The Bottom Line
- + Compatibility
- + Portability
- + Low power
- - None
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
Introduction & Drive Details
Sabrent's Rocket NANO is one of the best-selling portable SSDs of its kind. Consumers love its extremely compact footprint and super-high quality machined aluminum enclosure, and up to 2TB capacity options. Sabrent's Nano, like all portable SSDs of its kind in the era of its release, relies upon a bridge chip to interface the host with the SSD contained within its enclosure. Most of the time, this interface path functions correctly. However, like all portables of its kind, it's not always compatible with every device with a USB port.
Some issues stem from straight hardware-to-hardware incompatibility, but most are due to insufficient power delivery to the USB port, which is typically the case for older hardware with USB 1.1, 2.0, and even some 3.0 Type-A ports. As is the case with all bridged storage devices, sometimes it works right, and sometimes it doesn't.
The root of the problem for many bridged solid state storage devices is there are two controllers on the device, and both need power. In some cases, as much as 5 watts of port-supplied power delivery. So not only does this create issues in terms of power delivery alone, but it also inherently creates the side effect of a ton of heat to deal with. Heat is the enemy of solid state storage controllers because it induces performance throttling to maintain a reasonable temperature. Simply stated, traditional bridged storage devices inherently run hot and are highly susceptible to compatibility-related issues.
As we see it bridge chipped storage devices are inherently flawed but have until recently been a necessary evil if we are to have fast transfer rates to and from our portable SSDs. The solution? Native USB SSD controllers such as what we find at the heart of Sabrent's newest portable offering; At its heart, the Rocket Nano V2 is controlled by Phison's PS2251-18 U18 USB 3.2 Gen2 x2 controller:
Native USB eliminates the need for a bridge chip to talk with the host. Good riddance, hope to see you again - never. Just look at what this awesome new controller from Phison brings to the table. Supreme compatibility reaching back in time all the way to your grandmother's USB 1.1 Type-A port. This supreme compatibility is enabled by ultra-low power requirements that can be supplied even by low-power USB 1.1 ports. Outstanding.
And to top it off, this native USB game changer is capable of up to 20Gbps throughput. Compatibility is king in the world of fast portable storage, and that is what we love most about Sabrent's newest portable SSD. It is the king of compatibility.
The hynix TLC arrayed 2TB Nano V2 is currently selling for around 10 cents per gigabyte which is quite a bargain as we see it. Sabrent advertises its Nano V2 as capable of delivering transfers at over 1,500 MB/s along with sustained performance capable of seamless 8K video recording.
CDI identifies our test subject as UASP (USB Attached SCSI Protocol) interfaced.
Like its predecessor, the Nano V2 features a high-quality, heavy-duty aluminum enclosure. Additionally, the Nano V2 is well protected from drops and debris with an outer silicone sleeve (not pictured here). USB-A and USB-C cables are included.
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, ATTO & Blackmagic
Results here demonstrate outstanding and higher-than-advertised sequential throughput, whether serving data to the host or programming data to the device. Additionally, 4K Q1T1 random results are similarly impressive.
ATTO demonstrates our test subject hits full stride at 256KB transfers. We like the smooth pattern the drive delivers, and no hiccups along the way are always great to see.
Sabrent advertises its new Nano is ideally suited for 8K video applications, and here we get strong evidence supporting the validity of this assertion.
Real-World Testing: PCMark 10, 3DMark SSD Gaming & Transfer Rates
PCMark 10 Data Drive Benchmark
The Data Drive Benchmark is designed to test drives that are used for storing files rather than applications. You can also use this test with NAS drives, USB sticks, memory cards, and other external storage devices.
The Data Drive Benchmark uses 3 traces, running 3 passes with each trace as follows:
- Copying 339 JPEG files, 2.37 GB in total,?into?the target drive (write test).
- Making a copy of the JPEG files (read-write test).
- Copying the JPEG files to another drive (read test).
As a dedicated data drive, the Nano is not the best choice out there. It does do better than the inland Platinum external, which is Phison U17 native USB 3.2 Gen2 controlled. We won't knock the Nano V2 much for this as it is a very unlikely use case scenario for this type of ultra-portable device.
3DMark SSD Gaming Test
UL's newest 3DMark SSD Gaming Test is the most comprehensive SSD gaming test ever devised. We consider it superior to testing against games themselves because, as a trace, it is much more consistent than variations that will occur between runs on the actual game itself. This test is in fact the same as running the actual game, just without the inconsistencies inherent to application testing.
In short, we believe that this is the world's best way to test an SSDs gaming prowess and accurately compare it against competing SSDs. The 3DMark SSD Gaming Test measures and scores the following:
- Loading Battlefield V from launch to the main menu.
- Loading Call of Duty Black Ops 4 from launch to the main menu.
- Loading Overwatch from launch to the main menu.
- Recording a 1080p gameplay video at 60 FPS with OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) while playing Overwatch.
- Installing The Outer Worlds from the Epic Games Launcher.
- Saving game progress in The Outer Worlds.
- Copying the Steam folder for Counter-Strike Global Offensive from an external SSD to the system drive.
Gaming is a performance metric that matters to the majority of DIY consumers, especially to the enthusiast crowd that TweakTown caters to. We are now including gaming performance as a part of our external SSD reviews, as using portable storage for gaming duties is very popular among avid gamers.
We want to see a minimum score of 1,000 here, so we get what we are looking for as a minimum. It is important to keep in mind that we are getting more than acceptable performance here from a super-low power universally compatible device.
DiskBench - Transfer Rates
We brutalize our test subjects with our extremely hard-to-swallow 100GB data block. This data block is the same one we use for our internal SSD testing and is composed of more than 62K files.
This is where the rubber meets the road for a portable SSD. Real-world transfer performance is good enough when programming data and excellent when serving data to the host.
As always, we consider the primary factor for a portable storage device to be compatibility. Simply stated, compatibility is king in relation to a portable storage device. Performance, especially as it pertains to writing or programming data, is a secondary consideration.
After all, what good is a portable storage device that may not work when going from one host to another?
For this overarching reason, we outright prefer this new generation of high-performance native USB devices over anything else, no matter how fast it may be. Compatibility is King. Editor's Choice.
Up to 1,500 MB/s throughput of supremely compatible native USB goodness. Enough said.