Many computer users can say they don’t really need external storage media anymore, as you can quickly backup or transfer files to any computer via cloud services. However, there are a few use cases where a high-speed external SSD is still not only useful, but often necessary. So the Kingston XS2000 attempts to meet the needs of those who depend on such solutions with a compact design, shock and water resistance, and top-notch performance that most likely exceeds the capabilities of their computers.
Kingston SX2000 is a compact, rugged SSD
At first glance, the Kingston XS2000 doesn’t appear to be a portable SSD, being more like a USB stick. The only thing it lacks is the USB-A “father” jack, which is replaced by a USB-C “mother” type. Even though the shape is USB stick, it’s about twice the size, but also more than twice as “roomy” and fast. The fact that we’re dealing with an SSD made almost entirely of aluminium ensures high crash resistance.
Two SSD accessories are also included in the box, a rubber sleeve, which is optional but useful. This fits snugly over the shape of the device and adds even better shock resistance as well as better water resistance to the IP55 standard. So you don’t have to freak out if you spill a glass of water on your SSD, or use it alongside a professional camera in the rain. It should hold up just fine.
The other accessory is a simple cable with USB-C plugs on both ends, 30cm long, more than enough to use alongside a high-performance laptop. What’s not included in the package is any software of any kind. It’s all plug & play, no drivers, no apps or other configuration.
The SSD, more powerful than most PCs today
We were saying that the Kingston XS2000 might outperform the computer it’s connected to, but not as it might seem at first glance. Sure, SSDs on PCI-Express 4.0 and the new 5.0 will be faster, but this could be the fastest external USB SSD you can buy today. That’s because it uses the USB 3.2×2 standard, for transfer speeds of up to 2,000 MB/s. Unfortunately, the USB 3.2×2 standard isn’t that widespread at the moment, with most PCs and laptops using only “standard” USB 3.2.
Because of this, I couldn’t even thoroughly test the transfer speeds of this SSD, as neither my gaming PC, equipped with a high-end gaming motherboard with AORUS X570 chipset, nor the MacBook Air M1 model I had at my disposal, have such fast USB ports. Even though the MacBook uses USB4/Thunderbolt 3 ports, they are not compatible with USB 3.2×2 speeds. The confusing way USB ports are named and differentiated doesn’t help at all.
The model tested came in a 2TB capacity variant, but Kingston also sells the SX2000 SSD in 500GB, 1TB and 4TB variants.
Kingston SX2000’s peak performance yet to be unleashed
Since we didn’t have any devices available that could put this SSD’s hardware to the test, we were only able to achieve about half of Kingston’s promised 2,000MB/s performance, with all tests achieving around 1,000MB/s transfer rate for both sequential reads and writes. Kingston says that both directions of data transfer behave the same, so there won’t be any differences in this regard.
One use case where I see this model very useful is in the area of video editing. Professional cameras of the last few years, such as the Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, Panasonic models and others, can record directly to an SSD connected via USB-C. Those can write at very high speeds, and such an SSD seems to be perfect for being able to write even the most demanding formats. The advantage is that these files could also be read just as quickly from the SSD, and you can edit directly from it if needed, when you’re doing this on the go and don’t have enough storage space on your laptop.
Sure, it’s always advisable to edit using the highest speed SSDs, but at 2 GB per second on a compatible USB port, speed is not to be ignored at all.
One use case I can relate to is expanding the available storage on the laptop with something comparable in performance. I own a MacBook Air M1, the base version, with 256 GB of internal storage, as much as I have on my smartphone. Thus, I can’t store much data on the computer’s internal memory, but with such an SSD, I could have enough storage to work on multiple projects in parallel or to hold important data that I would need locally, especially for international travel, where fast internet speed comparable to “home” is not exactly guaranteed.
Benchmarks (USB 3.2×1)
- CrystalDiskMark SEQ1M Q8T1 – Read: 1,025 MB/s / Write: 914 MB/s
- CrystalDiskMark SEQ1M Q1T1 – Read: 935 MB/s / Write: 846 MB/s
- Atto Disk Benchmark – Read: 975 MB/s / Write: 872 MB/s
- Anvil’s Storage Utilities – Read: 936 MB/s / Write: 840 MB/s
Even though external storage is not as popular as it used to be, in some areas it is still very important, and increasingly thinner and more integrated computers have led to a lack of upgradeability, pushing users towards such solutions. The Kingston SX2000 is a high-performance SSD that could remain in users’ “arsenal” for a long time to come, as there are currently few computers that can benefit from its performance at full power, so it might only unlock its capabilities with the next hardware upgrade.