• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

What kind of a special USB C cable do these new Portable NVMe SSD drives use?

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.
Okay guys got one for you, see if you can solve it.

So Exhibit A are these connectors:


Exhibit B are these extension cables: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07RQRMGKB

And Exhibit C: is this 256GB Samsung USB 3.1 Flash Drive: https://www.samsung.com/us/computin...rive-bar-plus-256gb-titan-gray-muf-256be4-am/

Okay so now, the flash drive by itself connects to any connector, no problem
However, when the extension cables are used, the one and only place they can be used is the sole USB 3.1 connector.
The 256GB Flash Drive connects fine by itself anywhere, but if extension cables are used, it connects ONLY when cables are connected to the USB 3.1 port.

All regular smaller drives, even exact same Samsung model but 32GB, they all show up everywhere using the extension cables.

ONLY the 256GB version does not show up anywhere if extension cables are used EXCEPT for the 3.1 port but the drive does show up by itself with no cables used everywhere.

SO should I buy different cables, or a USB 3.1 card. Because I have a 3.0 PCIe card but the cables do not work on it, I imagine they would if it were a 3.1 card since the cables work on the one motherboard USB 3.1 connector.
Well you will need a system that uses usb4. Seems pretty expensive to upgrade for that purpose.

I'm going to GUESS and say it has something to do with power and the cable/transmission. USB 3.0 is good for 4.5W while 3.1 is up to 100W. Seems the cheapo cable(s) can't transmit enough power over the length of the cable? According to an Anand review of the drive, it uses up to 1.5A/7.5W(5V). Between going over spec for the port and a long cable........ it may not be getting enough power in that config? :shrug:

I'd imagine the drive and using the good (non extensions) cable works on any port (except a lack of speeds)?

Edit: ...also you have two 10 gbps ports. You can get a type-a to type-c adapter and leverage that port too. I'm not sure why you're looking at an AIC in the first place with only one (or two) drive(s). You already know the other ports are slower and not an option if you want to run a drove that fast at spec. We determined earlier that the proper port + proper cable = winning. If you need more, use the other port. If you need that other port, then an AIC is your only choice for that fast of drive.
Well you will need a system that uses usb4. Seems pretty expensive to upgrade for that purpose.

I ordered this $19.99 card to address this problem:

It is a USB 3.1 Gen 2 card.
I understand you are saying no such USB 4 card equivalent would work on any system today? Since there are no USB 4 systems today. But the entire point of buying a card is because your motherboard doesn't have it. Are there PCIe limitations, is that what you mean?
It arrived.
Interesting results:

The USB Flash Drive can now be connected with same cables successfully and real life transfer speeds match with or without extension cables, showing that cables are just fine for Samsung's superfast flagship USB Flash Drives. They may not work on motherboard's 2.0 and 3.0 ports, but cables work on both motherboard's 3.1 port and this card's 3.1 port, equally well.

The interesting part is this.

We now have a portable SSD drive like the Crucial X8 on the market, which tremendously increased transfer speeds.
Even when compared to its X6 predecessor, let alone most stuff available up to now.

So real life, not theoretical, X8 transfer speeds, per screen shots above are around 200 MB/s, provided you used a both sides USB C cable with no adapters.

When you use the USB A adapter (original boxed adapter) that drops by about 20 MB/s.

Since these 200 MB/s speeds are three times faster than "superfast" Samsung USB 3.1 flash drives can do, which is b/w 70 MB/s & 80 MB/s, this allows a true test of the extension cable limitations.

So the USB A extension cables actually max out at 150 to 160 MB/s real life.
That's about 20 MB/s slower than when using original USB A adaptor, only a few inches long, which runs at 170 MB/S to 180 MB/s, so 20 MB/s faster.

Always use two sided USB-C cables for fastest speeds.
USB A adapters will cost you 20 MB/s.
Extension cables like the ones I used, will cost you another 20 MB/s but they are perfectly fine for fastest USB flash drives, which is what I needed them for. So they handle USB 3.1 flash drives at 100%, no speed reduction.

[You also may *not* use phone USB C cables and hope to get anywhere near speeds these new things are capable of.]

Crucial X8 drive has finally hit speeds that exposes true limitations of our hardware today.

This question is important:

Since a USB 3.1 Gen 2 PCIe card performed beautifully on my first generation Skylake motherboard, are there motherboard PCIe limitations that would not allow for an equivalent USB 4 PCIe card? If so, what are the transfer speed limitations?

If a USB 4 card will work, then even my now dated motherboard can be upgraded to handle transfer speed technology we have yet to see.
If not, then handling the Crucial X8 speeds, and being able to have extra ports that can handle them is fantastic. I recommend the inexpensive PCIe card and all the inexpensive cables I linked to as perfectly adequate.

So the question about USB 4. Will there be a PCIe card that can go into this, and if not, what speeds are max for these PCIe specs.
Thank you:

PCIe Slots.jpg

PCIe types.jpg
I have a different drive (supposed to be twice as fast as the x8), but I get 600MB/s when I'm going C-C into a TB4 (40 Gbps) port. I'd expect you to be around 300 MB/s full out...? It was only a 4GB file though... ill test with larger to make sure it's past that burst stage).

Anyway, to hopefully answer (and not seemingly miss the point again, lol - though 3.1 offers more in spec power...your results still make sense with what was mentioned, lol), USB4 is 40 Gbps like Thunderbolt4. There are PCIe-based thunderbolt4 cards already. So when USB4 comes out, an AIC in a PCIe slot will work just fine.

That said, the answer is as simple as knowing how much bandwidth is available to you in the PCIe spec, and on your board. Your board is PCIe 3.0 = 1 GB/s (8 Gbps) per lane. So in order to have as much or more than 40 Gbps (usb4 spec), you would need to put it in slot that has PCIe 3.0 x8 bandwidth (there isn't an x5 slot, and x4 is 32 Gbps). Without reading the manual for your board I'd imagine that leaves the PCIe 3.0 x16_2 slot. The primary is for your GPU, the 3rd slot I'm guessing is x4 max. You'll lose 1-2% GPU performance when the primary slot drops back to x8 because the second slot is populated (lanes come from the CPU).

Hope that helps.
Thanks. The USB 3.1 Gen 2 PCIe card is on Slot 7 labeled PCIe 3.0/2.0 x 16_3.
It is performing identical to the mortherboard's direct USB 3.1 port and direct USB-C port.

You raise a good point of why not just put in a PCIe-based Thunderbolt 4.
I cannot see any TB4 cards on Amazon that are anywhere near affordable.
The 3.1 Gen 2 card I just got was $19.99 - so eventually two years from now I would imagine there will be a $20 PCIe USB 4 card.

But yes, what I have probably could go faster on a PCIe-based Thunderbolt 4.
I think the expense makes this unrealistic.

So the more realistic option for me is a Zen 4 CPU - AM5 motherboard upgrade which will have a native USB 4 port next year.

I am seeing 200 MB/s post-burst speeds, and I understand you are saying X8 would do 300 MB/s on your C-C into TB4 today with an identical file.

That's interesting so a 50% increase from 200 MB/s to 300 MB/s.
In other words, I have already reached the max anyone can get on a 3.1 system. It appears to be 200 MB/s.
That is great educational info. Thank you.
It is performing identical to the mortherboard's direct USB 3.1 port and direct USB-C port.
Makes sense... PCIe 3.0 x4 (32 Gbps) is more than enough for your drive.

You raise a good point of why not just put in a PCIe-based Thunderbolt 4.
Can't say I inferred that...the mobo I have just happened to have it. I used it as an analog for USB4, 40 Gbps throughput, and the concept that something that fast already exists. It does make a lot more sense to upgrade the system from where you're at than to add even a USB4 card IMO...but if the system works, it works.

But yes, what I have probably could go faster on a PCIe-based Thunderbolt 4.
I doubt it(?). I don't see how since you aren't saturating the bandwidth of 3.1. My drive is 2x as fast and runs at 600 MB/s (on the file I tested). What I said was that I expected yours to run around 300 MB/s as that is half of my drive (yours is rated ~1000 MB/s, mine 2000 MB/s).

and I understand you are saying X8 would do 300 MB/s on your C-C into TB4 today with an identical file.
I'm not saying that. As said above, I doubt you would see an increase. Just because the hose (throughput) gets bigger, doesn't mean the water (data) flows faster. The spicket only outputs so much, you know? ;). Surely there will be some differences, but, I don't imagine that to be 50% or much of an increase. I could be wrong though.
Another way to find out if I saturated the setup is to test a drive faster than X8 with the same file on my system.
Real life is different from advertised speeds....

I do not need additional speed on my system or a faster drive. This is purely just researching real life speeds.
I see staying where I am with what I have until Zen 4.

I am also interested about the roadmap.
So they now have drives rated at 2000 that are 600 MB/s in real life.
So a 4000 drive could probably break into 1000s?

I wonder what the roadmap is for drive speeds for the mid 2020s?

EDIT: Kingston has a 7000 MB/s drive already. What would that do in real life? 2000 MB/s?
That would smoke a 4GB file in two seconds! And at that point, things are instantaneous!
Something I dug up this morning...


Looks like 'real world' is 7.2 Gbps or around 900 MB/s for 3.1.

Funny enough... in looking at reviews for my drive, they got a lot better speeds than I did...Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm
Yes, that's the entire point of everything I posted in this thread.

The articles, ratings and all the talk on web sites which (additionally) take advertising money from some of these manufacturers, all that does not really correspond to actual real files we use on our own systems. Any number I see in a random article is meaningless, because so many are only true in limited scenarios that do not correspond to real life usage.
Numbers on forums from users, that's more relevant.

I get 200 MB/s post burst speeds. That's it.

So what do you think 7000 MB/s drive will translate to in real life on next year's new generation motherboards?
Yes, that's the entire point of everything I posted in this thread.
Maybe I should have posted that first. There's always some kind of overhead involved in these specs...I really thought that was a given. :chair:

I'm wondering if there is something up with my(our) results considering others using the same type of port get MUCH higher results. I wonder why yours doesn't seem close either (further away than mine). Some tests don't apply, but as you can see, others clearly do... transferring images and movies, ISOs, etc....that's what you're doing (huge ISO image). Of course results will vary on the workload. We learned that back in the USB stick thread... that's definitely a part of it.

If you look up some reviews of your drive, both synthetics AND real-world results show transfer rates a lot higher than what you're seeing (file size is part of it). In the link below, look at the Blackmagic test (with real files, etc)... and the synthetic CrystalDiskMark. The latter you can run on your PC and see if matches. They're also using a 3.1 (10 Gbps) port.

Look at Tom's real-world results...again a lot higher

You can run ATTO from that test (ATTO is always a best case scenario and often what MFG base their specs on).

Maybe format that bad boy and run some of these tests (CDM and ATTO) and post screenshots. Do they match the reviews? If the synthetics don't, then you have an issue somewhere else.

So what do you think 7000 MB/s drive will translate to in real life on next year's new generation motherboards?
Well, considering 40 Gbps is ~5000 MB/s, somewhere around there (less w/overhead ofc) when using a USB4/TB4 port and 40 Gbps cable.

EDIT: IMO, you should trust what the reviews say. Good ones do a combination of real-world and synthetic results. Many do manual transfers. The problem, it seems, is that it doesn't fit your 'transfering a large ISO' scenario. Maybe it should be added to some tests? Who knows. But it's common knowledge that these tests, and especially user tests (users tend not to know what's going on compared to reviewers who make sure they are using the proper port, cable, drivers, etc). THere's always going to be a limit from reviews, but I'd lean more into them than 99% of user data. It's extreme difficult and critically important to test the exact same way. A user transferring 40,000 images and 300 movies at 20GB is different than a single ISO. What I'm rambling on about is that there is a lot in play here....... and I'm still not certain you nor I are getting what we should on these drives for w/e reason. I've reached out and pinged a peer... as soon as I get a response, I'll fill it in with applicable info.
Really the only reason I avoided smaller files is because there is so much fluctuation with burst speeds out of the gate. However, when I copy/paste that large 4GB drive image file, it bursts so much, that it makes transfer rates impossible to tell initially - but then it stabilizes toward the end with that somewhat ballpark consistent speed. That stabilization point is repeatedly consistent. It is consistently the same speed, respectively, for each tested drive. I mean let's not forget that the initial burst is many times 200 MB/s - that's not what we are talking about. Not the total speed averaged out when you include the burst. I am only talking about post-burst speeds.

There is just something reliable and real world convincing about copy/pasting, I also like how (when it stabilizes) it is consistently around 200 MB/s for that Crucial X8 SSD and consistently just above 70 MB/s for Samsung's flagship USB flash drive.... It is so much more telling than benchmark software as far as I look at how I use my computer.

Wow so half a gig per second next year?!
That is something to look forward to. I really look forward to testing that in real life because that's really the end game there, because when you are moving a GIG every coupla seconds, most of your transfer times are measured in seconds, not minutes. That's solid sci-fi territory, finally. Why is no one even talking about USB 4 flash drives? What will they do if Samsung's top USB flash is "only" 70 MB/s and others way less than that today?

Till next year when Zen 4 comes out then, I am just not sure if I should wait for second generation of AM5s or just get the first one.

I mean, 13 years ago when I finally gave up Athlon XP, I got a first generation Asus P6T Deluxe. Not only was it better then version 2 of the same board, it-is-still $150-$200 TODAY on eBay, 13 years later, wut!? So that was a a great first generation purchase. I tend to only buy when great leaps come out and AM5 and Zen 4 will be it. What are you hearing lately on when they're coming out?
Weird... on my drive, the ~675 MB/s is constant throughout the few second transfer of that 4.3 GB file. I don't see it drop like yours. That said, reviews peg your drive as much slower after it goes through the cache (1/5th of rating vs mine is ~1/2), so maybe that's what you're seeing? My drive takes about 3 mins to drop and yours just over 3 mins... so that isn't it...

...anyway, I'll report back if I have an epiphany...but I'm still hella curious to see how CDM and ATTO fare on your drive compared to the review benchmarks.

EDIT: If you look at that chart I'm referring to (IO Meter) you can see it drops to 200 MB/s... so, that result seems normal assuming your burst is around the drive rating... doesn't look like cache in your case?

Why is no one even talking about USB 4 flash drives?
Well, first of all, it's not out in the wild, nor are any devices AFAIK. 2nd, TB3/4 and its 40 Gbps have been around for a couple of generations now. That type of speed was always there... but like many of the 1% performance, not many can/want to afford it if their mobo doesn't have it. Remember, an overwhelming number of users don't need or even want something as fast as what we're rocking... so most are happy with speedy USB 3.2 Gen2(or 2x2) drives.

Yeah, it's almost like the older it is, the better it holds it's value, motherboards, lol. You can find potatos for mobos in the X58 generation that cost $150. They're just costly b/c they rare due to age, not because they were some magnificent creation or generational leap that holds it's value inordinately. It's also HEDT which tends to hold its value longer than the mainstream platform (what you're looking into next year).

The latest rumors tell us Zen4 is going to be late 2022.
Oh late 2022!? :(
I was hoping first half 2022 - if not Q4 this year.... Oh well, we will wait some more. It will be worth it long-term.

So just for the record, I tested this 256GB drive to do 73 MB/s:

But this should be the flagship because it is a USB-C drive that tested at 97 MB/s:

The problem is that it is plastic and breaks whereas the first one is metal and very durable when it's on your key chain.
Found that out the hard way, the plastic broke so I had to go back to metal even at 25% reduction in speed.

I was talking about USB 4 flash drives, not SSDs, actual little pocket USB 4 drives. What will they do real life, educated guess?
That's the latest rumors, late 2022, yes. Feel free to take a look yourself to confirm. :)

It's tough to tell what's what in that Samsung lineup. They have a reason to label something a flagship part...sometimes performance isn't everything. But you'd have to have a chat with Samsung marketing to get the exact reasons why the product stack is setup the way it is. :)

I was also talking about USB4 flash drives above. USB4 ports don't exist, and neither do the (flash)drives (AFAIK)... that's why nobody is talking about them (coupled with the other part I said about 99% of users not needing anything faster than USB sticks in the first place). As far as their performance? Who knows.... :shrug:
So the use of the term Flagship is my own. Samsung tends to have stellar write speeds, and their drives tend not to overheat, so I always chose to get Samsung Flash Drives.
That's how they perform in real life. They do not have anything bigger than 256GB in flash drive size, which is weird seeing as I have their half a terabyte microSD card in my phone.

[EDIT: I just wanted to remind whoever is reading this that smaller size flash drive write speeds are ABYSMAL in comparison.
Samsung BAR PLUS 32GB is only 24MB/s - so you get a 300% speed increase when you get a 256GB version vs 32GB version.]

Yea, sometimes people can make educated guesses though. USB Flash drives have a long way to go. I hope someone posts an article about what's in the oven soon.

P.S. FYI, yes the cache is a problem for the X8 but it does not kick in for 4GB files, the cache limitation kicks in for files that are exceptionally huge. I now forgot what that file size is, I want to say 400GB but I can't find the one reviewer of Crucial X8 who actually talked about the very important issue of when that cache limitation kicks in. Almost every other reviewer failed to adequately include the details of this very important limitation factor...
Well, I can't help how people define a flagship... it's up to the company. :)

Yes, that's exactly what I said about cache above. I don't know where that point is, but any who test long writes and such (like the two linked above), shows you exactly where it is. If you're looking for these details, I'd assuming see it in a chart is enough. Stick with sites that cover it... at least in pretty pictures for the non-readers. For those who need it spelled out in each review, bookmark that site and refer to it. :)

For sites that don't test it, that can be a problem for any user looking to consistently transfer massive files between [name of device] and your USB stick(or drive). Even with how I used my external drives, I don't think I've ever crossed that threshold. Any huge transfers like that are internal drive to internal drive, or I pull them off the PC off the network (slower for sure even at 2.5 GbE LAN). Worst case was storing a 20GB Windows ISO image that I used...that said, who's to say what's normal?
Flagship in the case of Samsung flash drives is the model with largest capacity and fastest speed.
It is currently the 256GB drive.

As for X8, it was PC World:

"The Crucial X8 Portable SSD wrote at almost 600MBps for the first 190GB or so, then it sank to a rather sickly 80MBps for the rest of the test."

So we're talking transferring a 200GB single file before the limitation kicks in.
So the limitation does not affect DVD size files of 4.36GB or less! Or even 50GB Blu-ray files.

I mean it sucks that the drive is unusable for files bigger than 200GB but for 90-some dollars for a terabyte drive, it offered the best price to performance ratio on Amazon Prime day last month. Best Buy matched the price and had additional 10% off through certain credit cards.
A performance line has definitely been crossed, we are at the dawn of computer hardware with dream speeds now. Next year hopefully.
I cannot find a single speculative discussion about USB 4 Flash drives on the entire internet.
No one is even talking about what's coming. They also tend to mix Portable SSDs with flash drives but SSDs cannot fit into your small jeans pocket like a flash drive can, so it's not the same product at all.

Additionally it's ludicrous how difficult it is to find out what the Flash Drive actual real life write speeds are.
For example, SanDisk USB-C Flash Drive model talks about 150 MB/s read speeds... But only in the middle of a third party review, buried deep, is the ugly truth that it only writes at 60 MB/s vs Samsung's 100 MB/s. So Samsung is 66% faster. Think about how much time that can save you in the drive's life time, to do every backup write that much faster!?

And how do you even have a review without mentioning the actual real life write speed? It's like reviewing a food or drink without ever tasting it. :screwy:
It's completely nuts. I mean these people write an entire review without testing the write speed.
I think they just do it to collect advertising money and Amazon link commission money.