The first USB 4 / Thunderbolt 4 drive has landed and the event took place in Indiegogo of all places. A previously unknown company, GigaSSD, has sent Seagate and WD on the job to be the first to claim it. How fast is it How hot does it get? How expensive is it, and most importantly, when can you buy it? We’ll answer all of these questions and more. Keep in mind that Indiegogo is not your usual online shopping destination as it comes with a few conditions.
Prices and availability
The GigaSSD GigaDrive is only available on Indiegogo at the time of writing. It’s available in 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB versions for $ 153, $ 219, and $ 359, respectively. If you’re feeling kind and generous, a trio of 4TB SSDs will cost you just $ 1,039 or $ 86.60 per TB, which is very, very cheap. Remember that you have to wait until July 2021, that is up to four months of waiting. Worth a boat? You decide.
The engineers at GigaSSD opted for an industrial design in which shiny black plastic is combined with anodized metal. It’s shaped like an elongated hexagon and apart from two rubber stickers that hide four screws, there’s nothing on the case – not even a sticker – that says who made the GigaDrive.
The brushed aluminum finish gives it a first-class look. At 114 mm x 337 mm with a thickness of 12.5 mm and a weight of 74 g, it is very insertable to say the least. The 45 cm bundled cable is a TB3 model and is ACASIS branded.
The GigaDrive is rated IP67, which is about as good as it gets if you don’t plan on submerging your drive and if there isn’t a rubber flap for the Thunderbolt port. However, there are plenty of notches to improve grip.
We know the drive is using parts of WD_Black SN750 (aka WDS100T3X0C) which CrystalDiskInfo identified. This is a 1 TB NVMe M.2 2280 SSD drive. Given that WD is direct selling the 1TB, 2TB, and 4TB models for $ 139.99, $ 309.99, and $ 799.99, respectively, we’re not sure how GigaSSD got such a deal, especially since the current market is a sales market due to ongoing production problems.
The Indiegogo page lists an Intel AGI M.2 2280 NVMe storage, which almost certainly refers to a solid-state drive made by a Taiwanese company called Agile Gear International. Some reports say the company, popular in Southeast Asia, is Intel-funded and uses Intel NAND flash memory.
When asked about this strategy, they said to us: “The reason for the low sales price is that we sell GigaDrive directly to our customers without intermediaries. Since we are on the crowdfunding stage and have just launched the product, we prefer a small profit and a large customer base. The retail price will of course be higher after the Indiegogo campaign. “
In addition to the 3D NAND chips, which make up most of the silicon in the case, there is also an Intel JHL8440 Thunderbolt 4 controller, which is part of the Goshen Ridge family. TB4 provides support for the USB4 protocol as well as better security against DMA attacks.
This is how the external Gigadrive GigaSSD 1 TB Thunderbolt 4 SSD worked in our series of benchmark tests:
CrystalDiskMark: 2804 Mbps (read); 2538 MBit / s (write)
Atto: 2640 MBit / s (read, 256 MB); 2400 MBit / s (write, 256 MB)
AS SSD: 1869 Mbps (seq read); 1711 Mbit / s (seq write)
AJA: 1830 Mbps (read); 1643 Mbit / s (write)
We didn’t have a Thunderbolt 4 laptop or PC on hand, but we can confirm that this memory enabler actually hits 2.8 Gbps, as stated in the marketing literature. More specifically, 2,804 Mbps when using CrystalDiskMark in the default reading settings. That’s roughly half the theoretical top speed of Thunderbolt 3 or Thunderbolt 4. Write speeds of over 2.5 Gbps were among the best we’ve seen on a single-drive device.
Elsewhere, with a 10GB file transfer, the numbers were a little less promising in real life, which translates to a transfer rate of just over 300Mbps. This corresponds to a hit of almost 90% which cannot be explained by throttling (if the device gets too hot). We reached out to GigaSSD to find out more.
The device was warm when tested and stayed in a room with 20 degrees Celsius (measurements with a FLIR camera) at just under 40 degrees Celsius, as indicated in the marketing literature. The aluminum shell – which helps dissipate heat – and the Micron DDR3 DRAM cache (with unknown capacity) apparently made this possible.
Note that the tests were run on a 1TB drive and performance should improve with higher capacities as the controller can access more chips at the same time.
We have reviewed a number of external Thunderbolt 3 SSDs in the past. The OWC Envoy Pro EX, the Pluggable 2 TB, the Patriot Evlvr, the G-Technologie G-Drive Mobile Pro, the Glyph Atom Pro and last but not least the Samsung X5 portable SSD We checked this almost a year ago and remain the benchmark in terms of speed and performance.
The latter costs more than double the GigaSSD at $ 349. The cheapest 1TB Thunderbolt 3 SSD still offers a $ 88 premium (around 50%) over the Gigadrive. As it stands – at the time of writing and most likely for the foreseeable future – the Gigadrive GigaSSD has no real competition when it comes to the all-important price-performance ratio.
So there it is, the first Thunderbolt 4 / USB4 solid-state drive, and we dare to say it’s a slam dunk. At this price, the GigaSSD should sell like hot cakes. It’s just too attractive to ignore, especially if you want a fast 2TB or 4TB external SSD. You should be able to peel it (i.e. remove the internal M.2 2280 SSD), but we haven’t tried it. However, doing so will likely void your device’s warranty.
A couple of points; The GigaSSD will not be delivered until July 2021, which is still a long way off. Are the average component prices falling? Definitely not. Should you buy it? Well, if you are ready to take the risk then by all means go for it. Just pay attention to the conditions.
Source link : https://www.techradar.com/reviews/gigassd-gigadrive-1tb-external-thunderbolt-4-ssd/