ADATA Elite SE880 1TB External SSD Review


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Up for review today is another external storage device, the ADATA Elite SE880. This tiny little device comes in two sizes, 500GB and 1TB, of which we’ll be looking at the larger 1TB model for this review. ADATA lists speeds up to 2000 MB/s (seq. reads) and 2000 MB/s (seq. writes), so it’s no slouch at moving data on paper. It sits inside a rugged metal chassis and connects to your device through a USB 3.2 Gen2x2 (20 Gbps) Type-C connector. Priced at $79.99 (500GB) and $129.99 (1TB), there’s a lot of performance for the money for external storage. Below, we’ll get a more detailed look at the drive, including how it performs in our test suite, to see if it’s worth the price of admission.

ADATA SE880
ADATA SE880

Specifications and Features

The SE880 is a tiny little device measuring about 2.5 x 1.3 x 0.5-inches (or 28cc/0.94fl. Oz) and is even smaller than an Airpods case making it convenient to carry around wherever you go. The Titanium Gray (the only color available) metal and plastic chassis make this a rugged device though it doesn’t list any MIL-spec for dust or water resistance. The drive connects to your PC or laptop through a USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps, ~2500 MB/s) Type-C connector which does not cap the drive’s speeds. ADATA mentions a wide range of compatible OSs, including Windows8-11, Max OS 10.6+ (reformat necessary), Linux 2.6.x, and Android 5.0+, so you can use it just about anywhere.

Here is a list of the specifications from the ADATA website.

ADATA SE880 Elite External SSD Specifications
ModelSE880 Elite
Capacity500 GB, 1 TB
Dimensions (L x W x H)2.55″ x 1.37″ x 0.49″ (64.8mm x 35mm x 12.25mm)
Weight1.1 Oz (31g)
MaterialMetal + Plastic
ColorTitanium Gray
InterfaceUSB 3.2 Gen 2×2 Type-C (20 Gbps)
Speed (Reads/Writes)2000 MB/s (seq. reads), 2000 MB/s (seq. writes)
Supported OSWindows 11/10/8.1/8, Mac OS 10.6+, Linux 2.6.x, Android 5.0+
*Reformatting required for use with Mac OS
Operating Temperature0°C – 50°C
Storage TemperatureN/A
Operating VoltageDC 5V, 900mA
Warranty5-year Limited
Pricing500 GB ($79.99 /$79.99) Amazon/Newegg
1 TB ($129.99) / $129.99 Amazon/Newegg

We’ve also included a list of the features found on the ADATA website:

ADATA SE880 500GB/1TB External SSD Features
USB 3.2 Gen 2x2Speed Ahead with USB 3.2 Gen2 x2
The SE880 supports USB 3.2 Gen2 x2, capable of reaching transmission speeds of 20Gb/s. This is twice as fast as USB 3.2 Gen 2×1 and 4 times faster than USB 3.2 Gen 1×1.* For optimal performance, the host device must support USB 3.2 Gen 2 and UASP drivers. Actual performance will vary depending on the host device’s hardware and software configurations.
2000 MB/s R/WFast 2000MB/s Read & Write
The SE880 is capable of reaching read/write speeds of up to 2000MB/s, which is roughly 20 times faster than ordinary external hard drives, which only reach about 100MB/s. This allows you to directly perform intensive task right on the SE880, whether is A/V editing or other applications.*This is an internal test result based on a comparison with ADATA external HDDs. The PCs used in the test support USB 3.2 Gen 2 and have a UASP driver installed. Actual speeds may vary depending on host device’s hardware and software configurations.
Made for on the GoMade for On the Go
With a volume of just 28cc (0.94fl. Oz), the SE880 is even smaller than Airpods (50cc/1.7fl. Oz) cases and can be easily held in the palm of the hand. Its compact size is incredibly convenient for busy people on the move.
Your Game LibraryYour Game Library
Supporting many of the latest game consoles, the SE880 is ideal for storing all your games without out taking up too much physical space.*Formatting may be required before connecting to your game console. For more information, click here.
Hassle-Free CompatibilityHassle-Free Compatibility
Whether Android, macOS, Windows, or other operating systems, you won’t need to fret about compatibility. Just connect via its Type-C port and go.*The software and hardware of mobile devices must support external solid-state hard drives to enjoy OTG data backup and transmission functions.** Supported platforms: Please click here to learn more.

Packaging

The ADATA Elite SE880 comes in a black package with white writing that describes what’s inside along with ADATA branding (the hummingbird), some specs including capacity and interface, and a picture of the drive. There’s a sticker on it telling us the drive supports the PS5 and XBOX Series X/S. The back of the box displays a few high-level specifications in multiple languages.

The Elite SE880 Portable SSD

The Elite SE880 is different on almost all accounts compared to the Silicon Power Armor A66 portable hard drive we looked at recently. The ADATA drive is a lot smaller, less rugged, and faster than the platter-based drive. On the outside, the Titanium Gray metal shell with ADATA branding in white with the SSD letters in black which gives way to black plastic on the end caps. One end is blank, while the other has a Type-C port for connectivity. On the same side as the USB port, a blue LED lights up with power and flashes when there’s activity on the drive.

Inside the box, the SSD sits in a plastic tray to keep it and the included accessories secure. Along with the drive, ADATA includes a Quick Start guide along with two cables: a Type-C to Type-C (~12″ long) and Type-A to Type-C (~6″). To get the full performance of the drive, you need to use the C to C cable, as the Type-A is limited by the slower ports. The only thing we know about the internals is that it’s M.2-based and uses 3D TLC.

Plugging the drive into our test rig, Windows 11 immediately recognized the drive and was ready to transfer files. There was no need to format or install drivers. Preinstalled on the drive is a copy of the user manual. This is a multi-lingual guide showing the very basics of the hardware. We have included a screenshot of the one page that is in English. Launching AIDA64 should allow us to see what is at the heart of the Elite  SE880 but doesn’t have too many details in this case. Checking the drive’s SMART data displays the current temperature and if it’s functioning within its threshold, which it is.

AIDA64 Engineer - Drive details
AIDA64 Engineer – Drive details

AIDA64 Engineer - Drive details
AIDA64 Engineer – Drive details

Testing Method and Test System

Testing this portable drive will be different from our standard suite of benchmarks. Since this is not a primary drive, there is no reason to run it through the full gamut. We first test the drive out with Crystal Disk Mark to get the baseline read and write speeds, as these are the basic stats used when comparing hard drives. However, what is truly essential for an external drive is its transfer rate and times.

To get this data, we run Diskbench using its default settings and transfer 120 GBs of random data from the OS drive onto the test drive and record the time it takes to complete the transfer. We then send the data back to the OS drive to get a ballpark idea of how the SSD performs when being read from. During this testing, the test drive is connected directly to one of the motherboard’s rear USB 3.2 Gen 2×2 (20 Gbps) Type-C ports to eliminate a glass ceiling from the interface. Below are the tests we run with a brief description.

  • Crystal Disk Mark v 8.0.4 x64 – Run at Default Settings (5 Passes)
  • DiskBench v2.7.0.1 – Use predefined 120 GB transfer file
Test System
MotherboardGigabyte Z690 Tachyon
CPUIntel i9-12900K
MemoryG.Skill Trident Z5 RGB (2x16GB DDR5 5600 CL36
OS SSDMushkin Helix 1TB
Power SupplyEVGA 850W T2
Graphics CardAsus TUF RTX 3050

Benchmark Results

CrystalDiskMark

CrystalDiskMark Results
CrystalDiskMark Results

The results from CrystalDiskMark closely match the listed specifications from ADATA. Sequential reads were spot on, eclipsing the 2000 MB/s mark, while the ~1800 MB/s sequential writes were slightly slower than the 2000 MB/s specification. ATTO was the only test showing 2000/2000 R/W (not pictured), a ‘best case’ type benchmark.

DiskBench

DiskBench is one of our new benchmarks for storage. It provides an excellent, real-world test by moving files to/from the device. Diskbench determines the actual file transfer time using a 120 GB file composed of random data we created. WE test by transferring the file from the primary (OS) drive to the test drive, recording the results, and reading the file from the portable drive back to the OS drive.

As we saw in the CDM tests, writes are slower in this testing environment. Our drive wrote the 120GB file in just over 199 seconds averaging 616 MB/s. The same file was read from the Elite SE880 in 196 seconds, averaging 625 MB/s. If we compare this to our only other (officially tested) external drive data set, the Silicon Power Armor A66 we reviewed previously, the Elite SE880 blows it out of the water. But that’s expected since we’re comparing platter-based storage versus a PCIe/NVMe M.2 module that’s a lot faster and a lot more expensive. You can buy a 2TB Silicon Power Armor A66 for under $70, whereas the 1TB Elite SE880 is nearly double the cost (the 500GB is just a fourth of the capacity). The ADATA is made for speed, while the Silicon Power has a much better price per GB and is slower.

Compared to my SE900, its larger RGB-laden big brother, they’re remarkably close in almost all tests. Again we’re not surprised since the performance, interface, and other specifications are nearly a carbon copy between them. The most significant differences outside of price (SE900 is $149.99) is the Elite SE800 is smaller, omits the RGBs, and is limited to 1TB (versus 2TB on the SE900). So if you want the bling, go SE900. If you want something smaller and can work with a 1TB capacity, the Elite SE880 is the choice.

Conclusion

ADATA’s Elite SE880 is a solid external SSD. It has a tiny footprint which helps with portability, and has reasonable capacity for its size. Speeds on this internal M.2 are great for an external drive allowing you to transfer large files quickly. Compared to a slow 5400 RPM HDD, it was several times faster. There are faster external drives available and drives with more capacity out on the market, but they cost a pretty penny more. If you frequently deal with large files and need good transfer speeds and portability, the Elite SE880 is a well-priced option in the external SSD space.

Click the stamp for an explanation of what this means.
Click the stamp for an explanation of what this means.

 

– Joe Shields (Earthdog)

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About Joe Shields 285 Articles
Joe started writing around 2010 for Overclockers.com covering the latest news and reviews that include video cards, motherboards, storage and processors. In 2018, he went ‘pro’ writing for Anandtech.com covering news and motherboards. Eventually, he landed at Tom’s Hardware where he wrote news, covered graphic card reviews, and currently writes motherboard reviews. If you can’t find him benchmarking and gathering data, Joe can be found working on his website (Overclockers.com), supporting his two kids in athletics, hanging out with his wife catching up on Game of Thrones, watching sports (Go Browns/Guardians/Cavs/Buckeyes!), or playing PUBG on PC.

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JLK03F150

What have I done! Member

3,414 messages 276 likes

That looks like a nice fast little portable drive. Finally a good use for the USB C on the side of my notebook.

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