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Crucial X9 Pro review: The new king of affordable high-speed storage

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £78
(1TB), inc VAT. Also available: £139 (2TB), £239 (4TB)

Speedy, robust and cheap for an SSD, the X9 Pro is a brilliant external storage companion


  • Compact and rugged design
  • High sequential read/write speeds
  • Type C cable and Type A adaptor bundled in


  • Not the fastest random read/write speeds

For years the Crucial X8 has been a great, popular choice of external SSD. It’s cheap, it’s tough, it’s fast and it works with PCs, Macs, consoles and just about anything else with a USB connection.

There’s just one reason why we’ve stopped recommending the X8: it’s no longer being made. Crucial has switched production to two new drives, the Crucial X9 and the Crucial X9 Pro. I’ve run the latter through our SSD benchmarks to see if it can carry on in its predecessor’s footsteps.

Crucial X9 Pro review: What do you get for the money?

The X9 Pro is significantly smaller than the old X8, with a squarer 65 x 50mm footprint and a maximum thickness of 1cm – there’s some clever bevelling around the edges that make it look and feel a little slimmer than it is. It weighs just 38g, and if you like the idea of carrying a fast SSD around on a lanyard, you’ll be delighted to see that there’s a hole in one corner so you can do exactly that.

The old tough, rubberised casing of the X8 is gone, in favour of a dark grey aluminium shell, but the base still has a rubber-like, tactile texture to make sure it stays on the desktop and won’t slip out of your grip. Despite how light it is, it feels extremely tough, and is IP55 certified against water, sand and dust, and drop-proof up to 2 metres.

The X9 Pro connects via a USB Type-C port, and a Type-C to Type-C cable is included in the box; this also incorporates a Type-A adaptor, so older systems aren’t left out in the cold. The drive is available in 1TB, 2TB and 4TB sizes, and Crucial claims that all models can deliver read/write speeds of 1,050MB/sec – basically the maximum supported by the USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface.

If you’re wondering what distinguishes the X9 Pro from the plain X9, the answer is not much. The latter comes in a black shock-proof shell without the IP55 weatherproofing and USB Type-A adaptor, but it has the same interface, capacities and speeds. Accordingly, there isn’t much of a price difference between the two drives: the X9 Pro is around £10 more expensive for the 2TB version.

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Crucial X9 Pro review: How does it perform?

When connected to my test PC via a 10Gbits/sec USB 3.2 Gen 2 connection, the X9 Pro delivered faster sequential read speeds than the old X8, and was also slightly faster than the similar Kingston XS1000. Write speeds are slower, but still much in the same ballpark as the two other drives. For most people there’s no reason to go any faster: outside of high-end drives that use Thunderbolt or 20Gbits/sec USB, this is about as speedy as an external SSD is going to get.

If you’re planning to run games or applications from the drive, then random read/write speeds will be just as important. Here the X9 Pro fell behind the XS 1000 over a Type-C connection, but did a better job of maintaining the same speeds over USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-A. It’s fast enough to be fit for the purpose, but it’s really built for backups, file transfers and storing large media files for editing or archive, rather than for expanding your Steam library or installing apps when you’re running out of space.

Crucial X9 Pro Crystal DiskMark, sequential read write chart

Crucial X9 Pro AS SSD sequential read write chartCrucial X9 Pro Large file transfer read write chartCrucial X9 Pro CrystalDiskMark, random 4K file read write chartCrucial X9 Pro AS SSD, 4K file read write chart

Crucial X9 Pro review: Are there any useful extras?

The X9 Pro supports 256-bit AES hardware encryption through Bitlocker on Windows 11 Pro, or FileVault on macOS. Crucial also plans to release a standalone encryption utility, but at the time of writing this has yet to materialise.

Crucial’s SSD management tool, Storage Executive, provides the usual formatting tools and diagnostics features, along with a secure wipe option and a software cache designed to speed up operations by borrowing some of your PC or laptop’s RAM. Frankly though this doesn’t make a huge difference when SSDs already offer such high read and write speeds.

The drive is also supplied with a Crucial-branded version of Acronis’ True Image backup software, a 60-day trial of Hedge’s OffShoot file transfer software, a 30-day trial of Mylio Photos+ photo library  manager and a month’s free subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

Crucial X9 Pro review: Should you buy it?

Like the X8 before it, the X9 Pro is a cracking USB SSD. It’s rugged and ready for life on the go, and it’s got the sequential transfer speeds to make the most of the available bandwidth. It’s great for backing up large files or copying them from device to device, and would also work well as a speedy archive for video editing, design or gaming. If your host device supports Thunderbolt or 20Gbits/sec USB then you do have some even faster options, but for most purposes this is all the external drive you need.

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