In the external storage market, there is a plethora of top to bottom solutions catered to fit any user's need. Now that solid state storage has begun its decent into the 50 cent per GB range, we are increasingly seeing options that include the technology.
In the beginning of the year, we had the opportunity to look over, and review, the SSD2go from Angelbird. Coming away from that review, I couldn't wait to get my hands on another one of their products. Today, after much anticipation, we have the latest release from Angelbird in house: the SSD2go Pro.
The new SSD2go Pro differs from the previous generation, in that it has storage capacities of 320 and 640GB in a single drive, whereas the previous generation allowed capacities up to 480GB in a single enclosure. The focus of Angelbird has always been on quality; using top tier components to manufacture their solutions. This means everything from the PCB to the controller, and even NAND and DRAM, is cherry picked, and hand built-in house.
This new SSD2go has undergone some design changes. Where the previous generation still used high quality parts (such as the SandForce SF2281 controller and high quality Micron NAND), this new design features the same top tier Micron NAND, but also serves as an introduction for the Novachips "Bugatti" controller.
Packaging and the Angelbird SSD2go Pro
Packaging for the Angelbird SSD2go hasn't changed; here, we have the same box used on all SSD2go products.
Within the packaging, Angelbird has included both USB 3.0 and eSATAp cables for the drive.
Looking over the drive, we found the same level of quality that we have come to expect from Angelbird. The enclosure is machined out of a single block of aluminum, and then anodized to military specifications using a special process that is actually 100% Green, and Earth friendly.
On the backside of the enclosure, we find brand and model identification. Four torx screws hold the enclosure together.
The SSD2go Pro uses the special dual purpose connector seen above. Here, we have both USB 3.0, and eSATAp capabilities. The switch to the left controls the function of the underlying controller.
Internally, the enclosure is precision machined to the components of the PCB. Similar to what you would find in an enterprise solid state drive.
Here, we have the USB/eSATAp to SATA 6 GB/s PCB. To the left, we have the ASMedia 1053 UASP capable USB 3.0 controller, and the ASMedia 1456 6 GB/s switch up top.
Here, we have a better look at the dual purpose connection for the SSD2go. Using both USB 3.0 through the ASMedia1053 controller and eSATAp being native through the ASMedia1456 switch onboard.
As stated in the introduction, this is the first drive launched with the Novachips "Bugatti" flash controller. Pictured above, we have the NVS3600A, coupled with a 256MB DRAM package, and 10 Micron MLC NAND packages.
The backside of the drive houses another ten NAND packages, which brings the total up to 20. This bodes well for the Novachips controller, as it is the only 10 channel design on the market.
System Reflection is a new, innovative backup and recovery software that is designed to allow instant recovery from hard drive crashes, virus attacks, and other corruptions that keep your PC from running properly. No other backup solution allows you to restart, and run your PC directly from your backup drive!
Software from System Reflection is bundled with all Angelbird products. All products come with the base version of the software, which allows you to make a full backup of your operating system drive, and even boot from it via eSATA. The professional version ups the ante by offering the ability to use incremental backups, and boot via USB 3.0
After starting up the software, we chose to do a full system backup of our drive.
Here, we select the target drive as the SSD2go, copying from the SanDisk Extreme II.
As you can see above, we are working with the professional version. This allows incremental backups of our system to the Angelbird.
We also have the option of creating a backup schedule.
After selecting the options we want, we then confirm via the box, and click next.
Our backup took twelve minutes via USB 3.0, giving us a fully bootable clone of our operating system.
Specifications and Test System
Here are the specs of the product.
- USB 3.0 with UASP support
- eSATAp 3 with native 6Gb/s
- 320GB and 640GB capacity with approximately 7.4% over provisioning
- Extra low 2-2-2 latency low power mDDR cache
- 20nm class A micron enterprise NAND 3000 P/E Cycles
- Highly accurate 12bit temp sensor with 0.5C accuracy
- Minimum bad block sorting
- Extended smart data attributes
- 10 channel NVS-3600A enterprise controller
- Host power loss protection
- ESD and Overload protection
- TCG Opal, TRIM, ECC, EMS protection, AES 128/256
- Thermally conductive polymer for optimal dissipation
- Enhanced life-cycle by Static and Dynamic wear levelling
- Native command queuing with up to 32 commands
- Secure erase function
- Up to 55.000 IOPS 4K Read
- Up to 55.000 IOPS 4K Write
- 530MB/s sequential read / 460MB/s sequential write
- MTBF: 2,000,000 hours
- Full load temperature of 38 degrees
- HIPM, DIPM power save mode
- CE, UL, RoHS
- 3-year warranty
- Made in Austria
Our Test System
All testing is conducted via USB 3.0 unless otherwise noted.
Benchmarks - Baseline Testing
Throughput by File Size
Looking over our initial testing of the SSD2go, we find the drive touching near 450 MB/s read, and 400MB/s write.
Benchmarks - Random and Sequential Workloads with QD
Above, we find the SSD2go scaling quite well through the QD scale; peaking at 54K read IOPS at QD32. Write IOPS peaked rather quickly at QD2, and maintained throughout testing. Here we have close to 56K write IOPS.
Sequential read for the SSD2go peaked around 500 MB/s at QD32, while write numbers quickly ramped up to 410 MB/s, and maintained performance throughout the QD scale.
Benchmarks - Fill Testing
Fill testing is something that was pioneered by our very own Chris Ramseyer in his SSD reviews. Here, I have taken my own personal spin on the testing technique, filling the drive 10% at a time. After each fill procedure, the drive is tested and then purged, returning the drive to an empty state.
The Angelbird really comes into its own with fill testing. As you can see above, the drive loses no performance regardless of the fill rate. The same could be said for the LaCie P9223 as well, until you look at the write performance, where we find the drive dropping from 37K IOPS to 20K IOPS at 60 percent fill.
In sequential testing, the Angelbird showed the same resilience, again not losing performance at all. Here we see 500 MB/s across the entire drive, with the fill rate showing no effect.
Above, I have put together charts of the response time as the drive fills. Here, again we find the Angelbird rather steady with a random read response time of 0.6 ms across the entire range, and write response following the same 0.6 ms pattern.
Sequential read and write response time for the Angelbird started with 14ms during our read testing, to a low of 8ms. Write testing showed a steady 9ms response time across the entire range.
While Angelbird is a little known player in a rather huge market, their products always tend to rival what we find in the enterprise market. One thing that always strikes me with Angelbird is the amount of care and quality that goes into their products, from the initial concept and design of the product, down to the materials used in production. If you yourself have ever owned something that was high quality, you know the feeling you get when you hold it in your hands and look at it, and even work with it. It's that same feeling I get when I have the chance to look at product from Angelbird.
This new design from Angelbird, outlived the expectations. Thanks to many years of hard work and intense development, we now have the first glimpse of what the Novachips "Bugatti" is capable of. That is to say, with this controller being an enterprise variant, performance is maintained throughout the capacity of drive, no matter the fill rate or data used. This is something I wasn't sure would ever come, as it's something that was just a fact of life with SSDs. So, I guess it goes without saying that the performance and build quality of this drive is spectacular, and even more, it exceeds my expectations.
Pricing of the Angelbird SSD2go Pro in the 320GB capacity is set at $649.99, with the model we tested today, the 640GB, set at $1099.99. Although, we have partnered with Angelbird to give our readers an additional 10% off using the promo code "TWEAKTOWN-10%," dropping the 320GB capacity to $585.99, and the 640GB to $989.99 for a limited time.
So, if you are in the market for an enterprise class external storage solution, head over to Angelbird via the link in the header, use the promo code, and grab yourself an SSD2go!
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