If you are a gamer or media manipulator, data transfer speeds are key. There are two options that speak to data transfer speed in external storage, these being Thunderbolt 3/4 or the newest USB 3.2. We see fairly few Thunderbolt devices these days as they are the more expensive of the two when considering external SSDs. They are faster, however.
Todays Thunderbolt 3/4 provides data transfer speeds of just under 3GB/s (40Gbps), whereas USB 3.2 will provide 1GB/s (10Gbps)and bump to 2GB/s (20Gbps) if it is USB 3.2 2×2. Three external SSDs have arrived within the past week, all USB 3.2 just like that on our Test Bench for this report, the Lexar SL660 Blaze 1TB 20Gbps Gaming Portable SSD.
The Lexar SL660 Blaze is a USB 3.2 2×2 Type-C storage device that is available in 512GB or 1TB. It’s performance is listed as 2GB/s read and 1.9GB/s write and this SSD contains has AES 256-Bit encryption which ties into its complimentary included proprietary Lexar DataShield software.
The SL660 is particularly well crafted and has a graphite grey brushed aluminum exterior with built in handle and very attractive RGB LEDs within the handle as shown in the first picture above. Packaging includes the SL660, a cloth case, Type-C to Type-C and Type-C to Type-A cables, along with a polished black SSD stand.
Checking Amazon, we can see pricing of $129 (512GB) and $199 (1TB) and the SL660 Blaze comes with a 5-year limited warranty. This is fully compatible with Windows and Mac, and also, the included Lexar DataShield software is also in Windows and Mac versions. Testing the SL660 for performance, we were able to validate its make-up and specs through a few software programs:
Crystal Disk Info is a great tool for displaying the characteristics and health of storage devices. It displays everything from temperatures, the number of hours the device has been powered, and even to the extent of informing you of the firmware of the device.
ATTO Disk Benchmark is perhaps one of the oldest benchmarks going and is definitely the main staple for manufacturer performance specifications. ATTO uses RAW or compressible data and, for our benchmarks, we use a set length of 256mb and test both the read and write performance of various transfer sizes ranging from 0.5 to 8192kb. Manufacturers prefer this method of testing as it deals with raw (compressible) data rather than random (includes incompressible data) which, although more realistic, results in lower performance results.