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ADATA SE800 External SSD Review

By Christopher Bowman on December 16, 2019 | Hardware Reviews | Comments

ADATA SE800 External SSD Review

There are times when load times are just too slow and it’s usually the fault of the hard drive. As gamers, we want our PCs to boot fast, our games to speed through loads, and depending on your situation, you might even want a drive you can travel with. Enter the ADATA SE800 External SSD. Able to hold up to 1TB, it promises incinerating speeds on the go. Does it deliver?

Specifications

  • Price: $89.99, 512MB (usually $99), $189.99 (Amazon)
  • Color: Blue / Black
  • Capacity: 512GB / 1TB (Reviewed 512GB)
  • Transfer Speed: Up to 1000 MB/s (over USB 3.2 Gen 2)
  • Dimensions: 72.7 mm (L) x 44 mm (W) x 12.2 mm (H)
  • Weight: 40g
  • Interface: USB 3.2 Gen2 Type-C
  • Operating System Requirements:
    • Windows 8 / 8.1 / 10
    • Mac OS X 10.6 or later
    • Linux Kernel 2.6 or later
    • Android 5.0 or later
  • Op. Temperature: 0°C (32°F) to 35°C (95°F)
  • Op. Voltage: DC 5V, 900mA
  • Accessories: USB 3.2 Type-C to C cable, USB 3.2 Type-C to A cable, Quick Start Guide

Speed in the palm of your hands

SSDs are made to be small and fast. That’s nothing new. But in recent years, we’ve seen a rise in external SSDs that are downright tiny What better than to make an SSD that is smaller than a cell phone that fits in your pocket so that you can take it with you anywhere? Decreased size and increased speed is something that every gamer looks forward to, especially if you’re keen on taking a game library between a PC and desktop or covertly adding extra storage to your game console.

While storage media has been shrinking, game sizes have only been increasing lately, and with that comes the need for bigger drives. This device offers 512 GB and 1 TB sizes, allowing you a sight more storage space than your stock 500GB or 1TB hard drive on PS4 or Xbox One. With some games topping 100GB each, those drives fill up fast and force you to delete games you might not even be finished with. Add in the dramatically increased speed of an SSD versus the internal hard drive and you begin to see why a device like the SE800 may be appealing to space-constrained console gamers.

The SE800 is able to achieve speeds up to 1000 MB/s over USB 3.2 Gen2. If you don’t have this port and are instead on USB 3.1 (like the PS4 or Xbox), those speeds are handicapped 200-300 MB/s but are still a substantial upgrade from a normal hard drive. You’ll want to make sure what type of port your device has or be willing to take the speed hit before pulling the trigger on a purchase, but with pricing at $89.99 for the 512MB version as of this writing, it offers a good value even over last generation USB.

Benchmark Results

For testing purposes, we utilize a few different methods. We used ATTO to cross-check manufacturers’ claims and determine a theoretical “best case scenario.” Next is CrystalDiskMark for additional synthetic testing of sequential and random read/write performance. Since we believe most of our readers will be considering this for mobile game storage, we also conducted load time testing to test the improvements on game loads on the PlayStation 4 console.

Do note, that we did not have a USB 3.2 Gen 2 port available for testing and so our results fall into the 200-300 MB/s handicap on ATTO and CDM. Since this port is still rather uncommon, our results should mirror the vast majority of readers and since both console also use USB 3.1, our results should mirror your own.

The first test that we completed was the ATTO Disk Benchmark which assesses the sequential read and write ability of the drive to give us a potential best value for it. Many manufacturers do their tests through ATTO in order to make sure they are hitting the speeds they claim that they can get.

The speeds that we are showing here are based on a test on the USB 3.1 Port, while this SSD is slated for its best performance in the USB 3.2 Gen 2 port. As a result, our maximum read and write speeds are 740.24 MB/s write and 778.23 read. Not bad considering the bandwidth limitation at play!

In the next test phase, we used CrystalDiskMark which helps to determine more realistic stats incorporating random reads and writes. Interestingly, we see better sequential read performance in this test. The speeds absolutely plummet in the “worst case scenario” of Q1T1, which doesn’t allow the drive to anticipate any of the incoming bits of data. This is equally unrealistic and far below what the average user will ever encounter but is remarkable nonetheless.

Finally, we come to what we consider the real bread and butter of this test: load time improvements. With the current pricing of the 512MB version, it makes for a great space external drive to save gamers from deleting games. We conducted out test on the PlayStation 4 with three games: Spiderman, Horizon Zero Dawn, and Call of Duty Modern Warfare: Remastered. We timed the load times from the start menu to actually being dropped in game on both the internal HDD and the SE800.

As, you can tell, there was a huge improvement. Both Horizon and Spiderman improved their load times by more than 40 seconds. That’s an improvement you can feel, each and every game. Modern Warfare: Remastered was already a quick loader but the SE800 managed to pull its bits together five seconds faster.

Final Thoughts

Attaching this drive to your Xbox One or PlayStation 4 will be a definite improvement for your gaming experience. For the best performance, you’ll definitely want to connect it over USB 3.2 Gen 2 but even on the ubiquitous 3.1, it works great for decreasing those load times.

Pros

  • Affordable at the sale price
  • Game load times decreased significantly
  • Small and portable for everyday use

Cons

  • Type-C cable is too short and makes the drive hang from most areas you have it
  • Full price may be a bit too much for budget gamers
The product described in this article was provided by the manufacturer for the purpose of review.