Price (RRP): $167.90 – varies according to $AU vs $US exchange rate
Manufacturer: Silicon Power
I was worried that my review of the Silicon Power PC60 portable SSD could be anything more than the briefest of articles. Just a description and a report on speed. Easy. But it turned out that I was not able to reach the breakneck speeds this this USB-C 3.2, Gen 1 device is capable of.
Let me explain. ‘It is not you, it is me’. Or I should say it is not the Silicon Power PC60 its the computer you use it on.
Unless you have a computer that supports USB-C 3.2 Gen 2 (up to 10Gbps data transfer – almost full-duplex) or Thunderbolt 3 (up to 40Gbps full-duplex) then the only speed you will get is what your interface provides.
We explain all this in our USB, Thunderbolt and Power Delivery Guide for Dummies but here is a brief overview. (FD=Full Duplex or same speed both ways and HD=Half Duplex – it can only maintain around half the rated speed). USB speeds are
- 1.0 – up to 12Mbps (HD) – black keyed port and cable up to 5 metres
- 2.0 – 480Mbps (HD tops out at 280Mbps) – ditto
- 3.0 – 5Gbps (HD tops out at 3.2Gbps) – blue keyed port and cable to 3 metres
- 3.1 Gen 1, similar to 3.0 but FD using a dedicated .8m rated cable
- 3.2 Geb 2 – 10Gbps FD using a dedicated .3m rated cable
- Thunderbolt 3 – up to 40Gbps using a dedicated .3m cable
Note 1Mbps = .125MBps = .001Gbps or .000125GBps.
Rest assured that the Silicon Power PC60 will achieve 540/500MBps (4320/4000Mbps) with the right PC or Mac
Review: Silicon Power PC60 portable SSD
- International Website here.
- Price: A$167.90 – varies according to $AU vs $US exchange rate
- From: amazon.com.au
- Warranty: 3 years
- Country of Manufacture: Taiwan
- About: Silicon Power was founded in Taiwan in 2003 “by a group of enthusiastic data storage industry experts”. It now has four international branch offices and continues to specialise in various forms of solid-state storage.
About the Silicon Power PC60 portable SSD
The Silicon Power PC60 portable SSD is available in four sizes: 240GB, 480GB, 960GB and 1.92GB. The review sample was 960GB – 1TB in marketing terms. Big!
It is a nice flat package. Plastic square 80mm case, 11mm thick and 45g (59.4g with a cable). One corner has a lanyard slot. SSD is naturally shock-resistant.
It has a USB 3.2 Gen 2 interface and a dedicated USB-A to USB-C 30cm cable. If you use any other cable remember that most aftermarket ones are only USB 2.0 rated – these will not provide the rated speed.
It is pre-formatted in FAT32. That makes it compatible with everything. If, you’re definitely a Mac-only or a Windows-only person reformat it as Apple File System or NTFS to take advantage of the operating system’s advanced capabilities.
On the tech side, it uses the Silicon Motion DRAM-less SM2259XT controller and has a single 1TB 96-layer 3D TLC NAND Micron chip. The PC60 also uses a USB 3.1 to SATA converter with ASMedia’s ASM235CM bridge controller. So even though it is amazingly fast inside, once you hit the USB cable it tops out at 6Gbps SATA 6 speeds.
Testing the Silicon Power PC60
As is my wont, I eschewed speed test apps in favour of ad hoc, real-world-like tests. The reasons:
- Ultimate throughput depends on the computer USB interface. Do we know for certain that the computer isn’t the bottleneck? Using well-established speed tests implies a degree of comparability that is likely more misleading than useful.
- Not that I would ever suggest that any company would ever do this, but the more widely used a test is, the more tempting it might be for market participants to optimise their devices for just that test. Of course, that would never, ever happen.
- And, as I belatedly realised, the Windows copy dialogue can itself be a quite interesting record of how a file transfer proceeds.
I used three sets of data for my tests:
- A single 3.72GB video file – which is getting close to the maximum able to be accommodated by a FAT32-formated storage device. This minimises interruptions for updating directory information.
- A folder containing two subfolders and 78 large video files. It has a total size of 45.4GB.
- A folder with lots of subfolders and many, many mostly small files. It has 123 subfolders and 1,880 files, amounting to 1.65GB in total.
The procedures was simple: Copy the file from computer SSD to the Silicon Power PC60, plugged in via USB 3.0. (See what I mean? None of my computers support USB 3.2 Gen 2.) Then copy it back again. Time it both ways and we’d have write and read speeds.
Problem was, my results initially made no sense. But in hindsight they were all to do with the USB interface – not the Silicon Power PC60.