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::>Storage devices > 2014 > 08 > Silicon Power Armor A60

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08-08-2014


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Silicon Power Armor A60 hard drive: review and testing

Those who want to purchase external hard drive probably have noticed on the virtual shelves of online stores many solutions with rubber case and bright colors. Of course, we are talking about protected drives. They are not much more expensive and sometimes even cheaper then solutions without adequate protection making them readily available for the average user. But this kind of drive can boast less subjection to damage the internal hard disk (as a result the loss of important data) in the case of shocks or falls, which is important during active everyday use.

At the same time for all protected external hard drives there are some common features namely the large size and weight in comparison with standard solutions in plastic or metal case. The point is that the protection of the hard disk drive occurs by placing it in a rubber casing which increases the device parameters listed above. Consequently, it is impossible to ensure the compactness and protection from fall without using lighter and more elastic materials.

Silicon Power Armor A60

But the question is what performance can offer that these solutions? What are their advantages and disadvantages? All these questions will be described on the example of 2.5-inch external hard drive Silicon Power Armor A60 with capacity of 1TB. This model is not the first item of its kind in the range of drive products, and its lineup Power Armor A30 was already tested in our lab and left a good impression. But now let’s talk about Silicon Power Armor A60.

The specs:

Producer and model

Silicon Power Armor A60

(SP010TBPHDA60S3K)

Form-factor

2,5"

Interface

USB 3.0 (back compatible with USB 2.0)

Capacity variation

2 TB SP020TBPHDA60S3K

1 TB SP010TBPHDA60S3K

500 GB SP500GBPHDA60S3K

Color

Black with green

Case material

Plastic, rubber

Operation temperature, °C

+5 … +55

Storage temperature, °C

-40 … +70

Supply voltage, В

5

OS compatibility

Windows 8 / 7 / Vista / XP / 2000

Linux 2.6.31 or next

Mac OS X 10.5 or next

Dimensions,mm

138,5 x 85,9 x 23,2

Weight, g

228 – 280 (depebds on capacity)

Warranty, year

3

Producer website

Silicon Power

Product page

External hard drive Silicon Power Armor A60 is available with next capacity: 500 GB, 1 TB and 2 TB. Accordingly the weight was changed from 228 grams in the most accessible and up to 280 in the most capacious item. These figures as well as the size are little more than those in unprotected analogues, but at the same time the novelty is completely portable and compact enough for everyday use.

Color variation is presented only in black version with light green elements.

Packaging and content

Silicon Power Armor A60

Drive Silicon Power Armor A60 is supplied in the familiar for manufacturer packaging that allows to evaluate the appearance of new item directly before purchase. At the same time it properly emphasizes the main advantages of the test solution: the use of high-speed interface USB 3.0, large storage capacity (1 TB), the presence of a holder for the cable meets the military protection standard against shocks (drop test MIL-STD-810G 516.6 Procedure IV) and moisture (IPX4), as well as a three-year warranty from the manufacturer.

Silicon Power Armor A60

The reverse side contains a brief description of item features in 14 languages. So, here is the correspondence of drive to military standards of the United States, the availability of a portable cable and built-in disc protection from shocks.

Silicon Power Armor A60

Content of packaging of Silicon Power Armor A60 includes USB 3.0 cable with length of 33 cm, mounted on the drive with the help of the holders, and quick start guide.

Design

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

The design of Silicon Power Armor A60 combines strict black plastic panels with bright rubber part. Case material is quite practical and is highly resistant to the collection of fingerprints. On the other side we can see two long parallel rubber legs which prevent drive slippage and protect the surface against the appearance of scratches. Note that the mounting of panel is realized by means of screws which are a more reliable alternative to common plastic latches. External hard drive is made in Taiwan.

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

For connection the drive has USB 3.0 interface, although more common are solutions with built-in micro-USB. Traditionally, the interface is back compatible with the predecessor version 2.0. To protect it from moisture and dust on the case you can see a rubber plug.

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

The supplied cable has a short length (33 cm) but it provides him with the necessary portability. Special attachments are made of plastic and can be easily removed if necessary. In this case, we recommend to take the cable with the holders, as they are not good enough hold on the case, so they can easily get lost.

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

The case consists of two black plastic panels and soft rubber insert made in a bright green color. The insert contains the hard drive so you can see that it is protected from external influences.

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

The drive is presented by 1-terabyte model Samsung ST1000LM024 (HN-M101MBB). According to the official website, it is equipped with 8 MB cache, SATA 3Gb/s and runs at a speed of 5400 rpm. Looking ahead we would like to say that the utilities HD Tune Pro and CrystalDiskInfo demonstrate other values.

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

The link between the external USB interface and connector of internal drive SATA is a compact bridge based on the controller JMicron JMS567.

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

For information about the drive status SATA-USB-bridge has LED-indicator. When you connect it is constantly shining, and during data transfer it flashes. LED color can be blue or red, which corresponds to the connection to the interface USB 3.0 or USB 2.0. Brightness is moderate and will not annoy or distract attention in the dark.

File system

Initially, the drive has an application that when running redirects you to a Web page for the manufacturer's warranty activation.

Silicon Power Armor A60

By default, the Silicon Power Armor A60 is formatted as a single FAT32. The selection of such file system is explained by the desire to ensure the device compatibility with a variety of operating systems. But its application has one major flaw - a limit on the maximum file size of about 4 GB. Therefore we recommend to reformat the drive with NTFS or exFAT to allow storage large files.

Silicon Power Armor A60

The owner can use 931 GB of disk space, and mismatch with the declared value of 1 TB is connected with marketing idea of decimal transfer units of information.

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

Utilities HD Tune Pro and CrystalDiskInfo informe about the use of the hard drive with interface SATA 6 Gb/s, 16 MB cache and the speed of plate rotation 5400 rpm which is different from the above-mentioned official information. However, you should not complain: you get double more the bandwidth of the interface, and double amount of cache memory.

The temperature of the internal drive in the testing process remains quite low.

Testing

The following bench was used for testing the Silicon Power Armor A60:

Motherboard

ASUS P9X79 PRO (Intel X79, Socket LGA2011, DDR3, ATX)

CPU

Intel Core i7-3930K (Socket LGA2011, 3,2 GHz, 12 МB cache)

CPU cooler

ZALMAN CNPS12X (LGA 2011)

RAM

2 x DDR3-1333 1024 MB Kingston PC3-10600

Graphics card

AMD Radeon HD 6970 2 GB GDDR5

Hard disk

Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 ST3500418AS, 500 GB, SATA-300, NCQ

Optical drive

ASUS DRW-1814BLT SATA

PSU

Seasonic X-660 Gold (SS-660KM Active PF), 650 W, 120 mm Fan

OS

Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

Silicon Power Armor A60

Drive Silicon Power Armor A60 shows high performance when reading and writing data up to 120 MB/s. This result is very good for an external hard drive, and only slightly inferior to the performance of the fastest solutions tested in our test lab. The confirmation is the results obtained in the utilities that measure the actual speed of operation, and in benchmarks that make up the final score based on internal algorithms.

Utility Intel NAS PT shows good capabilities of the product especially for HD-video recording, its playing or execution of these tasks simultaneously.

Memory access time and CPU load are in correspondence with other devices previously tested similar formats.

But the speed of the new item with the cache was maximum 295 - 330 MB/s. Most likely, this fact is a feature of the used controller JMicron JMS567. To clarify this result we also have tested the internal drive during connection directly to the interface of SATA 3. 0.

Testing package

Test

Connection type

SATA 3.0

USB 3.0

HD Tune Pro 4.50

Mean read speed, МB/s

86,8

86,8

Mean write speed, МB/s

85,9

85,9

Package processing speed, МB/s

370,1

295,9

Access time, ms

17,3

17,3

CPU usage, %

1,0

1,5

Temperature, °C

34

37

EVEREST 5.50

Linear reading speed (in the start), МB/s

115,1

115,6

Linear reading speed (in middle), МB/s

91,1

91,3

Linear reading speed (in the end) МB/s

49,2

49,3

Buffer reading speed, МB/s

485,2

330,2

Average access time during reading, ms

16,22

16,91

CrystalMark 0.9

HDD-points

12819

12799

PCMark'05

HDD-points

7189

7150

Intel NAS PT 1.7.1

Mean speed, МB/s

80,0

79,58

CrystalDiskMark 3.0

Speed of consistent data reading, MB/s

119,6

119,6

Speed of consistent data writhing, MB/s

119,1

119,5

Speed of reading the data with capacity 512KB, MB/s

39,2

39,17

Speed of writing the data with capacity 512KB, MB/s

42,9

43,97

As you can see in most cases the results are almost identical. But when working with the cache there is a clear increase in performance when connected directly to the drive interface SATA 3.0. Consequently, the used JMicron controller is a good solution that can provide a common high-speed data transmission and good performance when working with the buffer, but the last still has a drop in comparison with a direct connection. If we consider the overall results, the bridge does not limit the potential of the internal drive, and a slight decrease in the speed of the cache memory will not be seen by the end user.


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