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Silicon Power Armor A80 USB 3.0 640GB Portable HDD

Silicon Power merges the speed of USB 3.0 with military ruggedness to make a portable HDD that can take a beating under water or in our lab.

By: | HDDs in Storage | Posted: Aug 17, 2010 11:05 am
TweakTown Rating: 88%Manufacturer: Silicon Power





When it comes to building tough, nearly indestructible hardware, no one excels better than the United States military. These are the same people responsible for the development of the Hummer, Abrams Tank, AR15 and many other kick your butt up and down the globe projects that we don't even know about. Military specifications are the benchmark for all which many products are judged and many of those products fall short of military expectations.


Silicon Power has taken it on the most stringent drop tests created by people who really know how to drop stuff. The Silicon Power Armor A80 meets or exceeds the MIL-STD-810F 516.5 procedure IV drop test and even went further to match the IEC529 IPX7 waterproof test.


No one knows how to spend money like the US Military either. The consumer version of the Hummer costs considerably less than the mil spec version, but like the saying goes, You Get What You Pay For. With USB 3.0 product pricing falling rapidly, the Silicon Image Armor A80 640GB portable HDD is currently one of the highest priced USB 3.0 drives on the market, but it is still in pre-order status at Amazon. We suspect that when units arrive the price will drop, but will that price drop be enough to satisfy the TweakTown Consumer Price Test?


Let's take a look at the Silicon Power Armor A80 USB 3.0 specs and see if we can get the mil spec to line up with our benchmark and pricing specs.


Specifications, Pricing and Availability




Silicon Power doesn't go into great detail when it comes to performance claims other than giving us the generic USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 claims. This is quite convenient for Silicon Power when it comes to USB 3.0 since there isn't a controller chip able to reach the maximum limits of USB 3.0 on the market yet. To date the fastest USB 3.0 read speed we have recorded was 200MB/s, so we will see if the Armor A80 is able to match that speed.


Silicon Power has already released three capacity models of the Armor A80. Our sample, the Armor A80 640GB is the flagship model at this time and it is currently on pre-order at Amazon for 169.00 USD. Silicon Power is also in the process of launching a 500GB (169.00) and a 320GB (157.50) model. With USB 3.0 external enclosures starting to hit the market for as low as 25 USD (barebones, no drive) it is my hope that the Armor A80 pricing is revised after arrival. That said, none of the low cost USB 3.0 enclosures are anywhere near the quality of the Silicon Power Armor A80 or feature the mil spec drop and water features.




After formatting our Silicon Power Armor A80 we ended up with 596GB of usable space for data. We dissected the Armor A80 and found a Samsung Spinpoint M7E HM641JI 640GB drive that features dual platters, but has a reputation as being designed for high transfer rates at the expense of low I/O performance. This combination is great for benchmarking, but lacks the ability to transfer several small files with high efficiency.


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