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PNY RP60 portable SSD review
7:14 pm | June 10, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro | Tags: , | Comments: Off

PNY RP60 portable SSD: 30-second review

Specs

Capacities available:1TB, 2TB
Size: 97.3 x 59.9 x 12.4 mm.
Weight: 55g
Enclosure material: rubber
Connector: USB 3.2 Gen2x2
Technology: SSD
Warranty (in years): 3
Rated R/W speeds (MB/s): Up to 2000MB/s / 1800MB/s
Software bundle: Acronis True Image Data Protection Software

The PNY RP60 Portable SSD 1TB sports a sleek, matte black rubberized finish with a subtle PNY logo, enhancing its aesthetic and functionality. This finish not only offers protection against the elements with its IP65 rating—making it essentially shower-proof and resilient against harsh dust storms—but also ensures stability. Its non-slip surface allows it to be securely placed on a car or van bonnet, or taped to a tripod or rig without slipping. The drive's size and design make it an ideal solution for expanding the video storage of iPhones and other smartphones, especially useful when filming, as it can be easily attached to the back of the phone.

A standout feature here is the flat USB cable, reminiscent of a computer data ribbon, which facilitates neat routing around any attached equipment. Additionally, the small carabiner loop at one corner allows the drive to be hooked into a bag or case, securing it conveniently and making it easily accessible within a camera bag's internal loops.

Having tested out plenty of the best portable SSDs, performance-wise, the drive holds up solidly when connected to a true USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 port with speeds that just exceed those stated by PNY. However, Mac users with Thunderbolt 4 ports will find the performance downgraded, averaging closer to 1000MB/s rather than the expected 1800MB/s. Nevertheless, these speeds are sufficient for editing tasks, including handling 4K Log3 footage from devices like the Canon EOS R5 C and meeting the demands of any of the best video editing software such as Adobe Premiere Pro and DaVinci Resolve.

PNY RP60 portable SSD: Price & availability

PNY RP60 Portable SSD

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The PNY RP60 portable SSD 1TB is widely available at most electronics and photography stores, such as Adorama and B&H Photo, for around $99. There is also a 2TB version of the drive available for $179.

  • Score: 4/5

PNY RP60 portable SSD: Design & build

PNY RP60 Portable SSD

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The PNY RP60 Portable SSD 1TB, despite its IP65 certification and drop-proof rating of 3m, isn't marketed as a tough drive. When compared to rugged drives designed to withstand intense physical abuse, the RP60 is clearly a lighter option with added protection rather than built for extreme durability.

Weighing just 55g, the drive feels lightweight. Its rubberized casing is well-enclosed, with the only opening being the USB Type-C port at the base, which is protectively sealed by an attached rubber cover. Although there's a slight flexibility at the top of the case when squeezed, the build quality seems sufficiently robust for both indoor and outdoor use.

The rubberized casing enhances the drive's durability, and being an SSD with no moving parts inherently makes it more robust than traditional mechanical HDDs. However, the rubber port cover's attachment is a weak point—it detaches easily and is tricky to reinsert, likely necessitating reinforcement with tape in field use.

The inclusion of a flat cable is advantageous, allowing for easy mounting by laying it flat against the side of the drive. The cable's connection to the port is secure, enabling the drive to be suspended by the cable without undue stress due to the drive being lightweight. An improvement could be made to reinforce the cable connection, as seen in other models.

The carabiner loop on the top edge is a practical addition, mirroring a trend in drive design. This feature allows the drive to be easily hooked onto a bag loop or securely attached to equipment, a belt, or other items, making it particularly useful in a professional field environment. This simple yet vital feature significantly enhances the drive's utility.

  • Design & build: 4/5

PNY RP60 portable SSD: Features

The PNY RP60 1TB SSD boasts an impressive mix of speed, durability, and compatibility, featuring high-speed data transfers with sequential read and write speeds reaching up to 2,000 MB/s and 1,800 MB/s respectively. 

Designed to withstand the rigours of active use, the RP60 incorporates durable materials and design elements that offer protection against water and dust, meet IP65 standards, and can withstand accidental drops from heights up to 3 meters (approximately 9.8 feet).

Despite its design can hardly be considered one of the best rugged hard drives out there. The RP60 remains lightweight at 55g and includes an integrated loop, making it easy to slide into a pocket or securely clip onto a backpack or camera bag.

The RP60 is engineered for compatibility with a broad range of devices, including the Apple iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro, iPads, Android smartphones, tablets, as well as laptops, desktops, and gaming consoles, facilitated by its standard USB Type-C connection.

A standout feature of the RP60 is the inclusion of Acronis True Image Data Protection software, providing an additional layer of security. This backup software, intended for PC use, offers backup and data recovery services to help safeguard your data, ensuring it is easily restorable in case of data loss.

  • Features 4/5

PNY RP60 portable SSD: Performance

PNY RP60 Portable SSD

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
Benchmarks

CrystalDiskMark, read: 2067.91MB/s Write: 1818.60MB/s
AJA: read: 1876MB/s Write: 1648MB/s
ATTO: read: 1940MB/s Write: 1720MB/s
AS SSD: 1887.55MB/s Write: 1663.37MB/s

The PNY RP60's design focuses on durability, tailored to the needs of those working in the field. Its rubberized exterior, flat cable, and loop all contribute to its robustness. In our tests, we explored the drive's potential as a storage solution for image and video files, utilizing Acronis True Image for data backup in the studio.

Initial impressions are positive; the rubberized finish ensures the drive stays securely in place whether it's on a desk, a car bonnet, or a rock. Its compact size and weight, combined with a velcro attachment, allow for easy mounting on the back of a monitor, reducing strain on the cable during movement.

A key feature is the flat cable, which is particularly useful when the drive is connected to a rig as a direct storage device for video file recording, compatible with cameras like the Blackmagic 6K Pro and iPhone 15 Pro. The drive maintains the required transfer rates and integrates neatly, allowing the cable to be taped down for a more streamlined setup.

When tested with one what's still of the best MacBook Pro laptops around - the 16-inch M1 model, the RP60 performed well with applications like Photoshop and DaVinci Resolve, handling footage playback without lag. However, after extensive use in video editing, the drive exhibited some heat-related slowdowns, with write speeds dropping to about 450MB/s in the AJA System Test Light after two hours of editing 4K video.

Benchmark tests on both Mac and PC systems revealed a difference in performance levels. The Mac maxed out with read speeds around 1100MB/s and write speeds peaking at approximately 950MB/s—fast, but not as fast as advertised.

Switching over to an Intel NUC 9 Extreme Ghost Canyon with a PCIe USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 card installed the speed accelerated, maxing out with Crystal Disk Mark at 2067.91MB/s read and 1818.60MB/s write, just exceeding the stated speeds from PNY.

Editing footage from the drive in DaVinci Resolve on the PC highlighted the potential of this drive, you just need to be aware that to make the most of the performance you need to be using a dedicated USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 port and not a backward compatible Thunderbolt 3 or 4.

  • Performance: 4/5

Should you buy the PNY RP60 portable SSD?

The PNY RP60 Portable SSD 1TB is an excellent choice for professionals and adventurers seeking reliable, rugged storage for on-the-go use. With its high-speed data transfer capabilities, robust build quality, and broad compatibility with various devices, it meets the needs of those looking for a versatile storage solution. In real-world tests, the drive's performance for high-demand applications was excellent, making it a great choice for outdoor or challenging environments where durability is essential.

PNY RP60 Portable SSD

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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Using the PNY RP60 to store creative assets? We tested the best monitors for photo editing

Lexar SL500 portable SSD review
7:39 pm | April 9, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Lexar SL500: 30-second review

Specs

Capacity: 512GB/1TB/2TB/4TB
Interface: USB 3.2 Gen2x2
Performance: Speed up to 2000MB/s read, up to 1800MB/s write
Operating Temperature: 0°C to 50°C
Storage Temperature: -40°C to 85°C
Dimensions (L x W x H): 85mm x 54mm x 7.8mm (The thinnest part is 4.8mm)
Weight: 43g
System Supported: Mac OSX 10.6+, Windows 11/10/7/8, Android 4.4+, Harmony OS
Warranty: 5-year limited warranty

The Lexar SL500 is part of a new generation of ultra-slim portable SSDs that traditionally appeal to videographers and imaging professionals needing to travel light while maintaining sufficient capacity and speed to edit images and video files on the move. Lexar, a company with a long history in the photographic sector, is known for its flash memory cards, which are popular among professionals. 

This SSD stands out as one of the slimmest and most lightweight options available, and for video editors and photographers pairing it with any of the best video editing laptops or best laptops for photo editing, the small form factor and weight are significant advantages. The key selling point is its lightweight design, and the metal casing, while stylish, is reassuringly tough. 

This makes it an excellent choice for linking to cameras that need additional storage, such as the Blackmagic 6K. In an interesting twist, it can also be linked in with the iPhone 15 Pro and Max and used to store Apple Pro Res recording at up to 4K 60FPS—this takes iPhone filmmaking to a new and interesting level. 

When used on a PC, the speeds with the write cache switched off are impressive. We've tested loads of the best portable SSDs, and and even when reformatted for macOS, the transfer speeds here settle around the 1000MB/s mark. Under sustained load, such as editing 4K video, the drive keeps up with the pace, and the transfer speeds ensure smooth editing with plenty of headroom and storage. Heat is well managed, and considering the compact size, this drive delivers impressive performance.

Lexar SL500: Price & availability

Lexar SL500 Portable SSD Review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The Lexar SL500 Portable SSD is widely available from retailers and can be purchased directly through the Lexar website, Amazon.com, and many other retail sites.

  • Score: 3.5/5

Lexar SL500: Design & build

Lexar SL500 Portable SSD Review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

At 4.8mm thick, the main body of the slim portable SSD features a solid aluminium unibody design, giving the drive a smooth, minimalist look and enhancing its durability. The drive includes only a single USB 3.2 Gen 2x2 Type-C connector, with a short cable provided in the box. Due to its size and weight, the drive may not initially sit flat on the desktop, with the cable's strength elevating one end. However, a bit of wiggling and rebending the cable can allow the drive to lay flush. 

The lightweight design means that despite some curvature in the drive's design, velcro can easily be attached, enabling the drive to be affixed to the back of, say, the best video editing monitor. This setup offers a convenient way to move around with your laptop with the drive attached without the concern of it dangling freely from the cable and becoming detached. The slight curve of the casing is also practical, making it easy to grip and remove the drive when needed. 

This SSD is one of the smallest portable SSDs available. It measures 85mm x 54mm x 7.8mm, with the thinnest part curving down to 4.8mm, and weighs 43g (excluding the cable). Impressively, the drive comes in various capacities, including 512GB, 1TB, 2TB, and a large 4TB option.

  • Design & build: 4/5

Lexar SL500: Performance

Lexar SL500 Portable SSD Review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
Benchmarks

CrystalDiskMark: read: 1034.20MB/s Write: 942.07MB/s
AJA: read: 952MB/s Write: 866MB/s
ATTO: read: 984.05MB/s Write: 907.80MB/s
AS SSD: read: 917.05MB/s Write: 818.62MB/s

What really stands out about this portable SSD is its size. It can slip into a backpack or jacket's side pocket without adding weight or bulk, although the relatively short cable must still be managed. Once connected, the Type-C cable easily links the drive to a Mac or PC, and the included Lexar DataShield software enables password security, a prudent feature for a portable device that might be lost or stolen.

The drive's out-of-the-box transfer speeds are impressive, and it can be reformatted from the ultra-compatible ExFAT to a more secure format for Mac or PC. The drive's speed is notable, with excellent performance in both reading and writing. With write caching turned on (the default setting), transfer speeds reach around 1,000MB/s, below the advertised speeds, but a significant increase is observed once write caching is switched off.

For general file storage, the drive's performance is outstanding, with a 140GB file transfer completed in about three minutes on the Mac, during which the drive remained cool to the touch. For video and image editing tasks in Photoshop, no issues were encountered when handling large files from cameras like the Canon R5 C and Sony A7 IV. In more demanding video editing scenarios with Final Cut Pro X, the drive maintained impressive performance, keeping up with the application's demands even though it did not match the advertised speed. During these intensive tasks, the drive's temperature increased but not excessively.

One of the most interesting features of this drive is that it is fully compatible with Apple iPhone 15 Pro and Max. This means that you can plug it directly into the USB Type-C port to record Apple Pro Res at up to 4K 60FPS. This feature enables far greater flexibility for iPhone film makers when it comes to grading in post with higher-quality video and far greater potential for the footage. Given this compatibility with Apple devices, it may be one of the best external hard drives for Mac users.

Overall, this compact storage solution delivers outstanding performance. Its small size makes it convenient and easy to mount onto the back of a laptop screen without concern.

  • Performance: 4/5

Should you buy the Lexar SL500?

As an all-around portable SSD, its small size and variety of capacity options make this a discreet and easy choice. The minimal size and weight will appeal broadly, as it takes up very little room in the pocket of a jacket or bag, making it an ideal partner for imaging professionals.

The cable's weight influences its position on a desktop, but with a little Velcro, this drive can be perfectly attached to the back of a monitor. This feature is particularly beneficial for those on the move, working in various locations like trains, coffee shops, or hotdesking around an office, as it ensures the safety of the driver's connection during movement.

Although small pen drives with large capacity options are available, this dedicated drive offers sustained performance, making it an ideal choice for activities that require fast transfer speeds and reliable access to data. It is particularly suited for those in the video sector who demand reliable file access and need storage that is safe, secure, and lightweight enough to be easily transported in a busy environment without excessive concern about cables disconnecting.

iPhone 15 Pro and Max users will also benefit from the connection to greater storage when shooting video in the Apple ProRes format. This is a superb, slightly unique feature. There's the issue of how to attach the drive comfortably, but ultimately, it pushes the function and features of the iPhone 15 Pro even further. In real terms, the video that you can store on an iPhone with around 70GB of storage goes from 18 minutes to 1,183 minutes with the 2TB drive attached.

Overall, considering the capacity, size, and speed, this is an outstanding SSD that will suit many uses but will find particular appeal with photographers and videographers. 

Lexar SL500 Portable SSD Review

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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Using the Lexar SL500 to store creative assets? We tested the best monitors for photo editing

Lexar Professional SL600 portable SSD review
7:25 pm |

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Lexar Professional SL600: 30-second review

Specs

Capacities available: 512GB, 1TB, 2TB
Size: 112.6 x 59 x 10.6 mm
Weight: 64g
Enclosure material: Aluminum
Connector: USB 3.2 Gen2x2
Technology: 256-bit AES encryption with Lexar DataShield
Warranty (in years): 5
Rated R/W speeds (MB/s): Up to 2000MB/s
Software bundle: Lexar DataShield software

One of the major issues with the latest cameras is the significant amount of storage required for the files they produce, including both images and videos. Thankfully, products like the Lexar Professional SL600 portable HD are designed with speed, capacity, and durability in mind. 

The review sample, at 2TB, offers ample storage for most image and video shoots. With its USB Type-C connection, transfer speeds between the drive and the computer are sufficiently quick, allowing you to use this drive as both a mass storage and working drive if desired. 

The internal specifications highlight this as a great choice for imaging professionals, but there are also design considerations that attract users on the move. 

Firstly, like any of the best portable SSDs we've tested, the lightweight and compact design makes it easy to transport without adding excessive weight or bulk to a kit bag. Then there's the full metal case that adds durability. However, what really stands out is the carabiner loop that allows you to securely attach the drive to an internal backpack pocket, preventing it from getting lost. 

With such a great design and solid, high-quality build, it's a shame that Lexar didn't go a step further and produce this drive in a brighter, easier-to-locate colour or include a writable surface for easy labelling. 

In terms of performance, the drive delivers impressive results on both Mac and PC systems, even if it performs lower than Lexar advertises.

Lexar Professional SL600: Price & availability

Lexar Professional SL600 Portable HD

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

The Lexar Professional SL600 Portable HD is widely available at most photographic and video stores, such as B&H Photo and Adorama, as well as on Amazon.com.

  • Value: 4/5 

Lexar Professional SL600: Design & build

Lexar Professional SL600 Portable HD

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

This small portable SSD immediately stands out with its distinctive all-metal casing and integrated carabiner loop at the top - if you're looking for the best external hard drives for Mac, this one certainly has the pleasing focus on design aesthetic you'll find with Apple devices. The size and weight mean it easily slips into a pocket, making it convenient to transport along with the rest of your gear. The sleek black design is nice and understated, although something a bit brighter may be more practical in the field. However, this design allows you to loop it onto a bag hook, making it a bit more difficult to misplace compared to similar-sized portable SSDs.

The simple design is complemented by a USB Type-C connector, which facilitates both data transfer and bus power to the drive. Lexar has ensured that the drive draws minimal power while still providing decent performance, so along with the drive, the only other accessory you need is the connecting cable.

Once connected, the drive is recognized quickly and comes formatted in the universally recognized ExFAT format, which can then be reformatted to the file system of your choice. Included on the drive is the Lexar DataShield software, which takes a few seconds to install but then enables you to apply password protection to the drive, ensuring the contents remain secure in the event of loss or theft.

  • Design: (4/5) 

Lexar Professional SL600: Performance

Lexar Professional SL600 Portable HD

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)
Benchmarks

CrystalDiskMark: read: 1036.38MB/s Write: 952.34MB/s
AJA: read: 953MB/s Write: 857MB/s
ATTO: read: 984.62MB/s Write: 914MB/s
AS SSD: 956.14MB/s Write: 230MB/s

Out of the box, it only takes a few seconds to connect the USB Type-C cable and plug it into your intended computer or device. Once installed, the drive is instantly recognized by most systems and comes pre-formatted in the ExFAT file system. Before reformatting into a more suitable file format for Mac or PC, there's the DataShield software on the drive that can be installed and enables you to add file encryption to the drive. This software is available for both Mac and PC and is incredibly easy to install and understand; really, it's a one-time setup unless you need to change the password again in the future.

The drive features a USB Type-C connector with USB 3.2 Gen 2x2, which means that under the right conditions, it has the potential to max out the transfer speed at 2,000MB/s. During testing with a MacBook Pro 16" M1 and Intel Nuc 9 Extreme Ghost Canyon, the real-world transfer speeds were closer to 1,000MB/s, which is still good but well below the speeds documented by Lexar on the packaging.

In use for file transfer, the drive's capacity of 2TB provided ample storage for image and video files, with 140GB of data taking around 3 minutes to transfer, which is quick. Used as a storage drive, the 2TB of space allows for plenty of flexibility. Likewise, used as a working drive, the aluminium case and build quality help keep things cool. When used to edit 4K video, the drive coped with an intensive workflow without issue; although it did generate some heat, it wasn't overly hot to the touch.

While the drive didn't quite live up to the quoted transfer speeds, it proved to be an exceptional drive for use in the field. The carabiner loop is a really nice touch that is both practical and adds to the drive's visual appeal.

  • Performance: 4/5

Should you buy the Lexar Professional SL600?

The portable drive's 2TB of storage is substantial, and with the USB Type-C connection, the Lexar SL600 manages to keep up with the speed required for video and imaging workflows. The transfer speed is excellent for downloading and storing image files, even if it could be better to live up to the quoted speeds.

Likewise, used as a working drive while out and about, the drive performs well, providing fast access to files required for video editing in 4K. If you're running any of the best video editing laptops. the best video editing PCs or the best video editing Macs, this is bound to be a useful addition to your set-up. 

What really stands out is the design of the drive, with the quirky carabiner hook nicely integrated into the solid and robust aluminium casing, giving the drive a great look. While the style is sleek, the dark grey matte finish can make it difficult to locate in a kit bag, even when tethered to an internal hook, and a bright fluorescent version would be handy. However, the flat surface of the drive does make it easy to label and attach Velcro, so the drive can be monitor-mounted if needed.

Considering the price and features, this drive is outstanding, even if it can't quite live up to the quoted transfer speeds.

Lexar Professional SL600 Portable HD

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

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We tested the best business laptops - and these will pair great with the Lexar Professional SL600 

Samsung 990 EVO review: great for the price, just don’t expect true PCIe 5.0 speeds
8:00 am | March 25, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Computing Components Gadgets | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Samsung 990 EVO: Two-minute review

The Samsung 990 EVO steps into the spotlight following the well-received Samsung 990 Pro, setting the stage for an SSD to carry forward the EVO series' legacy of performance and reliability. 

The 970 EVO Plus, this SSD's predecessor, was one of the best SSD picks when it was released a couple of years back, and it's still celebrated as one of the best cheap SSDs you can get even now, despite lacking the kinds of data rates you'll get with a modern PCIe 5.0. 

That leaves the 990 EVO with the ambitious task of following up a beloved budget model while introducing a hybrid PCIe 4.0/5.0 interface aimed at carving out a niche in an increasingly competitive SSD arena, and in that, it kind of succeeds - but also disappoints.

Right out the gate, the 990 EVO distinguishes itself with an interface capable of toggling between x4 PCIe 4.0 and x2 PCIe 5.0, which gives PC users a decent amount of wiggle room for their PCs if they've got a lot of drives plugged in. Coupled with a newly minted 5nm controller designed to enhance efficiency, the 990 EVO should be set up for success. 

The drive opts for a DRAM-less configuration, however, that somewhat tempers expectations with its more modest bandwidth, leading to speeds that clock below what the best PCIe 4.0 drives are capable of. 

Despite this, the single-sided 2TB variant I reviewed presents a versatile option for both PC enthusiasts and PlayStation 5 owners, a nod towards the growing standardization of high-capacity, single-sided drives. It lacks a heatsink, so PS5 users especially will want to look at an add-in heatsink just to be safe, but given the speeds involved, this drive doesn't really get hot enough that you'll need to be too concerned.

A Samsung 990 EVO slotted into a motherboard

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Targeted primarily at the laptops, OEM, and pre-built PC markets, the 990 EVO promises to deliver sufficient performance for gaming and everyday use, and positions itself as a compliment to the far more robust 990 Pro. It's a more cost-effective solution for gamers and others while still benefiting from Samsung's solid software support and reliability, and the option to toggle between PCIe 5.0 and PCIe 4.0 is a real value add for this drive.

Price-wise, the 990 EVO entered the market with a recommended retail price of $149.99 for the 1TB model and $239.99 for the 2TB variant, according to Samsung's website, but even there, these prices have been marked down quite a bit, and you can find the 1TB model for about $90/£100/AU$219, depending on where you look.

This pricing strategy places it in a good balance with its Pro sibling and other competitors, especially in a market where SSD prices are on the rise.

Performance specifications for the 990 EVO boast up to 5,000 MB/s and 4,200 MB/s in sequential reads and writes, respectively, alongside impressive random read and write IOPS. These figures are complemented by a standard five-year warranty and support for TCG Opal 2.0 encryption, making it an attractive option for security-conscious laptop users.

In terms of real-world performance, I more or less achieved these speeds across the board, and the drive's flexibility to operate across both PCIe 4.0 and 5.0 interfaces is a highlight. Despite the drive's low-ish 5,000MB/s advertised sequential read speed (which doesn't come close to maxing out the PCIe 4.0/5.0 lanes available to it), the drive does at least hit or exceed this claimed speed.

Despite these technical intricacies, the 990 EVO's broader challenge lies in its identity within the highly competitive SSD market. It seeks to offer a balance between performance, efficiency, and price - a task complicated by the competitive pricing and superior performance of PCIe 4.0 alternatives like the 990 Pro, PNY XLR8 CS3140, or Patriot Viper VP4300

All together then, the Samsung 990 EVO represents a solid addition to the SSD market. It doesn't bring you the kind of PCIe 5.0 speeds we see with the Crucial T705, but it's not meant for full-on performance. If you want that, you'll be better off investing in a 'real' PCIe 5.0 SSD, but for what it is, the 990 EVO hits the mark it needs to hit.

A Samsung 990 EVO with its retail packaging

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Samsung 990 EVO: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? MSRP starting at $149.99/£100/AU$219
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

The Samsung 990 EVO starts at $149.99/£100/AU$219 for 1TB and maxes out at 2TB for $239.99/£169/AU$359, at least officially.

This doesn't include a heatsink, but given the rather modest speeds and energy usage of this SSD, your motherboard's heatsink will be more than enough since you really don't even need the extra heat spreader for this drive.

While the above are retail prices for this SSD (according to Samsung's website), even Samsung can be found offering these drives for up to 40% off, making this one of the best cheap SSD options out there if you're hoping to find a good balance between price and performance. 

Samsung 990 EVO: Specs

Should you buy the Samsung 990 EVO?

Buy the Samsung 990 EVO if...

You want good performance for the price
This isn't the fastest PCIe 5.0 SSD, but for the price, its performance is great.

You need a laptop SSD
The biggest selling point of this SSD is that it's geared more towards efficiency than high performance, so it'll be good for laptops where battery life is a concern. 

Don't buy it if...

You want PCIe 5.0 speeds
The speed of this drive is ok for what it is, but don't let the PCIe 5.0 interface fool you; you're not even going to get max PCIe 4.0 speeds with this drive.

You just need any ol' SSD
If you're just looking for an SSD for extra storage and you don't actually care how fast it is, save your money and buy a cheaper SSD, maybe even the Samsung 970 EVO Plus or similar PCIe 3.0 drives.

Samsung 990 EVO: Also consider

If my Samsung 990 EVO review has you looking for other options, here are two more SSDs to consider...

How I tested the Samsung 990 EVO

  • I spent about two weeks testing the Samsung 990 EVO
  • I used it as my main system drive on my workstation PC
  • I used my standard battery of benchmark tests along with content creation and general use

I spent about two weeks testing the Samsung 990 EVO, using it as my primary system drive on my workstation PC that I used for content creation, general work use, and some light gaming.

Primarily, though, this drive is best reserved for mobile devices like laptops and possibly PC gaming handhelds that can better benefit from its improved energy efficiency. 

I've been reviewing PC hardware for several years, in addition to earning my Master's Degree in Computer Science in 2024, so I know very well how a drive like this should perform with its given architecture and price point — knowledge I leverage to ensure you find the best SSD for your needs and budget, whether it's the Samsung 990 EVO or a competing drive.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March 2024

Crucial T705 SSD review: fantastic speed for those who can afford it
2:14 pm | March 22, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Computing Components Gadgets | Tags: | Comments: Off

Crucial T705: Two-minute review

The Crucial T705 SSD is inarguably one of the fastest PCIe 5.0 drives to hit the market in recent months, making it a must-have for gamers, content creators, or anyone who needs outstanding storage performance.

Starting at $239.99/£245.99/AU$379.99 for 1TB without a heatsink, this isn't the best cheap SSD on the market, but you're getting a lot for what you pay for, and given that it is a strong contender for the best SSD you can get in 2024, the price isn't out of line with what you should expect to pay.

What you get for that investment is an incredibly fast SSD that reaches speeds that deliver on the promise of PCIe 5.0, including nearly 14,400MB/s sequential read speeds, so gamers especially are going to love the incredibly fast loading times you're going to get from this drive. 

Its sequential write speed topped out at 12,465 MB/s in my testing, so this drive is also going to be great as a working drive for content creators like video editors who need to save or export massive files on a regular basis.

That said, seeing as it is PCIe 5.0, this isn't the best PS5 SSD since you won't be able to take full advantage of the PCIe 5.0 lanes (the PS5 is limited to PCIe 4.0, which caps out at about 7,500MB/s), so you're better off with a Samsung 990 Pro, PNY XLR8 CS3140, or a Patriot Viper VP4300, which will get you the absolute fastest PCIe 4.0 speeds on the market (and will probably save you some money too).

In a properly capable PC motherboard though, this SSD will absolutely fly. All this performance comes at the price of significantly higher thermals though, so you will need a heatsink for this drive, whether that's the one on offer from Crucial or the one that comes with your motherboard.

And honestly, you're better off with either the Crucial or a more 'powered' heatsink that has some form of active cooling like a fan, because the heat generated by this SSD is not for the faint of heart.

So, in the end, the question is really whether you should be buying this SSD for your next rig or workstation, and the answer is unequivocally yes, assuming you have a setup that can take advantage of the PCIe 5.0 tech built into this drive.

Right now, all the best graphics cards are PCIe 4.0, so you don't have to worry about splitting any PCIe 5.0 lanes just yet, but if you're planning to run a top-tier system in the coming years, make sure your motherboard can support both your GPU and this SSD, since it's quite an investment and the rollout of PCIe 5.0 drives like the Crucial T705 has driven down the price of the best PCIe 4.0 drives a good bit.

If your motherboard can only support one or the other, and you're looking to snatch up the Nvidia RTX 5090 when it drops in late 2024/early 2025, you're going to get a lot more out of a PCIe 5.0 graphics card than a PCIe 5.0 SSD. If that's your situation, you might be better off opting for the top-of-the-line PCIe 4.0 SSDs like the 990 Pro, which you can get for much cheaper than this drive. But if high-end graphics card performance is less of a concern that fast loading times for gaming and rapid exports to disk from Adobe Premiere Pro, AutoDesk, or other similar content creation apps, than the Crucial T705 SSD is a fantastic drive to get you the kind of performance you need at a reasonable price-per-terabyte.

A Crucial T705 SSD on a pink desk mat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Crucial T705: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? Starting at $239.99/£245.99/AU$379.99
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

The Crucial T705 is available in the US, UK, and Australia, starting at $239.99/£245.99/AU$379.99 for 1TB, without a heatsink. 

For those with beefy motherboards with M.2 slot heat sinks, this should be fine, but for high-performance machines and workstations, I recommend upgrading to an included heatsink for an extra $16/£20/AU$50, which does a better job of keeping the SSD cool.

The T705 is also available in 2TB ($399.99/£454.79/AU$729, without heatsink) and 4TB ($713.99/£833.99/AU$949, without heatsink), which puts it on the higher end of the best M.2 SSD options out there. The Samsung 990 Pro, for example, is the best PCIe 4.0 SSD currently and retails for $169.99 / £155 / AU$265 for 1TB, and going as high as 4TB for $464.99/£284/AU$699, before including an option for a heatsink.

This puts the Crucial T705 on the high-end of SSDs, but it's only slightly more expensive than the best PCIe 4.0 SSD going but delivers about twice the performance, so it's hard to argue that the T705 isn't an incredible value in the end. 

Crucial T705: Specs

A Crucial T705 SSD on a pink desk mat

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Should you buy the Crucial T705?

Buy the Crucial T705 if...

You want fast loading times for games and apps
With incrediblly fast sequential read speeds, this drive will load your games, apps, and even your OS in no time.

You need to write large files to disk frequently
If you're a content creator, exporting a work-in-progress to disk can be time consuming, but this drive makes it much easier.

Don't buy it if...

You're on a budget
This is hardly the cheapest PCIe 5.0 drive out there.

You're looking for a PS5 SSD
This drive's PCIe 5.0 interface makes it way more expensive than a PCIe 4.0 drive, so PS5 users are better off going with a cheaper SSD since you won't get the full performance of this drive on a console right now.

Crucial T705: Also consider

If my Crucial T705 review has you looking for other options, here are two more M.2 SSDs to consider...

How I tested the Crucial T705

  • I spent about a week testing this SSD
  • I used it for gaming, content creation, and general storage use
  • I used my standard suite of SSD benchmarks as well as daily use

To test the T705, I ran it through our standard benchmark suite, including CrystalDiskMark 8, PassMark, PCMark 10, 3DMark, and out proprietary 25GB file copy test.

I used this drive as my main system storage (C:\) drive for over a week on our test bench, where I used it extensively for loading games for benchmarking purposes, content creation, and more.

I've been reviewing PC hardware for several years now, in addition to earning my Master's Degree in Computer Science, so I know how an SSD of this caliber should perform for the price, and I leverage that knowledge to help you find the best SSD for your needs and budget, whether it's the Crucial T705 or an alternative.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March 2024

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro review: Samsung’s MacBook killer gets Intel’s latest CPU
7:21 pm | March 13, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Gadgets Laptops | Tags: , , | Comments: Off

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro: Two-minute review

If you like the look of Apple's MacBooks but prefer or simply require the Windows ecosystem, well, you can do a lot worse than the new Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro. Like its predecessor, the very similar Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro, it owes its overall look and feel to the MacBook.

Thanks to its sleek wedge-shaped chassis, it's most similar to Apple's now defunct MacBook M1 Air in terms of design. But for features and performance it probably falls somewhere in between the newer and boxier MacBook Air 13-inch (M3) and the base model MacBook Pro 14-inch.

Available in both 14-inch and 16-inch formats, this 14-inch model has both advantages and weaknesses compared to Apple's alternatives. The Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro's OLED screen is a definite highlight with incredible image quality plus 120Hz refresh. It also supports touch input. Apple simply can't compete.

On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro's speakers disappoint and its trackpad is merely OK. Apple definitely does those things better. As for performance, it's a close-run thing compared to the Apple M2 chip, though the latest M3 is arguably a step above. You get Intel's hot new Meteor Lake CPU in Intel Core Ultra 7 155H configuration with six performance cores and eight efficiency cores.

Samsung says the new Intel chip improves the Galaxy Book4 Pro's already impressive battery life by about 10% and we found you can get nearly 14 hours of video playback and over 11 hours of more intensive use. Put simply, this laptop offers genuine all-day longevity.

On the downside, the design is definitely derivative, the speakers are very disappointing and the trackpad is merely OK. But overall, this isn't just one of the best Windows alternatives for MacBook fans. It can take the fight to any competing laptop in our best laptop 2024 guide.

 

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro in use on a desk showing the screen

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? $1,449 / £1,599
  • Where is it available? Available in the US and UK

Priced at $1,449 in the US and £1,559 in the UK for the entry-level model with 16GB of memory and a 512GB SSD, the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro is definitely premium priced but it's not outrageously expensive. It's a little pricier than a comparably specced MacBook Air, but cheaper than the entry-level 14-inch MacBook Pro.

On the other hand, Dell's XPS 13 can be had with the same Meteor Lake CPU with matching memory and storage specs for a little less money, and the XPS 14 for about the same money. 

However, the XPS 13 can't be had with an OLED display and with the XPS 14 an OLED panel can be configured, but adds $300 / £200 to the price. All of which means the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro isn't cheap, but it does still offer a strong value proposition.

  • Price score:  4 / 5

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro: Specs

The Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro comes in two configurations, 14-inch and 16-inch versions.

  • Specs score: 4 / 5

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro next to a MacBook Air

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro: Design

  • Good build quality
  • Apple-derivative design
  • Very portable

There's no denying it. The Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro wouldn't look like it does were it not for the Apple MacBook and more specifically, the MacBook Air and its wedge-shaped chassis. The Galaxy Book4 Pro is awfully, awfully similar, from the tapering chassis thickness to the keyboard design, the look of the trackpad, and the way the screen lid hinges and closes.

Samsung has also come pretty close to matching Apple's signature build quality and engineering. The keyboard bed is super rigid and the chassis feels strong even if the way the various parts fit together doesn't quite match Apple's peerless precision.

There are other details where Samsung can't match Apple. The Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro's speakers don't even come close to those of the MacBook Air, let alone the MacBook Pro. That's a real pity and it's hard to understand why Samsung can't give this laptop high sound quality to match the stunning OLED screen. That display, of course, is a touchscreen, which adds an extra string to this Windows laptop's bow that no MacBook offers.

The trackpad, meanwhile, is fine by Windows laptop standards, but isn't quite as precise and satisfying to use as Apple's haptic trackpad. On the other hand, Samsung has managed to offer better port selection than the MacBook Air. Along with a pair of Thunderbolt USB-C ports, you get a legacy USB-A, a full HDMI socket, microSD, and a headphone jack.

That's impressive given the compact form factor which comes in at just 11.6mm thick and 1.23kg. This is an extremely portable laptop, a fact that's only helped by the teeny-tiny 35W USB-C power adapter.

So, this is a very nicely designed and engineered machine on pretty much every level. Among Windows laptops, few if any are better built. But it is, ultimately, a pretty derivative machine in aesthetic terms. Dell's XPS portables are much more distinctive, while Apple's MacBooks are ultimately the real deal.

  • Design score: 4 / 5

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro in use on a desk showing the screen

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro: Performance

  • Intel Meteor Lake CPU is punchy
  • OLED screen is stunning
  • Good storage performance
Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro: Benchmarks

Here's how the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro performed in our suite of benchmark tests:

3DMark: Night Raid: 22,295; Fire Strike: N/A; Time Spy: 3,343
Cinebench R23 Multi-core: 7,016 points; Single-core: 1,579
CrystalDiskMark 8 SSD sequential: 5.047MB/s (read); 3,993MB/s (write)
CrystalDiskMark 8 SSD 4K: 72MB/s (read); 175MB/s (write)
CrossMark: Overall: 1,601 Productivity: 1,466 Creativity: 1,803 Responsiveness: 1463
Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm: 38fps
PCMark 10 Battery Life: 11 hours and 48 minutes
1080p video playback battery life: 13 hours and 54 minutes

Intel's new Meteor Lake CPU isn't a radical step forward for performance. But it does deliver all the performance you could reasonably ask for in a thin and light laptop like this.

The Intel Core Ultra 7 155H gives you six meaty Performance cores running at up to 4.8GHz, plus eight Efficient cores capable of 3.8GHz. For day-to-day tasks like web browsing and content consumption, the combination of the Intel chip plus 16GB of fast DDR5 memory and a really quick Samsung SSD makes for an ultra-speedy and responsive experience.

But you also have plenty of performance in hand for some pretty serious workflows like image and video editing. Really, the only limitation involves graphics performance. The new Intel Meteor Lake CPU has a good integrated graphics processor. But it can't quite match that of the integrated GPU in AMD's competing Ryzen laptops APUs and it isn't up to the job of playing modern PC games.

Of course, you can get similar performance from a whole slew of Windows laptops that offer Intel's new Meteor Lake chips. But it's still impressive to experience this level of performance in such a compact and portable laptop.

Another highlight is the AMOLED screen. It's just so vibrant and offers perfect per-pixel lighting control, so the HDR experience is truly spectacular. No LCD screen, even one with local dimming, comes close. It's also much brighter than comparable desktop OLED monitors. What's more, it runs at 120Hz for extreme smoothness and responsiveness and has touchscreen functionality.

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro in use on a desk showing the screen

(Image credit: Future)

The only slight flaw involves the screen's dynamic refresh mode. It can switch between 60Hz and 120Hz on the fly and according to application demand. The idea is that running at 120Hz increases battery load, so the screen only steps up to 120Hz when significant on-screen motion is detected. We noticed very occasional stutters that may be related to this feature. It's not a major flaw and, in any case, you have the option of running in conventional 60Hz and 120Hz modes.

Overall, our only significant reservation regarding the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro's performance is those aforementioned speakers. By Windows laptop standards, they're OK. But if you are familiar with Apple's MacBooks and thinking of making the switch, you'll be very disappointed. 

Where watching movies and video content on MacBooks, perhaps while on holiday, is a really enjoyable experience, thanks to some great speakers, on the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro you'd have to bring an additional Bluetooth speaker to get a similar experience. That's a pity.

  • Performance score: 4 / 5

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro in use on a desk showing the screen

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro: Battery life

  • Even better than before
  • Genuine all-day battery life

The Samsung Galaxy Book3 Pro already had great battery life. With the upgrade to Intel's latest CPUs, it just got better. For movie and video playback, you're looking at the thick end of 14 hours, more than enough for pretty much any plane flight.

Even under heavier loads browsing the web and undertaking more demanding workflows, well over 10 hours is possible. That means with light and occasional use, you'll get multiple days out of this laptop. And when you're getting important work done, you can rely on it lasting all day away from the mains.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro?

Buy it if...

You want a MacBook-style Windows experience
The Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro looks and feels a lot like Apple's MacBook machines and that's mostly a good thing.

You want great battery life
With around 14 hours of video playback and well over 10 hours with more demanding use, all-day battery life is genuinely achievable.

Don't buy it if...

You want to play games
The Intel Meteor Lake CPU is great for just about everything. But despite an improved integrated GPU, that doesn't include games.

You want to watch movies and video
The OLED screen is fabulous. But the built-in speakers are very disappointing and spoil the content consumption experience.

Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro: Also consider

If our Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro review has you considering other options, here are two laptops to consider...

How I tested the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro

  • I tested the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro for a week
  • I used it both on a desk and while travelling

I used the Samsung Galaxy Book4 Pro as my main workhorse for a week, including as a desktop machine plugged into monitors, when on the move, lounging on the sofa, the works.

That gave me a good idea of how it coped with all kinds of tasks, how portable it is and how well the battery lasts in the real world (spoiler, it lasts really well). I have a MacBook Air of my own, so it made for an intriguing comparison. And I have, of course, been testing and reviewing laptops since the early Mesozoic period, so I have plenty of context to draw on.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed March 2024

AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE: AMD’s China-only card goes global—and upends the midrange market
7:42 pm | February 28, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Computing Components Gadgets | Tags: , , , | Comments: Off

AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE: Two-minute review

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE was originally launched in China back in July 2023, and from what everyone was told, that card was going to be exclusive to that region. 

Well, following the launch of the RTX Super series of GPUs last month, AMD's decided to surprise everyone and launch the RX 7900 GRE globally, starting this week, and it looks primed to upend the midrange GPU market in a pretty huge way.

That's because the RX 7900 GRE (Golden Rabbit Edition) is going on sale starting at $549, which puts it directly in competition with the Nvidia RTX 4070 on price, and undercuts the Nvidia RTX 4070 Super by offering competitive performance for just over 90% of the cost.

To be clear, the card that is being released globally is the same card that has already been available for Chinese consumers, and so it has been extensively benchmarked for months, with much of that data freely available online for everyone to see. 

This has no doubt driven much of the global interest in the RX 7900 GRE since it originally launched back in July, and I fully expect this card to fly off the shelves since it is without question one of the best graphics cards for the midrange you're going to find.

In terms of raw synthetic performance, the RX 7900 GRE follows the familiar AMD-Nvidia pattern where the Radeon card is better at pure rasterization while the GeForce card is the better ray-tracer, but the difference between the RX 7900 GRE and the RTX 4070 Super in ray-tracing performance isn't as wide as it might have been last generation.

What's more, when it comes to gaming, Nvidia's advantage in native ray tracing is overcome by the RX 7900 GRE as soon as you bring upscaling into the mix, which you invariably have to do whenever ray tracing above 1080p is involved.

The RX 7900 GRE is even a much more capable creative card than I was expecting, so long as you're not working with CUDA, but for graphic designers, photographers, and video editors, this is a surprisingly powerful GPU for a lot less money than it's rivals.

Overall, the AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE isn't so powerful that it completely knocks out Nvidia's RTX 4070 Super, but it's hitting Nvidia's newest GPU a lot harder than I think Nvidia was expecting so soon after launch. Unfortunately, this does put the only-slightly-cheaper-but-not-as-good AMD Radeon RX 7800 XT in a bit of an awkward position, but for gamers looking to get the best performance for their money, more options are better in this case.

An AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE from PowerColor on a desk with its retail packaging

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE: Price & availability

  • How much does it cost? $549 (about £440/AU$770)
  • When is it available? Available now
  • Where can you get it? Available in the US, UK, and Australia

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE is available starting February 27, 2024, with a US MSRP of $549 (about £440/AU$770). This is the same price as the Nvidia RTX 4070, $50 less than the RTX 4070 Super, and $50 more than the RX 7800 XT.

This launch doesn't include an AMD reference card, so you will need to buy the RX 7900 GRE from third-party partners like ASRock, Gigabyte, Sapphire, and others. The sample I was sent for review is the PowerColor Hellhound RX 7900 GRE, a model line that typically sells for AMD's MSRP or below (when on sale).

An AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE from PowerColor on a desk with its retail packaging

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE: Features & specs

The AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE is a modified Navi 31 GPU with four fewer compute units than the AMD Radeon RX 7900 XT, as well as slower clock speeds. It's power requirements are also officially lower at a starting TGP of 260W, but this will vary by which card you go for.

The Radeon RX 7900 GRE also has 16GB GDDR6 VRAM to the RX 7900 XT's 20GB, and while the RX 7900 XT has a 320-bit memory bus, the RX 7900 GRE has a slimmer — but still sizeable — 256-bit bus. With a memory clock of 2,250 MHz (compared to the RX 7900 XT's 2,500 MHz), the RX 7900 GRE comes in with an effective memory speed of 18 Gbps and a memory bandwidth of 576 GB/s, which is a notable decline from the RX 7900 XT's 800 Gbps and 800 GB/s, respectively.

Also notable are the two 8-pin power connectors, which won't require you to fuss around with a 16-pin connector like Nvidia's latest graphics cards require you to do, whether that's through an adapter or an ATX 3.0 power supply.

An AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE from PowerColor on a desk with its retail packaging

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE: Design

While there is an AMD reference card for the RX 7900 GRE, AMD has said that global availability will only come through AIB partners, so the design you get with your card will vary by manufacturer.

The card I tested, the PowerColor Hellhound RX 7900 GRE, sports a triple-fan cooler with RGB lighting in the fan. It's a long card to be sure, and even though it's technically a dual-slot card, the shroud makes for a tight fit.

The backplate of the Hellhound RX 7900 GRE has some notable features, like the Hellhound logo, the exposed GPU bracket, and a hole in the backplate opposite the third fan to leave an open path for air to pass over the GPU cooler's heatsink fins to improve cooling efficiency.

An AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE from PowerColor in a test bench

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE: Performance

Now we come to the heart of the matter. I can't tell if AMD was inspired by the release of the Nvidia RTX 4070 Super or not, but whatever convinced Team Red to bring the RX 7900 GRE out of China to the rest of the world, midrange gamers everywhere should be grateful because this is easily the best midrange graphics card on the market right now.

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE synthetic benchmark results

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Starting with synthetic benchmarks, the typical rasterization-ray tracing divide between AMD and Nvidia remains, but like we've seen with other cards this generation, the gap is narrowing. The Nvidia 4070 and RTX 4070 Super definitely pull ahead in terms of raw compute performance, but overall, the RX 7900 GRE is the champ of the under-$600s.

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Rx 7900 GRE creative benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE creative benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE creative benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE creative benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE creative benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE creative benchmark results

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For creative use, the RX 7900 GRE is the strongest rasterizer, but lags Nvidia with video editing, and serious stumbles when it comes to 3D rendering as seen in Blender Benchmark 4.0.0. 

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RX 7900 GRE 1080p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1080p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1080p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1080p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1080p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1080p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1080p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1080p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1080p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1080p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1080p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1080p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1080p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1440p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1440p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1440p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1440p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1440p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1440p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1440p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1440p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1440p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1440p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1440p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1440p gaming benchmarks

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RX 7900 GRE 1440p gaming benchmarks

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Rx 7900 GRE 4K gaming benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE 4K gaming benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE 4K gaming benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE 4K gaming benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE 4K gaming benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE 4K gaming benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE 4K gaming benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE 4K gaming benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE 4K gaming benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE 4K gaming benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE 4K gaming benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE 4K gaming benchmark results

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Rx 7900 GRE 4K gaming benchmark results

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When it comes to gaming, though, the RX 7900 GRE is the clear winner among midrange cards, with spectacular 1080p and 1440p gaming performance, with only slightly worse ray tracing performance than the RTX 4070 Super. 

As a 4K graphics card, however, the RX 7900 GRE isn't that far behind the RTX 4070 Ti, with the former getting an average 55 fps (30 fps minimum) and the latter getting an average of 63 fps (minimum 42 fps). The RTX 4070 Super, meanwhile, only averages 41 fps at 4K, with a minimum of 28 fps. 

Ultimately, the RTX 4070 Super can't really be considered among the best 4K graphics cards, but the RX 7900 GRE definitely can, thanks to its wider memory pool and larger memory bus.

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Power and Temperature benchmarks for the RX 7900 GRE

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Power and Temperature benchmarks for the RX 7900 GRE

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Of course, this performance comes at the cost of power draw. You can throw the official 260W TGP right out the window here, with the RX 7900 GRE pulling down 302W, but the strong cooling performance on the PowerColor Hellhound card did manage to keep the RX 7900 GRE below 53 degrees Celsius.

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Final benchmark results for the RX 7900 GRE

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Creative benchmarks for the RX 7900 GRE

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Final benchmark results for the RX 7900 GRE

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Final benchmark results for the RX 7900 GRE

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Final benchmark results for the RX 7900 GRE

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Final benchmark results for the RX 7900 GRE

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Final benchmark results for the RX 7900 GRE

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Final benchmark results for the RX 7900 GRE

(Image credit: Future / Infogram)

Overall, then, there's just no getting around the fact that the RX 7900 GRE effectively outperforms any other card in the midrange. And despite the RX 7900 GRE falling well short of the RTX 4070-series GPUs overall, it's worth keeping in mind that with Photoshop and similar rasterization-dependent programs, the RX 7900 GRE performs the best, and it doesn't fall too far behind the RTX cards when it comes to video editing. 

The weakness of the RX 7900 GRE is that most, if not all, 3D modeling software relies so heavily on Nvidia's CUDA that it heavily skews the creative performance averages, that it can be somewhat deceptive—unless you NEED this graphics card for 3D modeling. If that's the case, nothing else matters, and you need to go with an RTX 4070-class graphics card despite the RX 7900 GRE's superior performance everywhere else.

How many people will that stipulation apply to ultimately? Not enough to hold the RX 7900 GRE from claiming the crown as the best graphics card in the midrange, and since its final value score is just shy of the RX 7800 XT's, there really isn't any reason to opt for any other card right now. The RX 7900 GRE is honestly just that good.

An AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE from PowerColor on a desk with its retail packaging

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Should you buy the AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE?

Buy the AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE if...

You want the best midrange graphics card
The AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE is the best overall graphics card for under $600 you can get.

You want to game at 4K
Thanks to the RX 7900 GRE's 16GB VRAM and wide memory bus, you can absolutely game effectively at 4K with this card.

Don't buy it if...

You want the best ray-tracing graphics card
The AMD RX 7900 GRE is a good ray-tracing graphics card, but it's not as good as the RTX 4070 Super.

You do a lot of 3D modeling
If you're a 3D modeling professional (or even a passionate amateur), you need an RTX card, full stop.

AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE: Also consider

If my AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE review has you looking for other options, here are two more graphics cards to consider...

How I tested the AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE

  • I spent about a week with the AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE
  • I tested its synthetic, creative, and gaming performance
  • I used our standard suite of benchmarks
Test system specs

This is the system I used to test the AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE

CPU: Intel Core i9-14900K
CPU Cooler: MSI MAG Coreliquid E360 AIO Cooler
RAM: 32GB Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB DDR5-6000
Motherboard: MSI MPG Z790 Tomahawk WiFi
SSD: Samsung 990 Pro 4TB NVMe M.2 SSD
Power Supply: Thermaltake PF3 1050W ATX 3.0
Case: Praxis Wetbench

I spent about a week testing the AMD Radeon RX 7900 GRE, including extensive benchmarking as well as general use of the card in my primary work PC.

I also made sure to benchmark other competing graphics cards in the same class with updated drivers to ensure correct comparable data, where necessary.

I've been reviewing computer hardware for years, and I have tested and retested all of the best graphics cards of the past two generations, so I know very well how a graphics card in a given class ought to perform.

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed February 2024

Patriot Viper VP4300 review: a long-lasting SSD workhorse for PC and PS5
1:08 am | February 23, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Computing Computing Components Gadgets Storage & Backup | Tags: , | Comments: Off

Patriot Viper VP4300: Two-minute review

With Sony’s PlayStation 5 offering support for a handful of SSD drive types, PC and console gamers alike have more choices when it comes to expandable storage and the Patriot Viper VP4300 comes with a lot to recommend it. 

The Viper VP4300 SSD utilizes PCIe Gen4 x4 NVMe technology and includes a DDR4 DRAM cache. It offers two heat shield design options: an aluminum heat shield & graphene heatshield, both available on the 1TB and 2TB variants. Patriot promises sequential read speeds up to 7,400MB/s and sequential write speeds up to 6,800MB/s, and this is born out in my testing. 

The 2TB SKU we got in for review has a US MSRP of $189.99 (about £155/AU$270), which isn't cheap, but few, if any, of the best SSD models that offer this kind of performance will be any cheaper right now. The 1TB SKU comes in much cheaper at $119.99 (about £100/AU$168), so if you're on something of a budget, you do have some options here.

Plus, there’s so much to appreciate with the Viper VP4300 SSD that it's easily the best M.2 SSD for gamers who might want to use it in their PC or PS5, making it a worthwhile investment. 

Whatever gaming machine you're buying it for, it'll work, and the graphene heatshield will help keep things cool inside your PS5 while the aluminum heatshield will do the same in your PC.

When it comes to PC Gaming, the SSD drive’s performance is respectable though there were some weak spots, like its lower PassMark Disk benchmark score. Its CrystalDiskMark 8 scores were excellent and in line with the promised speed and expectations for a drive such as this. 

This means that it’s speedy when it comes to tasks like installations or copying, saving, and transferring files, and my lived experience with it indicates that some anomalous scores we got during benchmarking were indeed outliers (but not all).  

A Patriot Viper VP4300 on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

However, PC gamers should know that there are definitely faster SSD choices out there, especially if you have a PCIe 5.0-capable system. 

VR games, for example, are notorious for long load times on PC and so the observed lower read speed on the Viper VP4300 could impact wait times with these kinds of cases. Even playing more visually low-impactful games like SuperHot VR and Cooking Simulator VR took nearly a full minute to get from SteamVR launching to the main menu screen. 

More traditional non-VR games were affected by lower reading times as well. Alan Wake 2 and Cyberpunk 2077 took a bit longer than usual to load from start up to main menu but weren’t annoyingly slow. Even the initial load from the main menu to the most recent checkpoint took a little bit more time. 

On the other hand, the Viper VP4300 may be great for gamers who are also creatives since export times to the drive in Adobe Premiere Pro were very zippy.

A Patriot Viper VP4300 in a motherboard

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

One huge positive in the Viper VP4300's column is its 2000TBW endurance rating, in addition to its standard five-year warranty. This means that theoretically, PC gamers who blow through their 2TB SSD drive storage can get a bigger storage replacement and use the Viper VP4300 on their PS5. Adding to those longer-lasting capabilities are the two heatsink options. 

Benchmarks

Here's how the Patriot Viper VP4300 performed in our benchmark tests:
CrystalDiskMark Sequential: 7,389 read / 6,799 write
CrystalDiskMark Random Q32: 4,459 read / 3,805 write
Second 25GB file copy: 16 seconds
25GB file transferrate : 1,677 MB/s
PCMark10 SSD Overall: 2,660
PCMark10 SSD Memory Bandwidth: 323.93 MB/s

Our review unit came with the aluminum and graphene heat shields, though these definitely aren't hot-swappable. During testing, the Viper VP4300 got as hot as 57 degrees C when gaming but poked out a bit.

The other graphene headshield does look a bit better and leaves a smaller profile, especially useful for devices like laptops or the PS5. More so than gaming performance, it’s clear that the Patriot Viper VP4300's real niche is in its endurance.

While its read speeds don't top the charts, the Viper VP4300’s respectable performance, especially in write-intensive tasks, and compatibility with PS5 make it a versatile option that any gamer should consider. Additionally, its robust 2000TBW endurance and five-year warranty underscore its longevity, making the Viper VP4300 a valuable investment for gamers and creatives seeking reliable, high-performance storage.

A Patriot Viper VP4300 on a desk

(Image credit: Future / John Loeffler)

Should you buy the Patriot Viper VP4300?

Buy the Patriot Viper VP4300  if...

You want an SSD compatible with Sony’s PS5
PC gamers and PlayStation 5 owners  in need of additional storage may have a viable option 

You require an SSD that’ll last a while
Having a 2000TBW endurance and five-year warranty means this SSD is going to last a long time. 

Don't buy it if...

You want the absolute best in gaming performance
Again, having lower reading benchmarks means gaming performance for loading may not be up to snuff compared to rival SSDs available around the same price.  

You need an SSD that’s affordable
The 2TB version of the Patriot Viper VP4300 is around $150 which many may find expensive compared to others that offer similar or better performance.  

Patriot Viper VP4300: Also consider

If my Patriot Viper VP4300 review has you looking for other options, here are two more SSDs to consider...

First reviewed January 2024

We pride ourselves on our independence and our rigorous review-testing process, offering up long-term attention to the products we review and making sure our reviews are updated and maintained - regardless of when a device was released, if you can still buy it, it's on our radar.

Read more about how we test

Adata SE920 external SSD review
4:46 pm | February 8, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro | Tags: | Comments: Off

Adata SE920: One-minute review

The Adata SE920 stands out with its sleek metal exterior and unique expanding design, which is aimed at enhancing cooling during heavy use. Its compact form factor initially suggests premium quality. However, upon closer inspection, the expansion mechanism, although functional, feels somewhat roughly machined. This leads to a bit of play in the case and a lack of precision in its construction.

Performance-wise, the SE920 is exceptional. It delivers on its promise of fast transfer speeds, closely matching Adata's advertised rates - having tested the best SSDs around, we can say that's a rarity in itself. Yet, to achieve these speeds, particularly the faster write speeds, it requires turning off the write cache. This is a straightforward process on a PC but demands technical know-how on Mac or Linux systems, involving manual adjustments via the Terminal.

Despite these minor drawbacks, the SE920 is one of the fastest external SSDs we've tried at this price range. The blend of high-speed performance and a somewhat lacking build quality, alongside the need for manual tweaks to unlock its full potential, makes it a mixed bag. It's a powerhouse in data transfer speed, but these nuances might give some users pause.

Adata SE920: Pricing and availability

  • How much does it cost? £179
  • When is it available? Now
  • Where can you get it? It is available for sale in the US, UK and Australia

The Adata SE920 1TB External SSD is available for purchase in Europe. It is priced at 142 Euros on OpenShop, i.e., a competitive price for a device of its capabilities. In the UK, the SSD is offered at £179 on ShopBetter24.co.uk. 

These prices reflect the SSD's positioning in the market as a high-performance yet reasonably priced external storage solution. 

ADATA SE920

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Adata SE920: Benchmark

Using AJA System Test Light, the Adata SE920 1TB External SSD achieved exceptional speeds with a read speed of 3201MB/s and a write speed of 3045MB/s however, to achieve these write speeds the write cache for the drive needed to be switched off. These speeds show the drive's ability to handle large files and demanding applications.

ADATA SE920

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Adata SE920: Specs

Adata SE920: Build and Handling

Like all the best portable SSDs, the Adata SE920 1TB initially impresses with its full metal exterior, suggesting a premium build. However, its unique expanding mechanism for activating the internal cooling fan reveals a less precise construction. This extension, while functional for cooling, feels somewhat loose and cheaply machined compared to competitors.

Despite this, the drive is robust enough for general use and can withstand minor knocks, though a bit more care in handling compared to other SSDs might be advisable. Its simplicity of design, with the notable USB4 connector, adds to its sleek look. The drive is conveniently powered via USB, eliminating the need for an additional power supply and offering plug-and-play ease.

Performance-wise, the drive is generally fast, though some slowdown in writing data is noted. Disabling write caching, a common tweak for Mac and Linux systems, resolves this issue. The SE920 is straightforward, focusing purely on storage without integrated software, making it a sleek and uncomplicated choice for users valuing speed and simplicity in their external SSD.

Lexar Play 1TB MicroSD Card

(Image credit: Ali Jennings)

Adata SE920: Performance

The Adata SE920 1TB external SSD is tailored for gamers and creative professionals, offering a blend of speed and efficiency. Its performance shows read speeds ranging from 3165MB/s to 3783MB/s and write speeds from 3251MB/s to 3268MB/s, depending on the benchmark tool. If you're a gamer, then these speeds are ideal, ensuring rapid game loading and smooth performance, especially for titles with extensive graphics and large file sizes.

On the other hand, if you're a creator, the SE920's swift data transfer rates are a significant advantage. Whether it's moving large video files, quickly accessing multiple high-resolution images or seamless editing of content, the speed offered by this SSD can significantly enhance workflow - definitely one to pair with any of the best video editing laptops for increased storage. However, its storage capacity, capped at 1TB and even at 2TB, might be a limitation for those handling extensive media files. 

Additionally, the drive's performance on different operating systems needs consideration. The notable slowdown in write speeds with write caching enabled on Mac and Linux systems can be worked around by manual adjustments through Terminal, but this requires additional technical steps.

The Adata SE920 delivers high-speed performance, making it a solid choice for gamers and creators who prioritize speed. However, its storage capacity and the need for manual adjustments on certain systems may limit its appeal.

ADATA SE920

(Image credit: Alastair Jennings)

Should I buy the Adata SE920 external SSD?

How I tested the Adata SE920 external SSD

For this external SSD, I connected it to several different computers, including several PCs, A MacBook Pro and a Mac Pro 2013 running a version of Linux. Before starting this test, the drive was reformated to give the greatest compatibility for real-world tests and also for testing through the benchmarking software.

The software used included the latest versions of CrystalDiskMark, Atto, AS SSD and AJA benchmarks, noting the best scores achieved in each. They are all free and can be downloaded by anyone. After the standard benchmarks, I then used the SSD for several tasks, including using it to store the files that were being used to edit 4K video from a Canon EOS R5 C and Sony A7 IV.

Adata Elite UE800 1TB portable SSD review: Move over traditional external SSDs, there’s a new kid on the storage block
3:41 pm | January 30, 2024

Author: admin | Category: Computers Gadgets Pro | Tags: | Comments: Off

Adata Elite UE800: One-minute review

Adata strikes again with the UE800, a USB flash drive that delivers what was promised: a stunning overall performance wrapped in a solid package that ticks all boxes and is barely bigger than an average adult thumb. Manufacturers can’t really go wrong when it comes to getting the basics right; after all, USB sticks - as they are colloquially known - have been around for more than two decades and the UE800 fits that template to a tee. A rectangular body with a push-out Type-C connector (which means it can be used by a smartphone or tablet with OTG enabled), a capless design (so no caps to be lost), a brush-metal finish with an activity light and a lanyard hole (although I wouldn’t recommend dangling your storage device at the end of a lanyard). 

There’s no software (data recovery software, encryption or a backup application), cables or other accessories and its speeds (up to 1.05GB/s, delivered thanks to USB 3.2 Gen 2) should be sufficient for most use cases until USB 4 becomes mainstream. As for the price, you can get it for as little as $69.99 from Amazon, which is far cheaper than the competition. You need to have Prime as you’d otherwise pay $99.99; speaking of which, I would love Amazon to offer a 3-year data and photo protection plan for the UE800. After all, it is available for just under $6 (about £4.70, AU$9) for the Kingston DataTraveler Max and can be a real sanity saver. 

Adata UE800 1TB SSD on a window sill during our test and review process

(Image credit: Adata)

Adata Elite UE800: Pricing and availability

  • How much does it cost at the time of writing? $69.99 on Amazon (about £55, AU$106) 
  • When is it available? It is available now 
  • Where can you get it? It is available in the the US and other countries 

The AELI-UE800-1T-CSG as it is known is available in 512GB and 2TB capacities. The latter selling for a better-than-expected $129.99 (about £102, AU$197); personally I’d rather get that one as it delivers enhanced value-for-money.  

Adata UE800 1TB SSD on a window sill during our test and review process

(Image credit: Adata)

Adata UE800: Benchmark

In a nutshell, the Adata Elite UE800 delivered on the promised 1,050/1,000 MBps speeds, coming close to 1.1GBps on CDM write and inching into 1GBps territory on write, which is superb. Yes, CrystalDiskMark tends to be overtly generous as it is a synthetic benchmark but overall, it was a good showing. The drive became warm on extensive use which was expected. 

Adata UE800: Specs

Should I buy the Adata UE800?

Adata UE800 1TB SSD on a window sill during our test and review process

(Image credit: Adata)

Adata UE800 alternatives

Rugged USB flash drives: Where are they?

There are scores of rugged hard drives and portable SSDs that are IP-rated or have been put through the MIL-STD-810G. Yet I couldn’t find a single IP-rated USB flash drive out there. There’s no real reason why that is the case other than the perceived lack of demand. Drives like the UE800 are intrinsically less sturdy than the likes of the MS70 because of moving parts. And yet, even the latter is not deemed good enough to carry any IP rating. Let’s hope that this will change in a near future.

 Let’s start with the Silicon Power MS70. Alastair Jennings tested the 2TB version giving it a 4.5 stars; his biggest bugbear was the presence of USB Type-A, which means that you can’t use it with a smartphone as it requires a Type-C adaptor. 

Plus it is chunkier because it is more robustly built, probably a preferred solution should you want a more resilient portable storage device.

The DataTraveler Max by Kingston is the only one that comes from what I’d call a Tier-1 vendor, one that is almost a household name (a la Seagate or Sandisk).

How I tested the Adata UE800

After having formatted the Adata UE800 to exFAT, I test it the same way I test other storage components (external HDD, microSD cards etc). I use the latest versions of CrystalDiskMark, Atto, AS SSD and AJA benchmarks, noting the best scores achieved in each. They are all free and can be downloaded by anyone. I then transfer a folder of files, roughly 10GB in size, to get a rough idea of real life performance. 

Adata UE800 1TB SSD on a window sill during our test and review process

(Image credit: Adata)
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