Spinning hard drives are surprisingly easy to damage when they are running and they get moved or banged around. The move to SSDs was not only huge for performance, but when they hit external storage they finally helped with durability significantly and also helped with the sizing of portable drives as well. Crucial has been in the market for a while now with the Crucial X8 being the first Crucial-branded portable SSD, but Micron their parent company did have them under the Lexar brand before the brand was sold in 2017. The X8 however was still a little large. Crucial just announced two new portable drives, their X9 Pro and the X10 Pro which are similar but with the X9 Pro being a USB 3.2 Gen-2 drive and the X10 Pro doubling the transfer speed with USB 3.2 Gen-2x2. Today I’m going to check out both and see what they are all about as well as put them to the test.

Product Name: Crucial X9 Pro and X10 Pro Portable SSDs

Review Sample Provided by: Crucial

Written by: Wes Compton

Amazon Affiliate Links

Crucial X9 Pro 2TB

Crucial X10 Pro 2TB

 

Crucial X9 Pro Specifications

Capacities

1TB

2TB

4TB

Sequential Read

1050

Sequential Write

1050

Dimensions

65 x 50 x 10 mm

Interface

USB 3.2 Gen-2 (10Gb/s)

Dust and Water Rating

IP55 water/dustproof

Drop Resistance

7.5 feet/2 meters

Encryption

Password protection and 256‐bit AES hardware encryption to help protect private data

Compatibility

Windows, Mac, Android™, iPad, PC, Linux®, Xbox and PlayStation

What's In the Box

-Crucial X9 Portable SSD

-High performance 10Gb/s USB-C to USB-C cable

(24-cm/9.5-in)

-Quick Start Guide

Warranty

Limited 5-year

 

 

Crucial X10 Pro Specifications

Capacities

1TB

2TB

4TB

Sequential Read up to

2000

Sequential Write up to

2000

Dimensions

65 x 50 x 10 mm

Interface

USB 3.2 Gen-2 2x2 (20Gb/s)

Dust and Water Rating

IP55 water/dustproof

Drop Resistance

7.5 feet/2 meters

Encryption

Password protection and 256‐bit AES hardware encryption to help protect private data

Compatibility

Windows, Mac, Android™, iPad, PC, Linux®, Xbox and PlayStation

What's In the Box

-Crucial X10 Portable SSD

-High-performance 20Gb/s USB-C to USB-C cable

(24-cm/9.5-in)

-Quick Start Guide

Warranty

Limited 5-year

 

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Photos and Features

Packaging for both the Crucial X9 Pro and the X10 Pro is almost the same. Beyond that though they both pull from the same styling that all Crucial SSDs have had. This includes the blue trim up top along with the Crucial by Micron branding in the top left corner. The same goes for the dark blue stripe in the middle with the model name in the biggest easiest to read font. I like that the box has a picture of the drive right on the front so you know what you are getting. They then touch on the drives being dust resistant, water resistant, and have password protection software included with icons down in the bottom left corner. Then in the bottom right corner, they both have a badge for the 5-year warranty and then a clear sticker above that which has the drive's capacity and speeds. Around on the back, they have QR codes that open up the respective product page for each drive for more information. The rest of the back is filled with a short message highlighting the performance and password protection that is repeated across 8 languages including English. The test is almost the same but they do use the word “Fast” for the X9 Pro and “Blazing” for the X10 Pro when talking about performance which was interesting. The clear sticker from the front does wrap around to the back and has the drive capacity, model number, and serial number all listed out.

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When you open up the packaging, both drives have the same clear plastic tray that holds everything. They come with a folded up paper user guide which isn’t product specific, just for the Crucial Portable SSD lineup. The drives themselves come wrapped in a plastic bag which opens up a welcome page that also handles product registration. This also gives you a code for a free month of the Creative Cloud All Apps 100GB plan which is a $55 value giving you access to all of the Adobe software. The cable is wrapped up with a plastic strap to keep it from unfolding as well and in its own spot in the tray.

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Both the X9 Pro and the X10 Pro come with the same Type-C to Type-C cable. It is black and has a thick rubber coating on the outside. The cable itself is very short at around 9 and a half inches long from tip to top and a lot of that is the Type-C connections themselves which are long. Basically, this is just long enough to hook the drives up to your PC, Laptop, or other device but you won’t have much choice in where the drive sits.

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While the two drives are different models and are different colors with the X9 Pro being silver and the X10 Pro being black. Both drives are the exact same dimensions, however. Both drives are 65 mm wide, 50 mm tall, and 10 mm or 1cm thick. The thickness is less obvious, even in the pictures below because the top and bottom shape does slope down around all of the edges making it feel even thinner.

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The top of the X10 Pro and X9 Pro has an aluminum finish which has been anodized in black for the X10 Pro and silver for the X9 Pro. They both have the Crucial by Micron logo in the middle but on the black finish of the X10 Pro, it is white whereas on the silver X9 Pro it is a dark grey. This view shows how all of the edges ramp down towards the edges which help make the drive feel thinner and also helps slide into your pocket. They also have a key ring loop in the corner if you need to put the drive on a lanyard or keychain to keep from losing it. That opening does have lighting in it as well as a status indicator but it isn’t obvious until the drives are running.

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The back of both drives has a rubberized finish which is there to keep the drive from sliding around when you put it down. The back has the same shape as the front including the ramping edges, only the back also has two horizontal groves as well. The drive name is printed here in white as well as the capacity which is the largest font. Then down at the bottom all of the certification logos are there along with a QR code that takes you to the registration page and fills in the serial number for you. The model number and serial number are also printed here but in an extremely small font down on the bottom edge.

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The aluminum housing on both drives wraps around on to the sides. Both of the longer sides of the drives have a slight indented area, this is to help give a little grip to hold them. Beyond that the edges only have one other thing which is the Type-C connection. They both look the same but that is the main difference between the two drives with the silver X9 Pro having a USB 3.2 connection which is capable of 10Gb/s and the black X10 Pro has a USB 3.2x2 connection that not as many devices will support but doubles up the speed capabilities to 20Gb/s. The X10 Pro is of course backward compatible with the USB 3.2 and both drives are backward compatible with other USB connection speeds as well.

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While both the X9 Pro and the X10 Pro are the same drive on the outside, I was surprised to find out when I put them on the scale that they do have different weights. The X10 Pro is 41 grams whereas the X9 Pro is 37 grams. I can only assume that is related to adding USB 3.2x2 support. Either way though, like with the size which is smaller than a lot of the similar drives that I have tested, both drives are lighter as well. A lot of the drives that I have had come in have had an all aluminum brick like construction whereas both the X9 Pro and X10 Pro are a little more minimalistic.

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I did get a comparison of both of the drives next to a few of the other portable SSDs we have tested recently. This includes the Patriot VXD enclosure and the Sabrent which are both enclosures that can have the drive swapped out and support full-length M.2 drives which explains their length then SanDisk’s drive as well which was similar in thickness but larger overall.

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Performance

For performance testing, I put both the X9 Pro and the X10 Pro through the same testing so that we could get a look at their performance. Before doing that though I did run CrystalDiskInfo to see what they would show up as, sometimes this will show the base drive inside. It also lets us document the firmware on the drives as well. Both drives show up with their proper model name but it was interesting that the firmware were very similar with just one character being changed from a to b between them.

x9tests 3

x10tests 3

The first round of tests were done with CrystalDiskMark. The goal here was to check out the sequential speeds to compare them to what Crucial had listed in the specifications. The X9 Pro was listed at 1050 Mb/s for both its read and write performance and the X10 Pro has its performance listed at 2000 Mb/s on both tests. Did they reach that? Well the X9 Pro was close on its read performance at 1036 Mb/s but was lower on its write performance at 935Mb/s. If the specs were at 1000 MB/s it would have been right in the middle of what we saw, but that extra did put the write performance a little low. The X10 Pro on the other hand didn’t surpass the specs for its read performance hitting 1989 MB/s but like the X9 Pro was low on the writes at 1700 MB/s, 300 MB/s off which is a lot more than I expected.

x9tests 4

x10tests 4

While testing with CrystalDiskInfo I did also switch over to the IOPS results to see how they performed there as well. With the random 4K 32 queue depth 1 thread test the X9 Pro reached 46112 IOPS for reads and 48944 on the writes. The X10 Pro improved on that slightly at 50644 IOPS for its reads and 52695 IOPS for its writes.

x9tests 5

x10tests 5

Next up was Anvil’s Storage Utilities where I ran the full test with a test size of 1GB and compression at 100%. The X9 Pro hit 942 MB/s for its sequential reads here and was lower with its writes once again at 799 MB/s. The X10 Pro performed similarly with its sequential reads at 1702MB/s and 1284 MB/s for its writes, once again underperforming on the writes.

x9tests 6

x10tests 6

I tossed in TxBench even though it is just repeating the same tests, I was curious if the write performance issues would continue here and I also wanted to look at 4K Random 1 thread and 1 queue depth performance to compare between the two drives. The X9 Pro did better on its write performance here with those coming in at 927, slightly higher than the reads. For the 1 thread 1 qd test it came in at 21 MB/s for read and 70 MB/s for writes which was the same on the X10 Pro as well. In situations where the drive can’t surpass the limitations of USB 3.2 the two drives are going to perform similarly. The X10 Pro did better on its write performance here as well with the read performance lagging this time around.

x9tests 7

x10tests 7

My last and favorite test was just pure real-world file transfer performance. For this, I am just writing a folder of files to each drive. I do the test three times with different file types. I use large movie files, smaller photos which are in RAW and JPGs, then a folder filled just with Word documents which are small. How did the two drives do? Well the X9 Pro hit 712 MB/s early on and stayed there for the movies the X10 Pro on the other hand ramped up similarly and capped out and stayed flat in performance at 1.03 GB/s. For pictures, it reached up into the 230 MB/s range but about 30 seconds into the transfer it had a hiccup where the speed dropped almost to zero then it peaked back out trying to catch up, before the hiccup there was a slow performance drop. The X10 Pro had that same hiccup in the same spot but its performance was a little lower on average. For the Word documents the X9 Pro stayed at 639 KB/s consistently the X10 Pro was the same.

x9tests 8

X9 Pro Movies

x9tests 9

X9 Pro Pictures

x9tests 10

X9 Pro Documents

x10tests 8

X9 Pro Movies

x10tests 9

X9 Pro Pictures

x10tests 10

X9 Pro Documents

With the hiccup on the photo file transfer test, I was curious if thermals were playing a part in that at all. Using AIDA64 I ran a linear read test for a half hour and then took thermal images of both of the drives. When I found was the aluminum top of the drive does a good job of spreading out the heat, there is a clear difference between the top thermal images and the bottom pictures. On the bottom, you can see where the drive is inside of the enclosure. Neither drive was running hot at all but the X10 Pro did run slightly warmer than the X9 Pro, but just by one degree which was enough for the heat to spread more on the bottom as well.

x9tests 1

x9tests 2

X9 Pro

x10tests 1

x10tests 2

X10 Pro

Before finishing up I did also get pictures of the LED in the keyring opening as well.

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Overall and Final Verdict

Both the Crucial X9 Pro and the X10 Pro share the same housing and shape except for their colors so it isn’t a surprise that I have a lot of the same aesthetic-focused things on both pros and cons lists. The new design that Crucial came up with is surprisingly compact, especially compared to their X8. The X6 was more compact than the X8 but both of these drives still ended up being smaller, not to mention the X6 was much slower. I like both the silver look and the black and the shape also helps make the drives feel smaller and easier to pocket, sadly the detachable cord would have to be pocketed as well. A similar design with a small attached cord could make these even more portable and that is a situation where I wouldn’t mind a short cord. Here though the cord was a little shorter than I would like, other than laptops most of my PCs still have just the Type-C connection on the back. I also liked that they did still use aluminum in the design.

For performance, both drives were close to hitting the mark on the read performance but underperformed in my tests for their write performance, especially the X10 Pro which was 300 MB/s off. That isn’t to say they were slow, performance was still solid. But given the limitations of USB 3.2 and USB 3.2x2 for the X10 Pro, you would expect them to be maxing that out the entire time. Which brings me to the main difference between the two drives, in case you were wondering. It is that USB connection, the X9 Pro uses the standard USB 3.2 Gen 2 connection whereas the X10 Pro uses a slightly harder to find USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 connection that doubles connection speed. If you don’t have a PC or laptop that supports the faster connection the X9 Pro is going to be the better option. I would still love to see a ThunderBolt 3 compatible design as well to be able to fully utilize the speeds of the drives inside.

For pricing the X9 Pro is $89.99 for the 1TB version, 159.99 for the 2TB model that I tested, and 289.99 for the larger 4TB model. The X10 Pro on the other hand is 129.99 for the 1TB model, 209.99 for the 2TB model tested, and $339.99 for the 4TB model. The X9 Pro pricing as it sits is a little high, at least for the 2TB model with the SanDisk 2TB Extreme Portable SSD selling for $110-$115 and having similar performance. The X9 Pro design however does have its much more compact size, which is worth something as well. The X10 pro is in a similar situation again with the SanDisk drive it is competing with the SanDisk 2TB Extreme Pro Portable SSD which is $174.99 for the 2TB model. The smaller size of the X10 Pro is nice, but not worth $35 more to me. Crucial is always on top of their pricing however and these are just coming out so I wouldn’t be surprised to see them competing better in pricing soon enough. Without the pricing, both new drives are and would be on my shortlist even with the slightly lower write performance.

fv6x9pro

Live Pricing: HERE

 fv6x10pro

Live Pricing: HERE

Author Bio
garfi3ld
Author: garfi3ldWebsite: http://lanoc.org
Editor-in-chief
You might call him obsessed or just a hardcore geek. Wes's obsession with gaming hardware and gadgets isn't anything new, he could be found taking things apart even as a child. When not poking around in PC's he can be found playing League of Legends, Awesomenauts, or Civilization 5 or watching a wide variety of TV shows and Movies. A car guy at heart, the same things that draw him into tweaking cars apply when building good looking fast computers. If you are interested in writing for Wes here at LanOC you can reach out to him directly using our contact form.

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