The Bottom Line
- + Compatibility
- + Ultra compact
- + Dual USB ports
- - None
Should you buy it?AvoidConsiderShortlistBuy
Introduction & Drive Details
Almost two years ago, we got our first taste of Silicon Motion's 2320 native USB controller in a Pen Drive configuration. From the first moment we laid our hands on it, this configuration instantly became our favorite form of fast, portable storage and still is to this day.
Today, we have what is our new favorite portable storage device. This one is again built around our favorite native USB controller, Silicon Motion's 2320. Some legend at SMI came up with the idea of something even more portable and, more importantly, dual port, Type-A & Type-C. As we see it, this configuration, built around a native USB controller, is the ultimate in fast pocket-friendly portable storage.
This thing will work in any USB port, even USB 2.0, because it is a UASP device, and it can run on the low power native to USB 2.0. Never will you have the compatibility issues that incessantly plague portable SSDs that rely on a power-hungry bridge chip to translate NVMe to USB.
Okay, let's get into this so we can put some numbers to what is now our all-time favorite form of fast, portable storage.
The ESD310C is by far the most portable 1,000 MB/s capable solid-state storage device we've ever seen. Additionally, it is the most universally compatible being that it is a dual port device.
Synthetic Benchmarks: CDM, ATTO & Blackmagic
Our test subject delivers as advertised and then some. Top of the food chain sequential throughput for a 10Gbps interfaced portable device. QD1 random performance indicates that the drive can even serve a competent role as portable gaming storage.
ATTO demonstrates the ESD310C 1TB capable of delivering essentially full sequential performance at 128K transfers. Exactly what we like to see from any storage device.
Surprisingly nimble for what it is, especially when it comes to serving data to the host, where our test subject delivers the best we've seen to date for a 10Gbps storage device. Outstanding.
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).
The ESD310C makes for an excellent extended data drive. This is especially impressive for a device of its type running within USB power specs. Best-in-class performance here.
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 most 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.
Ultra-portable, fully compatible storage is a nice complement to any console or PC gaming device. Look at the drives that this, the smallest, most portable device of its kind, is beating here, where performance is tough to come by. Incredible.
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 used for PC data storage (not video files).
100GB of this at 580 MB/s is again impressive. Again, look at the competition that our tiny test subject is beating. This is performance that matters and a clear demonstration that even huge 100GB chunks of data are within the range where the ESD310C 1TB can handle with efficiency.
Having already tested numerous portable devices based on the very same Silicon Motion SM2320 controller that powers the ESD310C, we knew the drive would deliver quite well. In fact, it seems that a good deal of firmware improvements have been made that make our favorite native USB controller even better than when we last took it for a spin.
In our opinion, the ESD310C gives us more of what we want from a USB pen drive than we've ever experienced before. It's by far the most portable and compatible of its kind without skimping on performance. Editor's Choice.