Samsung T5 SSD Tesla Model 3 vs Tesla Model S

Samsung T5 SSD Tesla Model 3 vs Tesla Model S

March 18, 2020 Off By Bruno Maiorana

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Samsung T5 SSD Tesla Model 3 vs Tesla Model S


If you own a Tesla Model 3 or Model S, then you would be aware of Tesla Dashcam and Sentry Mode. There’s a high chance that you may have already used these systems for safety purposes such as proximity alarms.


However, taking a deeper look at these features reveals that you must meet additional requirements for all related features such as Sentry Mode video recording. These include the usage of external storage drives and specific vehicle models by the next generation car manufacturer.  


Thats correct. The full features of Dashcam and Sentry Mode can only be used with select Tesla vehicles such as specific versions of Tesla Model S.


The storage drive requirement can be fulfilled using Samsung T5, a nextgeneration SSD that is fast, portable, and durable. But the specifications for select models of Tesla cars are a bit more complex.


To help you navigate through the intricacies of using Tesla Dashcam and Sentry Mode, here is how to use a Samsung T5 SSD with Tesla Model 3 or Tesla Model S.


How to Check If Your Tesla Sentry Mode is Compatible with Samsung T5 SSD


The Tesla Sentry Mode was introduced back in 2019. As a software update, it was rolled out to all Tesla models that were manufactured till date.


But even as essential features such as proximity alarms were made available for all Tesla models, video recording was only deployed for select cars. It was all due to hardware structure and limitations, which stopped the automobile manufacturer from making the feature available on all models. This restriction particularly applied to the Tesla Model S, which was first released in 2012.


How to Check Tesla Model S Compatibility With Sentry Mode Recording?

Despite being the first flagship car that tangibly put Tesla on the map, Tesla Model S vehicles carrying an older Autopilot hardware version arent able to use Sentry Mode for its video recording features.


This includes all Tesla Model S cars with Autopilot Hardware 2.0 (HW2.0). Only Model S Hardware 2.5 (HW2.5) and higher vehicles are able to record video through Sentry Mode. This video is then saved to a storage drive.


To summarize: If your Model S was made after July 2017, it would have the necessary HW2.5 or higher hardware the visual recording features of Sentry Mode. If your car was made before that period, it would have HW2.0, which doesn’t support video recording via Sentry Mode.


All Tesla Model 3 Vehicles Are Already Capable of Recording On Sentry Mode 

tesla usb flash drive dash cam

this is a screenshop of tesla’s firmware

While the base Tesla Model 3 is almost half the list price  as compared to the more expensive standard Model S, it also has another distinction: it is the later addition to the vehicle line from Tesla.


Released in 2017, Model 3 already has all the necessary hardware and firmware updates that are needed for new features. This also includes video recording through Sentry Mode.


With this very important distinction in mind, it is time to learn more about Tesla Dashcam and Sentry Mode, as well as the technological needs that these features bring to the table.


How Do Tesla Dashcam and Sentry Mode Work?


Using the camera that comes integrated in your Tesla, you can make use of an around-the-clock safety net to fall back on. Regardless of whether you are in the vicinity of your car or not, these features can record videos of car collisions, unprecedented accidents, and any attempts of theft.


This is not just a cool feature to have in an already impressive car. It is also quite handy for practical use. By capturing video footage during unforeseen incidents, your Tesla can make it easier for you to manage required reporting and identification processes. This makes it simpler to handle insurance claims or file for incidents of theft.


The Dashcam and Sentry Mode system records video footage on an external storage drive. Overtime, the system can permanently save select footage into a special folder, which is never deleted. Additionally, it also removes video footage that is not of much use and records new footage in its place. This requires Tesla owners to have a storage device that is able to withstand fast data writing and constant rewriting processes.


According to real world usage, the Samsung T5 is an ideal fit for Tesla Dashcam and Sentry Mode. But before you go on about learning how to use a Samsung T5 SSD with Tesla Model 3 or Model S, lets move forward with understanding its compatibility with these models.



Samsung T5: An Exemplary SSD for Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model S


Whether you have a Tesla Model 3 or a Tesla Model S (HW2.5), the Samsung T5 SSD promises to be the perfect fit for your car.


It is all thanks to the drives high performance, sturdy built, and a variety of storage options, which make it stand out from countless other storage drives that cannot meet the requirements posed by these latest Tesla features..


To summarize, here’s what a Samsung T5 SSD brings to the table:


Samsung T5 SSD

Storage250 GB, 500 GB, 1 TB, 2 TB
SpeedUp to 540mb/s
USB GenerationUSB 3.1 Gen2, Backwards-Compatible
USB TypeType-C to C and Type-C to A, Adapters Included
Memory TypeSamsung Vertical-NAND (V-NAND)
FormatexFAT, NTFS, HFS, FAT32


Since Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model S use the same firmware to for video capturing features, both models carry the same general requirements when it comes to storage drives.


The Samsung T5 caters to all of these general specifications with ease, mostly surpassing expectations in an affordable price point.


Supported File Format

While Tesla Dashcam and Sentry Mode is an extremely modern feature that is set to make a way for autopilot or selfdriving, it still lags behind in terms of supporting updated technology interfaces.


how to set up teslta dashcam usb

testla icon

One of these aspects is support for modern file formats. When it comes to modern devices, exFAT and NTFS often come through as standard file formats. But Tesla only supports drives with the FAT32 file system.


The Samsung T5 SSD fulfills this need with ease. While the SSD comes preformatted with exFAT, you can reformat it to FAT32 easily. If you use a Windows PC, you can reformat your SSD using thirdparty applications. And if you use a Mac, built-in applications can help you convert your SSD to FAT32.


Learning how to use a Samsung T5 SSD with Tesla FAT32 format is quick and painless. It doesnt take much of your time, but it still lets you utilize your new SSD with your Tesla.


Various Storage Options

When you are using the video capturing feature through Tesla Dashcam and Sentry Mode, you are constantly saving largesized video files. As a regular practice, these files are overwritten automatically as new video footage is recorded. But more often than not, the system saves video clips to a permanent folder until you delete them manually.


This requires the drive to have a large storage capacity. If you want to steer clear of memory issues, you should select a drive with a storage space of at least 32 GB.


The Samsung T5 minimum storage starts from 250 GB. This means that the drive exceeds storage expectations. You can also select from other options, such as 500 GB, 1 TB, and 2 TB. Going for higher storage is not a requirement, but it saves you from buying multiple drives down the road, then they can definitely prove to be useful for your Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model S.


Fast Data Speeds

Since the Tesla video capture system writes large video files into the storage drive directly and on a consistent basis, the storage drive needs to have a fast speed.


This doesnt mean that you require ultrafast speeds. However, outdated systems like USB 2.0 can lag against these requirements. This is why, you should select a drive with USB 3.0, USB 3.1 or higher.


Samsung T5 has USB 3.1 Gen 2. This allows it to excel at speed requirements and allow timely data transfer. Samsungs proprietary VNAND technology also contributes to this factor by stacking memory cells vertically for easier data retrieval and decreased latency issues. Due to these features, the SSD boasts of fast speeds of up to 540mb/s, which fulfills the requirements of Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model S.


As a bonus feature, this Samsung SSD is backwards compatible with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 devices


Reliable Structure

If you are capturing video through Dashcam or Sentry Mode, your Tesla will rewrite data consistently. This puts storage options such as older USB thumb drives out of the equation due to their limitations in constantly deleting and rewriting data. The more data you delete and rewrite, the more it affects their long term reliability.


To steer clear of this problem, you either have to select a pricier USB thumb drive, or make a smart purchase in the form of an SSD at a slightly increased price point. Why? Because an SSD can withstand constant rewrites due to its internal structure.


Due to its VNAND feature, the Samsung T5 holds an even enhanced and more reliable structure that lets you rewrite files on a consistent basis, all without any fears of having the device burn out with short term usage.


The Samsung T5 sports dimensions of 0.4x 2.9x 2.3”. This makes it smaller than a business card. But despite that small size, the drive is extremely durable courtesy of its shockresistant metal exterior.


This reliability comes with a multifaceted advantage. It keeps your investment safe while also giving you the assurance that your Tesla Model 3 or Tesla Model S car is consistently protected through its Sentry Mode.


Affordable Price Points

Since Tesla Dashcam and Sentry Mode are part of a premium car, these features dont come cheap. Both vehicles even in their standard range cost a pretty penny, which means that you should not miss the chance to look for savings whenever possible.


Instead of paying skyhigh prices for storage drives, you can benefit from the affordable price points offered by the Samsung T5 SSD. This lets you enjoy modern technology in storage drives without breaking the bank. Since select colors are available in specific storage capacities, you will have to compromise on the four color options (with the choices comprising alluring blue, metallic red, rose gold, and deep black).

But other than that, the prices remain quite friendly in terms of features and overall offering. Since you dont have to extensively learn how to use a Samsung T5 SSD with Tesla Model 3 or Model S, the prices remain quite justifiable from that perspective as well.


The retail prices for the Samsung T5 are listed below. These prices often come with additional discounts and allow you to get an even larger price break through the right retailer.


Overall: Samsung T5 is Indeed the Best Fit for Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model S


With features that seem tailor made for Tesla Dashcam and Sentry Mode, the Samsung T5 SSD is the perfect fit for Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model S (HW2.5 and up).

If you need a storage drive that gives you more bang for your buck with high performance, fast speed and extended durability, then choosing Samsung T5 will not disappoint you.


UPDATE: There seems to be a new player in the game. Their name is Pure Tesla, they are slightly cheaper than their competitors and they sell pre-formatted Tesla USB drives. Click here to check check them out.