Phison U18||Phison U18|
|memory||3D TLC||3D TLC||3D TLC|
|resistance||shock, vibration||shock, vibration||shock, vibration|
|weight||22 grams||22 grams||22 grams|
|guarantee||3 years||3 years||3 years|
The Corsair EX100U is rated for sequential reads and writes up to 1,600/1,500 MBps respectively in all capacities. Available in 1 TB, 2 TB, and 4 TB. Utilizing the USB-C interface, it supports up to USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 speeds, or 20 Gbps. The drive itself is tiny at 79.37 x 36.5 x 11mm and weighs just 22 grams. Corsair backs it with a 3-year warranty and 250 TB writes per 1 TB capacity.
At the time of review, the drive was available on the Amazon and Corsair websites for $102.99, $189.99, and $464.99 in capacities from smallest to largest. The 1 TB and 2 TB models are the best value, but are more expensive than the competition. Important X6 When Inland Platinum ExternalIt is also more expensive than samsung t7 shield, more robust and professional. The EX100U has the advantage of a faster interface than all three and faster flash than his first two QLC-based drives.
Corsair EX100U software and accessories
The drive comes with two short USB cables from USB Type-C to Type-A and Type-C. This allows it to be used on most devices. Corsair also offers a download of the Corsair SSD Toolbox available on the Corsair website. This software allows you to check the health of your drives and update the firmware if necessary.
Details of the Corsair EX100U
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The Corsair EX100U is small and beneficial for users looking for maximum portability. It is also very lightweight and, as a solid state device, has some resistance to shock and vibration. The USB-C port is hidden behind a rubber cover that offers some protection from dust and water when closed. The drive is rated to draw up to 4W of power as indicated on the back label.
The cap design is poor in our opinion. It’s not intuitive to open, and you should be careful when opening it. Unlike better designs, it is not particularly robust as it requires a good seal to protect the port from liquids. This is an important point.
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The drive doesn’t have much protection, nor does it have a thermal pad. This is a single PCB with a USB-C connector built into it. On board are four NAND packages, a controller, and two additional integrated circuits (ICs).
The controller is a Phison U18, the faster sibling of the U17 we saw in the updated version. Important X6 and the Inland Platinum ExternalThese two controllers are very similar, but the U18 is a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 interface at 20 Gbps and the U17 is a USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 at 10 Gbps. Since the controller has only 2 channels, the bus speed naturally increases from 800 MT/s to 1400 MT/s. These controllers are hybrid designs in the sense that they replace the need for external bridge chips. This can affect performance and power consumption. It also simplifies the design and reduces costs.
You can also see two Texas Instruments TS3DDR4000 ICs between the controller and the NAND. These DDR switches have multiple uses. For example, data can be committed from DRAM to non-volatile media in the event of a power failure. This controller is DRAM-less, but of course his current ONFi flash is based on NV-DDR3 I/O. Since these ICs enable 1:2 fast switching, four NAND packages may be used to assist in two-channel controllers. There are only four 2TB and 4TB models, and two 1TB, so the latter may not have these chips.
Phison U18 is a native Universal Flash Drive (UFD) controller, indicating that it is designed for USB applications. A two-channel design strengthens this assumption. So the 1400 MT/s bus required to reach USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 speeds can be a bit of a strain for a full-fledged SSD solution. This may be why these ICs are featured for high capacity, especially since USB flash drives usually don’t have that many NAND packages. The TS3DDR4000 data sheet explicitly states that for certain applications, “Load isolation capability is required to meet SSD performance requirements.”
I have been unable to obtain any information or confirmation of this from either Corsair or Phison.
The flash is labeled HA7HG64AWA, which appears to be a 176-layer Micron TLC. Corsair didn’t confirm this when I asked to ensure the ability to swap out the flash later.Corsair officially lists this drive as having “3D NAND”. I’m here. Given that this drive is available up to 4 TB, the BiCS5 TLC is another possibility. At this time, we have not seen any samples of this hardware using QLC.
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